Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 verse 40: In the practice of Karma Yoga no effort is lost and no obstacle exists. Even a little of this Dharma [even a little practice of karma yoga] delivers from great fear.
'Dharma’ and karma yoga are the paths and the means to bring fulfillment to life. Dharma signifies the path of evolution to higher levels of spiritual and material wellbeing. To follow one's ‘Dharma’ means to move forward along that path. Dharma is natural to man, as is the practice of karma yoga: we were born to move forward and to serve others (3.10, 3.11). More to the point, we were born to move forward by serving others. Practicing karma yoga is our dharma.
‘No effort is lost’ when one stage leads directly to the next. We experience liberation as a consequence of serving others’ desires. All we have to do to gain freedom from bondage is shift attention from selfish desires and actions to selflessly serving the desires of others (2.45). ‘No obstacle exists’ because in shifting attention to serving the desires of others we instantly break the binding influence of action (the bondage of karma), which is the very goal set out by Krishna in practicing karma yoga (2.39). How can an ‘obstacle’ obstruct our path when we’ve already reached our goal?
Liberation is deliverance from fear of knowing something better exists, but not understanding how to attain it. ‘Even a little of this Dharma [even a little practice of karma yoga] delivers from great fear’ of being forever bound to our actions, living in ignorance, knowing in our heart-of-hearts the nature of liberation, which is yet beyond our reach.
Take-home message: Follow your dharma to higher levels of spiritual and material wellbeing in the most efficient and effective way possible: practice karma yoga, serve the desires of others (2.45).
copyright Keith R Parker 2020