Results of Karma Yoga Sadhana
by Swami Sivananda
The practice of Karma Yoga alone leads to the Advaitic realisation of oneness. Without it there is no hope of Vedantic realisation of unity of Self. "Janaka attained perfection by action."-Gita, Chap. III, Sloka 20.
Ordinary man of the world has a very small constricted heart on account of selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred and pride. Selfishness, jealousy etc., leave their deposits on the mind and act as a veil or thick crust, and so he separates himself from others.
The practice of Karma Yoga breaks the veil, removes the crust and causes expansion of heart. It purifies the heart. A Karma Yogin feels for others and serves them in a variety of ways. He shares what he has with others. He brings water from the river for the aged pilgrims, medicine for the sick persons, supplies fuel and gets vegetables from the bazaar. All these little acts of kindness render the heart soft and instil compassion in the heart. He develops various virtues like tolerance, patience, humility which are necessary for the dawn of knowledge. He experiences peculiar, indescribable joy and inner spiritual strength. The love current is strengthened in him gradually. He is also loved by others. Those who are served by him bless him and he attains longevity, through the power of their Sankalpas and blessings.
Karma Yoga is more difficult than Vedanta or Bhakti Yoga. Karma Yoga is not mere mechanical action. The Vedantic Bhava or Bhakti Bhava should be kept up during action or service.
A Karma Yoga practitioner soon obtains Virat Darshan as he is constantly serving the Virat, or the manifested Brahman.
A Karma Yogi never is in want of anything. Even when he goes to an unknown place, people give him all his bodily wants without asking. Invitations for dinner come from various quarters. A sweet, divine aroma emanates from the Karma Yogi which stirs people to serve the Karma Yogi and serve him intensely. The whole nature is ever ready to serve a Karma Yogi. All divine Aisvaryas belong to him.
The truths of the Upanishads are revealed unto him without study of the Srutis on account of purity of heart and grace of the Lord. Knowledge of the Self dawns in him without Manana (reflection) and Nididhyasana (meditation), as he becomes the chosen devotee of the Lord, for the descent of His grace:-
"This Atman cannot be obtained by study of the Vedas, nor by intelligence, nor by much hearing. He whom the Self chooses by him the self can be gained. To him this Atman reveals Its true nature."-Katha Upanishad, Ch. I, Valli II, Sloka 23.
"Children, not the wise, speak of Sankhya (knowledge) and Yoga (Yoga of action or performance of action) as distinct; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both."-Gita, Chap. V, Sloka 4.
"That place which is reached by the Sankhyas (Jnanins) is reached by the Yogins (Karma Yogins). He sees, who sees Sankhya and Yoga are one."-Gita, Chap. V, Sloka 5.
There is no hope of salvation even in crores of births for the dry Vedantic student who has taken to the study of Upanishads and Brahma Sutras and practice of Vedanta without purifying his heart through the protracted practice of Karma Yoga. He is like the frog which makes much noise and disturbance in the rainy season. A frog disturbs the people only in the rainy season, but the dry Vedantic frog, the mere book-worm without purification of heart, disturbs the world throughout the year by unnecessary arguments, quarrels and useless discussions. A real Vedantin is a blessing to the world. He preaches through the language of silence or the language of the heart. He always serves with Atma-Bhava.
May you all realise the Eternal one through purity of heart attained by the practice of Karma Yoga!