Then is one of the greatest sentences of the Bhagavad Gita, in II, 47. As I told you, I am marking out only those sentences which are key sentences, and over which you should have a real mastery. Now when your intelligent will is fixed, then you will be a Karmayogi. But what are the starting points of that intelligent will being fixed, even while you act? Here Sri Krishna gives the knowledge as to how you can do that:
karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana |
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi ||47|| (II)
This has been quoted very often, as the fundamental teaching of the Gita, as the highest teaching of the Gita; sure, this is not the highest teaching of the Gita: this is the starting point, foundational teaching. The highest teaching of the Gita is given in the 18th chapter, not here, this is the foundational statement. The culmination, the highest statement of the Karmayoga is in the 18th chapter that we will see later. But this is a starting point.
If you want to make your intelligent-will absolutely fixed, then you do one thing. Your intelligent will normally becomes multi-branched, because of one important constituent of your activity: the desire to clutch at the fruit of action and to enjoy it. This is the psychological truth that Sri Krishna expounds; that your intelligence becomes unstable. The main reason is that when you are acting, what happens to your psychology? Your attention is not on action: your attention is to clutch at the fruit as soon as possible, and to enjoy it.
If I can get Rs 5 lakhs today, by only this much effort, I am prepared to accept that, because my interest is not in action, my interest is getting 5 lakhs of rupees, that is the fruit I want to enjoy. As long as you are in this condition, your intelligent-will can never become stable. Sri Krishna says: “If you really want to make your intelligent-will fixed, then be engaged in action, and act in such a way, that you do not want to clutch at the fruit of action.” It’s a very hard saying to the people, because normally we act only for the sake of the fruit of action, and Sri Krishna says: “You act, but do not desire to clutch at the results of the fruits of your action”. Therefore, normally people strive to give up all action, if this is all that is to be done. Why act at all, if fruits of action are not to be enjoyed, why act at all?
Therefore, Sri Krishna says, “To action alone thou has the right.” First of all realise that you have the right only to action, over fruit, even if you desire, you have no right. Very often you will find that you act for one thing, and something else comes out. You have no control, the world is so constituted, that even if you say, “I want this result, I want to do this”, you will find the result will be quite different. Or, if it is the same that you wanted, you find that “Oh! this is not what I really wanted.” Having got with the result that you wanted, you find that it is there, in your hands. “Oh! But this is not what I wanted, I wanted something else!”