Every person on the planet wants to learn life management to prosper in life and be happy, with a peaceful mind and get clarity on the purpose of life. Lord Krishna has covered every aspect of life in the Bhagavad Gita. The three paths given in Gita are Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action), Jyana Yoga (Path of Knowledge) and Bhakti Yoga (Path of Devotion).
There is a lot of misconception regarding “Karma Yoga” particularly showing Sanatan Dharma in a bad light. One of the misconceptions is that person need not work, just surrender to god and god will do everything you desire for you. The second misconception is that those who perform actions, work for free. A section of people also mocks Sanatan Dharma after going through these self-developed connotations with the wrong notions and malintent.
Let’s understand the real and deeper meaning of Karma Yog;
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७
(karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi)
Lord Krishna beautifully explained the action in inaction and inaction in action. When Lord Krishna says just perform your duty sincerely without expectation of its fruit. What does it mean? If we see with awareness, psychologically, when we work on any project/task/activity and if we are all the time focused on the result, it brings anxiety and a kind of unwanted pressure which affects efficiency, affects creativity, increases stress, affecting relationships in many cases, affecting the whole activity which could have been done easily if the whole focus is put on the work without constantly thinking about the result.
Lord Krishna wants us to put 100% into everything we do than focusing on the result with halfhearted action. When one focuses on the result with a lot of expectations in favour, if the result goes out of plan, then it makes the person frustrated, and depressed and develops the mindset not to take risks in future. It badly affects the performance of the student when he just focuses on results rather than putting 100% effort into studies causing distress, drug addiction, losing interest in studies, life looking boring, developing a weak mind, depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies.
Lord Krishna wants us to be in the present moment and perform every activity as divine activity, whether small or big, one likes or dislikes, easy or difficult, even if no one appreciates you for your good work, no one watching you while working still the effort to carry out a particular activity sincerely, effectively, treating it as divine worship. Selfless social work is not just a karm yog however, everything which is done with the right intent, good for society and country, adds value, without ego and selfish motive is “Karma Yog”.
The ego focuses on fruits of action to fulfil unlimited and unwanted desires of a person causing losing awareness, dynamism, creativity, innovative ability, leadership quality and whatnot. Too much attachment to any action or person ultimately brings disappointment, and frustration when things do not go as per wish that’s the reason Lord Krishna says, do everything passionately however don’t get attached to it.
Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga 3.35
श्रेयान् स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात् स्वनुष्टितात्। स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः॥
(śhreyān swa-dharmo vigua paradharmāt sv-anuhhitāt swa-dharme nidhana śhreya paradharmo bhayāvaha)
In this shloka. Lord Krishna simply says, “just be yourself ”, and follow your Dharma (Righteous path). Be real to your idea of who you should be. Don’t stab to be what someone else is. While you may be an excellent pretender, there will always be fear in your heart.
When you focus on “yourself ”, you explore inbuilt potentials that can take you to newer heights and brings true happiness. Lord Krishna suggests “Meditation” as a regular practice to find out inner wealth and potential in a few shlokas.
न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते |
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ॥3.4॥
( na karmaām anārambhān naihkarmya puruho ’śhnute na cha sannyasanād eva siddhi samadhigachchhati )
A person does not attain freedom from action by abstaining from action; nor does he attain fulfilment merely through renunciation. Lord Krishna has cleared all the doubts in the above verse. Those who still question and change meaning to suit their agenda need to sincerely study and acknowledge this holy book which is considered as “Book of Life and work Management”.
By Pankaj Jagannath Jayswal
(Columnist & Educationist based in Pune, India)