Practical Lessons from The Bhagwad Gita: Nishkam Karmayoga

Chapter 2, verse 47 of the Holy book Bhagwad Gita says:

“Karmanye Vadhikaraste Maphaleshu Kadachana

makarmphalhetur bhur mate sangostvakarmani”

Translation :

You have the right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of results of your activities , and never be attached to not doing your duty.

Break up of the translation:

  • The term “prescribed duty” in ancient context is pertinent to the respective duty with regard to the erstwhile Varnashrama System(4 clans, namely, Brahamanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras – from higher to lower).
  • However, in contemporary times, such a rigidity is not pragmatic. Thus, duty can be perceived as one’s duty as a student, as an employee, as a leader among others.
  • The verse says- “you are not entitled to the fruits of your action” . This signifies that duty has to be performed without attachment or in a detached manner.
  • Never be attached to not doing you duty“-   signifies non-promotion of (i)fatalism and (ii)evasion from one’s responsibility from the defined work.
  • This verse, basically defines what is popularly known as Nishkam Karmayoga or disinterested or detached action.

Importance in practical life:

  • From a practical point of view, what we have in our hands is our work and not the results.
  • Thus, it is always good to do one’s action without any consideration of positive or negative consequences. Practically speaking, it eventually drains out our precious time and energy which may in turn negatively impact the results to come.
  • Considerations like “ What if I fail?,  What if I lose etc.” are not good for our mental as well as emotional well-being.
  • Working in now/present leads to better channelizing of our energy towards the defined work, thus, giving us an inner satisfaction in our lives. It brings peace as our mind is being used up only for the productive activities(truly psychological).
  • Now, it is upon us whether to put our thoughts into action or keep wandering in the world of thoughts(positive or negative).

That is why in our society, it is often said – ” Karma karo phal ki iccha mat Karo” .

Good Day. 

You can comment your opinion on the same below.


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