Karma-Yoga: Action and Sacrifice, Buddhism-Kamma and Jaina – Karma

Glide to success with Doorsteptutor material for competitive exams : get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.


  • Karma is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kri’ which means action.
  • Karma means conscious action; sacrifice; duty; self-surrender etc.
  • Nobody can remain exist without performing any kind of action.
  • The word yoga originated from the Sanskrit root yuj which means ‘to join.’
  • , path of work/action
  • Karma yoga is “a technique for intelligently performing actions.”
  • The ultimate objective of humankind according to Vedanta is to attain Moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death
  • Indian philosophy advocates that the paths for liberation must be suited to an individual՚s situation, temperament, and disposition.
  • Karma yoga is one of the paths that provide the route to the ultimate liberation.
  • According to Indian philosophy there are four types of paths to achieve moksha in life:
    • The Raja Yoga-The Path of Meditation & Contemplation (Sometimes known as the Path of Discipline)
    • Jnana yoga-The Path of Knowledge
    • Bhakti yoga-The Path of Devotion & Self-Surrender
    • Karma yoga-The Path of Action with the Right Attitudes and Intelligence

Karma-yoga, is a system of discipline aiming at the attainment of freedom through unselfishness and good works. In Vedic philosophy karma was viewed through life՚s rituals.

Two dimensions of karma yoga:

  • Doing one՚s duty;
  • No attachment with the actual outcome.

The karma-yogi need not believe in any religious doctrine whatever.

  • He need not believe even in God, may not ask what his soul is or think of any metaphysical speculation.
  • He has his own special aim of realizing selflessness; and he must work it out himself.
  • Every moment of his life must be realization, because he must solve by mere work, without the help of doctrine or theory, the very same problem to which the jnāni applies his reason and inspiration and the bhakta his love.
  • Karma yoga is a strategic tool that enables work to be done with the right skills, the correct level of competencies, with the right attitude towards others and the world and with commitment and dedication.
  • Karma yoga offers the opportunity to design one՚s life to be positive and purposeful.
  • The essence of karma yoga is that an individual is duty-orientated, indifferent to rewards and viewing others with equanimity.

The ways to elevate Karma are:

  • Less attachments.
  • Surrender to God completely.
  • Live according to Dharma.
  • Never lose trust in the Almighty.
  • Do your Karma without anticipating the result, as said by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita?

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

  • Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani II
  • You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. - Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47.

Buddhism- Kamma

  • In Buddhism, the equivalent of karma yoga consists of practising the Right Living on the Eightfold Path with intelligence or discrimination, and by engaging in ethical living with right speech, right thoughts, right perceptions, right discernment, etc.
  • Karma (kamma) in Buddhism is also viewed as action and consequences of action. However, the doctrine of the concept has two meanings in Buddhism: Universal and Psychological
  • In Buddhist philosophy only psychological karma is profound, which means for all intentional actions of body, mind and speech by individuals will have psychological consequences.
  • According to Buddhism, “bodily kamma, verbal kamma and mental kamma” can be resolved by individual effort only, by practising the Eightfold Path.
  • In the Buddhist tradition, karma refers to actions driven by intention (cetanā) , a deed done deliberately through body, speech, or mind, which leads to future consequences.

Jaina – Karma

  • The Jain tattvas, or principles deals with the theory of karma, which provides the basis for the path of liberation.
  • Jain literature explains nine fundamental tattvas. Without the proper knowledge of these tattvas, a person cannot progress spiritually.
    • Jiva - Soul or living being (consciousness)
    • Ajiva - Non-living substances
    • Asrava - Influx of karma
    • Bandha - Bondage of karma
    • Punya – Virtue
    • Paap – Sin
    • Samvara - Stoppage or arrest of the influx of karma
    • Nirjara - Exhuastion of the accumulated karma
    • Moksha - Total liberation from karma
  • Swami Vivekananda in his book, Karma yoga states,
  • “He works best who works without any motive, neither for money, nor for fame, nor for anything else; and when a man can do that, he will be a Buddha, and out of him will come the power to work in such a manner as will transform the world. This man represents the very highest ideal of Karma-Yoga.”

Developed by: