Thursday, February 4, 2010

मा फलेषु कदाचन |

I have been reading one of the articles by one of the persons
who happens to be my friend/philosopher/guide in some sorts.
In the article, he spoke about how powerful is the following
shloka from Bhagavdgita

"You have the right of only performing the actions, not of
the fruit. Do not live for the fruit of your actions, and do
not shirk from actions."

He explained it quite beautifully and quite in the same
spirit as I understand it (others may not agree!).

Here is a very brief summary of my understanding : You
don't have the right to consequences(fruits) of an action
because there are many factors involved in determining
the consequences, most of the times taking the control
out of your reach. But what you can definitely claim
as your right is the right to perform the action
because there are no other factors involved in it.
If you cannot control the consequences, you should attach
no importance to the consequences in your life. And though
you should practice detachment from the fruits, you
should not turn away from action.

Of course, it is a powerful message and I completely
agree with it except a small part. I find this
detachment-from-the-fruits-of-action part quite
difficult to cope with. I have thought of an alternative
which I feel offers more psychological support to me.

Instead of completely detaching myself from the consequences,
why I should not take a little joy in the thing that I
performed at least one of the multitude of the factors?
(If the consequences are bad, then regret a bit).
I will not claim that I am fully responsible for
the consequences because I know that I am not! I will not
claim joy/sorrow for the part for which I was not responsible.
But I would definitely like to feel pleasure/pain
for the part, even the minute part for which I was
responsible, because this gives me a motivation to move on,
and do more action, to live. Without this little
little joy/sorrow I will not be motivated to live.

Of course, different people will have different interpretations,
different justifications and so on. But I feel that
this little attachment makes me human, to enjoy life, to
give some justification for why I should perform the action.

And the above is also the way I interpret one of my all
time favorite quotes from Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore:
"Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is
no freedom for the tree".

- Onkar


Prajakta said...

Onkie, nice post and I am glad to see you call Tagore 'GURUDEV'.so you too are tremendously impressed by his deeds and the inspiring life he lived.

Zeitgeist: The Spirit of the 21st Century said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeitgeist: The Spirit of the 21st Century said...

The philosophy of happiness is easy to state/understand, but tough to follow. I understand your concern about motivation through little attachment. The point that arises is how much is "little attachment" that is sufficient for you to claim happiness! A quote from me, if you don't mind:
A regret-free person, alone can be happy.

If your remember your system's theory, this is a feedback loop: action-result-motivation; with result being influenced by noise. Detachment leads to making motivation independent of the result. It is the ideal state, and like all ideal states, it should be the aim, maybe never to be realized, but still the AIM!


Mrudul said...

Nice post Onkar. But I feel,

1) "Happiness is a relative term and one can't have a common theorem for it :)
2) I agree with you partially on the point
"You don't have the right to consequences(fruits) of an action
because there are many factors involved in determining the consequences"

what i believe here is, when you perform any action, only YOU are responsible for its consequences. (excluding certain things which are out of our limits) then why don't we have a right to enjoy/regret our own actions and it's fruit. One should take if not 100% but upto certain extent responsibility of their action..enjoy/regret and move ahead. That's what I feel. :)

swati said...

nice post onkar...
I agree with you that there will be no motivation unless there is some sort of desire existing behind our every action. The desires are the one which make us do all the things, good or bad. I think they are also the one which are endless and capable of making us unhappy despite our achievements.
For me this Shloka tells about limiting my personal desires and working to achieve universal wel-being.
Thanks for initiating a nice discussion... :)

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