Karma Yoga Teachings from the Masters

What is Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga Quotes

Here are two inspirational quotes from the Tao Te Ching on Karma Yoga (the Yoga of Action), about how one ought to approach one’s life and work.  They are consistent with Lord Krishna’s teachings of Karma Yoga from the Bhagawat Gita.  The essence of these teachings is to do the work that is required of you by life, without placing emphasis on the results or rewards of the work.

You can read about Krishna’s teachings in the following article, The Yoga of Meditation, and below you will find the similar views expressed by the great Taoist master Lau-tzu.

Book: Tao Te Ching

Author: Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching Quote #1 on Work and Karma Yoga:

Therefore the Master

acts without doing anything

and teaches without saying anything.

Things arise and she lets them come;

things disappear and she lets them go.

She has but doesn’t possess,

acts but doesn’t expect.

When her work is done, she forgets it.

That is why it lasts forever.

Karma Yoga Quote from Lau-tzu #2:

Do your work, then step back.

The only path to serenity.

What is Karma Yoga?

Karma Yoga is the art of how to do your work (duty) without over emphasizing the ego and the "I".  To simply do what is required and then leave it alone.  Not mull the results, or expect rewards, or look for compliments and accolades.  Just keep it simple and pure.  Here is a Karma Yoga quote from the Bhagwat Gita to shed more light on this topic.

Book: Bhagavad Gita

Author: Swami Prabhavananda and Chirstpher Isherwood

Krishna’s Teachings on Karma Yoga

The ignorant work

For the fruit of their action:

The wise must work also

Without desire

Pointing man’s feet

To the path of his duty.

 

Let the wise beware

Lest they bewilder

The minds of the ignorant

Hungry for action:

Let them show by example

How work is holy

When the heart of the worker

Is fixed on the Highest.

In the above excerpt, an additional technique for Karma Yoga is indicated, which is to do all work keeping in mind that it is the nothing more than the Lord acting through you, or doing all work as an offering to Divinity. 

There are other approaches as well, which are very effective in helping you keep the ego out of the way with regard to your work, and I will discuss those in future articles on Karma Yoga. 

For more understanding on how to keep God in mind when going through life, you can read, Zen Teachings on God and How to Get His Help.

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4 replies
  1. sibaram paria
    sibaram paria says:

    With due respect,here I could not understand,how one can perform his duty without any expectation in our materialastic age,like reading without Result;cultivate grains by our farmer without expect anything;space technologist without their success.Karma yoga what I can beleave work heard & heard expecting end of our life for the betterment of our earth.

    Reply
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    ocr font says:

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  4. Harsha
    Harsha says:

    it is absolutely…precise…and flawless….thats the key to everything….thank you anmol….for throwing light on karma yoga….as it is very important to understand how to perform your actions without getting attached to them….thanks for your priceless advice….

    Reply

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