Nishkam Karma – The art of focusing on Actions & Not their Results!

Nishkam Karma is the art of focusing on our actions & not their results. Involvement for the sake of duty, without any expectations of personal gain. Being bothered with what we do in the present instead of being worried about what its outcome will be in future.

Let’s say that someone is preparing for his exams. While preparation, should he or shouldn’t he be concerned about results? Should he be concerned about the results on the day of the examination? Should he be concerned about the results after the examination is over? Should he be concerned about the results at least after the results are announced?

The answer to all the above questions is ‘No’, according to the philosophy of Nishkam Karma!

Attaching oneself towards their duty and detaching themselves from its results is the synthesis of Nishkam Karma.

What is more important for an employee? Being concerned about the work at hand, or being concerned about when he/she would get a salary raise?

Can a Tennis player just concentrate on the serve / rally that they are playing currently without being bothered about the score / outcome of the match even if they are playing at 0-6, 0-6, 0-5 (Love-40) ?

While going to office in the morning, can we be concerned only about driving our vehicle without being concerned about that difficult meeting we need to attend that morning?

In a sense, Nishkam Karma is also about complete absorption in what ever one is doing NOW. And that can be done effectively if one is not bothered/ concerned about the outcome/ results.

The opposite of Nishkam Karma is Sakam Karma. Here, one does his duty always expecting favorable results.

But is it possible to get favorable results always? Isn’t life a mixed bag of up’s and down’s ? If one does not get the results they expect, they would be depressed and sad. On the other hand, would they be satisfied and happy at least after they get the results they expect?

If your salary is twenty thousand rupees per month, and you get twenty five thousand rupees per month including bonus, would you be satisfied / happy with it (or) would you want to make thirty thousand rupees per month like your colleague?

Is there a point where one would be satisfied with what they have (with Sakam Karma), how much ever they have?

But with Nishkam Karma, a person is satisfied (detached) with a favorable result and also satisfied (detached) with an unfavorable result. Even a small effort taken in the spirit of Nishkam Karma is satisfying and there is an element of fulfillment.

The Bhagvad Gita goes one step ahead and says that actions are in our hands, but their results (fruits) are not in our hands.

Well, I am not advocating this Nishkam Karma or anything, but I thought it is an interesting point of view (philosophy) that is worth sharing.

Destination Infinity

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16 Replies to “Nishkam Karma – The art of focusing on Actions & Not their Results!”

  1. I was aware of Nishkam karma but hadn’t heard the ‘Sakam Karma’ terminology. In my view, both the type of Karma is required in this current generation. Though, Nishkam karma results in one living a peaceful & fulfilled life, for ambitious people a little bit of Sakam karma will keep the flames burning and which will give them a sense of achievement. But importantly, one has to know when to detach himself & let go, which otherwise will cause emotional trauma.

    Liked the way, you have explained the pros-cons of both Karma.

    PS

    1. Knowing when to detach oneself is in itself an art! Nishkam Karma is also about achieving, but one just follows a different path…

      Destination Infinity

  2. Nishkam Karma is a good way of living but one thing we should follow it strictly else it will be difficult to live in this world where one is judged by his/her successes 🙂

  3. Rajesh,

    As usual very very nice post and interesting way to look at things. I read your posts in the emails and then come to comment so you must be very good :)))

    1. That ‘interesting way to look at things’ should go to people who have devised these philosophies…

      Destination Infinity

  4. Interesting hypotheses.

    I am unaware of nishkam karma but believe that in order to attain success, one should focus on goals. And goals has many forms, such as salary rise, fame etc. I am not arguing this whole notion is wrong. It’s just my point of view 🙂

    1. Well, its important to take concrete actions to fulfill such goals. Perhaps this concept wants one to focus on taking and sustaining concrete actions so that they reach their goal?

      Destination Infinity

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