Bhagawad-Geetaa 2.47

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥२- ४७॥
Action is your only prerogative, never the fruits of action. Never be the purpose of the fruit of action; neither associate with inaction. ||47||


You are entitled only to act. You are never entitled to the results of your actions. As is suggested elsewhere in the text, those results may be different from what you want or expect. In particular, the reality is that you may not get credit for the good results, or blame for the bad results. Never identify with the purpose of the results of actions. It does not define you. Yet you must act (to produce results for some purpose).


This verse says nothing either way about moral responsibility for actions or their results. You continue to be morally responsible for your actions, and society may hold you accountable for them.

This verse does make delicate implications about identity. Krishna suggests that people wrongly identify with a purpose. Krishna is also careful to say “don’t associate with inaction” instead of saying “don’t be inactive”, hinting that Arjuna’s true self could make the mistake of associating with inaction, but cannot be equated with inaction.

Tags: Philosophy

Created at: 13 November 2005 12:11 AM