Thursday, July 18, 2024

Do not stop making sacrifices, even if you have nothing to gain – Bhagavad Gita explains why

Amlan Shekhar Baruah

We already know that the Bhagavad Gita advises us not to take anything for granted and to make some sacrifices for others if we want to achieve something. But if we do not have any desire to achieve it, should we still make sacrifices? Or, if we want it but have little to no chance of achieving it, should we still make sacrifices? Or, if we have nothing to gain but instead have a chance of losing something, should we still make sacrifices for others? Let us see what answers the Bhagavad Gita provides for such questions.

In Verses 20-26 of Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna says to Arjuna:

“By karma (duties or responsibilities according to one’s nature) alone, Janaka (King Janaka, father of Mata Seeta, wife of Bhagavaan Rama) and others also attained perfection. Therefore, you should perform your karmas only for the good and welfare of the world (if not for your own desires). Whatever a great person does, other people imitate exactly that. Whatever standard he or she sets, the world follows. O Partha (Arjuna)! For me, there is no duty in the three worlds (in the sense that Krishna does not have any material desire), nor is there anything unachieved that should be achieved; yet, I am also engaged in karmas (actions or duties). Because if I am ever not carefully, sincerely, or tirelessly engaged in karmas, humans will follow my path in all respects, o Partha. If I do not perform karmas, all these worlds will perish, and I will be the creator of chaos and confusion and destroy all these creatures. O Bharata (Arjuna)! As the ignorant act with attachment, so should the wise act without attachment, for the sake of the welfare of the world. The wise should not create conflicts in the intellects of the ignorant, who are attached to fruitive actions, but should inspire them to perform all karmas, by themselves performing them sincerely.”

You should never stop doing your duties and making sacrifices for others, even if you have no desire for the fruits of your duties or have nothing to gain from your duties and sacrifices. The reason is that you should do your duties not only for yourself but also for others. Even if you do not make any personal gains from your duties and sacrifices, your sacrifices will always help and inspire others, irrespective of your personal gains or desires. Every living creature is a part of the same source, the same universe, the same God, the same Supreme Soul, and the same family. So, all creatures and their actions are connected to one another. Thus, any sacrifice that you make for anyone makes a positive contribution to the entire world. And any positive contribution to the world will, sooner or later, be beneficial for everyone, including you. Therefore, even if you gain nothing or even lose something at present due to your sacrifices, some day they will certainly reward you with whatever you deserve. Basically, what goes around comes around. Therefore, you should never hesitate to do good and make sacrifices for others. Even if you can help or inspire just one person with your sacrifice, it still matters a lot.

Whenever you have nothing to gain from your duties or sacrifices, think particularly about those who look up to you and try to follow in your footsteps. If you do not perform your duties sincerely, they will also tend to do the same and thus get discouraged from doing their duties properly. So this will have a negative influence on them. And when they do the same thing, the others who look up to them will also be influenced to do the same. Thus, this chain will keep on repeating and eventually produce a big negative influence in the world. On the other hand, if you continue doing your duties sincerely, irrespective of your personal gains or desires, you will have a big positive influence in the world.

Let us take the example of Shree Krishna Himself. He had no desire for anything, so it was not necessary for Him to make any sacrifice. Yet He was always tirelessly engaged in His duties and responsibilities and made countless sacrifices for the good of the entire world, even when He had nothing to gain or even when He had to lose something. During His time, there were several people who ridiculed Him, made fun of Him, hated Him, etc. Yet Krishna was not at all bothered by any of these and kept on performing His karmas sincerely. He was always ready to make any kind of sacrifice, even if it cost Him His reputation or anything else, for the sake of saving Dharma (justice/righteousness), saving the good from the evil, and establishing peace in the world. If someone like Shree Krishna, who had no desire for anything, never stopped doing His duties and making sacrifices, it is even much more important for us humans to do that.

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