Karma Yoga is the divine skill (wisdom and non-attachment) in actions

Swami Vivekananda has clearly emphasised that Karma Yoga gives us maximum freedom. He says: “Karma Yoga is an ethical and spiritual system whose goal is to make us obtain Enlightenment through altruism and completely detached good actions” (Practical Yoga). For him, “Karma Yoga is the full realisation, through selfless activity, of this unbound freedom which is the goal of any human nature”. He also adds: “The Karma Yogi is asking himself: why do we need another motive for action other than the blissful love that is born out of this freedom?” He explains this as follows: “For some people it might be a difficult aspect to understand that nothing in the Universe has full power upon you as long as you don’t allow that power to freely influence you. Through complete detachment you can always overcome or defeat the power held by anybody or anything upon you.” The state of not fearing the possible negative consequences of an action and the state of not being egotistically attached to the positive consequences which we expect from that action, is creating a deep inner peace and a great freedom of spirit which allows us to act in total objectivity. This is what Swami Vivekananda calls “to act in full freedom”.

This is why Kåñnamakes the following statement in Bhagavad Gita: “Yoga is the divine ability (skilfulness) in actions”. He later returns to this idea by saying that he “holds dear to his heart” the one who is “skilful in all his detached actions, the one who does not selfishly desire anything and who is pure, being detached of anything that might happen. Thus, he is not affected by any result because he has already completely renounced all selfish initiative in no matter what action”.

Swami Vivekananda arrives at the same conclusion: “Karma Yoga makes a science out of the detached action; it teaches us to permanently use to the best of our ability all the divine, beneficial forces which are always active in the universe”. (Practical Yoga) He also adds: “Karma Yoga is deeply knowing the secret of completely detached action”. He expresses the same idea once more, but in other words when he says: “When we do not think in terms of our egotistic ‘I’ and we do not involve it, we realise the best detached action” (Inspired Conversations). A well-known example of ego involvement with negative consequences is the ‘stage fright’ state.

Swami Ramadas says: “The action of the Karma Yogi quickly takes him very far in his spiritual evolution and its effect lasts a very long time. This action leaves in the entire world a permanent and profound beneficial effect.” (The presence of Ram).



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