Karma Yoga

The word karma (derived from the Sanskrit root kri, meaning 'to do'), denotes an action that brings back results in this life or in the future life. Karma Yoga (or the yoga of action) teaches that selfless work performed in the spirit of service to God and for the welfare of mankind leads to salvation (moksha) of the individual self. Good actions bring one closer to his spiritual goal and bad actions take him farther away from this goal. Virtuous deeds, satkarma, are those that are performed -for the welfare of others, without desire for the fruits (reward) there of. Bad actions are those that are performed with selfish motives, without consideration for others. Work, with love, is freedom for the worker, and work without love is his bondage. This means that all actions must be performed without expectation of reward (nishkama-karma). Thus we hear the words of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita:

'Thou have a right to perform thy prescribed duty, but thou are not entitled to the fruits of thy action. Never consider thyself the cause of the results of thy activities, but never cease to do thy work....' (BG 2.4'7)

The philosophy of Karma Yoga is expounded in three chapters of Shrimad Bhagwat Gita. The Bhagwat Gita teaches that work is both beautiful and holy and declares that individual attain perfection when they offer their work as worship to God:

' Whosoever performs action, surrendering himself to Brahman and abandoing all attachments, is not polluted by sin, just as a lotus leaf is not polluted by water.' (BG 5.10)

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