Karma yoga, the practice of Mahatma Gandhi, is the yoga of action (Mehra, 1983). Like prince Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, who was needed to act, karma yoga translates as “to do” (karma) “union” yoga. Exercising karma yoga means accepting that every action has effects which ripple out, as a pebble tossed into a lake. The repercussions of actions have consequences for yourself and for those around you that are difficult to disentangle. Just like the time travel paradox– eliminate a butterfly a hundred thousand years ago and everything might be various today– our actions have unknown consequences that may last throughout the years.

karma yoga

The Bhagavad Gita informs us that we’re consciously and automatically encouraged by selfishness, by getting what we desire. I go to the sink to get water due to the fact that I’m thirsty– I go to the sink to fulfill my own requirements. We do need to meet our own needs, however the number of of actions have to do with satisfying our own desires? Just how much of our time and energy is committed to egocentric goals, to fulfilling our desires and frequently at the cost of others? Karma yoga asks that we surrender our actions to a higher power:

“Whatever I carry out with my body, speech, mind, limbs, intelligence or my inner self,

Either deliberately or accidentally, I devote it to that Supreme Lord Narayana.’

Chant or Shloka that might be performed before or after actions.

By paying attention to his actions, Gandhi’d the ability to free countless individuals from oppression and create big social modification. Gandhi’s actions were the outcome of a change of his awareness which occurred gradually over several years. Like Gandhi, most of us have the ability to radically raise our own awareness. There are 20 practices Gandhi explains in his memoir which I think helped him broaden his awareness:

  • Purity
  • Care of the Body
  • Self-Discipline
  • Simplicity
  • Honesty
  • Faith
  • Experimentation
  • Questioning
  • Meditation
  • Love
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Courage
  • Commitment
  • Community
  • Hard Work
  • Non-Violence
  • True Firmness

As with the Sutras of Patanjali (gone over in earlier articles), the physical practice of yoga is just a small part of a much bigger practice. Gandhi discusses his yoga practices when he discusses looking after the body, however caring for the body is just a little part of the practices which broadened his awareness.

The very first reflection I’d ask you to consider is this:

How do my own self-improvement efforts alter the world around me?

Take some time to meditate on the effects of your actions. Your actions have favorable and unfavorable consequences. Exactly what’re the effects that take place when you look for to broaden your very own mind? I look forward to gaining from you.