Sri Krishna’s Karma Yoga, Bhagavad Gita Ch. 3 – Br. Shankara

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May 3, 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

In this talk we hear Lord Krishna speaking about the path of selfless action. Selfishness is the primary symptom of our disease of Ignorance. First, let’s be clear that the term ignorance is not an accusation. According to Vedanta, it’s simply a statement of fact. Your belief in the Universe as it is manifest to your senses, vital functions, and intellect “comes with the package” of human form.

The Sanskrit term for what you experience is Maya – in its most overwhelming and compelling forms – Mahamaya. It is said to be eternal, without beginning; yet, it has an end. It ends with your awakening. In the context we will speak about – the realm of action, doing, karma – awakening to what? Sri Ramakrishna puts it this way, in the Gospel: “God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.” (p236)

In our ignorance, you and I think we are the doers, and so we become deeply attached to ourselves, our actions, and their outcomes. This, say the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, is the root of all our suffering.

We discuss the disease of ignorance itself, in its form as attachment, and explore what Sri Krishna says you can do to become unattached — free from the bondage of karma.