IIT Kanpur: Fight the right battle and forget the outcome

Acharya Prashant
7 min readMay 24, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): The Bhagavad Gita says, don’t focus on the outcome of your work. But a book called The Secret says, visualize a positive outcome of your work. Which of these is true?

Acharya Prashant (AP): You are comparing fine apples with rotten oranges. When these pop best-sellers and neo-spiritual classics tell you, “Visualize what you will get,” then they are just stoking the fire of your greed and imagination. They are not asking you, what is it that prompts you to go for that particular thing? What they are saying is, “There is something you desire, alright, now start gratifying yourself in advance.” That is one way to whet your appetite, no?

After all, the normal human being chases nothing but his desires. “I am going for something because I feel that the thing is going to provide me with physical pleasure and/or mental happiness. I will not ask whether the thing is actually worthy of desire. I will not ask whether I really need to go after that thing. I will not ask, who am I and what it is that I really need? Do I even need that thing?” These are taboo questions.

In the modern world, desire reigns supreme. You are neither supposed to ask yourself and certainly not others, why they desire what they do. You can desire anything in the name of free will, and that is sacrosanct. You say, “Well, you know, this is what I want. My truth is my truth, to each his own. Who are you to interfere in my personal preferences?” So, desire is taken as an absolute. And when desire is taken as an absolute then statements like these come in: “Visualize the outcome of your desire” — and that is just an appetizer before the main dish, no? All this will egg you on towards the disastrous outcomes of blind desire.

What Shri Krishna is saying is an absolutely different dimension of realization. He is saying: Do not go by what you desire. Do what is right. And when you are doing what is right, then the doing itself should be your only concern.

When you chase that which you desire, then obviously you can visualize the result as well because you are doing something that is within the purview of your imagination. You are doing something…

Acharya Prashant