The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred Hindu scripture that consists of a conversation between Lord Krishna and the warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita delves into the topics of duty, righteousness, and the nature of the soul. Verse 47 of Chapter 2 is as follows:
karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karmaphalaheturbhūrmā te saṅgo’stvakarmaṇi
“Your right is to perform your prescribed duty only, but never to lay claim to its results. Do not be motivated by the fruits of action, and never develop an attachment to inaction.”
In this verse, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna about the correct attitude towards performing actions. He emphasizes that one should focus on fulfilling their duty without being attached to the outcomes or results. It teaches the importance of selfless action and encourages individuals to act with a sense of responsibility, while remaining detached from personal desires and expectations. This popular verse imparts four essential instructions regarding the science of work:
Do your duty, but do not concern yourself with the results.
Lord Krishna emphasizes that we have the right to perform our duties, yet the outcomes are not solely dependent on our efforts. Various factors, including our actions, past karmas, divine will, others’ efforts, collective karmas, and even circumstances (a matter of luck), contribute to the results. Therefore, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to relinquish attachment to the results and instead focus on performing his duties diligently. By detaching ourselves from the outcomes, we can direct our full attention and energy towards our actions, leading to even better results.
The fruits of your actions are not for your enjoyment.
Lord Krishna reminds us that the results of our actions are not meant solely for personal enjoyment. The outcomes are part of a larger cosmic order and are subject to various interconnected factors beyond our control. Instead of seeking personal gratification from the results, we should embrace a selfless perspective and contribute to the greater good.
Even while working, give up the pride of doership.
Lord Krishna advises us to let go of the ego-driven pride that stems from identifying ourselves as the sole doers of our actions. He reminds us that we are part of a larger interconnected web of existence, where countless factors and forces influence the outcomes. By surrendering the sense of individual doership, we cultivate humility and acknowledge the divine hand guiding our actions.
Do not be attached to inaction.
In this verse, Lord Krishna cautions against the temptation of inaction or avoiding our responsibilities. He emphasizes that renouncing duties and remaining inactive is not the path to spiritual growth or liberation. Instead, he encourages us to fulfill our duties with dedication, recognizing them as a crucial aspect of our spiritual journey.
Lord Krishna’s teachings on duty illuminate the profound wisdom of performing actions without attachment to results. By embodying a selfless approach and focusing on the diligent fulfillment of our responsibilities, we not only contribute to the betterment of society but also attain inner growth and spiritual evolution.