Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani
This verse is from the Bhagawad Gita, where Arjuna was not willing to fight the Epic war of Mahabhaarat and Krishna explains to him to perform his duties.
The hindi translation is as follows:
कर्म करना तो तुम्हारा अधिकार है, लेकिन उसके फल पर कभी नहीं|
कर्म को फल की इच्छा से कभी मत करो, तथा तेरा कर्म ना करने में भी कोई आसक्ति न हो|
Let’s see what does this mean:
Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana - You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions.
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani – Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.
This message was from the Lord Krishna to Arjun during the Epic War of Mahabhaarat when Arjun was not willing to fight, given that he had opposite of him, all those persons he considers to be his own. Arjun says to Krishna, what’s the use of fighting against my own for just a piece of land. What happiness will I get by slaying my dear ones? The ones on the other sides are my own uncle, my cousin. Won’t I be committing a sin? What will I get by killing all of them. Instead I would have preferred that they kill me here itself.
Then Krishna explains to him about his duties. The above verse, which is among the most famous verse in Mahabhaarat, is one of those explanation he has given.
Let us study the context :
In this case Krishna tells Arjun that no matter what is the result of the war, he should not be worried about it. His duty is to fight, then he has to fight. He wins or loses that is not important. Even if he dies during the war, he will attain heaven because he has correctly performed his duty.
Now coming to the second phrase of the above verse, Krishna also advises Arjun that he should never let the fruit be the purpose of his action, in this case the action is his fight and the fruit is either he wins or loses. In other words he is not supposed to worry about victory or defeat. Either one wins or loses, he must be neutral about it.
In simple terms it means: Keep on performing your duties without being attached to the result of your actions. Either you get something or you don’t get anything, you should not worry about it. You should have a neutral behaviour.
Well let us relate that in our context as a human being:
As an example:
A student – His duty is to study, he passes or fails that’s not in his control. The student does not study just for the sake of passing his exams. When he studies, he learns. Whether he pases or fails he should not be too happy or too sad about it.
If ever a student studies for the sole purpose of passing his exams, in the end he has not learned anything even if he has passed. But if he studies because he considers learning and studying as his duty, he won’t even need to be worried whether he will pass or fail. And such a student as we have always seen they are most likely to pass their exams. Unless they are not able to reach their exam for some reason. But still he should not be sad about it. Why? Because the most important is at least he performed his duty well.
We can also relate this to selflessness:
When we help someone, we don’t do it for the sake of something in return, whether we are rewarded for our actions or not, this is not our concern. And when we help someone without worrying about our own gains, this is selflessness. We don’t think what are we going to get from that. The importance is that as a human being we have been able to help someone.
Note: In Bhagavad Gita, As It Is, By Swami Prabhupada, the part Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhur means, never to consider ourselves to be the cause of the result of our activities.This is right too, because when we consider ourselves to be the cause of the result of our actions, we will be tempted to be attached to that result. So when we do something we are not supposed to take the credit for the fruit of our action. We consider that it is our duty, so we did it.
Today how many of us really believe in this principle? What does this verse means to us today?
For me this verse has a really great meaning in my life. Well I would like to know about my other friends here, really think about this verse.