Question: Could you possibly explain if there is some ground for unifying Karma Yoga and the Yoga of renunciation?

Sri Chinmoy: Karma Yoga is dedicated service. When we practise Karma Yoga, we try to make all our work a true dedicated service to the Supreme. In ordinary work we immediately expect something in return; we expect success or fortune or advancement. An ordinary human being will not work if he knows that there will be no success at the end of his work. But when one practices Karma Yoga, he works most devotedly; he serves most devotedly and soulfully without caring for the result, as such. He knows that the result will come in the form of either success or failure. He accepts both success and failure as an experience. Also, he feels that this experience is not actually his; it is the experience of God. When the seeker goes deep within, he sees that God Himself is the doer, He Himself is the work and He Himself is the result. When he is just a beginner, he feels that God is the giver and he is the receiver. But when he becomes advanced, he feels that God Himself is always acting in and through him and experiencing Himself in and through him.

“Thou hast the right to act but claim not the fruits thereof.” Lord Krishna has given us this message in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Song Celestial. The Upanishadic Seers have also said: “Action does not cleave to a man.” Action cannot bind us if it is divine action. If it is undivine action, immediately the result binds us. If we get success, immediately we feel that this success is not enough; if we get failure, immediately we want to give up.

The Upanishadic Seers have also said: “Enjoy through renunciation.” Now what do we actually renounce? We renounce the things in us that do not want to aspire, that do not want to reach the Goal or carry us to the Goal. Again, when we enter into the very breath of renunciation, into the very core of renunciation, we see that there is no such thing as renunciation. Renunciation is really transformation. If my leg is dirty, I don’t cut off my leg; I do not renounce it. No! I clean it; I transform it. If we see something that is dark, unlit, obscure and impure in us, we don’t have to discard it; we have to transform it. Night has to be transformed into light. But we cannot transform night all at once. We have to go to light first and bring some light into our system. Then the darkness in us will be transformed into light. That is God’s Dream, which we have to fulfil and transform into a reality. This is the message of Karma Yoga.