Srimath BhagavadGita is a universally accepted Holy Book and the best of all other spiritual books for Hindus. It has discussed ‘Karma’ (Duty) in detail. Lord Krishna says that one should perform one's duty without having any expectations on its profits. He named such duty as `Nishkama Karma’ meaning, the ‘Desireless duty’, which gives a comfortable peaceful life. However some atheists have taken it very lightly, misinterpreted it and have laughed at it quoting some examples that no farmer will indulge in agriculture unmindful of a profitable crop or no one does business without thinking of his profits.
To the materialistic world of this age, all these claims of the atheists may seem appropriate, but there is more to life than to just think about logic, science, passions or money.
While reading the Holy Scriptures we should consult our heart but not our intellect. Then only we will get its true meaning. Desireless duty is always a true attitude. A man who performs his duty for duty's sake will get no discontentment. If you do a thing with some expectations and in case you will not get the result or get it below your expectations, it is sure that you will be disappointed. This disappointment is directly proportional to what you expected. Hundred percent desires less duty may not be possible. However we can adopt it to the extent possible and get more and more results. All Divine preaching goes on these lines only. Less desire leads to more comfort is the principle underlined in it.
In performing duties, there will generally be three types of people. Number one Uttama Purusha (the Best), Second is Madhyama Purusha (the Mediocre) and the third Adhama Purusha (the Worst).
The Adhama (the Worst) category person does not start a work at all. He expects so many obstacles even before he starts the work that he does not start it at all, thinking that it is a waste.
The Madhyama (the Mediocre) category person starts the work and drops it in the middle when a simple obstruction appears on the way.
But the Uttama (the Best) category person will complete his duty and finish the work taken up, even though he comes across a number of impediments. He will never leave his duty and isn’t afraid of any obstacles. Such a person will achieve victory and he becomes the Great Man, the Hero in this world.
Consider this example – A nail is to be driven into a wall and a calendar is to be hung. The Adhama (worst) might not start the work at all saying that the wall is strong and the nail is soft. The Madhyama (mediocre) tries to do the work but when it becomes difficult i.e., when the nail becomes twisted and the hammer in use is not proper, he stops the work and goes away thinking that it is not in his capacity. But the Uttama (the best) will start the work with preoccupied thought of completing the work without any doubt. If the nail is bent, and difficult to drive the nail into the wall, he will bring a jumper and strong hammer, drives the nail into the wall and hangs the Calendar on it.
In this context, Sage ‘Vemana’ said, “One should think well before starting a work. That is all. Afterwards there should be no question of dropping it. The thought of middle drops should not creep into the mind. In case it happens so, it is nothing but equal to death”.
In Hindu scriptures, there is a mythological tale, where the Devils and the Gods once churned the ‘Ksheera Saagaram’ (Milky sea) for the sake of ‘Amrita’ (nectar). They got the poison first, the fire next, followed by ‘Kama Dhenu’ (the boon granting cow), ‘Kalpa Vriksha’ (the boon graning tree) and the diamonds and the precious stones etc. But they have not dropped their endeavor. They continued till the nectar came, bearing all the difficulties and not being attracted by the boons which were the intermediate results. Such should be the attitude of a duty minded person and such a person should only be called Uttama purusha (the best category among men).
The strict duty minded persons would always get much appreciation from their masters. There is a tale regarding this. The King ‘Aurangajeb’ always liked a servant very much and this has raised a kind of jealousy among others. Noticing this, the King called his servants to his court and asked them to cut into pieces a valuable diamond lamp stand kept in the hall. Nobody dared to do so. More over they reminded the value of that lamp stand to the King and prayed him not to resort to damage it. However when the King ordered his beloved servant to damage the stand, he simply obeyed the order and smashed the stand into pieces with his sword. That was his undoubted belief on his master. He always thinks that whatever his master says is right and his duty is to obey the order of his master. By witnessing this, all other servants recognized his greatness and stopped thinking bad against him afterwards.
Finally, let us consider a story of a duty minded saint, who, while going along a bank of a river, saw a scorpion drowning in water. Immediately he saved it and left it outside the water. However the scorpion bites the saint and accidentally fell again in the water. The saint without caring the severe pain once again saved the scorpion from the water. A person witnessing all these asked the saint why he saved the scorpion repeatedly when it hurt him with ingratitude. The saint simply replied that it had done its work and he did his duty. That is all.
By this it is understood that great people do not stop performing their duty in any circumstances. The loss or profit is least concerned to them. In their view, duty is duty and is the other way of serving God--Work is WORSHIP.
The same concepts are of course rediscovered by the leadership gurus of the West like Mr. Stephen Covey who in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has mentioned as ‘Principle Centered Thinking’ for taking decisions and performing actions, and by Mr. Robin Sharma in his books, ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’, ‘The Greatness Guide’, etc.
Courtesy: Sri P. Subbarayudu (Preceptor) and Sri B.E. Sampath Kumar (Abhyasi) of Sri RamaChandraji Maharaj Seva Trust, Kadapa.