The Lord Krishna declared that every one should perform his duty to justify one’s utility in the society. No one can stay without a work. Even breathing is a work. One can’t live without doing something, but one can learn to act without thinking about the outcome/result/reward of his activity.
The last part of the 2nd Chapter of the Gita says about the importance of performing one’s duty and more importantly performing it in a selfless manner.
The important point here is that The Lord suggested getting involved in action even if it was to maintain a family, HE wasn’t certainly advocating sainthood. But HE propagated to initiate an action keeping in mind that we were working for the Supreme Power, by the Supreme Power.
The Lord taught Arjuna about the Equanimity (unaffected by success or failure, pain or pleasure). It implies one should not bother about the outcome, but perform his duty sincerely and whole heartedly. Sincerity and commitment – these are important and in reality we have control over only these factors. But outcome of an activity is beyond our control. Action is our right, not the outcome.
Let not the fruits of action be one’s object, and not attached to inaction. Be active and dynamic; don’t seek any reward – this is in short The Lord’s teaching.
This mentality to work without thinking about the results of our works, if truly applied, will make us free from the good or bad effects of our activities.
To properly understand the implication of the selfless act, one needs to look at the concept in totality. This is one of the central themes of the Gita. After reading the whole book, now it seems to me that selfless act actually reflects our devotion.
A true devotion and love for HIM can build up a sense in our mind which leads us to believe that whatever we are doing, we are actually carrying out HIS order. By doing something we are showing our respect to HIM. We are grateful that the Lord has chosen us to work for HIM. This is a higher form of devotion unto The Lord.
In later Chapters in the Gita, HE said even to pray or perform any rituals only for devotion not for any material gains.We are working or doing a business to earn money. Is it a ‘selfless activity?’ Yes, provided we realize that we are actually not a DOER but an instrument. HE is the DOER. I’m, being HIS follower just doing HIS ordained duty.
This concept of ‘Selfless activity’ has really a vast implication in our lives which is explained in different ways in the Gita in later chapters.
Three important points are discussed in the Transcendental Knowledge (Chapter 2). These are :1. Eternality of the Soul/Spirit and temporary nature of all material objects. 2. To perform one’s duty with sincerity and commitment. 3. Not to be inactive but to be active in a selfless manner.