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Karma Yog Sadhana: Practical Devotional Practices in Daily Life

Nov 6th, 2018 | 3 Min Read
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Category: Spirituality


Language: English

When we immerse ourselves in devotional lectures, the spiritual energy of a Saint naturally takes our minds into a divine mode. However, practically implementing these teachings in the face of life's challenges can be daunting. Whether navigating a demanding project, preparing for exams, or managing a bustling household, integrating spiritual wisdom into our daily routine is a common struggle for most spiritual seekers. Putting the knowledge into practice is a common struggle among most sadhaks. There is no escape from Maya, the divine energy of Supreme Brahman, until He removes it through His grace. 

दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया |
मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्ति ते ||
daivī hyeṣhā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te
(Gita 7-14)

The most effective means of attracting God's grace is through complete surrender to Him.

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: || 66||
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhuchaḥ
(Gita 18-66)

Surrendering to the Divine for Grace and Guidance

One of the practical tools to put into practice the divine knowledge that you have acquired is to allocate a specific time at the beginning and end of each day for 'karm sanyas,' a practice of momentarily renouncing all worldly actions to focus on uplifting and purifying the mind. During this dedicated hour, you become a 'karm sanyasi.'
For the remainder of your day, embrace the role of a 'karma yogi.' While fulfilling your worldly duties, maintain a continuous connection with God. Start your day with solitude, firmly intending to prioritize God in all your actions. Remind yourself that you are a soul, and your most profound relationship is with your Guru and God.

A Continuous Relationship with the Divine

Frequent reminders throughout the day to think of God reinforce His presence as a constant companion, guide, and protector. These moments remind us that God is with us, even when His presence is invisible to our eyes. Reflecting on the qualities dear to God can provide strength and resolve when facing emotionally challenging situations.

ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: ||
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāns tathaiva bhajāmyaham
(Gita 4-11)

As you go about the rest of the day dealing with the challenges of material life, set reminders for every hour to think of God. Take a moment to think of Him, and it doesn't have to be for long. This moment is for you to realize that He is with you throughout as your companion, guide and protector, as your closest friend. This realization protects you from committing any sin and keeps you on track with the resolve to make God your priority. If things become very emotionally challenging, remind yourself of the kind of person who is dear to God.

अनपेक्ष: शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथ: |
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्त: स मे प्रिय: ||
anapekṣhaḥ śhuchir dakṣha udāsīno gata-vyathaḥ
sarvārambha-parityāgī yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
(Gita 12-16)

Turning Challenges into Opportunities for Growth

Sometimes, life may seem overwhelming and challenging, but it's important to remind yourself that every situation you encounter is an opportunity for growth. Take solace in knowing that the divine force is guiding you and you have the strength to overcome any obstacle. To aid in your journey of self-improvement, make it a habit to reflect on your day at its end. Take time to acknowledge your positive actions and any negative thoughts or gossip. It's crucial not to be disheartened by your mistakes. Instead, let them serve as valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. Resolve to avoid repeating them, and consciously try to improve yourself every day. Remember, it's the small steps that lead to significant progress. Shri Krishna says,

अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ||
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate
(Gita 6-35)

Before you sleep, thank God for everything and pray for His help in aligning your intellect with His.

मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय |
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशय: ||
mayy eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ niveśhaya
nivasiṣhyasi mayy eva ata ūrdhvaṁ na sanśhayaḥ 
(Gita 12-8)
Begin the next day again from where you left off, and repeat the cycle. Try, try and try until you succeed one day.