By Swami Harshananda
karmamarga (‘the path of karma or action’)
From the most ancient times, the Vedic religion has kept before man, two paths—karmamārga (the path of action) and jñānamārga (the path of knowledge). Since the former advocates activism, whereas the latter upholds withdrawal from actions except those needed for maintaining the body for sādhanā or spiritual practice, the two are also called, respectively, pravṛtti-mārga and nivṛtti-mārga.
In the karmamārga, a person entitled for it, has to avoid niṣiddhakarma (prohibited or sinful actions), perform nitya and naimittika karmas (obligatory daily actions and occasional ones) without selfish motives, as a duty and in a spirit of worship of God. This purifies him gradually, enabling him to go to higher worlds like pitṛloka or the world of manes through the Dhumādimārga, the path of smoke.
Performance of Vedic sacrifices like the Agnihotra and the Darśapurṇamāsa as also several others including those motivated by unfulfilled desires, are also included in this karmamārga.
See also KARMAYOGA.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore