Social Service and Karma Yoga – Does Krishna consider them equally?
“Sivanand SM” asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabuji. Please consider this question for a possible answer in your website.
We are seeing some honest activists who are fighting against corruption and to help establish truth or help the downtrodden of the society. Some of the activists may be aesthetic, some of them may be theistic. I have seen many stories of activists how they end up in political/ industrial games and face serious troubles.
I am wondering those who are honest activists who are working for removing corruption, what will be their destination, will Krishna consider it as Karma yoga and pleased with their selfless service to society ( though it is still in bodily platform)?”
No. Social Service and Karma Yoga are different.
First, we should understand the difference between Karma, ie, Social Service and Karma Yoga.
“Karma” means working for our satisfaction and other people’s satisfaction.
“Karma Yoga” means it should be selfless and should be done for the satisfaction of Krishna.
Selfless means, we should not aim even for our fame. We should act as a duty without any expectation of any results or benefits.
(Will Performing our Prescribed duties, ie, Karma Yoga give rebirth? READ HERE!)
Working for the satisfaction of Krishna means we should do only our own karthavya karma (assigned duty) keeping Krishna in mind.
If you work for the Krishna, you will never do prohibited activities.
And, you will not do the duties others do as per their nature, but you will do your own naturally assigned duties.
I am also an example for this I think.
I was doing commercial business from my early twenties in a motive that I should become very rich to clear the then poverty of my family.
But, as a brahmana boy who is the son of a vedic brahmana, I later felt the business techniques not matching to my nature.
Telling lies some times or giving magnified image about our business, etc did not suit my nature.
(What is Karma Yoga? Will it reduce our Initiative for not expecting results? READ HERE!)
I earned something and running my days for many years without full satisfaction.
I have a regular practice. Every day, when I go to bed, I used to review what I did in that day and whether we did any sinful acts, whether we hurted anyone and what good we did on that day.
Every night time made me guilty as I would have been forced to promote my business to the customers in different ways that was against my inner nature as the son of a Vedic Brahmana.
So, for more than two decades, I was doing that business for living without much interest in it.
However, Krishna had been keeping my desire for natural wish of Preaching alive within my mind.
In the year 2011, I could not remain silent and hence started to write some useful tips about Krishna and Krishna Consciousness everyday in Facebook and Twitter (www.twitter.com/krishnatoday).
(Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga – Which is the best one to follow? READ HERE!)
At that time, I did not have any goal of becoming a FULL TIME preacher like the present state.
I was just writing from my heart without artificial alterations.
Then lakh of devotees came and started to read without any promotions from my side.
By that time, I had written more than 2000 Posts.
Hundreds of messages came from the devotees with heartfelt thanks revealing how this preaching changed their lives.
Then, I myself felt the difficulty, no..no…inability of searching a particular topic from my old Facebook posts. I had to scroll all the posts to find a post every time. It made me worried and tired.
So, I decided to start a media that has EASY SEARCH facility to search a desired post easily.
So, I started this website for Krishna and started writing in that.
Now, I can find any post of any topic and I can even list all the thousands of posts in a single page as given HERE.
(What is the difference between Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Bakthi Yoga? READ HERE!)
This was what I wanted. Both me and the readers can search anything and find that in our site from that list page and also through Google internal Site Search box.
For the maintenance cost of the site and myself, I made some arrangements like ads, horoscope service, contributions, etc.
Now, the site maintenance and daily updating takes my whole day.
I felt very NATURAL in this service though time management is difficult.
Because, this is the service to the devotees of Krishna that has been my assigned duty naturally.
After decades, I found that this alone is my assigned duty in which I am comfortable.
The satisfaction I get in this service was not available in my previous commercial business.
(Should a devotee work as karma yoga as he is a Bhakti Yogi? READ HERE!)
Thus, we should identify our skills and NATURAL interest areas first.
Then, we should apply our whole talents in that activity without any commercial goals.
Now, I am meeting the website needs even without any plans.
Krishna is continuously sending some devotees to encourage this service in different ways.
Everything happens even without my expectations.
I just felt the need for a searchable media and started this. I did not think of other things while starting.
When I was just doing this service, Krishna beautifully arranged everything for this service.
Now, our site is very successful as one of the most popular and trustworthy sites for Krishna.
(Tips to Convert our Material Career as Karma Yoga & Working for Krishna! READ HERE!)
So, if we do a duty with interest without the selfish goals, Krishna will take care of an activity that is done to please Him (Krishna).
I TRULY… TRULY FEEL THAT KRISHNA IS RUNNING THIS SERVICE USING ME AND A GROUP OF SUPPORTERS AS TOOLS.
I am now with full satisfaction that can not be bought even if we pay crores of money.
What else a devotee needs?
So, I am now committed to serve Krishna till my last breath. Krishna knows that. So, He has been making everything possible.
This is karma yoga for Krishna that became a devotional service in due course of time.
Karma yoga will involve the satisfaction of Krishna.
Karma Yoga usually has the hidden or open desire of bhakti yoga too in it.
Without Bhakti, karma yoga will be just karma.
When we do karma for Krishna, we connect to Krishna that becomes Yoga.
(Work Renouncement (Sanyasa) and Karma Yoga – Which Krishna says, is better? READ HERE!)
Now, let us take Social Service and Karma Yoga..
(i) You may fight hard for the country’s independence;
(ii) You may fight for social reforms like widow marriage, eradication of castes, etc.
(iii) You may work for a political party.
(iv) You may run an orphanage, old age home, etc.
All these activities are public services, not the service for Krishna.
By doing the above social services, you add good karma, ie, Punya.
Even this Punya will give very good next birth with comforts for you.
After death, you will get a long tenure in heavenly planets.
(Right way of Spending the earnings to avoid karma! READ HERE!)
After enjoying the comfortable life in heavens till the Punya is cleared, you will be given a good next birth.
But, Karma yoga is different from social service.
Since you work for Krishna, you will be given opportunities to learn more about Krishna and /or you will be given opportunities to do bhakti to Krishna.
Karma Yoga will gradually take you to bhakti Yoga if you are dedicated.
Thus, being a karma yogi can make you as a Bhakti Yogi later and then bhakti yoga will make you eligible to go back to Krishna.
So, if you run a social service and also preach about Krishna to the participants, it can be called karma yoga.
But, dry social or national services will take you to heavens, not to vaikunta or Goloka.
Hope this detailed and Clear reply has cleared your doubt about Social Service and Karma Yoga.
(Is Service to the people is the Service to the God? READ HERE!)