What is Karma Yoga? Will it reduce our Initiative for not expecting results?
Actual Questions from three devotees:
(1) NAVNEET BANZAL asked like this:
Hare krsna prabhuji. Dandvat pranam. Prabhuji my question is it is mentioned that we have to do our prescribed duties such as job,Business by remembering krsna and serving krsna but in job,business we feel envy, competition & insecurity due to which mode of passion develop and chain reaction starts but at same time if we will not be having mode of passion, how can we progress because if we leave anything on past karma and keep doing good to others whether they cheat with us ,take our promotion, reputation, credits how can we say that it is the result of our past karma ? Should we not fight ? Or should we should remain satisfied by considering that we are getting our essential needs,able to take care of family and we are able to serve krsna that is more than sufficient after all this human life is meant for self realization not for doing rat competition?
(What is the difference between Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Bakthi Yoga? READ HERE!)
(2) A male devotee:
“Hi ji, I am glad that I am follower of your writings! I have a query for you regarding Karma Yoga. Lord Krishna says that one must be detached from the fruits of actions. So what must be our ambition while doing a job? For example, if we play cricket can we play with an ambition that we must win the Game? Thanks and wishes,……………..”
(3) Another male devotee:
Prabhuji Hare krishna, First of all I want to thanks Prabhuji for putting efforts to provide valuable answer for all questions we put. I am completely new to Krishna consciousness. By profession I am working in MNC company. Here my concern is what is karma yoga?
As I am continously reading spiritual books, I got to know this we have to engage our body, mind & soul everthing in the service of Lord Krishna. Even we have to work (Karma) for the service of Krishna which is nothing but for the betterment of society, if I am not wrong.
As I mentioned above about my profession, so I am in dilemma that whether this work is real karma ( I don’t think this is real karma). And to satisfy myself often I donate little portion of my income for the orphanage.
Prabhuji kindly explain me in detail what is the real meaning of karma yoga? What kind of karma we have to perform to fulfill the purpose of our birth? What are the karma a human can perform to please Supreme Lord Krishna?
I appreciate your efforts to read. Thanks a ton in advance. Hare Krishna. Thanks.
Yes, it is true that we will have an involvement in working, only if we have a target or goal. It is understandable. Without target, we will not be able to apply our full efforts in that job.
We start a business to become a number one businessman. If we start business just to somehow spend our time, we can not involve in it. The business will not flourish.
(Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga – Which is the best one to follow? READ HERE!)
People marry a girl or boy to satisfy their senses and to get beautiful children and play with them and to prove the world that they are fathers/ mothers now. If they do not get a child, they lose their interest in marital life.
We even study in a hope that we will get a good job or we will earn well. If the college says that a particular course can’t give any job, will you have an involvement in studies? No.
Thus, expectations are natural.
But, the point is, WE SHOULD NOT WORK IN AN AMBITION OF SATISFYING OUR SENSES. Because, such ambition of sense enjoyments will bind you strongly in this material world.
Instead, we should work as effectively as possible to satisfy Krishna since He has advised us to work effectively without expecting fruits. If we satisfy Krishna, the right results will automatically follow.
Of course, as you mentioned, karma yoga may involve some thamo guna or Rajo guna also. For example, Arjuna fought in the battle field as instructed by Krishna. Fighting involves Rajo guna also. Pure Satva guna persons can not fight the war.
Similarly, for everyone, some times, some rajo guna or thamo guna is required.
(Will Performing our Prescribed duties, ie, Karma Yoga give rebirth? READ HERE!)
Even in the temple management, some times, Rajo guna will be required because when some criminals disturb the temple devotees, the temple manager has to function with a mix of Rajo guna to drive that criminal away by using his physical power or calling police. As said by Srila Prabhupada, even anger can be used in the service of Krishna. Remember, Anger is the product of rajo guna.
However, Arjuna fought for Krishna, that usage if Rajo guna in war is permitted as he was doing his assigned duty as a kshatriya. For kshatriyas, Rajo guna is essential, but, they should stick to their kshatriya dharma.
Easy to understand now?
If you are particular about earning more and more, you will never get satisfied. And, you will ask more though you are given some earnings.
(Professional life Vs Devotional practices – How to balance the both? READ HERE!)
If you marry just for sense enjoyments alone, you will get disappointed when it becomes impossible one day.
If you study only for becoming the richest person, you will become upset if you do not achieve that status. The “Richest” position will change almost every day based on the Stock market conditions.
Thus, working to satisfy our senses leads to problems or disappointments later.
Then, what should be our target?
Do your duties to satisfy Krishna. Krishna did not stop just by saying “work without attachments”. He also advises that we must dedicate the fruits of our actions to Krishna.
In other words, involve the fruits of your day to day activities in the service of Krishna. Since using the whole earning is difficult, use atleast a bearable percentage of your earning for the service of Krishna.
(If you like to serve Krishna through your earning Donate this Site service HERE.)
Karma yoga means (1) Performing assigned duties PERFECTLY without the attachments in their fruits / benefits. (2) Dedicating the results of those actions to Lord.
In brief, working for the pleasure of Krishna. Not for our pleasure.
Note the point: Abstain from the results only. Not from actions.
Here, many devotees misunderstand. Once they come to devotional practices, they lose their interest in ACTION itself and they abstain from all activities that will help them to maintain their body themselves and they either depend on other individuals or any organization.
But, karma yoga does not require you to abstain from work itself. Krishna says in Bhagavad gita that one cannot take care of his own body if he abstain from duties. He also says that He (Krishna) Himself is working all the time because if He stop working, the people will also stop working.
When Krishna Himself is working, how can we stop working? So, we should work.
Krishna’s preaching about this can be read in the following post:
(Work Renouncement (Sanyasa) and Karma Yoga – Which Krishna says, is better? READ HERE!)
What work should we do?
The duties that are assigned to us NATURALLY from time to time. Some duties will be forced on us by karma network though we like to avoid them. We can never escape from that.
For example, though a person likes to avoid marriage, it will be forced on them by karma network. Though he likes to become a doctor, he will be refused a seat in medical college, but, he will get a seat in Engineering. So, he has to accept these natural happenings that happen either as per our wish or in spite of our wish and perform his duties treating those assignments as the wish of Lord.
When we have attachments with the results of action, we will be forced to follow all the means, whether ethical or unethical, to get the desired results. If we have no attachments with the results, we will not follow unethical means to get any results. We will just do our duties as efficiently as possible and accept whatever results we get as the wish of Lord.
(Why should we work instead of following devotion alone? READ HERE!)
If you like to earn more, spend a part of that earning in the service of Krishna. As you are working for Krishna, you have to choose only the jobs that have been permitted by scriptures. Of course, we cannot devote all our earnings for Lord’s service because we too have to maintain our life. So, we can use atleast a small portion of our earnings for the service of Lord regularly. We can purchase and distribute Bhagavad Gita, sponsor prasadam, help for the construction or renovation of Krishna temples, etc. Thus, we can purify our earnings.
If you marry to serve still better to Krishna along with your wife and to give some devotee children, then, marriage is welcome. But, if you create highly materialistic children to this earth, it is the unnecessary load to this planet.
If you study and use that knowledge for the service of Krishna, that is good. For example, in ISKCON, many of the devotees are well studied devotees. There is a sanyasi in ISKCON who has done P.hD (Doctorate). The I.T professional turned devotees apply their knowledge for maintaining websites for ISKCON, making apps, creating electronic documents of acharya’s writings, etc…
Similarly, as you said, if you play Cricket to win and get the prize money to construct a temple for Krishna, or to help to publish Bhagavad Gita, even cricket is welcome.
(Why people become sanyasis though Krishna has advised to perform our assigned duties? READ HERE!)
Thus, if you have your target as “PLEASING KRISHNA”, you will have extra energy to work. Because, you will have the definite blessing of Krishna.
If you work for pleasing your senses or for pleasing other people, you may have chances of fear whether it will satisfy them, or, not. If there is any deficiency in your service, they will insult you.
But, if you work to satisfy Krishna, He will definitely get satisfied. Though there are deficiencies in your service, He will accept it.
So, have a target while doing any work, as you said.
But, let it be PLEASING KRISHNA THROUGH OUR WORKS.
So, if you are doing any job that was naturally assigned to you, continue working. But, do not follow unethical means to get promotions, salary hikes, etc. Just work efficiently KEEPING KRISHNA IN MIND, if possible uttering the names of Lord within mind. Whenever you get a gap, chant Hare Krishna.
(How to follow Karma Yoga? Is aiming for a good job a materialistic approach? READ HERE!)
Accept whatever promotions, hikes you are given and spend a portion for Krishna.
The message is: Just do your assigned duties. Let Krishna gives whichever result He chooses. Because Krishna knows all our past karma. He will give the results according to our karma. He may relax if He finds necessary. So, entrust yourself in the hands of Krishna and work just as an instrument.
Most Importantly, NEVER DEVELOP A PRIDE THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED. You have not achieved. You have just worked and Krishna has blessed the returns. Think like this.
This will give you peace and stable mind without pride. This mindset will help you to advance in devotion further and you will embrace the ultimate Bhakthi Yoga in due course of time.
Read the third to sixth chapters of Bhagavad Gita. You will get more elaborate details there.
(THE WAY OF LIFE RECOMMENDED BY BHAGAVAD GITA – READ HERE!)