Chapter

Karma-yoga

Arvind Sharma

in Classical Hindu Thought

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195658712
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082018 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195658712.003.0018
Karma-yoga

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This chapter assesses the significance of the path of action. The path of knowledge was popularly interpreted as involving the renunciation of worldly activities; and even the path of devotion was seen as imparting an ‘other-worldly’ quality to one's life (as one focused more on God than on this world). The path of action, however, made the astonishing and revolutionary claim that one could approach ultimate reality by performing one's own normal worldly duties, provided these were done in the right spirit. The Indian ethos has generally tended to emphasize the road of renunciation—coupled with either knowledge or devotion—as leading to realization. In this respect, the doctrine of karma-yoga is significant as endowing ordinary life in the world with salvific power.

Keywords: path of action; knowledge; God; ultimate reality; worldly duties; Indian ethos; Hindu thought; renunciation

Chapter.  2084 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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