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Chapter VIII: Karma Yoga.

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga – No Bad Outcomes, Karma Yoga, the Stress-Buster, Results Not up to You, Ignore the Dharma Field at Your Peril, The Secret of Action, Dharma Is Appropriate Response, Intelligent Ignorance, Work Is Worship, Consecration, A Gift from God, Peace of Mind , States of Mind, The Five Offerings.

Moderator: milarepa

Karma Yoga

Postby RISHI » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:35 pm

OK
I admit to total confusion.
After all the books and sat-sang, I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Karma Yoga. :?
I would appreciate your take on "Karma Yoga" as a daily experience.
:roll:
Thank you kindly.
RISHI
RISHI
 
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby georgschiller » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:46 pm

Hi Rishi,

welcome at the shiningworld forum! Good to see you here!

May I ask you how you found out about this forum?


Regarding your question on Karma Yoga I am sure you will get some really nice answers here!

In the meantime I would like to make you aware of a very interesting thread which might help you with solving your "confusion" regarding Karma Yoga: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=34


From my personal view I would say that Karma Yoga is as much an action as well as an understanding:

1.) Consecrating our actions to Isvara.
To offer our actions to Isvara before we actually pursue them. By this we automatically accept every outcome of our action as Isvara's "will".
This is the DOER aspect of Karma Yoga.

2.) Understanding the nature of Isvara. Understanding that all people, desires, fears, objects, nature, job, doubts, thoughts, etc. are Isvara. All of it is Mythia. It is existent but not real.
Furthermore, Isvara is impermanent, always changing, never the same. It is unreal, an illusion so to say.
Based on this understanding accepting the way life turns out is accepted more easily because it is part of Isvara, part of how life is.
This is the Jnana Yoga aspect of Karma Yoga
Last edited by georgschiller on Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby Mira » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:22 pm

Hi Rishi,
Welcome to the forum! I really like your user name :D.

Is there a specific aspect of Karma yoga that you are having trouble understanding? If so, let us know. The more specific the question, the better the replies, I find.

Georg has given you a nice description of Karma yoga. I just want to add a few things:

Any action (karma) even the smallest one is a very complicated issue. For example, you may think that the action of writing a post is such a straightforward act. However, first you have to take into account the evolution of the universe, the demise of the dinosaurs, birth of your parents, your own birth, the invention of the internet (thanks Al ;), the fact that you can afford internet, your balance of gunas which caused you to post a specific question on the internet and so on and so forth. So the simple action of posting a question needs the whole world to happen!

Once you understand this, then you understand that the results of the action are equally as complicated. So for example, after you posted your message, I happened to read it but I was very tired and initially chose not to reply, then I had some dinner and felt better but got busy with work, then I got distracted chatting with my daughter, then I thought I should write a message welcoming you, however, I could have easily gone to bed and so on and so forth. So, the result that your action brings is not so straightforward either.

Karma yoga says that you have the right to action---every jiva is always acting. Even not acting is actually an action. But as I tried to explain, the results of any action (no matter how small) are not up to you. They are up to the complex forces that drive the universe (aka Ishvara).

Karma yoga is an attitude where you take the best action you can (in any given situation) and then leave the results to Ishvara since you have no control over them anyway. And since Ishvara acts in the best interests of the universe, presumably, Isvara is also acting in your best interest. (Although you may not believe that when you are stricken with the flu or you watch the republican debate).

It's important to point out that you DO typically perform an action with a result or purpose in mind. For example, you write a post hoping that someone replies. But once you write the post, then it's Ishvara's will whether anyone replies or not. (Ishvara is of course simply a name for the laws by which the universe abides and unfolds).

The great thing about Karma yoga is that it reduces anxiety and stress. We typically get anxious when we think about results of any situation. However, when we realize that the results are not in our hands, then we can relax and accept whatever the result is as prasad (or a gift from Isvara).

If you practice karma yoga in everyday situations (e.g., offer the acts of eating, bathing, brushing teeth to Ishvara then it can become a habit and so when difficult situations arise it's already your automatic practice of offering actions to Isvara and accepting whatever the result is as prasad). For example, I had a very difficult situation at work recently and I had a very stressful decision to make. However, it did it with the karma yoga attitude and that gave me tremendous peace of mind.

So karma yoga is not a passive practice. You take actions as best as you can, always following dharma. But you leave the results to Ishvara (since they are not up to you anyway).

Once karma yoga is an established practice, then you have the peace of mind that you need to inquire further. When you inquire further, you realize that actions are actually occurring without a doer, and if you are not the doer, then who are you? :shock:.

Again, welcome!
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby Stan » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:50 am

Hi Rishi,

I too would also like to extend a warm welcome to you. :-)

I really like your question...in particular, the way in which you put it. It has intrigued me and although you have had good answers from Mira and Georg, I would like to add my 2 cents worth.

I admit to total confusion.
After all the books and sat-sang, I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Karma Yoga. :?
I would appreciate your take on "Karma Yoga" as a daily experience.


Well, that "total" confusion is the best sort of course. Ha ha .... at lest it makes it easy to know where we`re starting from !

I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Karma Yoga


It`s a tricky sort of doing all right. You emphasise "Do" which makes me think that you know that Karma Yoga addresses you as the Doer. There`s a double-bind here in that the Ego/ Doer is also the `Enjoyer`. The Doer only performs actions for the sake of enjoying the results.
However, Karma Yoga teaches that the Doer should renounce the enjoyment of the results in all cases. good and bad. It sounds a bit crazy in the world of "daily experience" as you call it ...if not darn well impossible !

We cannot just try and stop performing actions as that is impossible. We`ll be acting until the lights go out. Nor can we just try and `do` karma yoga when an unpleasant experience arises in the hope that Karma Yoga will somehow make it go away. You have no doubt noticed that that doesn`t work, sad to say. We simply cannot expect things to be different to what they actually are at this moment.

So, as the Doer is completelly caught up in the net of samsara, is there any chance of escape from this predicament for the Doer ? Fortunatelly there is and it brings freedom from the Doer AND also freedom To the Doer in the end, because that is who we think we are. The proof will be in the results of the practise when we have the freedom to see that we are not doing anything.

The only option is to get some distance on the Doer. Get more objective...see it as an object in fact as the subject cannot be the object. This is where the freedom comes in.

If self knowledge is not yet firm, karma yoga is absolutelly crucial.
Karma yoga isn`t for the elimination of the Doer. even if that were possible or desirable. It is meant to clear the mind of enough likes and dislikes (binding vasanas) to enable the mind to be peaceful enough (sattvic) to maintain sustained inquiry. That leads to enough peace of mind to uphold the new change of perspective from the Doer to the knower of the Doer.

How so ? by seeing that time after time, we are not controlling the results of our actions...Isvara is. That is not too difficult to see. As we are constantly experiencing the results of our actions in the form of the Total, our everyday life and surroundings, there is nothing but Isvara. All we have to do for peace of mind is to respond to what Isvara is asking from us in any situation. What is that ? To act in accordance with Isvaras wishes which are the care of the total...not just us and our needs. It takes a huge weight off our shoulders and if we really do this, we can truly relax for probably the first time.


A complete change of perspective is needed and that is putting your faith completelly in Isvara as Isvara will run your life better than you as a jiva ever could. Without peace of mind..sattva, inquiry and the application of self knowledge is almost impossible to maintain. So, peace of mind has to be the priority at all times.
If you are not experiencing peace of mind and lacking confidence about action or inaction, it will most probably be because dharma is being broken on some level and ignorance is operating. Rajas and Tamas is present.

This attitude of karma yoga is not action in the form of undertaking a path for a result. It is more of a commitment based on knowledge. Here we do yoga with skill and the correct attitude where we don`t allow our likes and dislikes to have automatic sway over us. Like it or not. We do this because we just plain know that we will never have peace of mind if we do. It is knowledge and so it is really Dharma knowledge. It might be the entry level but it`s crucial and once you`re `on the bus` as we say around here, it will certainly take you to your destination.

Put simply, The ability to choose dharmic actions above adharmic actions based on knowledge of Isvara is karma yoga.

I know you say you have read the books and satsangs Rishi, but sometimes you just can`t beat the vids of James teaching. Here are two really good short vids on the subject in Ramji`s inimitable style.....

Thanks for the great question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgcdz61oHOo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxkba6yNdiU
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby Andrew » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:24 pm

Hi Rishi,

Welcome to the forum!

Your karma brought you some great answers courtesy of Georg, Mira & Stan.

According to Swamini Prakashananda, karma yoga has 3 components. Firstly, is the act to be performed has to be in accordance with dharma. Ethically unsound actions cannot be offered. Secondly, the action is offered with attachment to the outcome relinquished. Thirdly, the results are taken as prasad.

Swami Dayananda suggested an idea that he calls his "shock absorber", which is part of his karma yoga teaching. First, is the recognition that of all the various desires and ambitions we have in life, not getting what we want happens more often than anything else.

Second is to know that only 4 things can ever happen in life. Things can be either:

a) Better than expected
b) The same as expected
c) Less than expected
d) Opposite of what is expected

In each instance you just have you to say "prasad" in the understanding that everything is a "gift". That is, the results of karma are 'given' to us. The working of universal law as 'Iswara' is always adjusting for the entirety, providing results to all actions. (Of course, this is not some anthropomorphic deity doling out rewards/punishments to people. Important to not think of 'gift' here in a mundane, literal sense.)

If the action is dharmic...offer it, do it and then keep the swami's advice in mind with regards to surrendering to the outcome.

Hope that helps :)

Andrew
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby RISHI » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:42 pm

WOW :?

Such great and wise remarks from four very experienced and obviously wise practitioners..
I am deep humbled by your willingness to give me the fit of your insights. :shock:

I shall get my "newbie" butt to James Swartz's Big Bend event in August and hear the words of the Master. :idea:

Thank you everyone for your carefully crafted insights. :D
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby mike1234 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:05 am

OK
I admit to total confusion.
After all the books and sat-sang, I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Karma Yoga. :?
I would appreciate your take on "Karma Yoga" as a daily Meditation Mantras experience.
:roll:
Thank you kindly.
RISHI


6 simple steps to do Karma Yoga:

1. Self-serve.
2. Be genuine.
3. Respect nature.
4. Contribute.
5. Practice compassion.
and at the last and most important
6. Positive attitude.
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby Stan » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:09 am

Hello Mike...and welcome ! Thanks for your contribution to this topic.

I was wondering, what do you mean by " Self-serve " ? could you elaborate on that ?

Thanks, Stan.
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby chris55 » Sat May 14, 2016 12:04 am

RISHI wrote:OK
I admit to total confusion.
After all the books and sat-sang, I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Bikram yoga weight loss :?
I would appreciate your take on "Karma Yoga" as a daily experience.
:roll:
Thank you kindly.
RISHI


If you really want to know how to do Karma Yoga you can go online and watch videos and try them. You will definitely get learn so many steps.
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Re: Karma Yoga

Postby Anja » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:09 pm

RISHI wrote:OK
I admit to total confusion.
After all the books and sat-sang, I still do not know how to DO (yes "Do") Karma Yoga. :?
I would appreciate your take on "Karma Yoga" as a daily experience.
:roll:
Thank you kindly.
RISHI



Karma yoga, in my understanding, is about exhausting the vasanas and samskaras knowingly. That means you do what you can not not do, while at the same time you know you do it for the sake of exhausting your vasanas (imprints from former life-times).

Karma-yoga is about knowingly and willingly engaging in actions that are done by your karmic-dutys, who are the extentions (the consequences) of your vasanas, only. That is where the no free-will teaching comes into. It's when you know you do what you do for the sake of doing it without doing it for any kind of result....although you do it for some result. Which in my case is: I do for the sake of beauty.

For example, if I do jewelry I do it because I like the action of doing jewelry. And I can't stop doing it, because that's what I love to do. I love doing neckleces. Sometimes I sell them, but most of them I keep. I have lots of them. I need them for the sake of me being a woman who loves jewelry around her neck, because I have the vasana of being a woman who had lots of fancy jewelry in a former life-time.

I never run out of ideas regarding necklaces. And it also is a means to keep me from engaging in mind-stuff too much, as someone who can write novels or some sort of story-lines on a daily basis, because that also is some sort of a vasana that is driving me.

To do jewelry is some sort of obession I engage in. I can't help it.
Anja
 


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