Nishkaam Karma – The Power of Selfless Deeds

Shri Krishna to Arjuna
Shri Krishna to Arjuna
Courtesy: Google Images

“One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma
by merely abstaining from work.
No one attains perfection merely by giving up work

Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment.
Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed,
by the Gunas of nature

The deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action
but mentally dwell upon the sense of enjoyment,
are called hypocrites

The one who controls the senses by the mind and intellect
and engages the organs of action to Nishkaam Karma-yoga
is superior, O Arjuna

Perform your obligatory duty,

Because action is indeed better than inaction.

Even the maintenance of your body
would not be possible by inaction”

Shri Krishna to Arjun in the Shrimad BhagwadGita

Out of our most busy lives, I implore you to take some time off to understand the importance of this verse; a most pious thought as advised by Lord Krishna to Arjun while heading for the battle of Kurukshetra where the Pandavas fought against their brothers the Kauravas at Hastinapur (Now Delhi, Capital of India). It signifies the importance of committing actions without expecting rewards or recognitions called ‘Nishkaam Karma’. ‘Nishkaam’ meaning selfless and Karma meaning ‘Deeds’. Shri Krishna has beseeched man to be a Nishkaam Karma-Yogi (A Doer of deeds without Expectations). Shri Krishna says that every action that we perform in our life-time is succeeding a motive in nature. Every deed achieves a purpose whether in our knowledge or devoid of our knowledge.

Men who undertake tasks with a burning passion of attaining rewards in return waste their time and efforts. These deeds do not help one attain spiritual growth. To lay emphasis on what I mean, here is an example.

Today, I undertake a task of finishing a presentation and I work 24/7 to deliver it outstanding. While I sow the seed of achieving this task, I keep watering it from the fountain of expectations. I start hoping that once the seed turns out into a plant that is once I have finished the undertaken task, I might get rewarded appreciatively. Inside my head, the swirling ideas develop a pretty picture and make me believe that I will bag loads of recognition and my colleagues will envy for not having received it themselves. And so on… (Readers can add a reward of their choice to their list)

 Once the presentation is submitted, I realize that my boss couldn’t attend the meeting in question and hence is unable to perceive my work or worse even, some other colleague has worked on a more-interactive presentation and disposes to get my boss all floored with her work so much so that he did not even notice my work. I am bewildered and embarrassed and despondent and all the other depressive emotions take over the reins of my otherwise sane mind leaving me angry with myself and others around me appending my boss, my colleague (who I have now started hating; surprisingly), other co-workers and friends who appreciated her work etc. etc.  Within a few seconds, I have lost the peace of my mind; I start expressing animosity and take the route to rudeness. For the next few days, I start ambling around with a bloated face and find myself accompanied with loneliness as no one wants to talk to me due to my changed attitude.

So here is a list of everything that I lose because of the seed of expectations that I sowed.

Mental Peace, supportive colleagues, the calm attitude, a considerate boss, self-confidence, affably amiable nature etc. and get transformed into an egoistic imbecile person.

And this is exactly what is illustrated by Shri Krishna by the above mentioned authentic passage.

By this passage, Shri Krishna has admonished mankind that deeds minus expectations lead one to eternal salvation. Shri Krishna has advised mankind time and again about the significance of selfless deeds and how it results into attaining Moksh or Salvation from The Mortal Cycles and uniting with the Supreme Power. We not only find a way to satiate the soul and mind with eternal peace but also acquire happiness of all sorts that we transmit to all those around us.

If only we remember this message from our beloved Shri Krishna before starting our mornings and ending our nights, no soul would live in anguish and rage, but only happiness and contentment. I try and follow this message in my life. I would love to see my fellow-bloggers and readers of this post follow the same and experience the difference.

-Asha Seth