A few thoughts on Karamyog

By Vishal Kale

Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds

The KarmYog, or as it is called at its culmination point – Nishkaam Karmyog, is a path towards God wherein a person acts as per the situation, without any self-interest, is dedicated towards God, and works without any expectation of return. As per the Krushnaarjun Samvaad {also known as the Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta}, it is a state where one is purely content in the self and at total peace. At its highest point, Nishkaam Karmyog, there is no need for a person to act.


The KarmYog path is one that can take you to liberation, despite being in Gruhasthaashram, or in other words, while being in society, marriage and friends. Another path for the Gruhasth is SanyasYog, wherein one practices detachment while remaining in the sansaar - different from Sanyaas Aashram when one renounces the world. A third path is BhaktiYog – wherein one is so devoted to God, that one literally forgets oneself.


A full understanding of KarmYog needs the appreciation of a concept called Prarabdh; this refers to the Karm of past lives + present life that is maturing in this life. This is important, as along the path, while you are acting selflessly, others’ actions may impact you. It may lead to questions in your mind – why me? Hence, a background of the karmic cycle needs to be established.

The soul, any soul, each soul - exists in reality in a state of Union, and as a part of the entire whole of creation. The soul is an independent entity, eternal. It takes on a form, and that form, due to the eternal soul, also has an independent choice of action. Such actions may cause ripples in space-time to impact other independent entities around them. This is the base of any path towards God; and also the reason why Nishkaam Karmyog negates the Agami.

There are 3 concepts of your karm, one is Praarabdh. The other two being Sanchit Karm and Agami Karm. Sanchit means sum total of Karma of all lives; Agami is the Karma that will happen or mature in the future. Prarabdh is not strictly Past --> Present; it is more like Past|Present ----->Present|Future. Some Karmphal matures immediately, some take time in the same lifespan, and some get added to Sanchit. But as a general rule, accept what happens as a part of Prarabdh. It makes no difference whether the doer thinks he/she deserved it or not.


A Nishkaam Karmyogi is a state of existence where this entire matter would hold no validity at all; where actions, reactions, emotions, happenings do not make any ripple in the mind, to such a person, any good or bad event is a non-event. Such a person in the situation is God, and the material plane ceases to exist. To reach this stage, one has to first accept that the Prarabdh and then it has to be traversed; Sanchit has to be canceled and cut into nothingness, and Agaami has to be blocked before it arises. That is, fresh actions should be such that no future karmic reaction results. This is the sum total result of KarmYog or even the other 3 paths mentioned in the paragraph above.


People tend to translate the concept of KarmYog to mean 100% focused effort; that is not the case. It should be read as to give 100% effort subject to cleanliness, truth, morality, absence of personal desire, ego, anger, ambition, jealousy, and a 360-degree perspective balancing all your responsibilities – and with all actions/thoughts, emotions, etc being dedicated to God. In other words, there may be a time when your actual duty is to ignore it, and focuses elsewhere, as other responsibilities are more important. THAT is giving 100% effort.

If you give 100% effort only, but partake in amorality, or unethical tactics out of force, or give in to ego, pride, ambitions, etc {ordered to do, or as industry norm etc} you will create fresh karmic reactions in all directions, invalidating your effort. If not now, it may come forward at some time in the future in some area of your life. Thus, 100% effort has no meaning whatsoever, standing all by itself. [Last point, per my understanding, Karmphal is not linear. That is, Do a good job at work ------> Get result at work is an invalid assumption; one does not look at it compartment-wise, but rather a holistic view of the entire Sanchit Karm + Agaami Karm + Praarabdh Karmfal spanning all areas of a soul’s existence]

The key is situated in a state of existence, a plane of performance where every action, thought, emotion, desire is in control of the Buddhi, and is clean in every respect. Once you reach that, then take it case by case, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. The rest will follow automatically!


Regarding cleanliness, I would like to make just one small observation. In Vedant, cleanliness takes on a very deep meaning; it means internal and external cleanliness. This includes physical cleanliness; clean food, clean thoughts, clean desires, clean acharan, clean behavior, clean nature, clean environment, clean actions and more. Thus, even if one of these is not clean - you are not clean, as per Vedant, and as per my understanding. In short, in each situation, give your best with full cleanliness - cleanliness as per Vedantic parameters, that is fully external and internal cleanliness, devoid of all material vikaar, and focus on your individual effort.


If you are taking a 50% profit for something that deserves 20%, rest assured that balance 30% will be extracted from you one way or the other. If not now, in the future. But extracted it will be, for certain. If not from your job or your bank, then from family or other areas. But the price will be extracted, guaranteed. That