We have seen that, broadly speaking, the Karma yoga system can be resumed in four principles:
- Do not consider any detached action as being without importance, negligible and incompatible with the role we may think we have to play in life as Karma yogi-s.
- Do not egotistically desire or fear the results of your completely detached actions, which you accomplish as divine instrument.
- Do not egotistically attach yourself to the action while you detachedly perform it.
- Neither during an action nor afterwards should you consider yourself the author of that action, but the instrument through which God manifests.
The last three points, if misunderstood, can easily lead to a state of total lack of interest (which is a manifestation of selfishness!) towards the action that has to be done. In this case we will perform that action superficially, hastily, “it doesn’t matter how”, because now we don’t feel responsible anymore. This is exactly the opposite of what KarmaYoga is in reality. In fact Karma Yoga puts a bigger responsibility on its practitioner.
This is obvious in two ways:
- The difficult responsibility of choosing from among all the existing possibilities the one which answers best to the highest divine ideal of that given moment. It is impossible to escape from this responsibility or hide from it, behind a dogma or a law;
- The obligation to perform, with all your might and in a perfect state of detachment that particular action that was chosen. This implies that, from time to time during that action it is necessary to set aside moments of reflection, andconsecration to the Divine. These moments are necessary in order to accomplish well these two conditions.
As Sri Aurobindo was writing to his disciples: “Laziness must be eradicated, of course, but sometimes it is obvious for me that you went too far in the opposite direction. It is necessary to act completely detached, with all the energy then offered by the Divine, but it is equally necessary sometimes to not act at all” (Practical Integral Yoga). “Too much uninterrupted work is sometimes altering the quality of action, regardless of the experience and the enthusiasm of the one who does it”.