Sakam Karma

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sakam Karma Mean?

Sakam karma means to act selfishly, or with personal gain and self-interest in mind. From Sanskrit, sakam means “together,” “jointly” or “simultaneously.”

When acting out of sakam karma, an individual is acting with the expectation and motivation that good will be returned to him/her in this life. This concept is a central theme in the Bhagavad Gita and an important philosophical issue in Karma yoga.


Yogapedia Explains Sakam Karma

In Karma yoga philosophy, there are two central concepts: sakam karma and nishkam karma. Nishkam karma is the opposite of sakam karma and is considered to be selfless action without even the subtle internal hope for a “thank you” or goodness returned.

Ultimately, sakam karma is considered attachment to the result of personal actions in life with motives of self-interest, whereas nishkam karma centers on actions a yogi takes within the world for the sake of others and not for self-benefit.

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