Karma Yoga- a perspective of the Gita
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Karma Yoga- a perspective of the Gita

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Here the author describes in short a special aspect of Gita- Karma Yoga. The teachings of Gita are universal and valid to the whole mankind. The concept of Karma Yoga teaches us to do the works at......

Here the author describes in short a special aspect of Gita- Karma Yoga. The teachings of Gita are universal and valid to the whole mankind. The concept of Karma Yoga teaches us to do the works at a duty to God. That way one can concentrate to the job. In addition, it reduces frustration and stress as the concept of Karma Yoga teaches us not to concentrate on the end result but to focus on the work itself.

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  • 1. Karma Yoga: a perspective of the Bhagavad Gita Dr A. Barai MBBS, MRCS, MSc (Critical care) Registrar, Emergency Medicine
  • 2. Introduction • The Bhagavad Gita has been considered as one of the most well-known, most read and widely followed Vedic literature. • Its teachings and messages are still very clear and valid. • Among the various subsections of the Gita, Karma Yoga has a special importance not only because of the fact that it was the main teaching of Krishna but also due to its practical implications to our real life scenarios.
  • 3. Karma yoga • Karma means the virtues that we carry from one birth to the next. • The informal meaning of Karma is good or bad luck as a result of one’s actions • This is a common belief among the Hindus and Buddhists that whatever we do during our life time has a consequence during the next life.
  • 4. Gita: Background • The Gita has set up the scene very beautifully to discuss about Karma and its implications on one’s life • Krishna was the driver of chariot of Arjuna in the battleground of Kurukshestra during the time of Mahabharata • Arjuna was confused and did not know what to do as the enemy group has his family, friends and teachers • At one stage, he asked Krishna to stop the chariot in the middle of the battleground and started asking Krishna various questions about life, death, afterlife, karma and moksha.
  • 5. Gita: Chapter 3 • Krishna has raised a valid point about Karma Yoga. • He clarified the fact that we are all doing our duties knowingly or without our knowledge [3-7]. • Krishna advocates that it would a superior thing to work without attachment or thinking about the results [3-19].
  • 6. Gita: Chapter 3 • Krishna also clarified the fact that all works belong to Vishnu and therefore there is no need of bondage with the work • He advises Arjuna, and the readers of the Gita, to focus on the work as if it is a service to the Godhead. • A great man can do his Karma and the whole world would follow him [3-21]. On the other hand, if one does not do the Karma, he is disobeying the Godhead and thus is involved with a sinful act.
  • 7. Gita: Chapter 3 • To explain Karma, Krishna also mentioned about sacrifice in the form of Yajna. • He depicted the fact that one can perform Karma as Yajna or sacrifice to the foot of God. Therefore, Karma Yoga is an act towards the God. • This is a perfect way of focusing one’s attention to the work or deed without getting distracted by the attachments and results.
  • 8. Gita: Chapter 3 • Krishna concluded that one must not look for the result of his duties, rather one must be engaged in the work as Karma and that way one will be able to achieve the goal that is Moksha. • Therefore, Krishna used the concept of Karma Yoga in a wonderful way to convince Arjuna that his duty was to fight in warfare irrespective of considering the results.
  • 9. Gita: other Chapters • Chapter 3 is specifically dedicated to portray a clear picture of Karma Yoga. • Implications of Karma to the three Gunas can be revealed in Chapter 14. • Chapters 4 and 18 shows mention of Karma and aKarma (selfish act).
  • 10. Obstacles to Karma Yoga • Firstly, there may be a complete lack of knowledge of the person about Karma Yoga. • Secondly, performing the duties with personal attachments usually ends up as a sinful act. • Thirdly, there may be ego and lust as obstacles in the path of performing Karma.
  • 11. Applicability of Karma Yoga • Applicability of the teachings of the Gita is one of the many reasons for its popularity these days. • There are two dimensions of Karma Yoga- – The duty orientation – The absence of desire for rewards. • By application of Karma Yoga in the practical workforce in the companies there could be increased dutifulness and more stress-free environment (Molla and Krishna, 2006).
  • 12. Applicability of Karma Yoga • Bregman (2012) revealed the fact that stress and frustrations develop due to failure to achieve high expectations. • The concept of Karma teaches us not to focus on the end result, rather to focus on the work itself. • This can be a real pearl in the material world as we can reduce the stress and frustration by not concentrating on the results at all.
  • 13. Recommendations • From the study of Gita, one can learn a vivid picture of Karma Yoga. • Its applicability to the real world can be highly recommended. • Further studies may open up new avenues about the awareness and applicability of the concept of Karma Yoga
  • 14. Conclusion • Karma Yoga is a valid and universal concept that can shape one’s life and activities. • Krishna has wonderfully pointed to the fact that Karma is actually a devotional work to the God and by doing it we can be dutiful to the God himself.
  • 15. References • Bregman, P. The Best Strategy for Reducing Stress. Harvard Business Review Blog.Web: http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/07/the-best-strategy-for-reducing.html [Last accessed on 15th July 2013] • Hawley, J. The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners. 2001. New World Library, Novato, California. • Mulla, ZR and Krishna, VR. Karma Yoga: A Conceptualization and Validation of The Indian Philosophy of work. Journal Of Indian Psychology 2006, Vol.24, Nos. 1 & 2. pp. 26-42. • Prabhupada, ACB. Bhagavad- Gita As It Is. 1984. The Bhactivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles, California.
  • 16. Thank you. drbarai@gmail.com