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Karma Yoga: A Means to Knowledge

by Swami Sivananda

The practice of Nishkamya Karma Yoga destroys sins and impurities of the mind and causes Chitta Suddhi or purity of the Antahkarana. Knowledge of the Self dawns in a pure mind. Knowledge of the Self is the only direct means to freedom. As cooking is not possible without fire so is emancipation not possible without knowledge of the Self. Karma cannot destroy ignorance because they are not hostile to each other. But knowledge certainly destroys ignorance as light destroys the thickest darkness.

You will find in the Mahabharata: "Knowledge springs in men on the destruction of sinful Karma when the self is seen in the Self, as in a clear mirror." Santi Parva: 204-8.

In the following passages Karma Yoga is pointed out as a means to the attainment of Atma Jnana:

"The Brahmanas seek to know this (Atman) by the study of the Vedas, by Yajna or worship." Brih. Upanishad: 4-5-22.

"But without Yoga, O mighty-armed, renunciation is hard to obtain." Gita: Chapter V-6.

"Having abandoned attachment, Yogins perform action for the purification of the self." Gita: Chapter V-11.

"Sacrifice, gift and also austerity are the purifiers of the wise." Gita: Chapter XVIII-5.

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