Gita Chapter 2 Verse 47
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥2.47॥
कर्मणि : action
एव : only
अधिकार : authority
ते : your
मा : not
फलेषु : result
मा : no
कर्मफलहेतु : motivated by result
भुः : become
मा : don’t
ते : you
संग : attached
अस्तु : happen
अकर्मणि : inaction
तेरा कर्म करने में ही अधिकार है, उसके फलों में कभी नहीं। इसलिए तू कर्मों के फल हेतु मत हो तथा तेरी कर्म न करने में भी आसक्ति न हो॥47॥
2.47 You have a choice over action alone; never over the results. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never stop doing your duty.
These are the four very important principles of leading life scientifically. They are not options, they are all compulsory. It’s called as the Karma yoga catus sootri, four principles of living life scientifically. First principle – ते कर्मणि अधिकार एव. You have the right to act rightly; first thing. And now see the beauty. Be very, very attentive, we are going into subtler in our understanding now. When you work and at the time of doing your work, if you have discovered happiness, nobody in the world can make you miserable. For example, if I am happy ‘now’, nobody in the world can make me unhappy, because happiness can be experienced only in the present. The other alternative word for happiness is being in the present; first.
Second thing – We all work only in the present. Third thing, we work with our own hands. Fourth thing, our hands are in our hands. Fifth thing, those who express every action of their lives as an expression of happiness, such a person can never be miserable whatever he has to do. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. What matters is how you are doing; the first scientific principle. If you want to succeed in life, if you want to make the most of your life, this is the first principle. Whatever you do, do cheerfully, happily. And when you do everything cheerfully and happily, you are automatically weaned away from the past on one side and the future on the other side. Because happiness cannot be in future, happiness cannot be in past. This is very simple technique. Therefore, ते अधिकार – you have the right to be happy, you have no right to be miserable. First principle.
And you can be rightly happy when you express your happiness as an expression of joy, cheer, inspiration, fulfillment and time pass. Don’t become serious in life. Now I am doing कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते. How great it is! Don’t become serious in life. All those who become serious in life, they have not understood A, B, C of life. Life is an expression of divine bliss. In the expression of divine bliss, there cannot be material blisters. Blisters come when we do not express the inherent happiness. Such people are all the time looking for happiness outside. So, कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते is the first principle.
Second principle is मा फलेषु कदाचन. You have no right on the fruit of action. Now, see how it is. Action is done in the present. Why do you do the action? Certainly to get happiness! And if you want to get happiness after the work is complete, what are you doing? You are postponing your own happiness into a future period of time. Take an example, I am doing some work. And I start imagining that I will be happy when my work is over and when you would say, ‘you really done well.’ But none of you will say that. Then what happens to me? Took so much of efforts to work but nobody even appreciates me! So while working, I was not happy. In the future, because you did not appreciate me, I am not happy. So what is the net result? The net result is, I am unhappy in the present because I postponed my happiness into the future. And I am unhappy in the future because future never comes. Think!
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन – That does not mean, do the job but don’t take the salary; that is foolishness. Take double the salary. So, मा फलेषु कदाचन means what? Remember one very important thing, there are only two results possible for every act – Either you get happiness or you get misery. सुख, दु:ख these are the only two results to all our actions in life. A person is happy when he gets an ordinary bicycle to ride. Another person is happy when he gets a Honda to ride. Both of them got only happiness. Whether it is out of a bicycle or it is out of a four wheeler, it makes no difference. Similarly, one person becomes miserable because he is not married. Other person becomes miserable because he is married. Now see, misery is the result of marriage or no marriage. Therefore, there are only two results in life, one is happiness and the other is misery.
Now, he who has discovered happiness at the time of doing the action, he doesn’t have to wait for the future. But what is it that we do? Don’t we make statements to our children such as, ‘Is this the day we looked forward to while bringing you to this level? What we have not done for you? And now you are deserting us?’ Mother and father become miserable looking at their own child. They forget that perhaps they have made the child miserable when the child was small. Friends, if we as parents are happy in bringing up the children, there our relationship ends. Don’t hang onto their neck till they die or you die! Leave them free. Therefore, मा फलेषु कदाचन is the only way to be happy in life. Live in the present. Whatever comes is just perfect and wonderful and you go ahead.
Be very attentive. When you go again and again into the future, ‘If I do this, this will happen, that will happen and when that happens, I will be happy.’ It is only ख्यालि पुलाव, imaginary things. It has no reality in it. It is virtual existence, not the actual. There was a pot maker who was sitting below a tree on a hot summer day. He had hundreds of pots with him piled one over the other which he wanted to sell. A stick in his hand would keep away the animals from bringing down the pots. As he sat on the cot waiting, he started dreaming of his future. He happily thought, ‘I have got say about five hundred pots. If I sell all of them at the rate of five rupees per pot, I will earn quite a big amount. And suppose I earn the same way for the whole year, I’ll make a lot of money! And then in this terrible heat with little bit of shade here and there, I will not do this wretched job of selling pots. To hell with it!’ Dreaming, he gave a blow to the pile of pots and all his pots came rolling down to break into pieces and so did his dream! He had forgotten that he was in the Present. This is the meaning of मा फलेषु कदाचन.
Now the third important principle is मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भु. See, cause and effect are the worst kind of bondage which human mind has thought of. Everything we want to fix in the language of cause and effect. And we all know how we fix it. Let us take an example – ‘Suppose I commit some murder and then hire a lawyer. Now, after the lawyer is hired, what will that lawyer try to prove? He will try to prove that I have not committed the murder. Maybe somebody is killed but I have not committed, therefore I cannot be hanged to death. Because he who has committed the murder, he alone is qualified for that.’ In the same manner, मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भु means, you act but do not create the results of your action and that is possible only when you do not have the sense of doer-ship associated with any action.
Take this understanding clearly. When we have bad digestion, this is a sin or a merit? When somebody loses his memory, is it a sin or a merit? When somebody goes round and round in circles, is that a sin or a merit? When somebody gets a heart attack, is it a sin or a merit? Nothing! Because in these modifications there is no sense of doer-ship. But on the contrary, if I give somebody five rupees in charity, then I feel I have done so good. So that act is associated with the doer-ship. So what is the equation? Action plus doer-ship is equal to deed. Legal deeds are signed, legal actions are not signed! That is the difference between an action and a deed. So whenever action is supported or associated with a sense of doer-ship, a deed takes place and a deed is called in Sanskrit as Karma. We get the कर्मफल, not the क्रियाफल. When the body is undergoing modifications that is natural in the प्रकृति, in the nature. And therefore, what is happening naturally in the nature does not create sin or merit. But when any action is associated with a sense of doer-ship, ‘I have done that,’ then the result will be born and you will be responsible for answering that result.
Therefore, the Lord says, live in this world in such a manner that if you are doing something good, ‘So what!’ That is what you are supposed to do. Therefore, be good for the sake of being good, not to claim from the world that you are good. See the difference. This is what said , नेकी कर कुवे में डाल (Do good and forget). But what do we do? We do good and we want recognition from the world for it. And the moment you want recognition from the world; you get no recognition, you get blows! Therefore friends, ‘Be good without being a doer of good’ (मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भु). Let the actions be natural as they are happening. When you are in tune with the divinity within, only goodness will come out of you. And when we are taking a detour from the divinity, only ugly actions will come out of you. And therefore, when we act in tune with the divinity, we cannot have the arrogance of doing good. But when we don’t understand this, we do good and we frustrate ourselves.
Understand this simple principle, ‘Be good for the sake of being good.’ Don’t be good just for an act. Those who are goody goody type of people they are very dangerous. Those who are open-hearted and frank, they are pure hearted. Otherwise, all the time too much of goody good behaviour indicates malice in personality. They are very dangerous type of people. Be aware about that. Therefore, मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भु.
And the fourth principle – All the problems of our life come because we act. Therefore, we conclude, why not stop acting? Extremists, we become quickly. You see, in our spiritual path also, not taking food at all is possible. Eating all the time is also possible. And both these extremes are not spiritual life. The real spiritual life is to have control on your self and live in such a manner that you eat four times a day but in very small measured quantities. Then you will discover the meaning of self control.
Another extreme that we can see is – either we get involved so much, so much in the world that we suffer. Or out of anger, we get so much frustrated, ‘O.K., I will give up everything. I’ll get out of the house and become a sanyasi.’ So getting involved in the world, grihasta, is one extreme. Other extreme is becoming a सन्यासी and imagining that now I have withdrawn from the world. But the tragedy is, whether you are a ग्रहस्थ or a सन्यासी, the mind is with you. Where will you run away? It is the mind which is creating the problem. And therefore, the Lord says, don’t take wrong decisions in life. If you have suffered because of Karma, you can rectify it with Karma alone. Suppose because of a wrong direction, you have reached a wrong destination. That doesn’t mean, ‘O.K., I have been driving wrong, I will not drive now.’ Then you will remain there only. Continue driving, but change your course now onwards.
Therefore the Lord says, मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि – Don’t lead a life of indolence and inertia. Friends, we are from Bombay, most of us know this. Our Bombay was called a few years back as the Manchester of India. There were so many mills here. Then the great saviours of the labour class came and they have shaved off all the labour. All the machines which were running not for a day or two but for three, four, five, ten decades, they were made to stop. The day those machines stopped, they became a waste. You cannot restart the old machines again; the momentum is lost. In the same manner, when we are living in this world dynamically, what do we have to do? Only change the attitude behind action and don’t suspend the activities. Normally what we do? When we decide to become spiritual, immediately the first thing is, ‘I will do nothing.’ Only eat and eat. Convert the beautiful dishes into filthy garbage. Is this spirituality? NO!
मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि, Never be lethargic, never be indolent, don’t accept anything in this world as a charity or beggary from anybody. Earn. And then live in the dignity of self-respect. The highest crime that we commit on the society, that highest crime is not burning and killing few people. The real crime is when we give concessions, reservations to those poor people. They don’t understand that we are making the weaker section weaker. If somebody is lame, don’t have pity on him. Give him the crutches and let him fight the battle of life. Give him self-respect. That is important. Otherwise we claim reservation as a right as if the whole world owes us. The pathetic existence of begging concessions from the society is the highest insult that one can inflict on masses because of wrong policies. Let us give self-respect.
मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि. Never become lethargic in life, then you see the beauty of existence. Those who have gone through the tragedies of life, they know the meaning of earning money. And those who are living only on the earned money of their parents, they have never understood the meaning of joy in life. Because everything you want, you get. You never know how to earn money. Therefore, when the money comes from anybody without effort, it is only wasted. But when you earn money and then spend, you truly understand the value of life. Therefore, मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि.
These are the four principles. If these four principles are perfectly followed in life, we have learned the science of living. And then practice. The more you practice in this dignity of right understanding, commitment and to express the inner hidden divinity in us, such a person has a different glow in his personality.
If these words cannot motivate us, God will have to correct his mistake. Next life, he will not give the opportunity to be a human being. Small little things happen in life and we stand defeated. Such a kind of pathetic self-pitiable existence is not the field of scientific existence. Therefore, मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि. Thus, if this is accepted by us as a proposition of life, the Lord now goes still deeper.