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Varieties of Karma Yoga

by Swami Sivananda

Selfless service unto humanity with Atma Bhava through the medium of social and charitable institutions, feeding the poor, clothing the nude, sympathising with the needy, attendance on the sick, consoling the depressed, helping the fallen, imparting knowledge to the ignorant without expectation of fruits thereof, free tuition to the poor students without the least idea of agency, feeling that you work out His will in the grand plan and that you are an instrument in His hands (Nimitta Bhava)-all come under the category of Nishkamya Karma Yoga, the easiest means for the purification of the heart, which in turn is a pre-requisite for the reception of the highest truth.

A doctor can purify his heart quickly if he serves the poor people with the right mental attitude. Here is a great field for him for purifying the heart and attaining Self-realisation through purity. A doctor can realise God easily, if he develops the true Bhava of a Karma Yogin, the Bhava that he is serving Narayana or his own Self.

Give to the poor, the sick, the helpless and the forlorn. Give to the orphan, the decrepit, the blind, the helpless widows. Give to the Sadhus, Sannyasins, religious and social institutions. Thank the man who gives you an opportunity to serve and do charity. Give with right mental attitude and realise God through charitable acts. Glory to those who do charity with the right spirit.

Develop an understanding heart. Help your younger brothers in the spiritual path. Lift them up. Throw light in their path. Do not expect perfection from them. Be kind to them.

They are doing their best, as you are yourself doing yours. You will grow by helping them.

Start vigorously the campaign of selfless service for purification of heart and getting descent of the divine light. Work in a systematic and methodical manner. Be fiery in service. Also be intent on service. Take a little rest and sleep only for some time. No pains, no gains. The fruit is immortality. May you become a dynamic Yogi. All glory to the Lord and His Name, and all selfless workers, real Karma Yogins who work in the spirit of the Gita's teachings, who are rare spiritual flowers.
In the spiritual field numbers do not count. It was one Sankara who established Advaita Vedanta. Satan has the largest number of followers in the world. Shall we infer, therefore, that Satan's creed or cult is the best. A few sincere workers or members are an asset. You can work wonders with the assistance of these few members. Do not complain in future: "We are not doing any remarkable work for the uplift of the Society owing to the poor number of members."

Some form of silent service for the poor and the sick is in itself a good Sadhana for your spiritual growth, progress and quick evolution. Get hold of two or three persons to assist you. With united hearts a great deal of useful work can be turned out even by two or three persons.

Any split or dissension should be adjusted, the solution of continuity of peace must be cemented by friendliness, love and removal of misunderstanding. Then there will be the united whole. Then you can turn out much solid work. You must learn to penetrate into the hearts of all through love and constant service. This is the highest Yoga.

An Englishman, a District Collector saw a sick patient on the road in a dying condition. He was very sympathetic man. He carried the patient to the neighbouring hospital on his own shoulders.

Look at this feeling of oneness. He is a practical Vedantin whether he knows the Upanishads or not. Many people and even Sannyasins say: "Mahatma Gandhiji is a simple Karma Yogi only. He is not a Vedanti." But really speaking there is no practical Vedantin greater than Mahatma Gandhiji. He lives in every moment of his life, the life of a practical Vedantin. He lived for the well-being of the world only. He is the nerve-centre for this world. He is one with all. He embraces all with pure love. Self-sacrifice, service, non-violence, truthfulness, purity, humility and unity make his creed. Still he never put on a lable of a Vedantin. He never asserts the truth: "I am Brahman. Aham Brahma Asmi" to please the so-called Vedantins. That is his only defect or weakness.

The whole world is ready to oppose you. You will have to fight against the world, the whole world on one side and yourself alone on the other side. Even if the whole world opposes you, never move an inch from your position. Stick to your ideals and principles tenaciously.

Let the Tamasic do whatever they like. Let them spread false rumours. Let them backbite and vilify. Stand adamant. Be not afraid of persecutions, dangers and oppositions of all sorts. The Lord is always with you. Truth alone will come out victorious, but not falsehood. Be truthful and sincere. Work unselfishly with redoubled force and energy.

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