The next yoga is called Karma yoga. ‘Karma’ means ‘action’. So in Karma yoga one becomes united with the Supreme through the activities. They act in life doing many things but their activity is dedicated to God. And the aspect of the Absolute Truth we are going to dedicate this to is Bhagavan. Now we are relating directly to the highest aspect – Bhagavan.
In our material activities there is fruit. In fact this is why we do most of the things we do. We work, we do whatever we do because we want some fruit. The most classic understanding is working and the fruit is the money. That is what jobs are all about – our activity produces money. So we use that money, the user of the fruit is ourself.
But in Karma yoga you take the fruit of your labor and dedicate it to God. And this brings us into direct contact with Bhagavan. When you start relating to a person, then you become closer to that person. Let’s just say you work and make money, every Friday you get paid. And you know there is a poor old lady. She has no money. You don’t know her, you have just heard about her. But you start taking some of the money that you make and you give it to this old lady. Every week you go and give her some money. That brings you in contact with this lady. And a relationship develops, you get to know this lady. And maybe the relationship becomes very, very close. And that is how it is when we relate to Bhagavan. We give some of our fruit to Bhagavan and we are relating to Him directly. And so we move closer in our relationship.
Another definition of yoga is relationship. So in Karma yoga the relationship becomes closer and closer. If I am only thinking of myself, the relationship is basically non-existent. Like with the old lady. Even if I hear about her, I don’t have a relationship with her. So Karma yoga is the yoga of action.
And oftentimes the motive is not pure. Maybe I give some… Let’s just use money again. I use some money for God’s service but also I want God to give me something, there is still some fruit here. But nonetheless it is purifying because I am contacting God directly. And it purifies us. Gradually, gradually it purifies us until the motive becomes actually pure – to please God. I don’t want Him to give me anything, I just want to do this because of His pleasure. And this way we come to Bhakti yoga.