2. The Secret
‘Trees give fruits for the
good of others. Rivers flow for the good of others. Cows give milk for
the good of others. Similarly the possessions of the saints are used only
for the good of others.’
The lawyers argue the case for or against a victim with all Sraddha, but
they cannot pronounce the judgment. The students read day and night and
write the exams with all sincerity, but they cannot award degrees to themselves.
The players play the games with all their might, but they cannot be referees
to their own play. That is the secret of work. Vivekananda has explained
unselfish love in his article entitled ‘The Secret of Work’.
‘Work incessantly, but be not attached to it is the essence of this
article. This also sums up the famous sloka in Bhagvadgita.
Karmanye Vaadikarastye Maa Phaleshu Kadaachana
Ma Karma Phalaheturbu Ma te sainghostva Karmani Bhagvadgita 2 - 47
Te - you
Adhikara + Asti - have right to
Karmanye va - do karmas
Kadaachana - at no point of time
Ma phaleshu - have right on the results
Ma - bu - you don’t be
Karma Phalahetur - the reason for the result
Te - Ma - astu - May you not be
Sangaha - interested
Akarmani - in avoiding work
This sloka conveys three don’ts and one do
1. You have right to do work
2. You have no right on its result
3. You should not be the reason for the result
4. Do not show interest in avoiding work.
An old man was planting a seedling. A passerby asked ‘Sir, you look
so old. Do you think you will live long to enjoy its fruits ?’ The
man smiled to himself and added. ‘If everyone thought that way,
we wouldn’t have had the schools, colleges and the hospitals today
to serve us. We have to work but should not think of its results.
You play pretty well, when you don’t think of the results. The best
example for it is carom board. You play well, it is a sure coin and you
can strike it well. But when that turns out to be the last coin, the deciding
coin for your victory you fail miserably. Why? You are worried about the
consequence of the actions. The same way, you can play chess better as
an observer rather than as one of the two players. It is because you are
unmindful of the result and so you are not obsessed with the game. On
the contrary if you play, you are more worried about the result than the
course of action. Playing the game with interest, but not worrying about
the result is Karma yoga.
Ramana Maharshi was once asked by a disciple to define karma yoga. He
took him to the top of Arunachala hill. He cut a branch of a tree and
shaped it into a fine stick with great zeal and enthusiasm. As he was
stepping down, he came across a shepherd who badly needed such a stick.
The Maharshi willingly offered the stick to the boy. We come back to the
line ‘work incessantly, but be not attached to the work.’
Most of the people work incessantly but only for a good result. One builder
was a skilled craftsman. His houses have a specialty of their own. Finally
he wanted to retire. He declared the same to the boss. The boss agreed
but asked him as a last favour to construct just one more house for him.
The builder had already tuned his mind for retirement. So he was in no
mood to work. All the same he could not say no to the boss. So he did
oblige him, but the building had no beauty. Finally when he completed
it, the boss gave him the key to the house ‘Mr.Ramayya! I asked
you to build this house for you! It’s my gift to you! Mr. Ramayya
was shocked. You can guess why!
The parents and teachers are next to God. They work incessantly for the
family without any expectation of any return. Does any parent ever say,
‘I brought you up with great difficulty. Come on send me
Rs.10, 000 every month!’ Even if they say so, it is only to pull
the leg of the children, but they don’t really take it. They add
a little more money of their own and give it back to their children. The
same way the teachers teach the young ones though the latter are not very
keen on learning. They mould their teaching to suit their calibre. Once
the students pass out, the teachers hardly see them. They hardly get a
sweet as a reward for their hard work but they never expect any return.
Nor do they shirk from their responsibility of training the young ones.
Out of the three yoga - Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga, Karma yoga - Karma yoga
is best suited for us human beings - we have to fulfil our vihita or kartrutva
Karma without expecting any result. Kartrutva karma is the duty we are
expected to fulfil and Nishkama karma is to do the duty without expecting
If we worship our work we need not even do the general prayer. This is
explained in the story of Maha Tapa.
Maha Tapa as the name symbolizes, was a great saint. He attained some
special powers by his tapas Shakti. He stared at a crane once when its
droppings fell on him. The crane was burned down to ashes. Then he came
into the village begging for alms. A woman in a house came out, ‘Please
wait; I am busy serving my husband. I cannot attend to you immediately.’
The saint got angry and began to stare at her the same way. The woman
said, ‘I am not a crane to be burnt down. I am a ‘Pativrat’
(serve my husband as my lord)’ Maha Tapa was taken aback. How did
she know it ? He wanted to become her disciple, but she advised him to
go to a man called Dharma Vyadudu, some where in Ujjain. The saint went
accordingly and was shocked to see him as a butcher. He was deeply engrossed
in his work and asked him to see him later. Later when he went, he was
all the more shocked to see him sleeping with his feet over a Siva Lingam.
The saint got angry and shouted at him. The man said ‘OK you remove
my feet from there and keep them aside. But surprisingly, wherever he
kept his feet, a Siva Lingam rose from under his feet. Then Maha Tapa
realized that the lady there and the butcher here believed in their ‘Kartrutvam’
in their duty and treated it as God. The butcher served his old parents
For a student - his karma yoga is to study well and for a businessman
his karma yoga is to do his business sincerely.
Work is Worship
Work is Divine.