NIT Trichy: Only in right action can the result be forgotten

Acharya Prashant
5 min readOct 8, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): The Bhagavad Gita says, keep doing the work, don’t worry about the rewards. That has been my ideal in life — be a jack of all trades, do whatever gives you mental pleasure, and do it freely. If I want to do this, I just do this — that has been my motto.

I have been into many things in my life following this philosophy, but people around me have started to ask why I am not giving my full potential to some particular thing, like studies, for example, to get a good placement and such things. I have never listened to such advice, but these days I have started feeling a little guilty. It is a fast-changing, competitive world, and I cannot always stay as I am. What if the people around me are right?

So, how can I get rid of these feelings of guilt? I don’t want a big cheque; I want to check all the things on my bucket list!

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, the Gita is probably the most misunderstood scripture among the popular ones. The Gita doesn’t say at all that you must do whatever you do without caring for the result. Such a thing is not only not said, but it is also impossible to execute.

The Gita does not ask you to just randomly follow your whims and desires. The first thing it says is, don’t do anything for your personal pleasure or gratification. And when you don’t do something just for your personal pleasure or gratification, then, and only then, will you be able to execute it without bothering about the results.

As long as you are doing something for your own benefit, in your own self-interest, it will be impossible for you to not care for the results. You will be result-oriented because to the ego, to the common actor, the result comes first. You first covet a result and then you initiate an action to achieve that result. In such a scenario, how can you be unmindful of the result? You can be unmindful of the result only if it is not for yourself that you act.

So, the Gita is not at all telling you to follow your pleasures or your interests in a free and indiscreet fashion. Niśkāma-karma, action without bothering for rewards, is about a higher center of action. You have…