Usually people who have read Gita, would say that NishKAma Karma is the way of "Karma yoga".
Numerous verses suggest that, NishkAma Karma is SAtvika way of life. SakAma karma is RAjasika way & Vikarma is TAmasika way. Even attempting to perform Akarma is also sometimes considered TAmasika way.

Now everyone is aware that, The supreme Purusha / Brahman (the ultimate "I/Me") is beyond 3 modes of nature: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. A person with any predominant quality should have the same right on Moksha.

As discussed in this answer, there is a difference between NishkAma Karma ("Karma Yoga") and NishkarmatA ("Moksha or Jeevan Mukta").

Why can't a person with RAjasika nature do "Karma yoga" with SakAma Karma & attain NishkarmatA?

Similarly, why can't a TAmasika person do "Karma yoga" with Vikarma and attain Moksha?

IMO People like ShishupAla, Hiranyakashipu, RAvana, Kamsa, who probably attained Moksha, were not doing NishkAma Karma.

  • Nishkama Karma is one of the way/path to Jnana/Moksha, not only the way to Jnana/Moksha.
    – Pandya
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 14:13
  • Simple reason is, if everyone behaves like Ravana, there would be no humans left on Earth :P By Ravana-like actions I mean vikarma ("actions that are performed through the misuse of one's freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms") Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 18:45
  • @sv., "if everyone behaves like Ravana, there would be no humans left on Earth" - Why do you think it to be a enough reason? IMO, those who are done with the material nature (Prakruti) actually don't care about world. Hypothetically if anyone knows superiority of Moksha, will have no purpose to remain in the world. Actually, the world itself doesn't remain during the night of the Brahman (BG 8.18). Kamsa killed new borns by banging them to wall, later he got killed other new borns in city. But no scripture supporting of him getting lower life for cruelty. Rather some say, he got Moksha.
    – iammilind
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 19:32
  • 1
    you are confusing and making false equivalencies with different terms together. The three gunas, sattva, rajas, and tamas, are qualities that make up Maya. Everything is a combination of these three. Since we are a part of Maya, everyone is a combination of the three gunas. Everyone has in different combinations, and one guna can predominate in a single person at different times. The gunas are not 'ways' in the sense that the yogas - karma, raja, bhakti, and jnana - are ways to God. Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 8:20
  • 1
    It is possible to be a tamasic bhakta and realize God. It is possible to practice Jnana Yoga with a rajasic attitude. All combinations are possible. See Gita 9.30 Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


Because Satva Guna helps in approaching spirituality thought it doesn't lead one to Moksha.

See the nature of three Gunas as described in Bhagavag Gita

14.11 When the illumination that is knowledge radiates in this body through all the doors (of the senses), then one should know that sattva has increased greatly.

14.12 O best of the Bharata dynasty, when rajas becomes predominant, these come into being: avarice, movement, undertaking of actions, unrest and hankering.

14.13 O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, when tamas predominates these surely [i.e. without exception.-M.S.] come into being: non-discrimination and inactivity, inadvertence and delusion.

Also see the next birth according to the dominance of particular Guna while departure:

Satva : attains the taintless worlds of those who know the highest
Rajas : born among people attached to activity
Tamas : birth among the stupid species.

14.18 People who conform to sattva go higher up; those who conform to rajas stay in the middle; those who conform to tamas, who conform to the actions of the lowest ality, go down.

So, it's very obvious that there are very less chances of obtaining true knowledge for the followers of Rajas and Tamas Gunas. Agree that Satva Guna will not lead one to Moksha, for approaching Moksha, one needs to go beyond all three Gunas. As preached in 14.6th verse : "it binds through attachment to happiness and attachment to knowledge." However it is better than Rajas and Tamas as it helps in purifying mind and in becoming eligible for one to obtain the true knowledge.

Q. Why can't a person with RAjasika or TAmasika nature do "Karma yoga" with SakAma Karma & attain Moksha?

As mentioned above, Rajasika or Tamasika mind is not eligible to understand or obtain the right knowledge that is required for Moksha. So, regarding your queries you can consider that Rajasika or Tamasika Sakama Karma Yoga is wrong tool which will never lead one to Moksha and comparatively Satviak Nishkama Karma is preferable (right tool) which can lead one to the Moksha.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .