It seems like forever ago since the last issue of Hinduism Today came to my mailbox. It was the January / February / March of 2016 issue and was probably delivered sometime late November or early December. It’s now the beginning of March and if the trend holds, the next issue for 2016 should arrive sometime in the next two weeks. I’m not really complaining because it’s taken me this whole time to get most of the way through the current issue but I’ll admit that, as the newest issue comes due, I’m nervous it won’t arrive at my address – another trend I’ve seen in the past.
Anyway, a big chunk of the current issue speaks about karma yoga and I thought to share bits from it. These bit stuck with me and maybe they’ll stick with you, too.
It seems that the first real obstacle to one becoming a karma yogi is getting beyond the idea that work and worship are separate. When performed in the right spirit, all actions become spiritualized and then there are no truly secular activities. The following quote from the magazine reminded me of how my own path with Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness really helps each abhyasi to become a karma yogi. “Our daily work contributes to our spiritual progress just as much as attending pujas in the temple, worshiping in our home shrine, going on a pilgrimage, singing bhajans, meditating, or studying scripture.” – HT Magazine, Jan/Feb/March 2016
“When we are stable in the viewpoint of performing all work with the aim of reaching God, this naturally leads to a deeper perspective that each task we are doing is an offering to the Lord just as placing a flower in front of a murti or picture of the deity is an offering. This observance is known as Ishvara Pranidhana, one of Patanjali’s five niyamas.”
“Hinduism’s four yoga paths because household terms in the West when Swami Vivekananda articulated Adi Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta philosophy to Americans… Within Shankara’s writings, however, it is clear that in his view jnana yoga alone leads to the ultimate. ‘The conclusion of the Gita and all the Upanishads is this, that moksha can be obtained by knowledge alone, unaided (by action).’ A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism echoes this stance in its definition of karma yoga: Nishkama-karma (ordained actions performed without the taint of selfish desires) purifies the mind – this is called cittasuddhi – making it fit for paths of either jnana or bhakti.”
“How we view the world is central to karma yoga. As Swami Krishnananda of the Divine Life Society stated, ‘We see outside what we actually are inside.’ To some, the world is a place where we have the chance to pursue pleasure; to others it provides opportunity to acquire wealth. Others focus on the many problems in the world and categorized it as troubled. To a karma yogi, it is none of the above. For him it takes on a spiritual nature.
“To approach the wisdom of the Upanishads and jnana yoga, the understanding of our true nature, we must first develop the attitude of karma yoga – that we are not the doer.”
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti