Living With Purpose: Wisdom From the Bhagavad Gita

One must do one’s duties, but one has no control over the fruits

Anand Swamy

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I have been re-reading the Bhagavad Gita, a text rich with dense philosophical concepts that offer an abundance of fruits stemming from the same tree.

The term Bhagavad Gita, derived from Sanskrit, translates to Song of God.

It’s a small chapter within the epic saga known as the Mahabharata, a war that was fought around 3000 B.C. in Kurukshetra, India. This chapter comprises a conversation between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna, his charioteer, who symbolizes divinity.

Their dialogue delves into profound concepts such as dharma righteousness, devotion, and the nature of reality.

One notable principle is the emphasis on performing one’s duty without fixating on the outcomes. This perspective contrasts with Western modern-day teachings that prioritize results in both professional and personal spheres.

In the Gita, the focus lies on taking action and fulfilling one’s responsibilities to the best of one’s abilities, regardless of passion or immediate meaning, while attaching minimal concern to the fruits of those efforts.

Although this philosophy seems unfamiliar to me, I find myself drawn to it.

Why, you might wonder?

When one fixates on outcomes, life can transform into a transactional process, resembling a barter system or a mechanical game.

This approach risks reducing our essence to something robotic. In contrast, I believe this mindset diminishes our potential for truly living.

When we invest effort in self-improvement and wholeheartedly grasp the transient nature of existence, the significance of future outcomes diminishes.

We begin to focus more on the present moment.

Causality and its effects hold a pivotal role in Eastern wisdom. Each action signifies a choice — a vote for the person we aspire to be.

The subsequent effect is the result of our actions. If our actions are virtuous, we can let go of excessive concern for the outcome.

Throughout life, we wear various roles, much like garments. Some are professional titles, while others pertain to relationships (friends, siblings, parents, etc.). When engaged in these roles, it benefits us to direct our full attention to the task at hand.

Adopting this approach can reduce the need to constantly seek passion and meaning in life, as living passionately in each moment becomes the new standard.

This way, the joy of living permeates every facet of existence.

Each action undertaken becomes an extension of our joy, enabling us to live more harmoniously with ourselves and potentially alleviate unnecessary suffering brought about by wandering thoughts.

With love,
Anand

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Anand Swamy

I write about personal development and self awareness.