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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

About Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga Basically means yoga of actions. It is a very important path that can purify ourselves internally and externally. Once we are purified, wisdom will arise in us naturally.

Karma yoga is also being explained as selfless service. It is a very efficient way to eliminate our ego. It is performing any actions for ourselves and other beings to evolve spiritually and becoming happy, selfless, compassionate and wise beings without any selfish intentions and without any expectations of the results and rewards.

It is renouncing from the fruit of actions. All the actions are not different from inaction (without any karma being generated – free from the bondage of karma) if all the actions were being perform without the selfish ego attached to the actions nor there is any identifications with the doer of actions.

All actions are being done as a selfless service for serving God. We all are just an instrument for God to act in this transitory world of names and forms, including the act of eating and drinking, as well as taking care of its good health to maintain the life of this mortal physical body that is composed of ether, fire, water, air and earth, for us to serve God.

It is not only limited to perform selfless service of helping other beings and caring for the nature without asking any rewards in return. It is also performing all kinds of actions that are necessary and beneficial for oneself to evolve spiritually.

Such like Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are beneficial actions that will lead one to the ultimate goal of liberation by attaining the wisdom from self-realization.

Before one attain the wisdom within ourselves, we all have to perform all actions that will bring us to the wisdom in us. Once we have seen the wisdom due to the serenity that derives from all the actions of yogic practices, then we can renounce any actions but we still can continue to perform any actions that are necessary and beneficiary but without the identification as the doer of actions and are not attaching to the fruit of actions.

By performing Karma Yoga, we will be free from fear, worry, selfishness, depression, ill will, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride and arrogance. We will be endowed with loving kindness, patience, forbearance, generosity, cheerfulness, gratefulness, appreciation, humility, fearlessness, compassion and wisdom.

Karma Yoga is being perform with great enthusiasm of giving and sharing. It is without frustration and disappointment. It is non-attachment and letting go. It is nameless and formless. It is beyond the duality of good and bad, success and failure, give and take. All actions are being done with full effort and being let go during the act and after the act.

It is free from discrimination of good beings and bad beings, all beings are being respected and being treated same and equal under the practice of Karma Yoga. It is free from judgment, comparison, competition and expectation. It is freedom while being in the world doing a lots of actions.

If it is being practice with the right attitude and correct understanding, it will bring us joy, happiness and peace.

All actions are being done with a balanced state of mind without attachment to the results of success and failure. There is nothing to be gained or loosed in all actions of selfless service but the invisible merits are so great without us expecting to get any merits.

Be kind to all. Perform or carry out all our duties and responsibilities in a positive and cheerful attitude without attaching to the fruit of actions towards ourselves, towards our family, towards our friends, teachers, students, and the society, are the basic Karma Yoga.

Beside all these responsibilities, there are many other actions that are not obligation for us but we still can give and share with others. These are the higher Karma Yoga that we perform out of pure compassionate heart, not because we have a responsibility to carry out.

If we perform all our duties or responsibilities and any selfless service charity acts without the attachment and are renounced from the fruit of actions, then it is considered pure Karma Yoga. But if we are attached to all our duties or responsibilities with a little or great expectation of rewards and are affected by the result of success and failure, then it is not Karma Yoga anymore but it’s merely some actions that will bring us karma to be reaped in the future.

It’s the same as when we do any charity works to help others. If we do everything with the selfish intention of getting good karma or merits, and are attached to the fruit of actions and are being affected by the results of our actions, then all these are not Karma Yoga.

If we truly understand this, then when we sit for meditation observing the breath without performing any movements of physical actions, it’s also an action of Karma Yoga for attaining liberation from karma. It is a nameless and formless action in inaction in a beneficial way. It is a pure action that will bring us the “fruit” of self-realization. At this point “self-realization” is still a name and form. There is still something that we attached to. Until we attain self-realization, then we can go beyond self-realization. At this point, self-realization has become nameless and formless. There is nothing called “self-realization” but just being what it is.

If we are sitting there doing nothing but the mind is busy planning for this and that, scheming and indulging in random lustful thoughts, then it is an action in inaction in a non-beneficial way which we are actually producing lots of subtle karma that will become fruitful karma that need to be reaped in the future even though we didn’t perform any movements of physical actions.

May we all be free by performing Karma Yoga.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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