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Adhyaya II

Karma Yoga

    By Sri Swami Sivananda

    In Buddhist teaching, the law of karma, says only this: `for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.' A skillful event is one that is not accompanied by craving, resistance or delusions; an unskillful event is one that is accompanied by any one of those things. (Events are not skillful in themselves, but are so called only in virtue of the mental events that occur with them.)

  1. Work is worship of the Lord.
  2. Karma Yoga is the Yoga of selfless action, without agency and expectation of fruits.
  3. Karma Yoga removes the impurities of the mind. It is a potent purifier of the heart.
  4. Karma Yoga prepares the mind for the reception of Divine Light, Divine Grace, and Divine Knowledge.
  5. See God in every face. Behold the Lord in all creatures.
  6. Share what you have with others. Serve the saints and sages.
  7. Serve the sick. Serve the poor. Serve your parents. Serve your motherland. Serve humanity in general.
  8. Scrutinise always your inner motives. Destroy selfish motives.
  9. Work without egoism. Cultivate the Nimitta-Bhava. Feel you are an instrument in the hands of the Lord.
  10. Surrender always your actions and their fruits to the Lord.
  11. Have equal vision and balanced mind in pleasure and pain, gain and loss, success and failure.
  12. Develop nicely adaptability. Serve always with Atma-Bhava and Narayana-Bhava.
  13. Sing Sitaram, Radheshyam or Hare Rama while you work. Remember the Lord always.
  14. Give up Abhimana of all sorts. Kill the Vairagya-abhimana, Seva-abhimana, Tyagi-abhimana, Kartritva-abhimana, male-female-abhimana, and doctor-judge-abhimana.
  15. Do not expect even thanks or appreciation for your work.
  16. Do actions as your duty, duty for duty’s sake.
  17. Never say: “I have helped that man.” Feel and think: “That man gave me an opportunity to serve.”
  18. Watch for opportunities for service. Never miss even a single opportunity.
  19. Cultivate amiable, loving, social nature, generosity, catholic nature. Kill selfishness. Control the senses, practise self-restraint, tolerance, sympathy and mercy. These are the qualifications of a Karma Yogi.
  20. Bear insult, injury, harsh words, criticism, heat and cold.
  21. If you are a doctor, treat the poor free of charge. If you are an advocate, plead for the poor. If you are a teacher or a professor, give free tuition to poor boys. Give them books free.
  22. Keep Twelve Tissue Remedies or some household remedies and treat the poor.
  23. If anyone is suffering from acute pain, shampoo the painful part. Feel you are shampooing the body of the Lord.
  24. Do not make any difference between menial and respectable work.
  25. Keep always some small coins in your pocket and distribute them to the poor and the decrepit.
  26. Feed the poor. Clothe the naked. Comfort the distressed. Remove glass pieces from the road.
  27. There are three kinds of Karma, viz., Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami or Kriyamana.
  28. Sanchita is the accumulated storehouse of actions of previous births. Prarabdha is that part of Karma which has given rise to your present birth. Agami is current action.
  29. Sanchita is destroyed by Brahma-Jnana. You will have to enjoy the Prarabdha. Agami has no binding force as there is no agency or egoism in the sage.
  30. Do not be attached to the work itself. You must be able to give it up at any moment.
  31. As you sow, so you reap. Virtue gives you happiness. Vice gives you pain.
  32. You are the master of your destiny. You sow an action, reap a habit. You sow a habit, reap a character; you sow your character and reap a destiny. Destiny is your own making. Abandon desires and change your mode of thinking. You can conquer destiny.
  33. Think you are man; man will you become. Think you are Brahman; Brahman will you become. This is the immutable divine law.
  34. If there is no agency, if there is no selfish motive, action becomes an inaction. You are not bound by an action.
  35. Sastras and saints and your own pure, clean conscience will point out to you what is right, what is wrong. Follow them and do the right.
  36. An egoistic man alone thinks: “I am the doer.” Really it is the Guna or Prakriti or the sense that does the action. Atman is actionless, Akarta, Nishkriya.
  37. Practise your Svadhanna, your Varnashrama Dharma unselfishly, without egoism. You will attain purification of heart. Knowledge of Brahman will dawn in your heart.


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