A cyberspace devotee from Tamil Nadu, India, asks about karma yoga. Gurudeva explains the voluntary, selfless nature of karma yoga and how it effects future lives.
Acharya Palaniswami: This next question comes from Tamil Nadu, from Ponnimattur.
Respectful pranams to the Holy Feet of His Holiness Gurudeva. I would like to be enlightened as to the exact significance of karma yoga in Hinduism. Aum.
Gurudeva: Karma yoga can start within the home, within the Temple and almost anywhere. It is selfless service without looking for reward or expecting even acknowledgment of 'thank you'.
If you have a shrine room in your home and you go in quietly and clean it up, without anyone asking you or anyone really knowing that you were the one who did it, that is karma yoga. If someone has to remind you to clean the shrine room and then you do it, with a nice spirit, that is not karma yoga.
Karma yoga is creating good karma that you want to come back to you in the future, by performing physical, mental and emotional service, by volunteering yourself to service.
Often in temples you will see karma yogis pulling the weeds out of the garden. Nobody has asked them to do that, nobody expects them to do that but they are performing this service, unasked and not looking for any appreciation. That is true karma yoga.