What Is Karma Yoga and What Is Its Purpose?

Karma yoga is the "yoga of action," which is one of the three spiritual paths in yoga philosophy, mentioned already in the Bhagavad Gita. It is one of the ways to reach moksha (spiritual liberation). But what exactly does yoga of action mean?
What Is Karma Yoga and What Is Its Purpose?

The word karma means: action or deed. Everything we do, including speech, movement, thoughts, and words, is considered karma. Each of these has an effect on our body, mind, and consciousness alike and, according to the intent with which it was performed, has consequences.


What Is Karma Yoga?

Karma yoga could be seen as a pillar of a conscious lifestyle. It means to live in harmony with all the vibrations of life, with love, and in selfless service without seeking the fruits of our actions. 

According to karma yoga, the events of our lives don’t happen by chance, but are shaped by all our past and present actions. Good actions lead us towards “good karma”, while bad actions lead us towards “bad karma”, so we determine the road of our life. 

Karma yoga sees life is an opportunity to serve God. This branch of yoga philosophy goes far beyond the yoga of physical action, it focuses on the moral and inner life of the practitioner, leading him or her on a path to give up all selfish interests and desires.

Selfish action is outside of yoga – meaning “unity”. The mine – yours duality exists only within the ego, while the selfless oerson dissolves his or her ego and instead strives for higher-level purposes. Yoga, various spiritual practices, and all formal worship will not lead to the goal of spiritual development and liberation, if the actions of the individual are not based on selflessness.


The Way of Karma Yoga

Find below the words of Swami Sivananda, a spiritual teacher, who describes impressively how to follow the path of karma yoga.

Have ideals such as serving the poor, the sick, lifting up the fallen, leading the worldless, sharing your wealth with others, comforting the needy, cheering up the suffering! Trust God unbroken! Love your neighbor as yourself! Immerse yourself in work! Look for the opportunity to serve! May your goal be to recognize God! When you stop thinking of mine, you also get rid of bonds. Always examine your intentions carefully and destroy selfishness! Before you come to rest, sit down and take stock of your actions! If you only managed to wipe away one person’s tears and give comfort to someone, that day didn’t go in vain. But if you weren’t there to help anyone, you didn’t utter a single word that would lighten the heart of a tormented person, then you lived in vain that day, you wasted that day. Always act in the knowledge that you are obeying the Cosmic Will. Serve tirelessly! Become a servant of mankind! This is the secret of recognizing God.


So if you already are practicing yoga as an exercise at home or in one of the best yoga studios in Budapest, why not add the practice of Karma Yoga and try to create a better and kinder world for everyone in it?


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