Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nishkaam Karma

Nishkaam karma means don’t expect a reward, but you have to expect the results. If you don’t expect results, then how can you do karma correctly and with resolve.
If you don’t aim for a target and expect to hit the target, there is no way you can hit it. If you miss the target, can you say niskham karma and forget about the result? The action has to be goal oriented.
As explained, nishkaam means don’t expect a reward. Perform to the best of your abilities to win the match; but don’t expect the man of the match award. Your team winning has to be the goal i.e. the result; winning recognition for your efforts should not be the concern.

If the team is result oriented, then the team will perform on a merit basis. A star batsmen can be placed in the boundary or bat/pad position. The most economical bowler can be given more exposure. The opening batsmen can be sent down the order as and when the situation demands.

There was an experiment on Success in US, a certain person kept dunking the basket ball, thousands of times without missing even one shot. In his interview, he explained his thought process; he concentrated on the ball, how it felt, how high it bounced, how far away the hoop was, how active his arms were, how much force he need to apply.
At no point did he think about what had happened previously or how much he had acheived already or what would happen if he missed now ?

Staying with sports, let’s say a batsman hits a six; the crowd erupts, cheer leaders dance, action replays etc etc etc. Now the next ball, he cannot dvelve on the previous ball; he has to concentrate on maximising the score in this ball as well. Just because the previous ball was a six does’nt mean this ball is going to be a six as well.

One example is Akrura was bringing Sri Krishna and Balarama in his chariot to Mathura, on the way he stops at the Yamuna river to do his Sandhyavandana. Think about it, of all the excuses to skip Sandhyavandane this is probably the best; the person whom you are praying to is in your chariot. But Akrura alights from his chariot and performs Sandhyavandane in Yamuna and he is rewarded with Sri Narayana’s moola roopa darshana. Akrura was doing his nitya karma, he was not expecting any award (in fact he thought that Sri Krishna darshana was in itself was a huge reward); but he was graced with a wonderful wonderful reward.
Doing a result oriented action, is called Sankalpa. Sri Hari is called Satya Sankalpa, because whatever he desires happens. Our sankalpa has to be inline Sri Hari’s sankalpa; hence Jyoteesha helps us in this aspect.
Remember expecting results means we need to measure the effort applied, expecting rewards means you expect result irrespective of effort.

In this regard, we perform very little karma but reap extreme results. Also we perform extreme karmas but suffer very very little. Sri Hari is atyanta atyanta karanalu !!!

Sri Hari has provided us with so many opportunities for Sadhana we should utilize them with great zeal and thank him profusely for it. On the other hand if we criticize and complain about our situation all the time. It is a very big insult to Sri Hari’s sankalpa.

Sri Sri Sri 1008 Vishvesha Teertharu of Pejawar Mutt, gives a very nice analogy. The process to eat a Jackfruit is to cut it with a knife. Then apply oil on your hands and peel each fruit out of its covering.
Cutting with knife is gynana and applying oil to hands so that it does not get stuck is called Nishkaama karma.

Jai Bharateesha,


  1. very good narration about nishkaamakarma. Thanks.


  2. Hare Srinivasa,

    Thanks a lot for your encouragment, I am only presenting what I have learnt through hearing and reading. There is no end to knowledge; Tattvavada is the only matha, that clearly explains Nishkaama karma.

    Jai Bharateesha,