32 Karma Bhagavad Gita Quotes To Inspire You Along The Path

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The concept of Karma is a fundamental philosophical principle of the Bhagavad Gita, and its influence on Hinduism is so significant that it’s considered the bedrock of ethics in society.

The Bhagavad Gita is a piece of literature originating in India that is part of the epic poem “Mahabharata”. It is primarily read as a dialogue between the noble warrior Arjuna, and the Supreme God Lord Krishna.

The Gita covers topics such as; Self-Realization, The Nature Of Reality, Dharma (duty), Karma, Love & Yoga.

In this article we have collected our favorite Karma Bhagavad Gita quotes translated from Sanskrit into English on the below aspects:

a open bhagavad gita book with wooden prayer beads

On The Meaning Of Karma

Karma refers to action, and one way to understand it is by observing how positive, negative, and neutral actions of all kinds accumulate at the levels of mind, body, and soul. 

These actions are inevitably transferred throughout the fabric of the universe.

Time is an integral aspect of karma, as what has happened in the past affects what is happening now, and what is happening now will affect what happens in the future.

The Bhagavad Gita and other ancient texts state that a person’s soul gathers all their moral and immoral deeds in their body. 

Whenever they do something terrible, their soul and body experiences pain, while it feels peaceful and one-pointed when they perform moral, good acts. 

In case a person’s actions fail to purify their karma and fulfill the requirements of dharma, their soul will continue to exist and undergo rebirth. As a result, Karma, the soul, and reincarnation are intimately interconnected.

Many of the Karma Bhagavad Gita quotes are also based on the concept of desireless or selfless action. 

In yogic, Hindu, and Buddhist philosophies, actions (karma) originate in the mind. Therefore, there is a significant emphasis on achieving a state of balance and equanimity in one’s mind. 

The goal is to cultivate a mindset of detachment, rather than performing actions solely for material, emotional, or social gain.

a painting of krishna and arunja surrounded by horses and elephants in the bhagavad gita.

2 Bhagavad Gita Quotes On Karma

1. “The meaning of Karma is in the intention. The intention behind the action is what matters. Those who are motivated only by the desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.”

2. “Whatever happened was good, what’s happening it’s going well, whatever will happen, will also be good. You need not have any regards from the past. You do not worry about the future. Live in the present.”

On Desireless Action, Or Karmic Action

In the Bhagavad Gita, there is lots of emphasis on how to perform karmic action, or selfless/desireless action. 

Desireless action is a concept from the Bhagavad Gita that involves performing actions without being attached to their outcomes or results. 

The focus is on acting without expecting any personal gain or reward and performing actions as a sense of duty or responsibility, without being influenced by personal desires or motives. 

This type of action aligns with the principle of karma, which emphasizes acting selflessly and with detachment, without any attachment to the consequences that may arise. 

It is about performing actions without any ulterior motive, solely driven by a sense of responsibility and duty toward the task at hand.

an outstretched hand helping someone up against an orange background

13 Karmic Action Quotes

1. “You have the right to work only but never to its fruits.”

2. “For those who wish to climb the mountain of spiritual awareness, the path is selfless work. For those who have attained the summit of union with the Lord, the path is stillness, peace, and selfless work.”

3. “Let the motive be in the deed and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward.”

4. “No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke.”

5. “A person who is satisfied with the gain comes naturally by his will, who is free from all conflicts and does not envy anyone, who remains stable in success and failure, is not bound by karma.”

6. “If you do karma with selfless action, then you will be able to free yourself from the bondage of desires.”

7. “There is no harm, and no resultant defect while performing karma, but even a little effort of this selfless action protects us from the great danger.”

someone helping an elderly man out of a car

8. “Seek refuge in desireless action with equanimity of mind.”

9. “Be steady and fixed in Yoga and continue doing (good) action, O Arjuna! Renounce attachment and maintain equanimity in both success and failure! Yoga is simply steadiness of mind.”

10. “All activities are carried out by the three modes of material nature. But in ignorance, the soul, deluded by false identification with the body, thinks of itself as the doer.”

11. “The man of equanimity born of wisdom releases himself both from good and bad even in this life. Therefore strive for nishkama karma with an equal mind. Yoga is skill in action.”

12. “Man does not match the actionless state of Brahman by mere non-performance of work, nor does he attain perfection by renunciation only.”

13. “Those who understand the divine nature of my birth and activities, O Arjuna, upon leaving the body, do not have to take birth again, but come to my eternal abode.”

On Karma Yogis

The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that a genuine Karma Yogi understands the difference between action, and inaction, as well as how our essential qualities (gunas) affect us to act in different ways. 

There is also a keen awareness of which karmic actions bring misery, and which karmic actions bring liberation.

On top of this, Karma Yogis are aware of their senses, and so remain detached in observation.

a painting of krishna and arunja in a horse drawn carriage with sanskrit text

11 Karma Yogi Quotes

1. “They are released from the bondage of material attachments and their intellect is established in divine knowledge. Since they perform all actions as a sacrifice (to God), they are freed from all karmic reactions.”

2. “A Karma Yogi has firm determination for God-realization only, but the desires of one, who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless.”

3. “Self-realized souls have nothing to gain or lose either in discharging or renouncing their duties. Nor do they need to depend on other living beings to fulfill their self-interest.”

4. “Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps, and whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”

5. “The enlightened sages call those persons wise, whose every action is free from the desire for material pleasures and who have burnt the reactions of work in the fire of divine knowledge.”

6. “O Arjuna, noblest amongst men, that person who is not affected by happiness and distress, and remains steady in both, becomes eligible for liberation.”

7. “The one who has harmonized himself, by detaching himself from the fruit of action, attains Immortal Peace; but he is bound who is unsteady and agitated with the desire for fruits.”

a bowl of food being passed across a table

8. “One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.”

9. “The enlightened Karma Yogi on the other hand knows what is action in inaction and inaction in action.”

10. “One who restrains the senses by (a trained and purified) mind and intellect and engages the organs of action to Karma Yoga or selfless service without attachment, is considered superior.”

11. “Endowed with spiritual intelligence, wise men giving up the results arising from actions certainly liberate themselves from the bondage of birth and death, attaining the state of complete tranquility.”

On Rebirth

In the philosophy of Karma, there’s a strong link between the soul and rebirth. According to this belief, the soul is immortal, which means that even when the body dies, the spirit lives on eternally. 

This idea aligns with the Law of Conservation of Energy, which is a fundamental principle in physics, stating that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another.

a painting of nature and animals going through the karmic cycle of reincarnation
Reincarnation”, by Brahmakumaris Photo Gallery, licensed under CC BY 2.0

6 Rebirth Quotes

1. “Just as the embodied soul continuously passes from childhood to youth to old age, similarly, at the time of death, the soul passes into another body. The wise are not deluded by this.”

2. “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”

3. “Only the material body is perishable; the embodied soul within is indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal.”

4. “As a human being puts on new garments, giving up the old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.”

5. “Death is as sure for that which is born, as birth is for that which is dead. Therefore grieve not for what is inevitable.”

6. “The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.”

Further Information

If you’ve found these karma Bhagavad Gita quotes inspiring, why not check out our other quote articles:

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Born and raised in London, Luke is a passionate writer with a focus on travel, yoga, philosophy, and meditation. As a certified yoga teacher having studied under a swami in Rishikesh, Luke now lives in India pretty much just practising yoga, meditating and writing articles! Luke's life arc has gone from somewhat turbulent to peaceful, and he considers yoga and meditation direct methods to sustain introspective insight to manifest peace and happiness, despite life's challenges. Luke's passion for meditation has led him to complete multiple meditation retreats, where he spent almost 40 days in silence in the last two years. He practices various meditation techniques such as Vipassana, Anapana, and Metta Bhavana, each adding to his knowledge and experience of the true self. Most recently he meditated in Jaipur, India, and before that lived for a short spell in a monastery with forest monks in Northern Thailand. To Luke, yoga is more than just a physical exercise; it's a way of life that helps him cultivate a stronger mind-body connection. As a young man with arthritis, Luke understands the importance of observing and controlling his body, and yoga has been a vital tool in his journey to better health and well-being. The practice of yoga has not only helped him manage his symptoms but has also given him a new perspective on life. Luke's love for yoga and meditation is not limited to a single tradition or practice. He's fascinated by the spiritual teachings of all types of religious philosophy, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity for their essence and wisdom. His passion for spirituality is what drives him to continue learning and growing, and share his knowledge with other people. Luke in his spare time is an avid chess player, cyclist and record collector. He also has experience with addiction, and so sponsors multiple people from different walks of life in their recovery programmes.

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