Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 20 – part 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 20


He who has given up attachment to the fruits of work, who is ever content, who does not depend upon anything, though engaged in actions, does not verily do anything.


Herein is a description of “Jivanmukta.”

Who is a Jivanmukta, how does he live and how does one recognise him? Three characteristics of such a person are given in this sloka. They are:

Tyaktva karamphala sangam: abandoning attachment to the fruits of action.
Nitya trupta: ever content.
Nirashrayaha: does not depend upon anything.

Abandoning the fruits of action is stressed so many times in the Gita. It is true that every action does bring its results either good or bad. Whether one wishes for it or not, results will follow every action.

Actions are “present” and results are “future.” One of the principal rules of any action is to be in one plane and that is “live in the present”. Living in two planes of “present and future” at the same time reduces the efficiency of the present.

A student studying in the university does so to get a degree and thereby have a source of living. His duty should be to live in the “present” and study. He should be putting 100% concentration on all aspects of study like listening to the teacher, revising what is learnt and preparing for next day’s lessons etc. He strives hard to get all his doubts cleared by sheer concentration, assistance of the teachers and study of the concerned texts.

With this effort he completes the necessary exams at the end of the studies. With all this effort, by the blessings of the Lord (who takes into account the results of actions of the past), he will get the results. With the degree achieved by the efforts and the blessings of the Lord, the next stage is to work and learn to live in self sufficiency.

The student has no right to be thinking of the life after graduation during his studies. He needs to take into account the life after graduation before deciding on the course of studies. Once having taken a decision to take up a course of studies, the effort has to be totally on the present.

The same rule applies to all the individuals and at all times. The rule being simply “abandoning attachment to the fruits of action”. Everybody is entitled to receive the fruits of action and will get the same on completion of the actions. Even those on the spiritual path are also entitled to get the reward which is “Moksha.”

Normally one expects the results immediately at the end of any action. Philosophically speaking this is not possible because it is the grace of the Lord that decides on the time of receiving the result of action. Every action will have a result either now or in the future and the timing of the future is not in our hands.

We have been instructed by the Lord not to be the slave to the desires but do every action as a duty to the Lord.

***   will be continued   ***

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