3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 1.







The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


The study that has been conducted up to this time concerning the teaching of the Bhagavadgita would have revealed to us that we are born with a duty, and we can never be free from some duty or the other. It also implies that we have no rights; we have only duties, contrary to what one would expect from the point of view of common human nature. The fight for rights is out of point in a world of duties, which is inescapable under the set-up of things. The duty that we owe to ourselves, as well as anything that is around us, is a necessary conclusion that follows from the nature of our relationship with things in general. The connection that obtains between us and the world at large is such that there is a mutual obligation, as it were, between ourselves and the world. This obligation is not a compulsion, but a necessary conclusion automatically following from the essential character of Being itself. Thus duty is an empirical manifestation of true being. Here is the sum and substance of the great gospel.


Our organic relationship with things is the reason behind the duty that we owe to things, and this also is the reason why we need not expect any fruit from the duty that we perform in respect of anyone or anything. To expect a fruit is a mistake. Ma phaleshu kadachana; ma karma phala he tur bhuh, ma te sango'stva karmani; karmanye vadhika raste: You have a duty, you have an obligation to do, but you have no right to expect a particular consequence or result or fruit to follow from what you do. This is a very difficult, pithy enunciation in the Bhagavadgita – that we have duties but we cannot expect any fruits from the duties that we perform.


This may look very odd and unpleasant to the selfish individual, but as I have tried to mention earlier, the law of the universe is not necessarily a pleasant dish that is served to the ego of man; it is a principle that operates, and it is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Its reactions, under given conditions of personality, appear to be pleasant or otherwise. The duty that we owe to anyone or anything is the homage that we pay to the vastness of the atmosphere in which we are placed, and the grandeur of the relationship that is there between us and the whole of creation. There is a majesty ruling the whole cosmos; and it is this superabundance of magnificence, which is the law of the universe, that inexorably operates and impartially dispenses justice without any favour or disfavour in regard to any person or thing.

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued  ....

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