Karma Yoga - The Yoga of Everyday Life
Motto: "In a state of detachment perform what has to be done, no matter what it is, and never wish to assume the fruits of your doings."
Karma Yoga is Appropriate for All Beings
The Main Goal in Karma Yoga
The Efficiency of the Karma Yoga System
The Specific Technique in Karma Yoga
These arguments lead to the conclusion that Karma Yoga is an instantaneous form of Yoga for the daily life.
From the different traditional definitions of Karma Yoga, the most current and precise, though not yet complete, is the following: "Karma Yoga is the Yoga of deep and thorough fusion with the Divine, through any unselfish action".
Karma Yoga starts from the fact that at any given moment of our daily life, even when we feel forced to act one way or another, we remain free to choose and we bear the whole responsibility of our actions. The use of any spiritual discipline - Yoga, or any other spiritual path - implies the existence of free will, both in directing one's life and in the choice of the method for doing so.
The main question to which Karma Yoga helps us to get an answer is: How and why should we choose between two or more courses of action at a given moment?
Through persistent practice we can find out that Karma Yoga gives us more freedom, unbelievable as this may seem...
I should also emphasize that the practice of Karma Yoga does not exclude the simultaneous practice of one or more of the other forms of Yoga, but will amplify their efficiency. This connection with other forms of Yoga is not essential, because even when practiced alone Karma Yoga is sufficient in itself for bringing the highest state of spiritual attainment.
Karma Yoga has also a great advantage that is not found in the other forms of Yoga. While Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga and even Jnana Yoga, when practiced incorrectly, without the careful supervision and guidance of a competent guru, can bring about serious physical or mental damage. Karma Yoga presents no dangers for its practitioner, even if its knowledge is based just on written teachings.
We add here that the Karma Yoga system is almost free of metaphysical or religious concepts and, even in an advanced stage of practice; Karma Yoga does not require the help of any physical discipline and of any diet. However it stands to reason that the Karma yogi should do his best to stay healthy.
From the perspective of Bhakti Yoga system, this interpretation can be seen as the revelation of the Divine through love and from the perspective of the Jnana Yoga system as the pursuit of the awareness of the Absolute Divine.
Ramakrishna said also: "The supreme goal in Karma Yoga is the same as in all forms of Yoga: the realization of the Supreme Eternal or the Impersonal Divine."
"If we declare that we would like to realize Brahman (The Supreme Divine) during introspection only and that we leave Him out during our exterior actions, considering that we want to benefit from his presence only through the love that we feel in our hearts during prayer, without any other adoration for Him through other exterior modalities, or if we consider that only the contrary is true, then we are obstructing our work on the long way towards the Truth and we set ourselves for a pitiful failure" (Sadhana).
Sri Ramakrishna: "When performed without attachment the action becomes an easy way to obtain the real goal in life, which is communion with God."
As a conclusion here we can say that: if performed in the spirit of Karma Yoga any action, no matter how unimportant, can help us to advance towards Enlightenment.
The Specific Technique in Karma Yoga
The theoretical grounds and techniques of action in Karma Yoga are clearly stated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, with the only observation that the order in which these ideas are presented is not the most convenient for Western people.
Briefly, the wise teachings of Krishna are:
All these principles are simple and should be simply added to our principles of life. They should become the new coordinates of our daily activity and in this way our life will be spiritualized in a easy and natural way.
Many comments are made upon the principles of Karma Yoga, but the beauty of this spiritual system consists in it's simplicity: even without any comments one can practice karma yoga successfully.