Understanding Gita – 33

Second episode/adhyaya – Sankhya yoga


karmay evādhikāras te
mā phaleu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te sago ‘stv akarmai


karmaiprescribed duties; evacertainly; adhikāraright; te-of you; never; phaleuin the fruits; kadācanaat any time; never; karmaphalain the result of the work; hetucause; bhūbecome; never; teof you; sagaattachment; astube there; akarmaiin not doing.

Text Source – “http://prabhupadabooks.com/bg

You only have the right to do your prescribed duties, not on the fruits at any time. Never do karma for the karma phala, nor get attached to not doing your duty.

This is one of the famous verses of the Gita.

There are three things here –

  • You job is to only perform your duty.
  • You should never focus on the result.
  • You should not run away from your duties as well.

Whenever we are performing any work, where is our focus?
Generally on the result. We want appreciation, recognition, admiration, and we fear criticism.. But that should not be the focus. Okay, if you think we don’t want all that, hence we’ll not work, then that is also not an option. 

Personally this is the most difficult thing for me to do. As a homemaker, my focus should be on home making, not the appreciation, or the criticism I may or may not get thereafter. I can also not run away form my responsibilities and not do anything at all.

Let’s dig little deeper into this. When do I expect appreciation? when I go out of my way to do something nice for somebody. For example, I am not fond of cooking, but I still need to put lot of effort to feed my family. Then when my efforts are not acknowledged, I transform into “MahaakaaLi”. Clearly, I am focusing on the results here.

How to take my focus on my job then? As a homemaker, I cannot run away from feeding my family when they are dependent on me. So I do my duties to the best of my capacity, and leave it at that.

When you over-do, you expect appreciation. When you under-do, you fight back at criticism, try to defend yourself, basically you’ll feel weak within. But instead when you do something just as per your capacity, then may be it gets easy to focus on your duty.

Here again “your best” is subjective. One person may love to cook a feast, one person may like to just get by everyday, or one person can just hire some help to get through the day. But as long as you are convinced that you did your best, you’ll not get disturbed.

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