Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five – What is Karma Yoga
What is Karma Yoga can be explained by understanding that we are so much more than our bodies. But let’s study this through the explanation of Bhagavad Gita.
When we are neutral to rewards or outcomes such as success or failure, we live in Karma Yoga. As Karma is the consequence of past actions, it is also the opportunity for healing and balancing in the present. Without any anticipation of credit or result, our selfless service, no expectation of how things “should or shouldn’t be, we attain peace.
If we live life without expectation and are content with whatever happens, we live and practice Karma Yoga.
Let go of expectation
In this chapter of Bhagavad Gita, we learn about the miseries of duality: Happiness and sadness and how this is connected to our senses and our desires for material possessions.
Arjuna asked Krsna what will be more beneficial: To renounce work or to work with devotion. Arjuna asked this complex question because he was confused as to have to cease all work performed as sense activities or to work in devotional service.
Krsna explained that the renunciation of work and devotion is good for liberation; however, work in devotional service is better.
As explained in previous chapters, the material body is full of miseries due to the One’s enjoying the activities they perform. This means to fulfil “our” desires by seeking a sense of gratification for ourselves through our actions.
The mind may be attached to the enjoyment of the activities by our ignorance. However by developing a love for devotional service to Krsna, one has the opportunity to get out of the bondage of material existence.
One works in the ignorance of the enjoyment of life when the heart is not completely purified.
What is Karma Yoga
Lucas: “If you work without karma yoga, your relation to your actions will be dependent on the outcome.”
Action in Krsna consciousness automatically helps One escape the result of the possession actions. And not to descend to the material platform.
Knowing that everything belongs to Krsna, working in Krsna consciousness would be easier as everything should be employed in the service of Krsna.
When One neither hates nor desires the fruits of our activities, One knows his position in our relationship to Krsna. Therefore, there is no duality in One’s mind as whatever he does, he does for Krsna.
Being thus feed on the platform of dualities, he is liberated, even in this material world.
Detachment from matter and attachment to Krsna is the same. One who works in devotion, a pure soul, and controls his mind and senses are A man with controlled senses cannot be offensive to anyone.
In Arjuna circumstances, he has ordered by Krsna to fight. This would imply killing those on the battlefield. Although this might be seen as not right, Arjuna’s duty was to fight for his Kindown.
Krsna explained that a soul could not be killed. Therefore all the assembled people on the battlefield would continue to live individually. Therefore, Arjuna was carrying out the order of Krsna in full Krsna consciousness.
A person connected to the divine consciousness can be engaged with the senses. But always knows within himself that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that “he” (the soul/the emotions) is aloof from them..
When a person actions are performed as a duty without attachment and surrendering the results into the Supreme Lord, he is unaffected by sinful actions (temptations). He will know what to do and what to avoid as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
A person acting in Krsna consciousness has no false ego. He does not believe that he is the material body or has possession over the body. He believes that “he is not this body, and this body does not belong to him.”
The Perfect Stage of Krsna Consciousness
When one applies everything produced of the body, mind, intelligence, words, life, wealth, etc. – whatever he may have within his possessions to Krsna’s service, he is at once dovetailed with Krsna. He is one with Krsna and is devoid of the false ego that leads one to believe that he is the body and senses.
But what is self-realization?
Lucas: “Be in mind that you are a servant.” One is therefore filled with peace in Krsna consciousness.
A person whose who is entangled in profit calculation for sense gratification cannot have peace. The secret of Krsna consciousness is to realise that there is no existence besides Krsna. He is the platform of peace and fearlessness.
Although subjecting himself to the conditions of the body, the soul can be beyond those conditions if he so desires. But, owing only to the forgetfulness of his superior nature, he identifies with the material body and therefore suffers.
When one takes to Krsna consciousness, he becomes aloof from bodily activities. In such a controlled life that his deliberations are changed, he lives happily within “the city of nine gates”.
The City of Nine Gates – Meaning
The body consists of nine gates as below:
- Two eyes
- Two nostrils
- Two ears
- One mouth
- The anus
- The genitals
As long One is in the City of the body, he has a false impression of being the controller or controlling his actions and reactions. This is just an illusion, and he is diving into the material ocean, struggling to survive within the waves of the miseries that he has no control.
To save from this turmoil, he should get out of the “material illusions and desires by transcending into Krsna consciousness.
Krsna does not make life difficult or create situations for the living entity. On the contrary, it is the living entity by his ignorance that creates the chain of action and reaction. As the living entity identifies himself with the material body, he becomes subject to life’s temporary misery and happiness.
Desires are a subtle form of conditioning for the living entity, and the Lord fulfils his desires as he deserves. However, when One desires Krsna, the Lord takes special care, and One can be eternally happy.
What is Self Realization?
These are self-realization examples:
- A person is not illusioned by the false identification of the body with his true self
- Not joyful in achieving something, and not lamenting losing anything related to his body
- When a person has a steadiness mind
- Does not accept the body as permanent and not disregard the existence of the soul
A liberated soul has no interest in anything temporary. On the contrary, the more one is addicted to material pleasures, the more he is entrapped by material miseries.
To make steady progress on the path of self-realization, one must try to control the forces of the material senses as forces of talk, anger, mind, stomach, genitals and tongue.
Material Desires – The misery
When material desires are unsatiated, it generates anger, and the mind becomes agitated. Therefore, one must practice controlling these desires before One gives up this material body. One who can do this is understood to be self-realized and happy in the state of self-realization.
A Krsna conscious person does not doubt the supremacy of Krsna. He does not doubt because he is completely freed from all sins. This is the state of divine love.
By practising yoga, One has to drive out the sense objects such as sound, touch, form, taste and smell where he keeps the vision of the eyes between the two eyebrows, concentrating on the tip of the nose and with half-closed lids. In addition, the breathing movement is restrained within the nostrils by neutralizing the up/down moving air within the body.
This yoga process helps one become free from all kinds of fear and anger and feel the presence of the Supersoul in the transcendental situation.
How to Attain Peace
The Bhagavad Gita says that Lord Krsna is the beneficiary in all human activities, and everything should be offered to the transcendental service of the Lord. Therefore, to work in Krsna consciousness means to work with the complete knowledge of the Lord as the predominator.
As an eternal servant of God, the pure soul is a fragmental part and parcel. Men, unfortunately, comes in contact with Maya (illusion), which is the cause of his many sufferings.
As long as the One is in contact with the matter, One has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Therefore, everything depends on one One’s practical performance of duties in Krsna consciousness, which helps One controls the senses and conquer the influence of desire and anger.
Lucas: “The soul is not interested in the sense pleasures of the material body.”
Read more about the Bhagavad Gita studies between myself and my son Lucas by clicking here.