Anāsakti-yoga

(‘Yoga of disinterestedness,’ ‘Yoga of detachment’)

The dominant trend of the Upaniṣads is towards karma-saṁnyāsa or karma-tyāga, renunication of all actions, since it was strongly believed that karma or action lead to spiritual bondage. Opposition to this view is first noticed in the Īśāvāsya Upaniṣad (2) which is later on developed in the Bhagavadgītā as a regular doctrine. It is āsakti or attachment to the fruits of actions that is really the cause of spiritual bondage. Hence, if actions can be performed with anāsakti or detachment, the sting or the binding taint, being thus taken away, the very same actions lead to purification of mind and spiritual enlightenment. This is ‘anāsakti-yoga,’ yoga or union with God, through anāsakti or detachment. This theory thus strikes a balance between karma (activity) and saṁnyāsa (renunciation), between pravṛtti (activism) and nivṛtti (withdrawal). For details see KARMAYOGA.

See also BHAGAVADGĪTĀ and NIṢKĀMA-KARMA.