Hanuman practiced the yoga of action, karma yoga. He performed all his duties without detachment, offering everything he did to his beloved Rama. Hanuman was completely free from any need for praise or tribute. In the whole telling of the Ramayana, you will not find one incident where Hanuman did something for himself. All of Hanuman’s actions were in service of others.
Hanuman’s mother actually scolded Hanuman for not killing Ravana and taking Sita for himself, making Hanuman even more famous than Rama. Hanuman simply stayed steadfast in his intention that his life was to serve Rama, not to gain fame. Instead of conquering the Island Lanka for himself, he stayed loyal to Rama’s orders.
There is a lot of confusion around karma and our understanding in popular culture. I think it is misunderstood as a way to seek revenge or justice. How about these sayings as proof: “When karma comes back to punch you in the face, I want to be there, just in case it needs help.” Karma is often referred to as a female dog – a word starting with a b, if you will. “Karma is only a b___ if you are.” Rarely is karma viewed in an altruistic light in our culture.
Right now we are reading the Bhagavad Gita as a community on our membership site and we are on chapter three which happens to be on karma yoga.
Karma simply means deed or action. When we speak of the laws of karma it simply means that every action leads to a reasonable effect or that everything that happens can be traced to something done in the past. In other words, our actions determine destiny and we reap what we sow.
The problem with this law of cause and effect is that we can get stuck in seeking pleasure compulsively, tying ourselves tighter and tighter to worldly responsibilities and opportunities and forgetting our spiritual life altogether. The solution then, is to perform our work like Hanuman, without selfish attachment to the fruit of the outcome.
- Hanuman The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God by Vanamali
- Bhagavad Gita Classics of Indian Spirituality by Eknath Easwaran
Props Needed: Yoga Strap, blanket, bolster, chair, blocks
Yoga Asana/Postures: Supta Padangusthasana/Hand to Big Toe Pose, Arm/Leg Reach Quadruped, Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana/Plank, Shoulder Mobility with Strap, Chair Pose/Utkatasana, Anjaneyasana/High Lunge, Virabhadrasana Three/Warrior Three, Sasangasana/Rabbit, Ardha Matsyendrasana/Half lord of the fishes pose, Paścimottānāsana/Seated Forward Fold