Home > Uncategorized > Hindu philosophy and work

Hindu philosophy and work

I was looking into what Hindu Philosophy says about work and ran into Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 47 again. I have come across this verse many times. But its almost like I had turned a blind eye towards it.

Chapter 2, Verse 47
KarmaNyaavadhikaarasthae maa phalaeshu kadaachana
Maa karmaphalahaethurbhoo: maa thae sangO(a)sthvakarmaNi

Thy right is to work only, but never to its fruits; let not the fruit-of-action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

The stanza gives the four injunctions guiding us to be true workers. A real Karma Yogin is one who understands:

  • that his concern is with action alone;
  • that he has no concern with results;
  • that he should not entertain the motive of gaining a fixed fruit for a given action; and
  • that these ideas do not mean that he should sit back courting inaction.

In short, the advice is to make the worker release himself from all his mental pre-occupations,
and thus through work make him live in the joy and ecstasy of inspired self-forgetfulness.
The work itself is his reward; he gets himself drunk with the joy and satisfaction of a noble work done.
The work is the means; the Higher Self-experience alone is the Goal-Divine.

In this (Detached performance) there is no loss of effort, nor is there any harm (contrary result).
Even a little performance protects one from great fear.

The term ‘attachment’ in the Geeta has a peculiar flavour and, through-out its length,this term has been used to  indicate the spirit in which an ego-centric personality will come  to work in any field of  activity while  fulfilling his own egocentric desires. Thus, ego and its desires are the component  parts of attachments.  When an ego strives to fulfil its own burning desires,it comes to live in a certain  relationship with the  world  of things  and objects around.  This  wrong relationship is called ‘attachment’.

Commentary from: The Holy Geeta by Swami Chinmayananda, 2nd edition, 1992, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai


The same idea in the wordings of Swami Ishwaranand

  • You can choose your action.
  • You cannot choose the result of action.
  • You can choose your reaction.
  • May you not be without action.

Apprehension of result breeds inaction, How true!

The next level of thought is realizing that you are not the doer, that’s a bit too advanced for me now.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Chandrashekar
    March 9, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Short and concise article. Liked it. Thanks for the links to resources.

  2. Chandrashekar
    March 9, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I see that you require a sign-in to view your blog. If you could make it public, it would motivate me to post these blogs on my Facebook account.

  3. Sendhil Kumar
    March 10, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Hi Chandrashekar, I checked the permissions of the space, It is everyone (Public). Commenting though requires a sign-in. I have secured the comments to avoid spam.Thanks,Sendhil

  4. Jerry
    March 10, 2009 at 4:25 am

    How does this work in regards to motivation? Motivation is the subjective reason why we work. It may be to put food on the table or it may be to rise to the position of CEO. either way, we expect that something will come of work or what would drive up to even begin?

  5. Sendhil Kumar
    March 10, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Hi http://cid-b133649bc131ebf0.profile.live.com/,I looked into it the pdf version. Thanks for sharing it. With my level of knowledge about Hindu Philosohy I need something more than a translation, I need commentaries.Thanks,Sendhil

  6. Sendhil Kumar
    March 12, 2009 at 4:32 am

    Hi Jerry,We have unhappy CEOs and Happy beggars. True purpose of life forms per Hindu Philosophy is the freedom which is being talked about here.http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5208/karmayoga/ideal.htmlI am quoting Vivekananda here"It is freedom as I understand it. Everything that we perceive around us is struggling towards freedom, from the atom to the man, from the insentient, lifeless particle of matter to the highest existence on earth, the human soul. The whole universe is in fact the result of this struggle for freedom. In all combinations every particle is trying to go on its own way, to fly from the other particles; but the others are holding it in check. Our earth is trying to fly away from the sun, and the moon from the earth. Everything has a tendency to infinite dispersion. All that we see in the universe has for its basis this one struggle towards freedom; it is under the impulse of this tendency that the saint prays and the robber robs. When the line of action taken is not a proper one, we call it evil; and when the manifestation of it is proper and high, we call it good. But the impulse is the same, the struggle towards freedom. The saint is oppressed with the knowledge of his condition of bondage, and he wants to get rid of it; so he worships God. The thief is oppressed with the idea that he does not possess certain things, and he tries to get rid of that want, to obtain freedom from it; so he steals. Freedom is the one goal of all nature, sentient or insentient; and, consciously or unconsciously, everything is struggling towards that goal. The freedom which the saint seeks is very different from that which the robber seeks; the freedom loved by the saint leads him to the enjoyment of infinite, unspeakable bliss, while that on which the robber has set his heart only forges other bonds for his soul.There is to be found in every religion the manifestation of this struggle towards freedom. It is the groundwork of all morality, of unselfishness, which means getting rid of the idea that men are the same as their little body. ""The Karma-Yogi asks why you require any motive to work other than the inborn love of freedom" – This is one level of Karma Yoga.It is kind of hard to digest especially that we live in an era dominated by materialistic views.The next level is is a bit more harder to digest."He works best who works without any motive, neither for money, nor for fame, nor for anything else; and when a man can do that, he will be a Buddha, and out of him will come the power to work in such a manner as will transform the world This man represents the very highest ideal of Karma-Yoga"Regards,Sendhil

  7. T8tube.com
    March 12, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Nice posting.

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