Integral Yoga Teachings

On this path no effort is wasted, nor is there any danger of adverse effects.
Even a little practice of this Yoga protects one from great fear.

On this path” refers to Karma Yoga. Sri Krishna explains that Karma Yoga differs from ordinary karma (actions) in two ways. First, no effort is wasted. If, after working on this article for an hour or so, my computer crashes and I lose my work, my effort has pretty much gone out the window. Second, He says that there is no danger of adverse effects. If a nurse gives you someone else’s medication by mistake, you could have a big problem. In whatever we do, it is always possible that things are going to go wrong.

Krishna ArjunaKrishna, however, tells us here that in our effort to practice Karma Yoga we need not worry about these dangers. Why not? We all have had experience with things going really wrong despite our attempts to approach the activity with the right yogic attitude. The way I reconcile this is to feel that Krishna is not speaking from an external, worldly level, but from a subtle spiritual perspective. Outwardly things may really turn out to be a mess, but from a karmic standpoint, if our motive is good and we give it our best, then “no effort is wasted” and there is “no danger of adverse effects.” Though our effort turned out to be a disaster, it has not created any bad karma. Possibly it generated some good karma, or even better, we generated no karma.

Furthermore, Krishna states here that even a little practice goes a long way. I often think that I need to be doing more if I am ever going to attain Self-realization. However, Krishna is reassuring us here that whatever little steps we take toward the Light have some lasting impact. We are planting seeds that will someday bear fruit. The effort to plant the seed will not be lost, nor will the seed bring any harm.

One time in New York I was in the car with Sri Swami Satchidanandaji and Swami Ramanandaji. I mentioned to Sri Gurudev that Ramananda and I felt it was time to build up our meditation practice. Gurudev was silent. I went on to say that the three meditations in the IYI daily schedule were too short—I did not think it was possible to get enlightened without a longer practice. Silence. I continued: “The Buddhists meditate for several hours a day. After all these years with You, we should also work toward that, right?” After being quiet for awhile longer, Gurudev said, “I tried that. I don’t think it was that helpful. “ “Really! I thought everyone was supposed to learn to meditate for longer and longer periods of time.”

Gurudev: “Do you enjoy your work?” “Most of the time.” “Learn to enjoy what you are doing and stick to the meditation schedule. That will be enough.” “Enough to get enlightened, not just to be more peaceful?” “Yes, enough to get enlightened.”

Master Sivananda: “Anything done in this spirit, however little it may be, saves one from great fear of being caught in the wheel of birth and death.”

Living Gita 2The Bhagavad Gita is a 2,500 year old Sanskrit text that offers profound insight into the deeper practices of yoga. As the seeker in the Gita metaphorically prepares for the battle of spiritual transformation, he asks his teacher a series of questions. In his answers the teacher explains the many challenges and stages of the yogic spiritual path.

IYTA members receive a 45% discount on the Bhagavad Gita at Integral Yoga Distribution.


Upcoming Related Programs in 2015:

  • “Advanced Hatha Yoga Teacher Training” from  August 9-30, 2015 with Swami Asokananda
  • “Understanding the Bhagavad Gita” from August 21-23, 2015 with Yoganand Michael Carroll
  • “Intermediate Hatha Yoga Teacher Training” from June 21-23, 2015 with Satya Greenstone

The ITT course includes the study of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the world’s great scriptures. Many may not realize that the Bhagavad Gita is a manual of Yoga par excellence. The treasure revealed within the Gita expounds the philosophy and practices of the Four Main Paths of Yoga, introduced to Integral Yoga students in the Basic teacher training course. In ITT we will expand our understanding of the comprehensiveness of yoga which comprises Integral Yoga.

*Use this Sanskrit dictionary to look up words.