KARMA YOGA –I AM NOT DOER
In Sanskrit, Kri means to do; all action is Karma. Whatever we do (thinking, talking, listening, breathing, walking etc.) that is karma, physical or mental and it leaves marks or impression or samskara on the mind-stuff. These impressions are sometimes not obvious on the surface but they work beneath the surface, subconsciously. The sum total of these impressions on the mind form character of the person at that moment. If good impressions prevail, the character becomes good; if bad, it becomes bad.
But good and bad are both bondages of the soul. The solution reached in the Gita in regard to this bondage-producing nature of work is that, if we do not attach ourselves to the work we do, it will not have any binding effect on our soul. By non-attachment, you overcome and deny the power of anything to act upon you.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 5 chapter 3) - न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् । कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः॥
i.e. Indeed no person can remain without doing work anytime. Because of nature-generated qualities force him to do work.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 27 chapter 3) - प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः। अहंकारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ॥
i.e. In fact, all the karmas are done due to qualities of nature. Since the soul is fascinated by ego, one thinks due to ignorance, ‘I am a doer'.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 47 chapter 2) - कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
i.e. Actions done with expectation of its rewards bring bondage. Our duty is only in doing karma, never in its fruits. If we do not be attached to it, we get purification of heart and ultimately knowledge of the Self.
The dynamics of Karma Yoga such as ‘Good or Bad Karma – the bondage of the soul’, ‘motives of karma’, ‘karma without attachment’, ‘what is good karma’, ‘forces of karma’, ‘instruments of karma’ and ‘Karma for liberation’ are mentioned hereunder.
Good or Bad Karma – the bondage of the soul
All karmas are by nature composed of good and evil. We cannot do any work which will not do some good somewhere; there cannot be any work which will not cause some harm somewhere. Every work must necessarily be a mixture of good and evil; yet we are commanded to work incessantly. Good and evil will both have their results, will produce their Karma. Good action will entail upon us good effect; bad action, bad. But good and bad are both bondages of the soul.
Motives of Karma
karmas are done with various motives or to fulfill desires such to get fame, power, money, heaven etc. There are some who work for the sake of work. There are others who do good to the poor and help mankind from still higher motives, because they believe in doing good and love good.
Karma without Attachment
The selflessness brings "Vairagya", dispassion or non-attachment. By non-attachment, we overcome and deny the power of anything to act upon us. If actions are done for the sake of God, without desire for the fruits, one is released from the bonds of birth and death and attains to immortal bliss.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 51 chapter 2) - कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः। जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् ॥
i.e. Knowingly giving up the result which comes from knowledgeable actions, one becomes free from the bondage and the highest post is attained.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 28 chapter 9) - शुभाशुभफलैरेवं मोक्ष्य से कर्मबंधनैः। सन्न्यासयोगमुक्तात्मा विमुक्तो मामुपैष्यसि॥
i.e. By offering all karmas to me (God), person with good karma become free from bondages from karma and attains me.
What is good Karma
Forces on Karma
Instruments of Karma
Karma for liberation
Bhagwat Geeta has explained in detail, the following qualities of person who remain unattached to karma:
Bhagwat geeta (verse 28 chapter 3) - तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः। गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते ॥
i.e. Person who have knowledge of qualities of trigun maya, five senses and five karmendriyas and believes that these elements are working as per their nature & qualities, remain unattached.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 20 chapter 4) - त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः। कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किंचित्करोति सः॥
i.e. The man who has abandoned the attachment in all his deeds and in his work has become devoid of the worldly shelter and is always contented in God; he does not do anything in reality even if he does good deeds.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 23 chapter 4) - गतसङ्गस्य मुक्तस्य ज्ञानावस्थितचेतसः। यज्ञायाचरतः कर्म समग्रं प्रविलीयते॥
i.e. Whose attachment has been completely destroyed, which has become devoid of compassion, whose mind is constantly situated in the knowledge of the divine - that only the whole work of a person who performs the task of Yajna is merged.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 41 chapter 4) - योगसन्नयस्तकर्माणं ज्ञानसञ्न्निसंशयम्। आत्मवन्तं न कर्माणि निबध्नन्ति धनञ्जय ॥
i.e. Who has given all the karmas in the divine and who has destroyed all the doubts by discrimination, do not bind the man with karma.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 7 chapter 5) - योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः। सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ॥
i.e. One whose mind is in control, who is pure at heart, who has won over its senses and who see Ishwar in all beings; despite doing karma, does not immerse in it.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 10 chapter 5) - ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः। लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा ॥
i.e. One who surrenders all karmas to God and work without attachment, he lives in this world like a lotus leaf and never immerse into evils.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 28 chapter 7) - येषां त्वन्तगतं पापं जनानां पुण्यकर्मणाम्। ते द्वन्द्वमोहनिर्मुक्ता भजन्ते मां दृढव्रताः ॥
i.e One who do good karma without getting attached to it and whose all sinful deeds are destroyed, such person are free from klesha such as attachment (raag), aversion (dwesh), emotional attachment (मोह) etc and are devoted to me in every way.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 5 chapter 18) - यज्ञदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत् ।यज्ञो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम् ॥
i.e. Sacrifice (यज्ञ), religious austerity (तपरूप कर्म) and charity (दान) is not worthy of renunciation, but it is a duty, because the sacrifice, religious austerity and charity - all three karmas are of wise men (the person is wise, who renounces fruit and attachment ) and he does good karma which purifies him.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 12 chapter 18) - अनिष्टमिष्टं मिश्रं च त्रिविधं कर्मणः फलम् ।भवत्यत्यागिनां प्रेत्य न तु सन्न्यासिनां क्वचित् ॥
i.e. One who does not renounce rewards of karma, he gets its fruits in future births but one who renounces the karma, never gets fruits of karma.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 17 chapter 18) - यस्य नाहङ्कृतो भावो बुद्धिर्यस्य न लिप्यते ।हत्वापि स इमाँल्लोकान्न हन्ति न निबध्यते ॥
i.e. One whose conscience does not have feeling that “I am a doer”, whose mind is not immersed in worldly things & deeds, the man dies in reality, neither does he die in sin.
Bhagwat geeta (verse 46 chapter 18) - यतः प्रवृत्तिर्भूतानां येन सर्वमिदं ततम्।स्वकर्मणा तमभ्यर्च्य सिद्धिं विन्दति मानवः॥
i.e. God who has created all the beings and from which it is pervading the whole world, by worshiping God by his natural deeds, one can attain divinity.
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