In life, karma (An act, action which gives rise to destiny) is unavoidable. Even to sustain life, the karma of breathing has to be performed. A continuous generation of ‘give-and-take’ accounts with others is a consequence that comes along with karma. Every karma compulsorily results in merits-demerits. As a result, the cycle of birth and death continues. This is what is termed as karma-Bandhan (Bondage due to karma). Under such circumstances, Karmayoga (Path of Karma) spells out the path of breaking free from the cycles of birth and death.
1. Cycle of Karma
Karma cannot be evaded. As long as the physical body exists, karma will definitely be performed. Performing karma creates an impression and thereby creates bondage. One karma leads to another, and in this way, the cycle of karma continues uninterrupted. Karma of Universe is Creation, Sustenance, and Dissolution.
2. General importance
नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मण: ।
शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्धयेदकर्मण: ।।
– Shrimadbhagwadgeeta, Adhyaya 3, Shloka 8
Meaning : Therefore, do you perform obligatory duty; for action (performing karma) is superior to inaction; and even the bare maintenance of the body would not be possible if you are inactive.
Just as wealth and the warrior attitude are the two sides of an active worldly life, activity or effort forms the third. Shrikrushṇa, Bhishma, Bheem, Arjun and other men from the epic Mahabharat, are always found to appreciate the only activity. Shrikrushṇa has said, “Man has to always keep trying. With the thought that luck is unfavorable, he should not become lackluster, dejected and languid and must not remain idle”. (Mahabharat Udyogparva 77)
Examples to show how karma is essential
Karma is movement. Life too is movement. At the time of death, all movement ceases. So that the physical and worldly activities be performed efficiently, the smooth functioning of the physical body, the motor organs, the sense organs, the mind, and the intellect, as well as their working in tandem is important.
A. Enables sustenance of life
Life depends on activities like contraction & dilatation of heart, breathing, digestion of food, etc.
B. Enables defense and attack
Karma is necessary to defend from the enemy or from fire, and to attack the enemy.
C. Enables to earn money
For earning a livelihood and to attain happiness.