Karma Yoga, Paths to God, Spiritual Traditions

Karma Yoga in Everyday Life

We live because we act. Therefore, we are in Karma at all times.

Karma Yoga thereby brings all humanity within its ambit and provides a definite path to personal emancipation into Supreme Consciousness.

That one has to do great public work in order to qualify as a Karma Yogi is a common misconception which needs to be put aside. We need to realize that we can all become Karma Yogi by simply living by the tenets of Karma Yoga in all that we do.

In our adult life, most of us are engaged in some job and career, which is essentially putting ourselves in service to the society in some way. Although Karma Yoga essentially calls for servitude, career almost never amounts to Karma Yoga. This is discussed in detail in this post, also pointing out how a career can actually be molded in terms of Karma Yoga.

However, there is ample opportunity in our everyday life to orient ourselves in the terms of Karma Yoga.

In this post, we will see how that can be done.

The first three posts on Karma Yoga develop the foundation on which this post is laid. It is recommended that one reads them before continuing.

Part I – Here Karma is analyzed into its components, using which the idea of Karma Yoga is laid down.

Part II – The fundamental principle of Karma Yoga to be followed by a Karma Yogi is discussed in detail.

Part III – The scope of Karma Yoga is laid down, and its impact on the personal and the social life of an individual is discussed.

Duty for Family

Every person in a family occupies a certain position of responsibility and is required to carry out designated tasks for the proper functioning of the entire family, which also keeps themselves in an appropriate living environment.

Be it cooking or cleaning, shopping or mending, earning or saving, every member of the family assumes responsibility of a work as per their skills and strengths. In this way, their inherent potential gets engaged in serving the entire family.

Being defined by actions as per present position and ability, it qualifies as one’s duty to be in such servitude.

However, since we are too close to our family members, we are unable to view such work as service to them. This makes us directly own the work and worse, feel an indirect ownership of the other family members because of this work done towards them.

In many parents, this ownership of their kids takes a strong subconscious root since they are unable to view their raising of the kids as service to them. Likewise happens between every other member of the family.

Ask yourself, have you ever seen your contribution to your family as selfless service and duty? Are you in gratitude to other members of the family because of their contribution in keeping the family functioning. Seeing these in oneself and in others would surely dissolve all tensions within a family.

The family scenario, on the other hand, becomes precarious when someone starts getting the notion that they have done more than enough for someone in the family without receiving due returns. This is an almost inevitable consequence of ownership of work done towards that person.

In such scenarios, Karma Yoga takes a backseat and Karmaphala starts accumulating. This is because one desires the results of their actions, instead of viewing them as service and duty.

However, if the work done is seen as duty, due to the position and skills bestowed upon one by God, then the expectations automatically vanish. One would be content by simply delivering the duty, and would even relinquish in divine joy to see their service benefitting someone close to their hearts.

Always in Service

Extending the idea beyond family, one could keep all their worldly interactions throughout the day in a constant mode of servitude. Since everything is a manifestation of the ultimate Supreme Power, being in such a mode transforms each day into an offering to God.

Indeed, it is the grace of the Supreme Power that we sustain day by day, without falling dead due to the millions of reasons in which we can.

Though we happily live forgetting the inevitable, it is as close to us as our breath. The present pandemic situation may have made more of us realize this truth in a strange and surreal way. However, not just through disease, death can come in all forms and ways that could possibly not even be imagined. We must, therefore, always appreciate the fact that we are still up and breathing.

Each new day can thus be seen as an offering to us by God. So why not we offer it back to God through our respective duties executed in an attitude of service and without expectation?

Life will become simpler then, without anyone to judge and nothing to become frustrated about.

The present society is riddled with personal greed leading to corruption and suffering. Such is the state in many families as well.

Only an attitude of service within the boundaries of duty without expectation, as laid down in Karma Yoga, can deliver humanity from these evil bondages.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash




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