The Path of Spiritual Action
Karma is action with motive where one is more interested in the results of their actions, the action forms the instrument for achieving some worldly goal, the motive of expectation of some profit from the action is predominating.
Karma Yoga on the other hand is when the work is seen as a privilege given to him/her to serve selflessly for the community and humanity and the divine. There is no expectation on a worldly level.
In Karma Yoga the most important thing is the mental attitude. Karma Yoga is when one’s actions have positive intent and that intent is in the form of devotion to a higher purpose without any source of “I” ness. 99.9% of our actions are Rajasic in nature. If we can learn to identify all our actions with a higher purpose, then the actions become meditative THIS IS THE AIM OF KARMA YOGA.
Currently most people involved in Yoga may take a weekly class and maybe do some meditation in the morning or evening but what happens in between these times, if we change the mental attitude then all our daily actions become a meditation our lives become filled with Yoga we start living Yoga, we create a better internal environment and effect the outer environment in a positive way. This doesn’t happen overnight we start with small efforts e.g. Keeping a Spiritual Diary, self-study (Swadhaya, one of the Niyamas).
KARMA YOGA provides
- Equanimity-peace of mind
- Ego lessness when we perform only karma actions we develop AHAMKARA (pride)
- Converts negative thoughts into positive ones-many problems come from negativity and narrow mindedness
- Efficiency in the body
- Promotes dignity on the level of the classification of people, the idea of higher or lower disappears
Karma binds Karma Yoga liberates
Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita is the chapter on Karma Yoga Arjuna is in dialogue with Krishna he is torn and confused as to what action he should take. Verse 9 “Man is bound by his own action except when it is performed for the sake of sacrifice. Therefore Arjuna, do you efficiently perform your duty, free from attachment, for the sake of sacrifice alone”
Worldly people perform actions with selfish motives and the desire to gain material profit and happiness. Owing to that inclination they are tied to the earth…The Gita therefore advises all men/women to perform the soul-redeeming activities of meditation, devotion, morality, service and divine love as their observance of a purifying spiritual fire rite in which all mortal blemishes are burnt.
“Paramahamsa Yogananda” Self -Realization Fellowship. The Bhagavad Gita.
Below is a recommended Spiritual Diary, this list of question that one asks oneself at the end of the day. This list was given to me as part of my Dip in Yogic Science at the Bihar University of Yoga.
The questions can be changed to suit yourself. Remember this is not an exercise is becoming perfect, but it is a useful tool to self-development.
- Check the Swara (flow of breath in the nostrils)
- Did I laugh when I woke up?
- Is there a virtue I wish to develop?
- Did I help anyone without their asking?
- Have I maintained positive constructive relationship with everyone?
- Did I laugh before I slept?
- Did I overeat? Did I enjoy my food?
- Was I lazy today? If so when
- Have I been dwelling in the past or future?
- Is there a bad habit I want to be rid of?
- Did I seek recognition?
- #what time did I get up at?
- How many hours sleep did I get?
- What was my major desire today?
- What negative menta state did I experience today?
- How did I control that state?
- Did I have positive inspiration today?
- Describe the weather?
- Did I practice my beliefs today?
- Did I practice Yoga today?