Bhagavadgita !

Chapter 3

"Why" of Karma Yoga !

|| Om tat sat ||

( To see Sanskrit text in Kannada script click here)

There are many interesting thoughts in Sankhya Yoga. One of them is about "why" of Karma Yoga !.

While introducing Karma yoga Krishna says ( 2:39; 2:40)
"बुद्ध्यायुक्तो यया पार्थकर्मबंधं प्रहास्यसि.."
"With what kind of intellect you can break the bonds of Karma- I will tell you about that kind of Karma Yoga Please listen " - Thus Krishna starts talking about Karma Yoga having talked about Sankhya Yoga , or Yoga of Intellect !

Talking about that beneficial Karma Yoga Krishna then makes a few important points in the very first Sloka:

"नेहाभि क्रम नाशो अस्ति
प्रत्यवायो नविद्यते ।
स्वल्पमपि अस्य धर्मस्य
त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥" 2:40

Let us go through the Sloka with key words:

"इह अभिक्रम नाशः न अस्ति"
Meaning there by that in this Karma Yoga there is no question of failure once you start ! That is a very good assurance to start with !

"प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते"
There will be no faults accruing in that process of Karma ! This is also a positive thing , since we need not be worried about doing that action or possible faults.

"स्वल्पं अपि" means that if you do "even a little" - it saves you from fear which is greatest concern.

It means that Krishna laid out the advantages or usefulness or "why" of this Karma Yoga, which is indeed a great salesmanship !

In Sanskrit literature there is a custom. Any work of literature starts first with a prayer kind of lines and then it is necessary that the writer enunciate 'why', 'for whom' and 'what for' . These are to be stated unambiguously.

Almost on the same lines Krishna before elaborating on new topic Karma Yoga, he first elaborates on its "why" or usefulness.

Truly this is important for all of us .
We need to be clear about "why" of this Karma Yoga

First in Karma Yoga we are not talking of action for action sake. We are talking about Nishkama karma or actions without anticipating the fruits of that action or more simply "selfless action."

When we perform action without the objective enjoying the fruits of that action, the first result is that fear vanishes.

When we act with a desire to be fulfilled , then we are concerned whether what we wished for is happening or not. The mind goes around thinking whether the anticipated action will happen or will not happen? There would be a train of thoughts about consequences. All of them are anticipation !

Then if the action involves prohibited actions or surreptitious actions one is wrapped around in fear of being caught !

But when one is involved in actions without the desire to enjoy the fruits of that action, there is no selfish element involved.

Then even if that action is very small - स्वलपमपि - even if that action is very small - there will be no question of "fear" enveloping you. There is no fear because there is no selfish motive involved .

When you start on निष्कामकर्म or selfless action , there is no question of failure . Every body knows the purpose of that action. It is not seen as an action to further one's "own agenda". Every body watching knows that it is not meant for any selfish ends.

When we act selflessly even small actions get magnified and returns are many .

When it is a selfless action then even if it hits an obstacle and stops there is no fault attributed to the "doer" !!

All of these three are important lines.

These are all the advantages of selfless action
which is what is implied in Karma yoga !

Krishna elaborated it right in the beginning,
in the very first Sloka on Karma Yoga.
But again these are self evident truths.
We do not require Krishna to tell us this
- if only we apply our thought!

||Om tat sat||


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