Two young devotees help with digging in the greenhouse, performing seva or karma yoga as an offering of worship to the Divine.

Karma yoga

Be where you areGuru Sri Subramanium, founder of Skanda Vale
The monks and nuns of Skanda Vale who lead the temple worship are unmarried, unpaid renunciants (sannyasin) who perform all the daily ashram chores as ‘karma yoga’ or selfless service.

Karma yoga requires us to do our best, to concentrate on the job at hand, and to cooperate with others in fulfilling our duty. In this way, karma yoga helps us to overcome the negative and destructive effects of our ego. The practice of karma yoga forms the essential basis of a strong, happy and harmonious community.

What is karma yoga?

Karma yoga means selfless service – but it goes beyond the common understanding of ‘volunteering’ or ‘charity work’ – for it is performed as a heartfelt offering of love to the Divine. It is the process of harmonising our conscience, our desires, our thoughts, our words, and finally our actions into a focussed and powerful expression of selfless love.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna teaches us that liberation lies in offering all of our actions, and their fruits, to God. Work then becomes effortless and joyful. We become bold and fearless, developing pure devotion, feeling more and more that we are His instruments. By transforming all of our deeds into expressions of love for God, we shrink our negative, selfish patterns of attachment and become free.

…those who, renouncing all actions in Me, and regarding Me as the Supreme, worship Me… For those whose thoughts have entered into Me, I am soon the deliverer from the ocean of death and transmigration, Arjuna. Keep your mind on Me alone, your intellect on Me. Thus you shall dwell in Me hereafter.
Bhagavad Gita

Freedom through desireless action

Desireless action is true spiritual awareness. It ignites devotion and bliss, purifying the heart and mind to realize the presence of God in every particle of the universe. Karma yoga takes place in the mundane everyday activities of life, yet it enables us to manifest the Chaitanya – the Divine Cosmic Consciousness – that is present both within and outside us.

Realise that the Divine is in every single thing you do: Eat when you eat. Work when you work. Play when you play. And when you worship, worship God with all of your might, and all of your strength.Guru Sri Subramanium, Skanda Vale's founder

Practice karma yoga at Skanda Vale

Please come to reception straight after the Sri Ranganatha puja each morning, and we will assign you a simple task – it may include vegetable chopping, flower arranging, cleaning, gardening, or moving the food offerings, depending on what needs to be done that day. The school holidays are our busiest times of the year, and that is when we need the most help.

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