[Advaita-l] Karma yoga: the kinder, softer preparation for self-inquiry and surrender

jaldhar at braincells.com jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Mar 2 00:58:53 EST 2021

On Fri, 26 Feb 2021, Akilesh Ayyar via Advaita-l wrote:

> Self-inquiry and surrender are the most powerful methods for penetrating
> the egoic illusion, but for that very reason they require a great deal of
> commitment. Because they attack thought and your notion of doership and
> control at every moment, they can rouse a lot of fear and anxiety, and
> require a great deal of commitment. If they seem simply far too difficult,

Fear or lassitude is the hallmark of a tamasic outlook.  One with those 
attitudes will fail at karmayoga just as easily as any other kind of yoga.

> there is a preparatory step that is easier: karma yoga. Karma yoga does not
> require you to give up your illusions of control.

It most certainly does.  The difference between karma and karmayoga is the 
latter is done solely as duty and as a sacrifice to Bhagavan.

> It says, "Go ahead and do  what you need to do. Only keep the attitude 
> that no matter what happens,  good or bad, you are not going to be 
> emotionally affected."

"what you need to do" is an unecessarily vague  way to put it.  Consider 
Arjuna.  He  did not "need to" fight at all.  He could have relinquished 
the kingdom to the Kauravas and been done with it.  He has to fight 
because it is his _duty_ to fight and that duty is determined by his 
Kshatriya descent not his individual preferences.   And "not going to be 
emotionally affected" is new age therapy speak.  A sthitaprajna is one who 
has the fortitude to withstand the _consequences_ of karma.  Because karma 
always has consequences even if commanded by Sakshat Narayayana Himself. 
In the Mahabharata it is pointed out that Arjuna and his brothers spent 
some time in naraka as a result of the himsa and other adharma they had 
committed in there lifetimes.  The karmayogi accepts the consequences and 
is indifferent to svarga and naraka and that is what purifies his mind and 
prepares him for jnana (which is the only escape from the consequences of 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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