Vishal Puri, 28 June 2016
Can devotees please help me in understanding Bhagavad Gita Sloka 2.47
‘You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.’
What other factors bring results, other than my efforts ?
And under what conditions/mentality does a person not want to do things or put efforts ?
Please guide me.
Haladhar Das, 21st July 2016
Hare Krsna Vishal,
Thank you for your nice question.
You have rightly mentioned that other than my own efforts, there are other factors which bring results. The same is mentioned described in Bhagavad Gita verse 18.14 as below:
The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul – these are the ﬁve factors of action.
So we can see for any result, only our efforts are not involved. Ultimately the control is in the hand of the Supersoul, He is the super-cause and all our activities depend on His will. So foolishly if we try to enjoy ourselves independently of Him, we will suffer the consequences whereas if we go as per His will, we will remain liberated even when we are here.
Your second question, under what conditions/mentality does a person not want to do things or put efforts? What I understand from your question in context to the verse 2.47 is that when one is told that you are not entitled to results, naturally one will not endeavour. That’s why people are surprised when being told, that we should not ask from God, (We should try to serve with love.) then they say then what for we should go to temple.
Hope it meets your query.
Jaya Srila Gurudeva. Jaya Srila Prabhupada.
Shridhar Das, 21 July 2016
Hare Krishna Vishal,
Please accept my humble respects!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Sorry for the delayed response. Your question is very significant and deserves clarification.
First, I prefer to emphasize the term “Prescribed duty”. The purport states:
Prescribed duties are activities enjoined in terms of one’s acquired modes of material nature.
It has been discussed in the past posts on this group that just as a doctor “prescribes” a medicine to the patient as per one’s disease, similarly we are all diseased or intoxicated by the modes of material nature in varying degrees. Everyone is uniquely entangled depending on the past actions (past of this life and past lives).
If we do not act as per prescription or try to work out with our disease just by our own, we are most probably running towards death in near future or far future. This is definitely a very fatal act.
Similarly, any act which is not according to an expert prescription is worsening our already ruined consciousness. If we place a dog food, a dog won’t be able to control his senses, he’ll keep seeking for the food by nose, tongue, mind, etc… Similarly, if we keep following our defective mind, without any control whatsoever, we are heading for animal life next birth.
This may sound bitter but it’s a basic fact about this human birth (tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam). That is why in so many places throughout Vedas it is recommended to approach a spiritual master with humility, to gain knowledge and apply it in our lives. That inquiry regarding the self and it’s application is performing our prescribed duties.
If work is worsening our disease in this material world, some class of men renounce work altogether to avoid further sickening. That is why Srila Prabhupada is stating in the purport:
The Lord advised that Arjuna not be inactive, but that he perform his prescribed duty without being attached to the result.
Addressing your two questions:
What other factors bring results, other than my efforts ?
That is clearly answered in Bhagavad Gita 18.14:
“The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul – these are the ﬁve factors of action.”
Purport (Read slowly)
The word adhiṣṭhānam refers to the body. The soul within the body is acting to bring about the results of activity and is therefore known as kartā, “the doer.” That the soul is the knower and the doer is stated in the śruti. Eṣa hi draṣṭā sraṣṭā (Praśna Upaniṣad 4.9). It is also conﬁrmed in the Vedānta-sūtra by the verses jño ’ta eva (2.3.18) andkartā śāstrārthavattvāt (2.3.33). The instruments of action are the senses, and by the senses the soul acts in various ways. For each and every action there is a different endeavor. But all one’s activities depend on the will of the Supersoul, who is seated within the heart as a friend. The Supreme Lord is the supercause. Under these circumstances, he who is acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness under the direction of the Supersoul situated within the heart is naturally not bound by any activity. Those in complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness are not ultimately responsible for their actions. Everything is dependent on the supreme will, the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So we are souls, we desire and use the senses to fulfill our desires. If senses are themselves uncontrolled we can expect mismanagement which is what this material world is about, chaos (or Kaliyuga). Even if they are controlled, The Supersoul is the ultimate sanctioner.
Please note, Supersoul is IMPARTIAL. Srila Prabhupada gives an example of a court judge who sometimes awards death sentence to someone and sometimes declares millions of cash to other, but in both cases he is detached. Similar relation can be assumed between the Supersoul and the conditioned soul.
So the conclusion is – we are not the ultimate doer. Krishna hence warns:
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
“The spirit soul bewildered by the inﬂuence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.” (BG 3.27)
And under what conditions/mentality does a person want to do things or put efforts ?
When he meets severe failure and is not able to accept the above instruction of Krishna, that he is not the doer and he must act under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master.
Example: If a car is rammed by another, and even if driver is not injured, he definitely would be in severe anxiety. Why? Because he strongly identifies himself with his car, while at the same time being a spirit soul, he has nothing to do with car, he can reject it plainly. Because he is attached to the car considering himself to be the enjoyer of car, which is natural for an owner, he is hurt.
That is what BG 5.29 states, peace prevails when we understand that the owner of all energies and whatsoever is Krishna Himself and when one accepts this truth faithfully, one finds peace in all ups and downs of life, knowing Krishna to be the real enjoyer.
So if we submit ourselves unto Krishna’s representative, the spiritual master and work for his pleasure knowing him to be the goal of our life, then we will be able to find the purpose of every activity in our lives and by obtaining the meaning of every actions that we perform in our life, we will find peace amidst success, as well as failures.
Did this answer your doubt?
Vishal Puri, 02 August 2016
Thank you for the detailed explanation of the Sloka, it was very informative.
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