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Karma Yoga or Inquiry?
Tom: Hi, Ram. I’m hanging out in Oakland for a bit, hope you are well, missing you and your satsangs. I have a question for you about karma yoga. I’ve been applying it as I remember to, more and more with practice. As I do so, however my intellect points out that “this is a non-dual reality, friend, this practice is a bit backward.” A thought arose this morning… that I could say “I dedicate this ‘apparent’ action to you, God.” In any event, I try to remind myself that I am awareness throughout the day but also engage in this seemingly dualistic thinking of thanking God for everything and dedicating action to God. How do you reconcile this so it doesn’t seem like you are separate?
Ram: Hi, Tom. Nice to hear from you. If you take yourself to be a doer, then you need the karma yoga attitude. If you can see that reality is non-dual and you are not separate from it, you do not need karma yoga, because you will not take yourself to be a doer and you will be indifferent to the results of your actions. The best practice is knowledge, i.e. seeing that you are awareness and that the world is non-separate from you. But if a binding vasana obscures that understanding temporarily and you have to act it out, then you take the karma yoga attitude. The “I am awareness” practice is for sanyassis and the karma yoga is for householders. In your case you have the temperament of a sanyassi but the lifestyle of a karma yogi, so both understandings will be appropriate for you.
~ Love, Ram