Part II: Find the Part II HERE.




Why do we perform karma? Because we have been taught that working hard will give us the desired results so that we can be happy. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

Upadesa Sara Verse2:

Kriti mahodadhou patana karanam phalam ashashvatam gati nirodhakam.

Meaning: The reason for someone’s not progressing in spiritual path is getting lost in the ocean of actions.

Gita Chapter 3, Verse 9:

yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samachara

Work must be done as a yajna to the Supreme Lord; otherwise, work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, for the satisfaction of God, perform your prescribed duties, without being attached to the results.

Work that desires results leads to bondage a state of helplessness and subsequently the loss of freedom. Here, we are not talking about physical bondage, we are talking about psychological bondage. Let us understand how Karma binds us.

When we do Karma based on our desire for the results and when the results are uncertain we have anxiety, fear, stress. And that is when we lack the freedom to live peacefully.

Think about this, our finite hard work will give us finite results and ultimately finite happiness. If the body is finite, if the time is finite, we can only give finite effort, isn’t it? And that in turn will lead to finite happiness.

When Raga (intense love) is involved, we crave that because we assume it gives us happiness. This kind of karma is called Raga Dvesha prerita Karma.

When our raga is involved, this cycle becomes an addiction. Intense addiction is nothing but Raga which is a form of bondage. With all these unmet desires we keep being born again and again into this world.

Gita Chapter 8, Verse 6:

yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajatyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad-bhava-bhavitah

Whatever one remembers upon giving up the body at the time of death, O son of Kunti, one attains that state, being always absorbed in such contemplation.


Our life is a dukhaalayam. We ourselves are abodes of misery. Once we are born, we must face suffering, Nacha aadi – nacha anta: no beginning and no ending.

Gita Chapter 15, Verse 3:

na rupam asyeha tathopalabhyate
nanto na chadir na cha sampratishtha
ashvattham enam su-virudha-mulam
asanga-shastrena dridhena chhittva

The real form of this tree is not perceived in this world, neither its beginning nor end, nor its continued existence. But this deep-rooted aśhvatth tree must be cut down with a strong axe of detachment.

And one other thing we do it that we forget God, we forget the miracle that is this universe.

Consider this, how many factors have to be working together for us to be alive here at this present moment? Gravity, weather, and so many infinite factors. What out of these are in our control? Zero.

Even within our body, for all the organs to function properly, for all the organs doing their duty, how many things are we controlling? None, if the body is not a miracle, what else is it? There’s a higher intelligence that is taking care of these factors. So, that can bring us to the conclusion that.

“I am nothing, I know nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing.” – I am a nobody, considering all the biggest scheme of things.

So the first step is: Humility + Gratitude. Next, how should we live our life? We must live in a way that our creator is happy with us, in the righteous path. And now our karma yoga begins.

Here are 4 principles of Karma Yoga:

Kartavya Nirvahana – Performing our duties
Samyak Aacharanam – to the best of our abilities
Eashwara Arpana Buddhi – for the welfare of everyone. See shloka below
Eashwara Prasad Buddhi – Cheerful acceptance.

Eashwara Arpana Buddhi:

See this sadhana from the Upadesa Sara:

jagata isadhi-yukta-sevanam

If we but recognise this Universe
Of eightfold form as form of God, Himself,
And serve in adoration all the world.
This is of God most excellent worship.

This kind of Karma yoga purifies the mind so that the true nature of our bliss can shine through us. This must be the focus of our spiritual evolution. That we are going to perform our duties, our karma, not because we like or dislike them, but because they are right and not wrong. Karma yoga thus frees us from all bondages – our ragas and our dveshas.

Just like how a lotus lives in muddy water, but remains unscathed by its environment.

Gita Chatper 5, Verse 10:

brahmanyadhaya karmani sangam tyaktva karoti yah
lipyate na sa papena padma-patram ivambhasa

Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. It shows us that bitter experiences make us better.

Gita Chapter 5, Verse 3:

jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi yo na dveshti na kankshati
nirdvandvo hi maha-baho sukham bandhat pramuchyate

The karma yogis, who neither desire nor hate anything, should be considered always renounced. Free from all dualities, they are easily liberated from the bonds of material energy.

These karma yogis do God’s work and they believe that God will take care of everything. They are never narrow minded and self centered.

That is what Hanuman does in Tulasi Ramayan. In the Sundarakand episode, he is described as flying like the arrow of the Lord.

Gita Chapter 11, Verse 33:

nimitta-matram bhava savya-sachin

You will only be an instrument of My work, O expert archer. When you become the instrument of God, you are saying Saranaagati – total surrender. When we say Daasoham, God takes us to Soham. Renounce your ego, and you will become God itself.

CITED WORKS: Most of the Gita shloka translations mentioned in these essays have been sourced from this amazing resource: https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/




ESSAY SOURCE: This essay has been adapted from the teachings of Swami Aparajitananda in a spiritual discourse workshop in Atlanta in Nov, 2023.

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