Confusion about Karma Yoga and setting/achieving goals


I am an undergraduate student doing software engineering. I get confused about karma yoga as a student: shouldn’t I have goals to get a good job? And how should I apply karma yoga in my studies and to achieve my goals?

—Nishant, INDIA


Thank you for your thoughtful questions.

Should you have goals? Well, sure. But whether setting goals (of any nature), engaged in your studies or working, invite the divine into all that you do. Pray and inwardly determine that everything be in tune with your highest purpose and dharma, that your actions take you in the direction of divine union. Meditation will help you every step of the way…

It helps to refer to the classic teaching regarding Karma Yoga: Action without the desire for the fruits of the action. Once you have determined a goal, pay attention to your attitudes and actions rather than on the goal itself. It will help to try to see God, rather than your little ego, as the Doer. No matter the activity, try to feel as though the divine is acting (setting goals, working, planning, studying) through you.

Review or check in from time to time, not with a mind attached to achieving specific results, but rather to ensure that you are “doing” everything with the right attitude and with God. Make “course corrections” as needed. Do your part and let God take care of the results…