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Integral Karmayoga

siddhir bhavati karmaj

Module A: Towards Fulfilment in Work & Life

Lessons from the Bhagavad Gt

Our chief national heritage, our hope for the future (Sri Aurobindo)

Session 1: 22 Jan. 2015

Introduction, Arjunas Dejection


Devdas Menon

nti Mantra

o saha nvavatu
saha nu bhunaktu
saha vrya karavvahai
m vidvivahai
o nti nti nti

May we all (students and teachers) be protected and nourished;

may we learn together ardently; may we all be illumined;
may we not have any ill-will amongst us!
May peace come upon all beings!

What do we really want



Stress, Emotion and Physiology

(Ref.: Institute of HeartMath)

over-Sympathetic ANS

Overwhelmed, Resentful, Judgmental


Burnout, Fatigue, Withdrawal

Boredom, Apathy

Low Energy

Hopelessness, Despair, Depression

Sympathetic bias

Exhilaration, Passion, Joy

Love, Care, Kindness
Appreciation: Harmony, Beauty

High Cortisol High DHEA

Low DHEA Low Cortisol
Low Arousal


High Arousal

Fear, Worry, Anxiety, Guilt

High Energy

Frustration, Anger, Hostility

Sympathetic ANS with balance



Inner Peace, Equanimity

Acceptance, Forgiveness
Serenity, Reflection, Contentment
Para-sympathetic ANS with balance

Karma, ?
Karma is derived from the Sanskrit root, k, which means to do,
to make, to accomplish, and also to cause, to effect. It has a
vast and profound meaning.
Karma is the executed work or action, but also includes the intent
underlying the action (executed or proposed).
Every action has a reaction. Hence, karma is believed to generate a
krmic force, which influences the future of the kart (doer). Thus,
we create our own destiny, individually and collectively!
Why perform karma at all? What is the basis (dharma) of right
action? How to realise perfection and fulfilment in our works?
How to find union with the Divine through our day-to-day actions,
thoughts and works? These are some key themes explored in the
Gt. (Why work at all?!)

T (Sanskrit) literally means thirst. It seeks relentlessly to be quenched,
causing unease and restlessness. The Buddha is said to have defined three
kinds of t.

Kma-t is the desire for, and attachment to, sense-pleasures, wealth and

power, and also to ideas and ideals, views, opinions, theories, conceptions and
beliefs; but pleasure can turn into pain in various ways.

Bhava-t is the craving to be or become something; to gain a secure

foothold; to establish and solidify ones self-image, the ego-self; to prevail and
dominate; but, the ego cannot give us enduring fulfilment; it is never satiated,
always oscillating between fear and hope!

Vibhava-t is the craving (when things go badly wrong) to dissociate

from pain, anxiety, disappointment, despair or conflict; to be nothing; to die;

but depression or suicide can hardly be the solution to the root t.
The practice of the yoga of the Gt leads to the realisation of fulfilment and
freedom from t; at the summit, one becomes both jvanmukta and siddha.

Yoga, ?
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root, yuj, which means to yoke or
to unite. The ultimate goal of yoga is to find fulfilment
(completeness, prat) through union with the Divine (ones true Self);
this is also called liberation, moka, from the limited and bound
condition of the separate self; it is Self-realization.
In the Gt, this word is also used to refer to any practice or discipline
that aims to achieve that ultimate goal: Karma-yoga, Jna-yoga,
Bhakti-yoga. They involve physical, psychological and spiritual sdhana,
leading to the same goal, and can be integrated.
Yoga lays emphasis on the practice of nivtti, i.e., withdrawing our
attention away from its habitual grasping movement outwards
(pravtti), to an inner stillness within ourselves, and to stay connected
(yukta), always in balance; thus, the karmayogi always functions with
an inner wakefulness, even while engaging in outer action.

The Gt in the Mahbhrata

The Bhagavadgt (Gt, in short) is set as an episode in Book 6 of
the great Indian epic poem, the Mahbhrata (comprising 18 books,
and over 100,000 couplet verses the longest poem in the world)
and dates back to the first millennium BC. What is found here, is
found elsewhere; what is not here is nowhere.
Traditionally, the authorship of this epic is attributed to sage Vysa,
who also happens to be a major character in the epic. Mahbhrata
may be translated as the great tale of the Bhrata clan.
At its simplest, the Mahbhrata is about the conflict between two
sets of cousins, the heroic Pavas (sons of the late Pndu) and the
villainous Kauravas (sons of the blind King Dhtarra and elder
brother of Pndu). It describes the events that led to war, the famous
18-day Kuruketra war itself, and the long aftermath. At a deeper
level, the main theme of the long epic is: What is dharma?

Dharma, ?
Dharma is derived from the Sanskrit root, dh, which means to
sustain, to support, to maintain (order). It straddles a complex
set of meanings and interpretations.
Dharma is that basis or principle, which sustains and regulates the
functioning of the cosmos. For harmony and order to prevail in the
evolving universe, all beings need to conduct themselves in
accordance with dharma; otherwise, if we act in violation of
dharma (i.e., adharma), chaos can prevail.
Dharma therefore includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues, but
is chiefly concerned with doing the right thing.
But how do we decide what is our dharma? How do we choose,
when confronted with conflicting obligations (dharma-sankat)?
These are some key themes explored in the Gt.

BG 1.01


dhtarra uvca |
dharmaketre kuruketre samavet yuyutsava |
mmak pav caiva kim akurvata sajaya ||
Dhtarra said:
At the field of dharma, at Kuruketra,
Where my sons and those of Pndus
Have assembled, eager to fight.
Tell, Sajaya, what did they do?

The Setting of the Gt

Field of action, kuru-ketra

(krmic seeds sprout, fresh seeds are planted)

BG 1.28
kpay parayvio vidann-idam abravt |
dvema svajana ka yuyutsu samupasthitam ||
Overwhelmed by pity, dejected,
He (Arjuna) spoke thus: O Ka!
I see but my own kith and kin,
Assembled here, eager to battle!

BG 1.29
||- ||
sdanti mama gtri mukha ca pariuyati |
vepathu ca arre me romahara ca jyate ||
My legs are giving way,
My mouth is going dry,
My body is trembling,
My hairs are bristling!

BG 1.30
gva srasate hastt tvak caiva paridahyate |
na ca aknomy avasthtu bhramatva ca me mana ||
Gva* slips my grip,
My skin is burning.
I cannot stand firm,
My mind is reeling!
*Arjunas special bow

Sensational recoil: physical

nervousness, horror, pity, disgust

BG 1.45
aho bata mahat ppa kartu vyavasit vayam |
yad rjyasukhalobhena hantu svajanam udyat ||
Alas! Great is the evil crime
We have resolved to commit,
Intent on killing our own kinsmen
To enjoy the pleasures of kingship!

Vital recoil: loss of attraction for

worldy pursuits and pleasures,
including the Katriya aim of life for
victory in battle, kingship, power and
Sensational recoil: physical
nervousness, horror, pity, disgust

BG 2.02


rbhagavn uvca |
kutas tv kamalam ida viame samupasthitam |
anryajuam asvargyam akrtikaram arjuna ||
The Blessed Lord said:

How come this weakness arises

In you, at this critical moment?

Arjuna, this is ignoble, disgraceful,
Leading neither to heaven or glory!

BG 2.03
klaibya m sma gama prtha naitat tvayyupapadyate |
kudra hdayadaurbalya tyaktvottiha paratapa ||
Arjuna, yield not to such impotence,
Unbecoming of a warrior like you!
Give up this petty faint-heartedness,
And stand up, O Scorcher of foes!
Key teaching : Arise,
stand up (uttiha)!

Arise (uyhata)! Awake (jgrata)! Approach
the great and learn (prpya varnnibodhata)!

BG 6.05
||- ||
uddhared tmantmna ntmnam avasdayet |
tmaiva hy-tmano bandhur tmaiva ripur tmana ||
One should lift oneself up by ones Self,
And one should not degrade oneself,
For the Self is ones true friend,
But the self can be ones enemy!

Key teaching : See the forces functioning within you: do they elevate or push
down your consciousness? See the friend and enemy within you; then act
responsibly! (tmaiva hy-tmano bandhur, tmaiva ripur tmana)

Be in
co g &






g &
vin ing
Ha ing




BG 2.05

gurn ahatv hi mahnubhvn
reyo bhoktu bhaikyam apha loke |
hatvrthakmstu gurunihaiva
bhujjya bhogn rudhirapradigdhn ||
Instead of killing our mighty gurus
Better it is to live begging for alms
In this world of desire and gain,
For which we are killing our elders.
Enjoyments we may gain,

But stained by their blood.

Moral recoil: sense of sin and hell,
rejection of blood-stained
Emotional recoil of the social man:
affection, reverence, desire for shared
happiness, outrage over violation of
duty to kith and kin
Vital recoil: loss of attraction for
worldy pursuits and pleasures,
including the Katriya aim of life for
victory in battle, kingship, power and
Sensational recoil: physical
nervousness, horror, pity, disgust

pcchmi tv dharmasamhacet |
yacchreya syn nicita brhi tan me
iyasteha dhi m tv prapannam ||
Sentimental weakness has afflicted

My warrior nature and confused me,

Tell me: what is my true dharma?
To fight or not, which is better?

I pray to you to guide me decisively.
I take refuge in You as your disciple!

BG 2.09


Sajaya uvca |
evam uktv hkea gukea paratapa |
na yotsya iti govindam uktv t babhva ha ||
Sajaya said:
Having thus spoken to Ka,
Arjuna, the Scorcher of foes,
Told him: I shall not fight,
And then fell silent.

Arjuna attempts to justify his decision with: (1) the claim of his
nervous and sensational being, which shrinks from the slaughter,
with its sequel of blood-stained enjoyments, (2) the claim of his
heart, which recoils from the sorrow and emptiness of life that will
follow his act, (3) the claim of his customary moral notions, which
are appalled by the necessity of slaying his gurus, Bhma and
Droa, and (4) the claim of his reason which sees no good but only
evil results of the terrible and violent work assigned to him.
The whole upshot is an all-embracing inner bankruptcy, which
Arjuna expresses when he says that his whole conscious being, not
the thought alone, but heart and vital desires and all, are utterly
bewildered, and can find nowhere the dharma, any valid law of
action. For this, he has taken refuge as a disciple of Ka. He does
not ask for the secret of life or of the world, the meaning and
purpose of it all, but for a dharma. He awaits the answer to
objections that seem to him unanswerable.
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita

Themes in the Gt
Dharma & Adharma
Life & Death, Being & Becoming, Consciousness & Energy
Spirit & Matter: Purua & Prakti, Pravtti & Nivtti
Ego-entrapment & Liberation, Attachment & Detachment
Action & Inaction: Karma & Akarma, Skill in Action
Personality & Impersonality, Individual & Universal
Evolution & Involution, Svabhva & Svadharma
Ignorance & Knowledge: Ajna & Jna
Yoking & Letting go: Yoga & Sannysa/Tyga
Love & Bliss: Bhakti & nanda, Equality & Oneness

Bhagavad Gt: Contents

1. Arjuna Vida Yoga: Arjunas Dejection (47 verses)
2. Skhya Yoga: Philosophy & Discipline (72)
3. Karma Yoga: Action (43)
4. Jna Karma Sannysa Yoga: Knowledge (42)
5. Karma Sannysa Yoga: Renunciation (29)
6. tma Sayama Yoga: Self-control (47)
7. Jna Vijna Yoga: Higher Knowledge (30)
8. Akara Brahma Yoga: Immutable Spirit (28)
9. Rja-vidy Rja-guhya Yoga: Royal Secret Knowledge (34)

10. Vibhti Yoga: Divine Manifestations (42)

11. Vivarpa Darana Yoga: Cosmic Vision (55)
12. Bhakti Yoga: Devotion (20)
13. Ketra Ketraja Vibhga Yoga: Nature & Spirit (35)
14. Guatraya Vibhga Yoga: Three Guas (27)
15. Puruottama Yoga: Supreme Divine (20)
16. Daivsura Sapad Vibhga Yoga: Divine & Demonic Traits (24)
17. raddhtraya Vibhga Yoga: Faith & Three Guas (28)
18. Moka Sannysa Yoga: Renunciation & Liberation (78)

o tatsaditi rmadbhagavadgtspaniatsu brahmavidyy
yogastre rkrjunasavde'rjunavidayogo nma
prathamo dhyya ||1||
O! Thus, in the Holy Book, the Bhagavad Gt (an
Upaniad), in the Knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, in the
Science of Practice of Yoga, in the dialogue between Lord
Ka and Arjuna, is this first chapter titled,
The Dejection of Arjuna.

Discipline of WISDOM (Jna-yoga)

Science of the Absolute






Manual of Practice

Conversations with God

Discipline of ACTION (Karma-yoga)

Discipline of DEVOTION (Bhakti-yoga)

BG 4.40
aja-ca araddadhna-ca saaytm vinayati |
nya lokosti na paro na sukha saaytmana ||
One who is ignorant and faithless,

Always doubting, not trusting, is lost.

No stability in this world or beyond,

Nor lasting joy for the doubting soul.

Key teaching: Importance of deep faith (raddh) for directly accessing
higher spiritual truths; else, limited by ones ignorant, undeveloped
instrumentation (physical, vital, mental), one gets lost
(aja-ca araddadhna-ca saaytm vinayati).

In the lower knowledge, doubt and scepticism have their temporary

uses; in the higher, they are stumbling-blocks: for there the whole
secret is not the balancing of truth and error, but a constantly
progressing realisation of revealed truth.
In intellectual knowledge, there is always a mixture of falsehood or
incompleteness, which has to be got rid of, by subjecting the truth
itself to sceptical inquiry; but in the higher knowledge, falsehood
cannot enter, and that which intellect contributes by attaching itself
to this or that opinion, cannot be got rid of by mere questioning,
but will fall away of itself by persistence in realisation through a
deeper, higher and wider living in the Spirit.
And what is not yet realised must be prepared for by faith, not by
sceptical questioning, because this truth is one which the intellect
cannot give, and which is indeed often quite opposed to the ideas
in which the reasoning and logical mind gets entangled. It is not a
truth which has to be proved, but a self-existent truth which has to
be lived inwardly, a greater reality into which we have to grow.
Adapted from Sri Aurobindo

BG 18.67
||- ||
ida te ntapaskya nbhaktya kadcana |
na curave vcya na ca m yobhyasyati ||
Do not ever teach this to anyone,
Who lacks sincerity and austerity,
Devotion and keenness to listen,
Nor too anyone who derides Me.

Reference Books

Sri Aurobindo

Ameeta Mehta

Winthrop Sargeant

Purohit Swami

Barbara Stoler Miller

Jayadayal Goyandka

JAB van Buitenen

Telos Model

Integral Karma Yoga Telos Portions

Attributes to develop to connect to Deeper Self:

1. I listen to an inner voice that guides me in any situation.

2. I have unshaken faith that the changes I deeply aspire for will come true.
3. I spontaneously resonate with what is true, good and beautiful.
4. My heart is filled with quiet gladness without any reason.
5. There is deep calm and peace within me.
6. I do not lose my inner poise.
7. I have an inspiring purpose, which makes my life and work deeply meaningful.

Integral Karma Yoga Telos Portions

Attributes to develop to connect to Deeper and Higher Self:

8. I feel a deep trust in the essential goodness of everyone and everything around me.
9. I am filled with deep love and gratitude for everyone and everything around me,
without any reason.

10.I have a deep sense of gratitude towards the life and work I have.
11.I have a deep sense of gratitude towards everyone in my life and work.
12.I experience moments of Silence.
13.In the silence of my mind, new wisdom or intuitions come fully formed.
14.I feel a sense of vastness that is untouched and present within and around me.

Integral Karma Yoga Telos Portions

Understanding the Purpose of Life Evolution of the

Inner and Outer.

Finding our core nature Wisdom, Strength,

Harmony and Perfection and centering into it.

Understanding and connecting to the core essence of

the Indian Culture.

Doing Sadhana Aspiration, Rejection and Surrender.

Developing concentration on the Inner Flame.
Bringing spirituality into daily life and work.

Welcome to Integral Karmayoga (GN 6001): Jan-May 2015

siddhir bhavati karmaj

(Bhagavad Gita, 4.12)
(through spirituality in work, success is achieved)

GN 6001: Spirituality in Work

To explore spirituality in work,
based on selected teachings
from Ancient Indian Wisdom

GN 6001: Spirituality in Work

Course Contents:

A) Integral Karmayoga: Towards Fulfilment in Work & Life

based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and Sri
Aurobindo; understanding the core essence and its
applications to daily life in a modern secular context:
karma, yoga, dharma, purua and gunas of prakti,
significance of work, svabhva and svadharma, types of
motivation and attitude towards work, nikama karma,
spirit of self-consecration, renunciation in action,
abolition of ego-sense, skill and delight in action,
integration of karma, jna and bhakti in yoga.

GN 6001: Spirituality in Work

B) Integral development: based on the TELOS model a
consciousness framework derived from the Integral Yoga
of Sri Aurobindo; understanding how evolution of the
inner being can transform action in the outer world,
understanding the Purpose of Life evolution of the
inner and outer, finding our core nature Wisdom,
Strength, Harmony and Perfection, understanding and
connecting to the core essence of the Indian Culture,
doing Sadhana aspiration, rejection and surrender,
developing concentration, understanding fate, individual
will, collective will and higher will, understanding and
connecting to deeper self.

GN 6001: Spirituality in Work

C) Application of selected teachings from Ancient
Indian Literature: an interpretation of popular
characters and events and their relevance in the modern
world: core values and ethics, types of personalities,
self-identity, understanding the nature of desires and
finding freedom from attachment to desires, and the
path of devotion.

Reference Books
Das, G. (2012), The Difficulty of Being Good: On the
Subtle Art of Dharma, Penguin Books India, New
Mehra, A. (2000), Karmayoga Perfection in Work,
The Gnostic Centre, New Delhi.
Sargeant, W. (2009), The Bhagavad Gita, State
University of New York Press, Albany.

Reference Books
Smith, J. D. (2009), The Mahabharata, Penguin
Classics, New York.
Sri Aurobindo (2010), Essays on the Gita, Sri
Aurobindo Ashram Publishing, Pondicherry.
Sri Aurobindo (1920), The Renaissance in India,
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department,

Assignments (4 10):

Mid Sem exam:

End Sem exam:

40 marks
20 marks
40 marks
100 marks

GN 6001: Integral Karmayoga Jan May 2015 Schedule



Session Details



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursday, March 05, 2015


Thursday, March 12, 2015

DM (2h) & AD (1h)

DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
Mid Sem Exam, 2-3.30pm & AD


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ashram Trip
DM (2h) & AD (1h)
DM (2h) & VV (1h)
DM (2h) & VV (1h)
VV (2h) & AD (1h)
VV (2h) & AD (1h)
VV (2h) & AD (1h)
End Sem Exam, 9-11am



Thank you