What I understood from Karma Yoga teachings is that it is path to Gyan Yoga. Before I can connect with the Self, I have to first purify my mind and get a grip of the various chitta vrittis.
My mind is sometimes filled with either fear or worry. Fear or worry happens because I am not living in the now and doing what I need to do. Verse 47, is teaching me to live in the now. This verse is also teaching me that all I can control is my own actions. As long as I have the task in my hand, I can do my purushartha. But once I have done it, it is no longer in my hands.
In order to keep myself in the now, I have implemented a timetable, in which I try to stick to the tasks I have decided. This keeps me away from thinking about the future/past. I also realized that when I do my best, the thought that now it is in Ishwara’s hands comes automatically, as deep within I know, I did what I could have done. Each time I, knowingly or unknowingly, cut corners in my work, I automatically worry and compare myself with others.
From verse 38, another key thing I learnt is accepting all situations in my life so that I can become an observer. There are times when I lament the hard times that have come to me. Karma yoga is teaching me that both favourable and unfavourable times are prasaad for Ishwara. Unfavourable times have also led me to my teacher. They come to challenge me so than I can grow and favourable times come to help me further in my journey. To truly appreciate the favourable times, I should learn to appreciate unfavourable times. Once I accept and become an observer, I can use my intellect to discriminate. I also need my discriminating faculty in order to keep my artha and kaama desires under check.
I learnt from Verse 42,43,44, that a karmi who is involved in just artha and kaama, has endless desires spawning in the mind. In such a mind the desire for moksha can never arise, as the mind is filled with desires that spawn more of its kind. I do not want to be a karmi and get stuck in the loop of generating more karma. I have experienced that if a material desire comes in my mind, and I do not check it, it takes up my mental bandwidth and leaves little room for anything else. In verse 45, shunya ji taught that all artha kaama desires only give temporary joy. Sooner or later they come with pain. In my life, I have observed this as well. Every artha kaama desire that I have had, has given me temporary joy only and has invariably given me pain if I have remained attached to it.
I learnt from Verse 41, that the way out of this is to constantly practice Karma yoga which will lead me to Vyavasāya-ātmikā buddhiḥ or a single minded focus. Such a mind clearly knows why it is pursuing a task. When the thought behind all action is that it is an offering to Ishwara, there is clarity of higher purpose and an element of excellence in it. The focus is on refining the action rather than controlling the results. Verse 45 also teaches me the same by saying that bind artha and kaama within Dharma and Moksha. Performing the action in a righteous manner and offering it to god to me is like a constant Moksha thought.
In summary, from verses of Karma Yoga I learnt that there are two key issues with the human mind that lead to karma vikaaka. One, that it is unable to handle pair of opposites in life and the other that it tries to control the outcome by being artha and Kaama dominant (more rajas tamas).
Karma Yoga helps to break these two habits of the mind. It is teaching me, to start accepting all situations in my life as they are so that I can develop a state of “samatvam”. In verse 46, Lord Krishna says that the finite is contained within the infinite. Finite joy comes through the pursuit of just artha and kaama and infinite joy comes by making dharma and mokha more important in life. Hence, I should aim for infinite joy. My focus has to be in putting my hardwork and purifying the intention behind the action. What ultimately comes to me is in Ishwara’s jurisdiction and is a result of my past and present actions.