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Choices in Karma yOga

Karma yOga is prescribed by Sri Krshna in Gita as a must for all. Let us practice it What is karma yOga ? Svadharma gnAna vairAgya sAdhya bhakti Eka gOcara: narAyaNa: param brahma gItA sAstrE samIrita (yAmuna) The essence of Gita is; Practice of ones prescribed karma yOga with detachment, realising the atmans essential nature leads us to bhakti; NarAyaNa the supreme is attained only through that bhakti. The ladder is: 1. Realise that Atma is different from the body and eternal, it is subservient and dependent on paramAtma . 2. With this, practice once prescribed varna asrama dharma with a. kartrtva buddhi tyAga b. mamatA tyAga and c. phala tyAga. 3. We reach Atma sakshAtkAra (complete realisation and vision of the atman) 4. Then practice bhakti yOga (without giving up karma yOga) 5. When all our prArabdha karmas are destroyed (may take many births) we attain mOksham.

The indispensable karma yOga

Krshna is the counsel for karma yOga who preached that it is must to all even to a gnAna yOgi and bhakti yOgi . Why ? Purpose of karma yOga 1. For a gnAna of bhakti yOgi, he has to sustain his body first to practice anything; he has to eat and sleep; for which he has to earn, cook and do many more; and all these are part of karma yOga 2. While we are progressing in the path of bhakti, we also need to remove our anAdi kAla pApa (which are obstacles). This auxiliary job is done by karma yOga. Without this we cannot succeed in bhakti yOga. (compared with gnAna yOga, karma yOga merits in the following aspects 1. It is simpler 2. We are used to it from birth 3. Probability of failure is lesser 4. In succeeding births, one can continue from where we left in the previous birth)

Quotes from gItA

karmaNaiva hi samsiddhim AstithA; janakAdaya: Niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyAyO hi akarmaNa: karmaNyEva adhikAra: tE mA phalEshu kadAcana mA karma phala hEtu: bhU: mA tE sanga: astu akarmaNi Imam vivasvatE yOgam proktavAn aham avyayam vivasvAn manavE prAha manu: ikshvAkavE abravIt. So we conclude that karma yOga (and detachment) is indispensable to all.

Who should practice - ALL

To facilitate everyone to attain mOksham Sri Krshna categorised them into four varNas based on their quality and occupation cAtur varNyam mayA srshtam Then He prescribed specific daily duties for each of them. Whatever be the level of ones awakening, these are mandatory. It is a myth to conclude that it is needless for gnAnis to perform karma. This includes pitr karmas. Analogy: A goods carrier vehicles primary purpose is to carry goods.(bhakti is the vehicle to moksha) When snow obstructs a snow mover showel is attached to remove (karma yOga removes the prArabdha karma which obstructs progress)

Routine and special

Routine : sadhyAvandana, panca mahA yagna, pitr karma etc. Krshna lists some special performances from which we can choose and practice any (4th chapter verse 25 30) daivamEvAparE yagnam yOgina: paryupAsatE brahmAgnou aparE yagnam yagnEnaiva upajuhvati. (25)

1. Some karma yogis focus on deva pooja as their yajna. 2. Some are interested in offering sacrificial materials to Brahmam (in the form of fire) through the tools of yajna. Is about deva pooja with 3 faculties body speech and mind. Yagna yaja deva pUjAyAm . Agnou tishthati viprANAm hrdi tishthati yOginAm pratimAsu aprabuddhAnAm sarvatra samadarsinAm. Deity worship is the simplest method.

Methods in Karma Yoga..contd

srOtrAdIn IndriyANyanyE samyamAgnishu juhvati sabdAdIn vishayAnanye indriyAgnishu juhvati (26) 3. Some oblate their sensual organs like ears and eyes to the fire of sensual control. 4. Some oblate the objects of pleasure like sound and taste to the Fire of five senses. Sensual control acts as a Fire in destroying the ill effects of senses. (asamsayam mahAbAhO, garudAs plight) Distance the objects of pleasure (condemned by the sastras) from the senses. This reduces the risk. Redirect the senses towards the divine form of Bhagavan. sarvANIndriyakarmANi prANakarmANi cAparE Atmasamyama yOgAgnou juhvati jnAnadIpitE (27) The earlier sloka was about control of 10 senses. Now it is the control of the 11thManas (mind). 5. Some offer all the activities of sensual organs and prAna vayu, in the pyre of CONTROL OF MANAS which is the means to Yoga, lit by the lamp of WISDOM. Meditating on the supremacy of the atman compared with body, detaches our mind from material pleasures and refixes on the atman. Manas discards material pleasures, exhaling and inhaling as mundane. indriyEbhya: parA hi arthA: arthEbhyasca param mana:. The lamp atma gnAna ignites the fire indriya jayam which destroys material pleasure.

Methods in Karma Yoga..contd

Dedicated karma yOgis.

dravyayajnA: tapOyajnA: yOgayajnA: tathAparE svAdhyAya jnAnayajnAsca yataya: samshitavratA: (28)

6. Perform Devarchana, Yaga, Homa and Dana with wealth earned in the right way. 7. Some perform penance by subjecting pain their body (kAyaklEsam, fasting ) 8. Some perform yajna in the form of pilgrimage to Holy Shrines and rivers. 9. Some perform the yajna chanting Vedas 10. Some enjoy their esoteric meanings. These are simple practices possible to all and in vogue too. Earning for Devarchana is also a Yajna- if it does not violate sAstra.

Methods in Karma Yoga..contd

Practice of prAnAyAma

apAnE juhvati prANam prANE apAnam tathAparE prANApAnagatI ruddhvA praNAyAmaparAyaNA: (29) aparE niyatAhArA: prANAn prANEshu juhvati (30)
11. Some who are inclined to pranayama, control food habits, synchronise apana vayu with prana vayu- Puraka (deep inhaling) 12. Some, synchronise Prana vayu with apana- Rechaka (exhaling) 13. Some control the pranavayu from going upwards and apana downwards, and synchronise all their pranas in them- Kumbhaka. (holding the breath) Inhaling air through your nostrils is Puraka, holding it inside is kumbhaka and releasing it out is rechaka. All the three must be in equal timing. Puraka- Offers Pranavayu as sacrificial material to Fire in the form of apana. By nature, prana vayu moves upwards. This is controlled and sent downwards from its seat, Hrdaya. It becomes one with apana in Guda. Rechaka- The reverse happens. Kumbhaka- Control both, and offer all 5 pranas to them. The lesser the frequency of respiration, better the health. Out of these 13 choices, one can choose any one or more and follow regularly for purity of mind and removal of papams. The awakening that all these are done as service to bhagavan is vital.