Mahatma Gandhi achieved his success by purifying his mind by continuous effort and karma yoga. Because of this, he achieved tremendous amounts of work, both efficiently and without leaving things half done. He never seemed to tire of his work, unlike most other people who do an hour’s work and then lose interest or become fatigued. Why was this? The answer of course lies with the mind. Gandhi, through relentless practise of karma yoga, backed up by other forms of yoga including bhakti and kriya yoga, was able to clean his mind. A mind that is calm can do the most intense work for long periods of time without fatigue. It does not become diverted by external distractions or inner disturbances. It remains focused on the work in hand. Most people waste their energy on useless, petty, egotistical arguments or heated discussions about nothing. Their mental energy and in turn their physical energy is dissipated in all directions. Little or no power goes towards the work that is to be done.
The combination of concentrated power and detachment becomes almost irresistible. It moves mountains, as the saying goes. Gandhi clearly illustrated this, and we emphasize again that detachment does not mean disdain for the things of the world. Gandhi, though he was surely detached, nevertheless felt and expressed overwhelming compassion. Detachment is the attitude of mind where no matter what happens, there is no negative repercussion and resulting mental disturbance in the mind. One does the best that one can do with one’s ability, but at the same time one doesn’t allow external events to unbalance or throw the mind. The attitude can be slowly developed and applied as it was so successfully by Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi saw that every action he did (or did not do, depending on the point of view) was part of the divine process of the universe in accordance with the will of the cosmic consciousness. He was only an instrument, a mere witness of his actions.
There are many other people who epitomize the essence of karma yoga. People like Swami Vivekananda and Swami Sivananda show that karma yoga is not just an idealistic thought, but that it is possible. Both of these people, as well as uncountable others, both famous and unknown, have expressed total egolessness in their interaction with the world – perfect expression, perfect response to given circumstances. And what these people can do, you also can achieve. The path and the possibility are open to everyone. Each person can develop a powerful and one-pointed mind and awaken their intuitive faculties. Each person can become a karma yogi. All that is required is the need to attain perfection, together with relentless and continuous practice.