Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Selfless Service

Yogi Bhajan scrubbed the floors of the Golden Temple for four years. To many people this was inscrutable. The Master explained:

I’d like to share something very personal with you. I used to wash the floors of Harimander. [1] I was known as Yogi Baba, and a lot of people used to meditate on me. When they saw me washing those floors, they used to freak out. They asked me, ‘Why are you doing so?’ I asked them, ‘Why do you think I’m doing it?’ They said, ‘We don’t understand it at all. Why do you need this?’ I said, ‘I may have reached God consciousness long ago through meditation, but I have not reached it yet through seva.’ Seva means doing a service of no return. That is how the grace gets multiplied–when you are not seeking any return. I said, ‘By doing this seva at the Guru’s House [2] I want to make a relationship between me and my Guru. Therefore, I feel that serving the House of the Guru is more graceful for me than anything else.

-Yogi Bhajan

Karma Yoga at Women's Camp

Participants will form Karma Yoga Groups during the Evening Program on the first night of camp. The Karma Yoga group functions as a small tribe; a portal to connecting deeply with the women at camp. Karma Yoga requires approx. one hour of daily service and karma yoga groups will rotate between the following areas:

  • Dishwashing: Set-up, maintain and break down the dishwashing stations.
  • Meal Serving:  Serve food to your fellow women with love and grace.
  • Grounds: Anything out of place – you put back into place.  Activities include patrolling the areas of camp to make sure things are neat and organized, pick up stray trash and things that get knocked around by the Ram Das Puri Wind, and help to keep the teaching tent and lunar lounge area neat to contribute to making our camp a cozy and welcoming environment for everyone.
  • Gurdwara: Help set up the Gurdwara space after Sadhana, serve during gurdwara, and sweep after Gurdwara.

Everyone at Women's Camp either does one of the above Karma Yoga duties, or is on a Service Exchange team.  

More on Karma Yoga

Yogi Bhajan spoke about some aspect of Seva/Karma Yoga in almost every class he taught. He encouraged his students to focus on giving rather than getting, to live with an attitude of gratitude for all blessings and all challenges, to act as a forklift and uplift others in need, and to serve humanity with love.

Love is seva. It’s offering yourself and helping to increase the vitality, the surroundings of somebody, giving somebody grace.  Yogi Bhajan 7/10/95

Seva means doing a service, a service with no return. That is how grace gets multiplied, when you are not seeking any return. Yogi Bhajan 7/20/81

There is something called seva, which is done with your heart and head both. It is done in the Name of God, in obedience to God, and for the sake of God. What that brings no man can give you. Yogi Bhajan 7/28/82

Service is when you totally don't feel like serving; you're tired, you're jet-lagged, you're obnoxious, you're very, very angry; and still you go into the kitchen and you make a good dish and you say, "Are you hungry? I made this for you"--that's called serving. Yogi Bhajan 7/30/81