कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
This is one of the most popular Shloka of the Bhagvad Gita, one that is oft repeated and spoken about. For the uninitiated, the Bhagvad Gita, is one of the main Holy books of Hinduism. One that was said to Arjuna by Lord Shree Krishna, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This Grantha(holy book) lays down the basic guidlines for life, introducing to mankind, the concept of karma, the cycle of life and death, the eternal character of the soul and more. Every word in the Bhagwad Gita can inspire and motivate man to aim for beyond the material and apparent, and see beyond the obvious, to remove the veil of ignorance from his eyes.
Karmanyevadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachana|
Maa Karmaphalheturbhumo Te Sangostvakarmani||
Your right is to take action(do the work), never do you have the right to the results.
Do not take action with the aim of a result, but never be in a state of inaction either.
This shloka, always has, and still does speak to me. Maybe, I do not always adhere to it, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense, the more it seems to have to say, the more it clarifies itself in my mind. This post, is nothing but my personal understanding and comments on this shloka.
The simple message this conveys to me, is to keep my focus on my Karma(my actions), without contemplating on the results that action would bring forth. It is so simple in its essence. Indeed, if I just focus on honestly doing my duties, acting out my role, what better way than that, is there to live? It is the expectation of results, and fear of consequences, that make me dishonest in taking care of my duties. That expectations lead to disappointment is well known, but expectations, also often lead man to act dishonestly, to tweak his own actions in favour of reaching a desired conclusion.And this desire for results is what sways us from our path of honesty and devotion. This desire, pulls us away from God, and thrusts us into the arms of Maya. And that is where all our unhappiness and sadness originates, from Maya. Imagine for a moment, a day, where we act without desire, wants or fear. Our aim being to act honestly, do complete justice to our duties, and nothing more, nothing else. How easy would our life be, how very simple! All our misdeeds, all our mistakes, originate from our want, our desire for a result, a 'happy ending'. A student would cheat on an exam because he desires good scores, an athlete would use drugs to enhance performance, because he wants to win, or in more everyday life, a child would deny an act of misdemeanor to the parents to escape the consequences attached to it, and so it goes on. If our focus is on the act we are committing itself, rather than expectations of results to be gained from it, we would do complete justice to our duties, and carry out our acts with complete honesty. A child would love and treat his parents with respect, without expecting appreciation and inheritances. A student would follow his teacher's instructions without hoping to gain something from it. And as we focus on our work, do it with complete dedication and honesty, how will God, not shower us with anything, but the very best of results. But a desire for getting things, is what makes us commit mistakes, sway away from the path of righteousness. And each time the chasm between the right and wrong increases.What starts as, just a small step out of line, builds with time to form a different path altogether, and its a bottomless pit we fall into, sucked by desire. As desire controls our every action, and work, we no longer care about righteousness, or honesty, and thus every act of ours becomes impure and dishonest, leading us to receive, all that is wrong and undesirable. But we are too blinded by our wants, to realise how far away we have come from our original course, and how deeply we have fallen into the pit of wants and desires.
Never act with an eye on the result, nor consider yourself to be the cause of a result. We should not build an ego, assuming that we have achieved results, nor should we perform our duties expecting a desired result. However we cannot use this as an excuse for inaction either. We can't develop a line of thought, where we think, we do not desire any result, and hence we need not perform any act either. What we need, is complete faith and devotion to God, know that He will give us the best, better than what we can imagine, why need we then worry for results, when He is there, taking care of me, providing me with the very best. And with that in mind, we can perform all our acts with true dedication and honesty, and find joy in doing our work, free our mind from the complications of expectations, and results, and just do our deeds with joy and happiness in our hearts and minds. It is like being a little child, who keeps repeating a newly learnt song or rhyme again and again, for the simple joy of it, not expecting any reward or appreciation. But the parents will always shower him with love and appreciation. And thus we should focus on our work, not find excuses to avoid our duties, nor work only for the expectation of results.
A simple philosophy, which can completely free us from the misery of expectations, demands, wants and justification. Find pleasure in what we do, and we will not remain wanting for anything at all.
Sadguru Shree Aniruddharpanamastu||