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2024 год

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Vidya Sagara / Our Tradition / Yoga / Karma Yoga

Karma yoga

Карма йога

In the early Upanishads, for example, Kena and Isha, the prescriptions of karma yoga were indirectly formulated for the first time, although its essence was fully described later, in the Bhagavad Gita. It was in these Upanishads that the possibility of moving along the path of yoga and reaching its peak without giving up on daily duties was first shown.

This path can lead to the same experience as other types of yoga. Swami Satyananda, like his Guru Swami Shivananda, reaffirms and emphasizes the importance of karma yoga for achieving the experience of meditation: "One task should be done at a time. Absolute absorption in any work gradually teaches the mind to forget its usual fickleness and instability. If you immerse yourself in the work being done with full concentration and undivided attention, it will be of great help to you in meditation."

That is, one-pointedness of the mind is achieved, which, for example, in Raja Yoga is achieved with the help of Dharana.

One of the main precepts of karma yoga is not to get attached to your actions and their consequences, since work itself rarely harms anyone, it is the expectation of reward that causes the excitement of the mind. Attachment brings pain and suffering, while detachment brings calm and satisfaction.

Karma yoga is aimed at reducing the influence of the ego, and, as a result, at its complete elimination. This erasure of the ego becomes much easier if a person feels dedication to a cause, person, or symbol of a higher being. In these circumstances, he devotes all his actions to the object of his devotion.

The Bhagavad Gita says "... he (the one who has renounced) rejoices in the welfare of all creatures." (ch. 5:25).

In Karma yoga, work with complete detachment is called nishkama karma - "selfless work." Although no benefit is expected from it, in reality it bears the greatest fruits - peace of mind, higher awareness and knowledge.

Karma yoga cannot be separated from other yoga paths, as all the different yoga paths are mutually reinforcing. Service with full concentration of mind can lead to deeper meditative experiences, and deeper ones, such as meditative experiences of Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga, etc., can lead to more successful karma yoga practice.

Karma yoga can be directly combined with Bhakti yoga by applying the principle of self-giving inherent in the latter.

In addition, Karma yoga serves as a preparation for Jnana yoga, which requires deep concentration of the mind.

Karma yoga is closely connected with Bhakti and with Jnana yoga. A karma yogi who combines Bhakti yoga and Karma yoga has a state in which he feels like an instrument in the hands of God. He sees that God does everything and so gradually gets rid of the feeling of the doer and karma. He finds freedom through action.

Briefly the principles of Karma yoga according to the Bhagavad Gita.

Detachment from the fruits of action.

"You only have the right to work, not to its fruits. Do not be impelled by the fruits of action and do not get attached to doing nothing." (11:47).


"Perform your action, O Arjuna, with the feeling and attitude of yoga. Give up attachment and be balanced in success and failure." (11:48).

The need for action.

"It is certainly impossible for an incarnated being to completely abandon action; but he who renounces the fruits of action is a man of renunciation." (18:11).


"The one who is free from the sense of the ego, who is not subject to the feelings of good and bad, - although he slays these people, he, in reality, does not kill and is not bound by these actions." (18:47).

Renunciation and enlightenment.

"The one who is completely not attached to anything, who controls his individual self, who is devoid of desires, through renunciation (mentally) attains the highest state of freedom from action (enlightenment)." (18:49).


"Do your duty, for action is much higher than inaction, and even the very maintenance of the physical body would be impossible without a certain kind of action." (11: 8).

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