Sri Ramakrishna’s Karma Yoga – Br. Shankara

Sunday, February 8, 2015

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Sri RamakrishnaManifestation! “Manifest the divinity within you and everything will be harmoniously arranged around it,” Swami Vivekananda said. From our point of view, the degree of that manifestation is the significant difference between one human being and another. It is the goal of our spiritual practices.

Swami Swahananda* often said, “The only true measure of spiritual progress is change in behavior.” Each of the yogas is a step-by-step system of practices which can enable us to make that progress. Karma Yoga focuses on action. Its methods change how and why we act, and encourage us to think differently about the results of our actions.

According to Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna took Karma Yoga to a new and higher level when the Master taught, “Serve jiva as Shiva!” (Serve the individual human being as the Divine Being.) Naturally, this practice begins as a concept; we do not ordinarily witness the divinity of another person. Yet, as we faithfully put that idea at the center of our acts of service to others, something extraordinary happens. Both that which is acting — our own divinity — and the divine presence within those we serve become more and more apparent to us.

And, life becomes increasingly harmonious, as Vivekananda promised. We discuss the Master’s Karma Yoga, and the lives of some women and men who who embodied his teachings, in this talk.

*Swami Swahananda served as Head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California from December 1976 until his death in October 2012.

The John Schlenck Memorial Choir sings “For Love of God,” the text from Bhagavad Gita, translation and music by John Schlenck.