With the help of karma yoga, a person can purify his gross existence and, most importantly, rise spiritually through the correct performance of duties.
Few people think seriously about spiritual life, so far everything is good. Having stepped on the same rake of fate several times, we finally understand that we are not educated enough to understand pressing everyday issues. After all, if we cannot influence a situation, this does not mean that we put little effort into it. It's just that each of us has our limits. So, the understanding gradually comes that we really cannot always do something, and the need for knowledge arises in order to understand why this happens.
For example, not everyone can get married, earn good money, have children, etc. Oleg Gennadievich claims that if the time has not come to get married, then the girl does not have a single chance to do so. And if the time has come, then there is no chance to avoid it. Therefore, it is not we who control the energies that provide us with these chances and opportunities, but the personality we call God, the Absolute or the Supersoul.
The Vedas describe that there are many paths to God. In this case, God is likened to the ocean, and all paths are like the rivers that flow into it. Since the word “yoga” means connection with Him, the highest source of energy, all these paths in Sanskrit are called varieties of yoga. In this article we will look at karma yoga and its manifestation through the system of social order (varnashrama).
Karma yoga is the path on which a person realizes God through his activities (“karma” is translated from Sanskrit as “action”). The path of karma yoga means that a person has begun to fulfill his duty and duties. And here it is important to understand what is our duty, purpose, how we can be useful to society. Therefore, karma yoga considers a system of constitutions of the mind (varna) and ways of spiritual life (ashrams).
In Vedic philosophy, there are four classes, which are determined by the qualities a person receives at birth. There is a false belief that classes, or castes, are determined by the family into which a person is born, but this is not true. Man's nature is determined by the qualities of character that God has endowed him with. In accordance with these qualities, scientists (brahmanas), leaders (kshatriyas), traders (vaishas) and workers (shudras) are distinguished.
They all have different inclinations and abilities, and each of them has defining character traits that identify them as one of the four types. So, for example, for a scientist the most important thing is truth, for a leader - order, for a merchant - generosity, and for a worker - love of work. Thus, by demonstrating these qualities, people can achieve success in their activities and benefit society.
If we are not properly developed, then even when engaged in activities according to our destiny, we will be distinguished by opposite qualities. An undeveloped scientist will not be inclined to transfer his knowledge, but he may boast about it too much and feel his personal superiority over other people. An undeveloped leader will not protect and care for his subordinates, but, on the contrary, will use his position to put pressure on those who are lower in status and subservience to his superiors.
If a person is a businessman by nature, but he is not developed as a person, then he will try to earn all the money in the world, but at the same time he will be characterized by strong greed. It will be difficult for him to allocate any money for charitable purposes. An undeveloped worker person will be very lazy. He will disrupt orders, do his job carelessly and strive to ensure that people around him leave him behind. In this way, the underdevelopment of the four types, or varnas, will manifest itself, which will subsequently lead to the suffering of the person himself and society as a whole. After all, those who do not want to fulfill their duties or do not work according to their purpose make society sick and contribute to its degradation.
You should know that working for something other than what you were intended for does not bring anything good. Thus, a doctor, who by nature is not a scientist, but a merchant, will strive to make money from patients. A judge who is not a leader will feel sorry for everyone or will succumb to the manipulations of the defendants' defenders. As a result, he will not be able to make the right verdict. The defendant will suffer from this (an unpunished person incurs even greater suffering), the judge (a wrong decision will entail bad karma) and society (people around will stop fulfilling their duties and will think that nothing will happen to them for this).
The scriptures say that it is better to do one's duty poorly than to do someone else's well. Therefore, if a married woman is proud that she sent her child to a nursery and went to earn money for the mortgage or personally made repairs in the entire apartment, then there is nothing special to boast about. Although at first glance, it seems quite harmless and I want to say: “What a great guy.” So what if I moved all the boxes in the dacha myself, hammered in the nails and cleaned the sink, but the job was done, and that’s okay.
This behavior creates a habit in a man that his wife already knows how to do everything perfectly well and why bother when you can watch TV or play computer games. Over time, such zeal to fulfill other people's duties will not only not bring gratitude from a loved one, but will certainly result in a scandal. The wife will think that she got a lazy husband who cannot even shake hands with her while she is running around the apartment with a stepladder.
For this reason, a woman should not take on a man’s responsibilities: being the head of the family, providing her with finances, making decisions, carrying heavy loads, etc. She should improve as a woman in her responsibilities: preparing food with love, cleaning the house, raising children , establishing relationships with all relatives, etc. This will help strengthen the family, and therefore the entire society. So, one happy family can help other families, but an unhappy family, alas, cannot help anyone, moreover, it can ruin other prosperous families.
At the same time, the path of karma yoga assumes that a person fulfills his duties, but does not become attached to the fruits of his labor. This means that he is raising a child, but does not expect him to take care of him as an adult. Such a person, doing good deeds, does not expect gratitude in return. When planning some things, he understands that everything can change at the last moment, and accepts this. Because if we become attached to the results, and then everything turns out differently, then we experience great suffering and begin to blame others for it.
As far as the ashrama system is concerned, a person must gradually go through four stages of life: discipleship, family life, retirement and asceticism. If earlier we looked at a system that puts a person within a framework in relation to social activities, then here we see restrictions that are associated with a person’s personal life. Why are such restrictions necessary? They help a person not to forget about God, follow spiritual principles and perform austerities.
For example, in his youth, a person should receive moral and spiritual education on how to live correctly. During this period of life, he serves the spiritual teacher and at the same time completely abstains from communicating with the opposite sex. Then he creates a family, whose main duty is to raise pious children, support relatives, especially elderly parents, saints, and also guests. Therefore, in Vedic times, any monk could find refuge in the simplest family. It is believed that such service pleases God very much.
Then comes a period when a person retires from active work and gradually transfers all affairs to his children. At this time, he devotes more time to spiritual practice and performing austerities, and prepares for renunciation. This period echoes other spiritual traditions in which older people immerse themselves in spiritual life, sensing an approaching meeting with God. The last stage is renunciation. This period is characterized by service to God, complete renunciation of the material world and preparation for leaving the body and achieving liberation. Thus, a person lives a conscious life filled with spiritual practice and service to people and God.
According to the two systems (varnasramas) described, each person has his own set of duties that he must perform. Therefore, if people think about their purpose and responsibilities, develop themselves as individuals and fulfill their duty, then society will be happy and prosperous. In Vedic culture, varnasrama helped to streamline a person’s social and personal relationships and create conditions for spiritual development. Thus, with the help of karma yoga, a person can purify his gross existence and, most importantly, rise spiritually through the correct performance of duties.