Why Should You Practice Karma Yoga?


by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V

The Bhagavadgita says that you should live here dutifully, performing actions without desires and offering the fruit of your actions to God as a sacrifice. Karma yoga is the first and most important step for a householder who wants to live a God-centered life upon earth and achieve liberation.

I have previously given spiritual explanation for this in my earlier writings, and suggested that we have to practice karma yoga because we have been delegated certain duties and responsibilities by the Creator and we are expected to perform them and play our part in the creation to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds.

Dharma in Hinduism means a set of duties that come to you from God as your share of obligation.  Even as the citizen of a country, you have certain moral, social and financial obligations, and you cannot solely live for yourself.

When you live in someone else's house as a guest, you have certain duties and obligations, which you cannot ignore. As a guest, you have to observe the rules laid down by the head of the house and do your part to keep the house in good order.

The same rule applies to our lives also, since we live in the House of God and we have an obligation to keep it in good order. When devotees visit a temple, they act piously and religiously. They go there only after taking a bath. Before entering the temple, they leave the footwear and leatherwear outside and wash their hands and feet. When they are inside the sanctum, they observe silence and keep their minds focused upon the deity. They do not drink or smoke, or throw the waste on the ground.

They observe these rules because they know that they are in the house of God, and they have to respect the temple as a sacred place and do their part to keep it clean and sacred. If you are a religious person, you have to extend the same norms of good behavior that you follow in a temple, church, mosque or a religious place, to the whole world. The Bhagavadgita emphasizes this principle in different ways.

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