Karma yoga protects us from great fears

k Siva Prasad

Gita Acharan

(K. Siva Prasad is an IAS officer and these writings can be accessed at anchor.fm /GitaAcharan and medium.com /@GitaAcharan).

Krishna assures (2.40) that even baby steps in the practice of karma yoga give results and this dharmam (discipline) protects us from great fears. The point to be noted is that while sankhya is pure awareness, karma yoga involves efforts.

This is a definitive assurance from Lord Krishna for the seekers who have just started out on their spiritual journey and who find the effort daunting. Krishna understands our difficulty and assures us that even a small effort can produce wonderful results. He motivates us to follow the path of nishkam karma (unmotivated action) and samatva (equanimity).

One approach is to have Shraddha (trust) on what Krishna said and start practicing his teaching on karma yoga. Over a period of time, when we practice viewing our experiences from the lens of karma yoga, our realisations get deeper and deeper till we reach our inner self.

An alternate approach is to understand our fears and realise how the practice of karma yoga can remove them. Fear, at its core, is the result of the mismatch of our inner expectations and the real world. Karma yoga teaches us about nishkam karma, which helps reduce our expectations from our action. This reduces fear in us.

The property of water helps the moving ship to change its course even when a small internal force is applied on the trim tab attached to the rudder. Similarly, a small effort in the right direction from within can bring about a large change due to the property of the universe, which conspires to pave the path of karma yoga for us.

As babies, we never gave up until we learnt to walk and run ā€” no easy feat. Similarly, repeated efforts made to master karma yoga will yield results that can be seen as a series of small but definite victories.

ā€” The writer is a senior IAS officer in the Punjab Government.

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