Karma Yoga

 

Karma yoga or the "discipline of action" is a form of yoga based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Sanskrit scripture of Hinduism.

Of the four paths to realization, karma yoga is the science of achieving perfection in action. Karma yoga is an intrinsic part of many derivative types of yoga, such as Natya Yoga.

The Bhagavad Gita gives a summary of the karma yoga process. The Gita itself is a chapter from the epic known as Mahabharata, wherein a dialogue takes place between the prince Arjuna, and his friend and chariot driver, Lord Krishna, on the brink of a great dynastic war.

Their conversation is prompted by Arjuna as he is engulfed by sorrow and misgivings regarding the oncoming battle in which he has friends and relatives on both sides. In reply, Krishna then elucidates upon a number of philosophical yoga systems and practices (including karma yoga) by/through which he should indeed continue with the fight on righteous principles.

The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit kri, meaning 'to do'. In its most basic sense karma simply means action, and yoga translates to union. Thus karma yoga literally translates to the path of union through action.

However, in Vedantic philosophy the word karma means both action and the effects of such action. Karma yoga is described as a way of acting, thinking and willing by which one orients oneself toward realization by acting in accordance with one's duty (dharma) without consideration of personal self-centered desires, likes or dislikes.

One acts without being attached to the fruits of one's deeds.

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