Janmashtami is one of the most celebrated and auspicious festivals of India where people celebrate this festival with joy, cheer, fervour and prayers. This is an annual Hindu festival that is marked as the birthday of Lord Krishna who is considered to be Lord Vishnu’s eighth avatar.
Krishna was a multitalented and extremely capable being. Lord Krishna is also known to be very knowledgeable and he gave answers to all the questions his friend Arjun asked him in the battle field of Kurukshetra, known as the Bhagwad Geeta, the song of the Lord . The Bhagwad Geeta is a summary of Vedas and Upnishads.
On this auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami, it is an honour to remember some famous quotes from the Bhagwad Geeta, by Krishna. The most important one I feel is,
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 2.47 ||
Karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣhu kadāchana
Mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo’stvakarmaṇi
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of actions.
Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.
This shloka is very popular and even young children are familiar with it. It gives an insight into the science of work and karma yog. There are four instructions given by Krishna in this shloka:
1) Do your duty, but do not worry about the results;
2) The fruits of your actions are not for your enjoyment;
3) Even while working, give up the pride of doer ship; and
4) Do not be attached to inaction or not doing any work.
This shloka has the essence of how we should conduct ourselves regarding work. We have right to do our duty but the results are not dependent only upon our efforts. There are many factors playing for the success of any action or work. If we get very concerned about the results, we can experience anxiety if it is not up to our expectations. So we should focus entirely on our efforts and the result will automatically be better. For example, while playing a game of Cricket if we focus merely on the scores, we will not be able to enjoy the game, even become quite anxious to score well. Instead, if we focus on the playing the shots, we will enjoy the game more and as a result the score will also improve to a higher level.
Krishna wanted Arjun to give up the pride of doership, kartritwābhimān. For example, the tools in the garage will be inactive by themselves unless someone uses the power of his/her hands to perform an action. We cannot say that the tools repaired the car. Similarly, we have to remember that there is a superior power that enables us to do something or perform any action. So, we should not have the pride or ego of doer ship.
‘Wish you all a very happy Janmashtami and Gokulashtami.’
Dr Sangeeta Srivastava
Kandivli Education Society
6th Sep 2023