Bhagavad-Geeta, seed scripture for mankind, is the only scripture which is noncontrovercial till date and this has been the main source of real and totally accomplished spiritual knowledge recognized by entire world. This is celestial song sung by Sri Krishn to elevate entire mankind from bondage of mortal worldly affairs and to traverse on the path of spiritualism to get liberated from pathetic cycle of birth and death. The central and key thought in this scripture is to know the real concept of “Karm” i.e. “Ordained Action” and to execute the same for total emancipations.
Very difficult to believe that great majority in this universe has never heard about this seed scripture and if some one has ever heard, does not know about the verse forty seven from chapter two of Bhagavad-Geeta which is :
karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ’stv akarmani
We have always tried to define the term “Karm” i.e. “Ordained Action” preached in above verse on our own without linking the total central approach and key thoughts which has been delivered by Sri Krishn for our guidance and psychotherapy of our mind and senses. Let us have a glance on real concept of “Karm” which has been exceptionally and excellently expounded in “Yatharth Geeta.”
All the verses of Geeta have impact of its own. It depends upon which verse is being taken up with which references. Every verse is back up of another verse and thus this nectar flows like life stream. The only important thing is that it should be expounded with its metaphysical depth. The verse which we have to discuss has a very intensive depth of its own. What that “Karm” is for which Sri Krishn has preached to Arjun? We often get misguided to understand the metaphysical depth of this term. I will like to explore the exposition of above quoted verse as mentioned below:
“Since you are entitled only to the performance of action but never to the fruits thereof, you should neither desire rewards of action nor be drawn to inaction.”
Arjun, Sri Krishn says, has the right to action but not to its results. So Arjun should persuade himself that fruits of action simply do not exist. He should not covet these fruits and neither should he grow disillusioned with action.So far Sri Krishn has first used the term “action” (karm: meaning both action and its consequence) in the thirty-ninth verse of the Chapter two, but he has not indicated what this ”karm” is and how to perform it? He has, however, described its characteristic traits.
(a) He has told Arjun that by the performance of action he will be freed from the bonds of action.
(b) He has then said that the seed or initial impulse of action is indestructible. Once it is initiated, nature has no means to destroy it.
(c) There is, Arjun has been told, not even the slightest flaw in this action, for it never abandons us while we are stranded amidst the temptations of celestial pleasures and worldly affluence.
(d) Performance of this action, even in small proportions, can emancipate us from the great fear of birth and death.
But, as it is evident from the summary above, Sri Krishn has not so far defined action. As for the way of doing it, he has said in the forty-first verse of Chapter two:
(e) The mind which is resolved to do this action is only one and the way of doing it is also only one. Does it mean, then, that people engaged in other multifarious activities are not really engaged in the worship of God? According to Sri Krishn, the activities of such people are not action.
Explaining why it is so, he adds that the minds of men without discernment are riven by endless divisions, because of which they tend to invent and elaborate an unlimited number of rites and ceremonies. So they are not true worshippers. They use pretentious and ornate language to describe these rites and ceremonies. So that man’s mind is also poisoned who is lured by the charm of their words. The ordained action is, therefore, only one, although we have not yet been told what precisely it is?
In the forty-seventh verse of Chapter two, Sri Krishn has told Arjun that he has a right to action, but not to its fruits. So Arjun should not desire these fruits. At the same time he ought not to lose faith in the performance of action. In other words, he should be constantly and devotedly engaged in its performance. But Sri Krishn has not yet said what this action is? The verse is usually interpreted as meaning, “Do whatever you wish, only do not desire its fruits.” That is, say those who interpret the verse thus, what selfless action is all about? In fact, however, Sri Krishn has not so far told us what this action is that men are required to do? He has so far elaborated only its characteristics, what the gains from it are, and the precautions that have to be observed in the course of its performance. Yet the question of what exactly selfless action is has so far remained unanswered. It is, in fact, answered only in Chapters 3 and 4 of Bhagavad Geeta. Sri Krishn again reverts to what he has already said in the very next verse in Chapter two:
yoga-sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate
‘The equipoise of mind that arises from profound absorption in the performance of action after renouncing attachment and being even-minded in respect of success and failure is, O Dhananjay (Arjun), given the name of yog.”
Resting in yog, renouncing infatuation for worldly ties, and looking at success and failure with an equal mind, Arjun should undertake action. But what action? Sri Krishn’s pronouncement is that men should do selfless action. Equipoise of mind is what is called yog. The mind in which there is no unevenness is full of equanimity. Greed destroys its evenness, attachments make it unequal, and desires for the fruits of action destroy its serenity. That is why there should be no hankering after the fruits of action. At the same time, however, there should also be no diminishing of faith in the performance of action. Renouncing attachment to all things, seen as well as unseen, and giving up all concern about achievement and non-achievement, we should only keep our eyes fixed on yog, the discipline that joins the individual Soul with the Supreme Spirit, and lead a life of strenuous action. Yog is thus the state of culmination. But it is also the initial stage. At the outset our eyes should be fixed on the goal. It is for this reason that we should act keeping our eyes on yog. Equanimity of mind is also named yog. When the mind cannot be shaken by failure and success, and nothing can destroy its evenness, it is said to be in the state of yog. It cannot then be moved by passion. Such a state of mind enables the Soul to identify himself with God. This is another reason why this state is called Samattwa Yog, the discipline that makes the mind filled with equanimity. Since there is, in such a state of mind, complete renunciation of desire, it is also called the Way of Selfless Action (Nishkam Karm Yog). Since it requires us to perform action, it is also known as the way of Action (Karm Yog). Since it unites the Self with the Supreme Spirit, it is called yog. It is necessary to keep in mind that both success and failure should be viewed with equanimity, that there should be no sense of attachment, and that there is no desire for the rewards of action. It is thus that the Way of Selfless Action and the Way of Knowledge are the same.