by Swami Sivananda
Mere physical control of the organs of action (Karma Indriyas such as speech, hands, feet, genitals and anus) will not do. You must not think of the objects of the senses. If you observe fasting during Ekadasi days to propitiate Lord Hari, and if your mind constantly thinks of various kinds of delicious food, you will not get the benefits of fasting. You will be regarded as a self-deluded man or hypocrite, i.e., a man of sinful conduct (Mithyachara). That is the reason why Lord Krishna says in the Gita:
Karmendriyani samyamya ya aste manasa smaran,
Indriyarthan vimudhatma mithyacharah sa uchyate.
"Who sitteth, controlling the organs of action, but dwelling in his mind on the objects of the senses, that bewildered man is called a hypocrite." Ch. III-6.
The actions of the mind are the real actions. Thought is the real action. You must utilise the energy that is conserved by the control of organs for higher purposes at the altar of God. This will constitute Yoga. That passionate man who visits his legal wife frequently is more immoral than the man who occasionally goes to the house of ill-fame. That man who constantly dwells on sexual thoughts is highly immoral even though he observes physical Brahmacharya by controlling the body. He is the worst man. It is the thought that sways the body. Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: "But who, controlling the senses (of knowledge) by the mind, O Arjuna, with the organs of action, without attachment performs Yoga by action, he is worthy." Ch. III-7.
Then the Lord praises action and further adds that one cannot keep up even his health if he remains inactive. So He says: "Perform then, right action, for action is superior to inaction, and even the very maintenance of the body would not be possible by inaction." Ch. III-8.
It is also wrong to think that actions lead to bondage, and that they should not, therefore be performed. Karma Yoga is performance of action with Sankhya understanding or poised reason that is not affected by loss or gain, success or failure. Lord Krishna gives valuable direction to Arjuna in the performance of action. He says: "Unattached thou perform action." Ch. III-9. This is the secret of Karma Yoga.