Swami

Hinduism

Nishkama Karma Yoga: The Path of Selfless Service

O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

Karma and Karma Yoga:Nishkama Karma Yoga is a word that often comes in the Bhagavad Gita. Karma, Akarma and Vikarma are also mentioned in the Gita (Karmanohyapi..,). Karma means the work done with a selfish desire for a limited circle of family. Karma Yoga means the work done for the sake of Lord. Akarma means inaction; not doing either Karma or Karma Yoga. Vikarma means action, which disturbs the peace of the world by harming good devotees.

For Arjuna to participate in the Mahabharata war was both Karma and Karma Yoga. It was karma because Arjuna could get back his rightful kingdom, which represents money or wealth. It was Karma Yoga, because the war was the mission of God. The Lord was destroying injustice by fighting the war against evil people. Participation in such a war is Karma Yoga.

Therefore it was absolutely necessary for Arjuna to participate in this war and destroy the Kauravas, who stood as his enemy. The war happened to be the personal work (Svakaryam-self-serving or self-centered work) and also the work of the Lord (Swami Karyam). Svakaryam is another word for Karma and Swami Karyam is another word for Karma Yoga.

'Karma' is common to both terms, Karma and Karma Yoga. This means that a person always has to work. The soul is born in this world only for doing work; therefore, one cannot remain idle or avoid work. The Gita says the same thing as "Nahi Kaschit....." Now in order to do any work or Karma, an aim (Sankalpa) is essential. Without an aim, no work (Karma) is done. In your body the blood circulatory system, the digestive system etc., are all working with the aim of keeping your body fit to do some work in this world. You are born in this world with a purpose. That purpose is that you should do minimum Karma and maximum Karma Yoga. Unfortunately, you are doing maximum Karma without doing even a minimum of Karma Yoga. That is, most of the work you do is self-centered; you do it for yourself or for your limited family.

Work of The Lord

While you work for your limited family, the Lord works for the whole world, which is His family. Helping Him in His work is Karma Yoga. He comes down in human form as a human incarnation or Avatara, very frequently. He even comes down in different human forms at the same time for the upliftment of the entire human race. His work involves uplifting people present at various levels to higher and higher levels.

One incarnation may concentrate on converting atheists into believers of God by showing miracles, which are beyond scientific logic. That is the main work for that incarnation. Another incarnation may promote worship of God. He may introduce worship of God through names and forms. He may encourage traditional worship, prayers and worship in temples. The believers in God (asthikas) can climb only this step in the beginning. Another incarnation reveals the Absolute Truth, which is Brahma Jnana (Real Knowledge of God.) That is His chief purpose.

Human Incarnations-A Spiritual Educational Complex

Human incarnations of various types, such as described above, form a complex of various educational institutions. In this complex, there are different levels of institutions such as school, college and university. At each level the human incarnation represents the head of that institution. There is the headmaster for the school, a principal for the college and a chancellor for the university. Various types of assisting staff to assist all the three are also present. The three levels of institutions perform their duties within their limited circles.

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