Progress in karma yoga

Though one must apply effort in the early stages of karma yoga, eventually it arises spontaneously. There is an excellent Sanskrit and Hindi word called bhava. It means feeling, an attitude that springs up from the very depths of one’s being. It is not a hypocritical or false feeling. It is a feeling that arises from the essence of one’s nature – an expression of higher knowledge. It is neither pious nor artificial. Because of higher awareness and realization of the deeper relationships with other people, one actually wants to give as much as one can to others. There is no choice; no effort is required. In the beginning karma yoga requires effort and cultivation, but the advent of higher understanding transforms karma yoga into a spontaneous expression of bhava. There is no longer any practice as such, for one begins to radiate real karma yoga.

Another strange thing happens: though one desires less and less fruits, one receives more and more fruits, beyond one’s wildest dreams. To those who expect, little or nothing comes. Actually a person who thinks he is doing karma yoga is not, because there is concern for the little self. A person who is really practising karma yoga is so absorbed in doing his work (while simultaneously being a witness), that he in a self-conscious sense does not exist. A person practising karma yoga is not really doing anything. The actions happen through him. If one thinks that he is doing karma yoga then he is automatically operating from an ego level of individual existence and distinc-tion. And this is not karma yoga in the highest sense. A person practising karma yoga really no longer exists as an individual. His mind and body work. He does not. He is inactive amongst continuous activity. We have already discussed this apparent enigma under the heading entitled ‘Action and Inaction’. It is action in inaction and inaction in action, and its meaning only becomes understandable through personal experience.

We have briefly discussed the higher stages of karma yoga; in fact, karma yoga in its truest sense. Don’t be too concerned with what we have said, for you will never unravel the mystery by logical speculation. Instead you should start to practise karma yoga to the best of your ability, so that you will really know its meaning for yourself.

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