“There are two ways to lead life; constant strife and work in which we are whirled rapidly around Or renunciation in which everything is peaceful around. Neither of these ways is perfect. A man used to solitude if brought in contact with the surging whirlpool of the world, will be crushed by it. Similarly, a man who has been used to the turmoil and rush of live won’t find peace in a quiet place.
An ideal man is he who, in the midst of greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the intensest activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint. He has controlled himself. He goes through the streets of a big city with all its traffic, and his mind is as calm as if he were in a cave, where not a sound could reach him. That is the ideal of karma yoga and if you have attained that you have really learnt the secrets of work.”
– Swami Vivekananda, Karma Yoga
This excerpt is from Swami Vivekananda’s book Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action. The central theme of this book is that the renunciation of the the worldly affairs is not the only path to attain the enlightenment. It is possible to attain this blissful state of mind by being in this very world if we practice Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action.
Karma Yoga finds its mention in the Bhagvat Geeta, a Hindu Scripture. Karma means any activity we are indulged in. Most of our actions are derived by the self interests. Self interest involved in an action can be anything for instance, to seek revenge on someone, expecting monetary gain or even emotional support from someone, and so on. These tendencies stop us from becoming that ideal human being who finds peace in whatever activity he is indulged in.
It is only when we are not worried about the end results or the profit attached with the results of our actions, we wont fear failure, and wont feel dejected if we face one. Only a selfless action can give us the peace of mind, and to do such selfless work one needs to practice the self control and the Yoga of Action.