Karma Yoga: Secret of Action in Relaxation

Thus I have imparted to you the wisdom which is more secret (profound) than all that is secret. Reflecting over this whole teaching, do as you think fit.

Krishna to Arjuna in Bhagavadgita : 18.63


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Karma yoga is a unique system of self-advancement based upon the law of karma or action. All the secrets of actions; from its nature to its ramifications in one’s life is lucidly explained in the Gita. The central idea in Karma Yoga is that of non-attachment. The Yoga master Krishna after giving all the profound lessons of Karma Yoga to Arjuna, nonchalantly declared to him: do according to your wish. The teacher is not at all forcing his student to act according to his teachings or personal will but offering a remarkable freedom in action. The enlightened teacher wan not attached even to his own knowledge and asked the student, “to reflect over and do as you think fit”. This desire less attitude is the secret which we realise from karma yoga.

Spirit of Selflessness


Through Karma Yoga, actions are approached, analysed and moulded so that one is able to enhance his personality. In practice, the simple guideline in Karma Yoga is that, as the mind relaxes, actions proceed more spontaneously and qualitatively. This relaxed state leads to detachment and is the keystone in the practice of Karma Yoga. All actions are done in a detached manner, without expecting a result. If it is done with the spirit of selflessness, it becomes Karma Yoga.

Usually we are ignorant of our true nature and engrossed in action deeply attached to our body, mind and senses. We believe that we are acting and therefore should experience all the fruits of action. On the other hand a karma yogi knows that all the actions that are supposed to be his, are only the movements of Prakriti (nature) and that the ‘real he’, the Self, is only the uninvolved witness. Therefore, the way to attain detachment is not by keeping quiet without doing anything, but by discharging all one’s duties, surrendering their fruits and sense of agency to the supreme being. A karma yogi does his work without expecting any reward or result according to his own idea. Letting things happen according to universal will and resigning to whatever outcome is the correct attitude adopted in Karma Yoga.

In brief, a person needs to learn detachment, a sense of surrender to the Divine or inward resignation to the universal will. That is Karma Yoga’s secret art. To conclude, Karma Yoga is a way to advance spiritually in the world of activity. Karma Yoga does not require any change in one’s external activity, just a change in attitude.


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