Work without any Motive
by Swami Sivananda
Man generally plans to get the fruits of his works before he starts any kind of work. The mind is so framed that it cannot think of any kind of work without remuneration or reward. This is due to Rajas. Human Svabhava is always like this. When discrimination dawns, when the mind is filled with some more Sattva or purity, this nature changes slowly. The spirit of selflessness slowly creeps in. The quality of Rajas creates selfishness and attachment. A selfish man has no large heart. He has no ideal. He is petty-minded. His mind is full of greed. He always calculates. He cannot do any service in a magnanimous manner. He will say: "I will get so much money. I must put forth so much work only." He will weigh the work and money in a balance. He cannot do a little more work. He will be ever watching the time for stopping his work. He is mercenary. He is hired for money. He is actuated by the hope of reward. He is greedy of gain. Selfless service is unknown to him. He has no idea of God. He has no glimpse of Truth. He cannot imagine of an expanded, selfless life. He has got into a narrow, circumscribed circle or groove. He dwells within this small grove. His love extends to his own body, his wife and children. That is all. Generosity is unknown to him.
If you expect fruits for your actions, you will have to come back into this world to enjoy such fruits. You will have to take birth again. A Nishkamya Karma Yogi says: "Do all works without expectation of fruits. This will produce Chitta Suddhi. Then you will get knowledge of the Self. You will get Moksha or eternal bliss, peace and immortality." This is his doctrine. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:
Karmanyevaadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana
Ma karmaphalaheturbhurma te sangostvakarmani.
"Thy business is with the action only, never with its fruits; so let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor be thou to inaction attached." Gita: Chapter II-47.
God dispenses the fruits of actions according to the motive. If the motive is pure, you will get Divine Grace and purity. If the motive is impure, you will get rebirth in this Mrityuloka to reap the fruits of your actions. Again you will do virtuous and vicious actions through the force of Raga-Dvesha. You will be entrapped in the never-ending wheel of birth and death.
But you should not remain in a state of inertia also (Akarmani) thinking that you will not get the fruits if you work selflessly. You must not say: "What is the use of my work now? I can not get any fruits. I will keep quiet." This is also bad. You will become Tamasic and dull. There will be mental inactivity. You will get purity of mind if you work in the spirit of Nishkamya Karma Yoga. This is a very great reward for your actions. You cannot imagine the exalted condition of a man of pure mind. He has unbounded peace, strength and joy. He is very near to God. He is dear to God. He will soon receive the divine light. Work without any sort of motive and feel its effects, purity and inner strength. What an expanded heart you will have! Indescribable! Practise, feel and enjoy this state.