According to Sri Aurobindo, Bankim Chandra Chatterji gave almost exclusive stress on the expression Kartavya Karma , the work that is to be done, which they render by duty, and on the phrase “Thou has right to action, but none to the fruits of action” which is now popular quoted as the great word mahakavya of Bhagvad Gita. This is indeed true because though I don’t know the whole of gita but this phrase I believe is known very well to me and I believe not just to me but to most of the people. We have unfortunately ignored the rest of the chapters in Gita. However what I wanted to talk was this popular quote of Gita. Until now whenever I heard this phrase I would accept it without understanding why is it so. I want to ask you one question, think of this popular quote and tell me why you belive its true and we should accept it? “Thou has right to action, but none to the fruits of action”. Give yourselves a minute and summon up some reasons.
My first reason was that we shouldn’t expect the fruits of action because if our expectations of work aren’t met then we would wound up getting disappointed and infuriated. Second reason was may be the work might be my karma and since it is what I have to do, I shouldn’t bother with the results. Tell me what reasons have you come up with? I never thought of considering this until I read a book from Osho and then I realized what message this quote carried when Lord Krishna told to Arjuna. Let me give one example. A painter is painting a picture. Now if he wants to paint a masterpiece and want to be known as Von Gough he wouldn’t be painting this picture with complete totality. At the back of his mind would be the result, the creation of masterpiece, the subtle details needed to be added to create this masterpiece. How much would he be enjoying the painting? And if a painter is creating painting with complete totality in it without any thought of how it will end up? He has completely ingrained in this painting. He has done with complete awareness, consciousness and totality. His work would be a masterpiece even though he wasn’t gonna create it in the first place. Think of a dancer, how she would dance if she is dancing for the first place or she is dancing because she feels like and wants to enjoy completely immersed in it. Would she have the same grace if she is dancing for the cup or for herself? Same with musician, poetry writer. We mess up our work if we keep an eye on the result because then we wont be working with full totality, consciousness.
Then there are sets of arguments regarding this. The arguments are that if we don’t benchmark our work, how will we strive forward? If a batsman doesn’t enter a field thinking I need to make a century how will he play good and responsibly? Similarly in our case, if we don’t think today we are going to give 100% accuracy how will we improve ourselves? For this I said to my friend that 100% accuracy is the by-product and not the main purpose. How many times have you heard when coach tell to the player, play your natural game. Ok, sometimes you need to curb your natural instincts and play according to the current situation but if you play with century in the mind the perhaps the ball that normally you would hit, you would let it go considering a high risk and in the process lose your natural rhythm. If you are playing, dancing, painting, writing poetry, music with full awareness, totality then I bet you wouldn’t have to worry about the result because it would be a masterpiece. And if not why bother? Didn’t you enjoy doing what you did without focusing on the result? Isn’t happiness of working without stressing yourself over the result worth doing the job?
Then another set of arguments are if we don’t keep an eye on the goal how can we become ambitious? For achieving something we have to set our eyes on the goal. Yes that’s true but once the goal is achieved, will we be enjoying ourselves? I doubt because after achieving our goal we will set our eyes on other goal. The desires would keep on coming and we would be running after our desires and never onces enjoying the work we are doing because we are waiting for the goal to get achieved. Once it gets achieved, instead of enjoying the goal we will set ourselves for some other higher goals. That is why I am saying that the result is just the byproduct. If we would give our 100%, full consciousness and totality in work then that work would naturally be good.