A childhood story

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

Translation: On your duty alone, you have rights. Never on the fruits of it. Never, for the desire for fruit(result) should you perform. Never should you be attracted to inaction(in performance of your duties)

My mother taught me this Sanskrit verse or shloka when I was 4, for a dress-up competition at my preschool. Yes, that’s me in the picture dressed up as little Krishna, being awarded for my rendition of the shloka!! And the woman on right is my mother. I thought she was going away when she moved to give way to the photographer, and so the tears came rolling down 🙂 I have always cherished this childhood story!

Three decades later, I still marvel at the beauty of this verse and have to remind myself of its meaning when in doubt. This verse is deep-rooted in my memory. Still, applying it in daily life takes practice.

This verse is probably the most famous from Bhagvadgita, the Hindu scripture about the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna. The Krishna–Arjuna dialogues cover a broad range of spiritual topics, touching upon ethical dilemmas and philosophical issues that go far beyond the war Arjuna faces.

Let us resolve to focus on our actions, and not on the results.

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