A Karma Yogi should be:
- Free from lust, greed, anger and egoism. Even if there are traces of
these bad habits (Doshas), he should try to remove them. He should not
expect any kind of fruits for his actions herein and hereafter. He should
not have any desire for name and fame, approbation, appreciation, thirst
for applause, admiration and gratitude. He must have a spotless character.
He should try to possess this gradually.
- He should be humble and free from hatred, jealousy, harshness, etc.
He should always speak sweet words.
- He should be absolutely fearless. A timid man is absolutely unfit for
- A Karma Yogi should have an amiable, loving, sociable nature. He should
be able to move and mix with everybody without distinction of caste, creed
or colour. He should have perfect adaptability, mercy and cosmic love.
- He should be sympathetic and tolerant.
- He should be able to adjust himself to the habits and ways of others.
- He should have an all-embracing and all-inclusive heart. He should
always have a cool and balanced mind.
- He should be aware and attentive.
- He should have equal vision.
- He should rejoice in the welfare of others. A man who is easily irritated
and who can be easily offended over trifling things is absolutely unfit
for the path of Karma Yoga.
- He should have all the organs under perfect control.
- He should lead a very simple life.
- He should burn his selfishness to the very root.
- A Karma Yogi should have a sound, healthy and strong physical body.
With a poor physique and health, one cannot serve others. He should take
great care of the body without having the least Moha or attachment for
it. He should never say: "This body is mine." He should be ever
ready to sacrifice his body for a noble cause.
- He should do regular Pranayama, physical exercise and Asanas to keep
up a high standard of health.
- He should take good, nourishing and substantial food.
- He should bear insult, disrespect, dishonour, harsh words, censure,
infamy, disgrace, heat and cold, and the pain of diseases. He should have
the power of endurance.
- He should have absolute faith in himself, in God, in the scriptures
and in the words of his Guru. Such a man only can become a good Karma
Yogi as only he can do real and useful service to the country and to the
The summary of this has been very beautifully put into words in the Bhagvad
Samniyamyendriyagramam sarvatra samabuddhayah
Te prapnuvanti mameva sarvabhutahite rataah.
"Restraining and subduing the senses, regarding everything equally,
in the welfare of all rejoicing, these also come to Me."
Even if you possess a few of the above qualifications, the other qualifications
will come to you by themselves, when you earnestly work in the field of
Karma Yoga. You need not be discouraged. Plunge yourself in the service
of God. Forget the body. Blow the bugle with the feeling: "I must
become a true Karma Yogi now." All virtues will cling to you by themselves.
Apply yourself diligently right now from this very second. Become an ideal
Karma Yogi like Janaka or Buddha. Start the work even with a little capital
of love, mercy and sympathy. You will draw inspiration from the leaders
in the field. After sometime, you will become a wonderful Karma Yogi.
Fearlessness, humility and all other virtues will shine in you by themselves
now. Just keep reminding yourself that you do not lose anything in Karma
Yoga. Even if you do a little service to the country or to the society
or to poor sick people, it brings its own advantages and benefits. It
purifies your heart and prepares the mind for the reception of knowledge
of Atman. The Samskaras or impressions of these good actions are indelibly
imbedded in your subconscious mind. The force of these Samskaras will
again propel you to do some more good actions. Sympathy, love, the spirit
of patriotism and service will be developed. Nothing is lost when the
candle burns. The only thing that loses its identity is darkness. Karama
yoga also helps you lose the darkness of ignorance and gain the light
In agriculture you may manure and plough the land. Your efforts will be
rendered futile if you do not get rain in the year. This is not the case
in Karma Yoga. There is no uncertainty here regarding the result of any
effort. Further there is not the least chance of getting harmed by practicing
Karma Yoga. Even if you do a little service, even if you practise a little
Karma Yoga in any form, it will save you from great fear, from the fear
of Samsara and of birth and death with its connected evils. That is the
reason why Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:
Nehaabhikramanaasosti pratyavaayo na vidvate
Svalpamapyasya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat.
"There is no loss of effort here, there is no harm. Even a little
of this service delivers one from great fear."
The path of Karma Yoga, which eventually leads to the attainment of the
infinite bliss of the Self, cannot be unsuccessful.
Ignorant people say that one cannot work without any motive because they
do not know the essence and truth of Karma Yoga. Their minds are saturated
with all sorts of desires and selfishness, and as a result, their minds
are very impure and clouded. They cannot grasp the underlying truth of
Karma Yoga. They judge others from their own standpoint. Selflessness
is a thing unknown to them. Their minds and brains are rendered callous
and so they cannot vibrate properly to understand what a motiveless action
When the thought of doing good becomes part and parcel of a man's very
being he will not entertain any motive at all. He takes immense delight
in serving others, in doing well to others. There is a peculiar joy (Ananda)
in the practice of vigorous Karma Yoga. The Karma Yogi gets inner spiritual
strength and power by performing motiveless and selfless actions.
He should understand the secret of Karma Yoga. He should thrust himself
in selfless work. He must work persistently and serve the society in a
variety of ways. Gradually he will understand the glory and splendor of
unselfish work. He will become a changed being with divine efficiency
and sweet Yogic fragrance. Many of his actions may be selfish in the beginning
of his Yogic career, but it does not matter. He should not be discouraged
on this score. But, slowly when he grows in purity, some of his actions
will turn out to be unselfish. In the long run all his actions will be
unselfish. He should patiently work with inexorable energy. He has to
destroy his old mind of selfishness and build a new mind of selflessness.
This is doubtless uphill work and demands struggle and constant effort
with asinine patience and iron determination. Selfless work elevates and
brings freedom. Selfish work retards spiritual progress and fastens one
more chain to your feet. If you find it difficult to work without any
motive, have one strong motive for freedom when you work. This will not
bind you. This will destroy all other lower selfish motives and will eventually
die by itself. The joy of a developed Karma Yogi is really unbounded.
Words cannot adequately describe his glorious state and inward happiness.
Look at the stupendous and magnanimous work turned out by Lord Buddha
and other Karma Yogis. Their names are still remembered. The whole world
worships them with reverence. They lived for doing service to others.
They were examples of absolute self-abnegation.
Expand. Purify your heart. Live in the true spirit of Karma Yoga. Live
every second for the realisation of the ideal and goal of life. Then and
then alone will you realise the true glory of Karma Yoga. Keep before
you the examples of the great Karma Yogis who served mankind and thus
radiated peace, bliss and wisdom unto all.