A Karma Yogi’s Response to Transformation – Br. Shankara

VIDEO – CLICK THE ‘PLAY’ BUTTON ABOVE (in center of the video player)

AUDIO ONLY – Use the player below if you prefer to listen to the audio portion only.

Download the MP3
Click to download at PDF of the Notes & Quotes from this talk.

As promised, here also is the link to the video from Trevor Noah that was mentioned in the talk:

May 31, 2020

May is a month for study of Karma Yoga, a spiritual path leading to the abandonment of selfishness. As a karma yogi, you practice offering your actions and their results, as well as your perceptions, thoughts, and feelings to the Divine Presence.

Even before fully knowing this Presence, you hold firmly to the belief that the Presence is within each person or other living being that you interact with or serve. Working and abiding in this spirit, you are increasingly able to release attachment to your activities and their results. This yields the freedom and contentment promised by Karma Yoga.

“Even a little practice of this yoga will save you form the terrible wheel of rebirth and death …” — Sri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 2

We — our entire planet — seem to be starting a major transformation. We cannot see far ahead. Experts — health care scientists, economists, political leaders, are not much help. They don’t have meaningful precedents for something like this. So what they offer are their best guesses, and sometimes conflicting day-to-day guidance.

In the face of such uncertainty, it would be easy to give way to fear and despair. Fortunately, as spiritual aspirants we have a powerful alternative — the four yogas as taught to us by Swami Vivekananda (Swamiji).

Last month we looked at how a bhakti yogi could respond to transformation. This Sunday we’ll take up karma yoga — in June and July, raja yoga and jnana yoga. We’ll see what each yoga teaches us about how to live calmly and constructively during a great wave of change.

So, how might a karma yogi (karmi) deal with what we’re facing? Let’s start from principle — the abandonment of selfishness. Sri Ramakrishna said, “Serve jiva as Shiva.” (Serve each human being as the Divine Person.)

With that as her prime directive, a karmi’s’ first impulse might be to look closely at how and why other people are suffering. Then, reviewing her resources and capabilities, determine what she can do to be of service. Her thoughts would not be focused on herself. Is this setting too high an ideal?

In this talk we see what Swamiji says about that in Karma Yoga, a collection of his talks. And we discuss the fearlessness and inner peace a karma yogi finds, even in the most difficult circumstances, when Swamiji’s teachings are followed.