What is Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita?

What is Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita?

Karma refers to the activities which are in line with the scriptures.

Karma Yoga is the process of following the scriptures with an attitude of getting slight union with the god / transcending the matter, or going higher than the bodily platform.

In Karma yoga, the focus is on the DUTY and not the RESULT. If we put our FOCUS on DUTY then we become KARMA yogi and if we put our focus on the RESULT then we are outside the Yoga Ladder which is Karma Kandi.

A person who thinks that this is my DUTY and I must do it at any cost. We need to become detached from the results and get attached to the duty. Then it becomes Karma Yoga.

What are the types of Karma-Yoga?

Karma Yoga has 2 parts:

Sakama Karma Yoga – Kama means material desire. I am doing a yoga process to get out of this material existence but then I have some attachment. He has desire to enjoy the results but then he is ready to sacrifice a portion of it for Yajna or a some spiritual activities. 

Nishkama Karma Yoga – without attachment. I just want to attain something beyond this material existence. He is attached only to the duty and not results. He will just do his duty. He doesnt have the desire to enjoy his results.



Karma Yoga is a very widely spoken topic. Most of us have some sort of understanding, which may rarely be based on facts, but more often are speculative. Lord Krsna Himself recommends Karma Yoga to Arjuna. Does this karma yoga have any relevance to common people like us? Or was it meant only for Arjuna who had taken shelter of Lord Krsna to get rid of his confusions? Let’s try to understand karma yoga and its relevance to us.

The word “Yoga” means linking to the Supreme Lord. So, any process like meditation, prescribed ritualistic activities, devotional service etc., which helps us to connect to God and aids in acquiring knowledge about Him are considered as Yoga. Those who have taken up any of these processes recommend that we leave our material entanglements like our job, our family, house etc. and move to a holy place where we can and should be fixed in progressing towards our goal. But because of many practical reasons, it is impossible to follow all these, for most of us, in today’s world.

Through Arjuna, Lord Krsna gives us the understanding that to achieve the ultimate goal of our life, we need not abandon or forego our duties or responsibilities but can remain where we are, keep doing our duty and offer the results of our work to the Lord. We are supposed to perform our prescribed duties without getting attached to its results.

tasmād asaktaḥ satataṁ
kāryaṁ karma samācara
asakto hy ācaran karma
param āpnoti pūruṣaḥ

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme. (Bg. 3.19)

brahmaṇy ādhāya karmāṇi
saṅgaṁ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ
lipyate na sa pāpena
padma-patram ivāmbhasā

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
(Bg. 5.10)

So, Karma Yoga is that process where we perform our activities as a matter of duty and surrender all their results to the Lord. We are fearful of failures, which may come in our endeavours. But when we start acting as per Lords instructions, we neither become overly elated or proud for our so-called achievements nor devastated with our failures, rather we depend on the Lord’s will. This would not only make us anxiety free, but our consciousness gets purified by getting rid of envy, depression, anger etc. And the added advantage is that we become free from the reactions that are inevitable consequences of our actions.

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