We have three mahāvākyas, you might say, of the Bhagavad Gita. And all this is done by when your intelligence becomes clear.
First statement is: “To action alone have thou the right and not to the fruits of action”. Now, this statement is very easy to see. If your mind is clean and clear and impartial and objective, you can see very clearly that, even when you apply the right means for the right result, once you do the action, the result no more depends upon you: action is thrown by you into the field, what will happen to the field, it is no more dependent upon you: I may be a farmer, and I may have sown the seeds in the soil, I may have tilled the soil, that is all dependent upon me, all that I can do is this: I can have a field, I can till the soil, I can cast the seeds, nurture them, water them, all that, I can do; but sunshine is not dependent upon me, rains are dependent upon me, storms are not dependent upon me.
Therefore, even though you may do all your actions, the result, which has to come out of this, is not dependent upon you. Results are dependent upon many other agencies; it is by the combination of so many agencies that the result comes out. Therefore, as a scientist, if you look at the whole world, very objectively, you will very easily see that nobody’s results of action depend upon that agent. And therefore, when Sri Krishna says that, “Realise that you have a right to action, you can do also as much as you want to do by yourself, but as far as the results are concerned, it is not your domain”.
If you know this, then what follows as far as we, as agents are concerned, Sri Krishna says, “Therefore, you do whatever action you can do, or you must do, or whatever you feel like doing, but become completely detached, as far as the results are concerned. If the results are good, be very quiet, if the results are bad; be very quiet, in both the conditions, you become un-deflected”.
sukhaduḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau | (II, 38)
“Whether you succeed or you fail, whether you get gain or loss, you become completely equal minded”.
It does not mean however therefore, that you should not act. This is one of the consequences, which immediately come out. When you tell anybody: “You act but do not desire the fruits of action, and become equal minded in regard to the fruits of action”, then very often it becomes a negative medicine and people then say: ’Why should I act at all?’ Therefore Sri Krishna says, “Even then, do not neglect, yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam”.
There are two mahāvākya(s), again here in this regard: one is yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam(II, 50); samatvaṁ yoga ucyate(II, 48), “Equality is called Yoga.” These are the two statements: attain to equality with regard to the fruits of action, at the same time, you do your action efficiently, with perfect application of the will and do not neglect it. When you have done this, then you are sthita in Yoga: but ‘this’ is only the first stage, when you are still concerned only with the fruits of action, and with regard with the fruits of action, you have taken this poise. The emphasis, as far as this stage is concerned, is upon equality and efficiency; this is the first stage of Karmayoga.