Act without Expectation: It relaxes and rewards

A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

It’s often believed that if people become spiritual and dispassionate about the outcome of their actions, they will stagnate; there will be no progress. In fact, the opposite is true. Creativity and enthusiasm can spring only when you are well rested; and you cannot rest if you are anxious about the outcome of your actions.

When we perform every action with an eye on the end result, we get lost in the end and don’t enjoy the means of getting to the end. But when we perform some actions as an expression of joy and do not bother about the result, the action itself brings fulfillment. When we act expecting joy, the action becomes inferior. For example, you want to spread happiness, but if you try to find out whether the other person has become happy, you get entangled in a vicious circle. In the process, you lose your happiness!

Anxiety about the outcome of your action is what pulls you down. At the beginning of a project if you start worrying, then your whole enthusiasm for the project gets dampened. When you are aware of your potential, just jump into action without bothering about the result. When you are in doubt, any activity you do will bring more doubts. When you have a choice, the grass on the other side will look greener and this prevents you from enjoying what you have in your hand. When you are bothered by a choice, relax.

The choice is never between good and bad; it’s always between bad and worse or good and better. Choices bring conflict and there is freedom in ‘choicelessness’. How can you be centred when there is conflict? There is a Chinese saying: that when you are in doubt, take a pillow and go to bed!

In Narada Bhakti Sutras, Narada says, “Karmanyapi Sanyasyati”. Take a break, not just from activity, but also from the fruit of the activity. It will bring deep rest from doubts and conflicts. One who is not concerned about the outcome and is centered on the action, goes beyond dualities, beyond conflicts. The wise one is beyond all actions. Yet he continues to engage himself in action. You can only let go of what you have. So to let go of the fruit of action, you need to have the fruit and to have the fruit, you need to act!

This is so beautiful. If you have never acted, then how can you drop either the action or the fruit of action. So be active. Keep doing your work, and drop the fruit of action. The fruit of action is there as the motivation for you to start acting. Krishna used the fruit of action to motivate Arjuna to fight. He told Arjuna that if you die in battle, you will attain heaven and if you win, you will rule the world. Jesus did the
same. When you are bogged down by laziness, you need motivation to do something and the expected fruit of action acts as the motivating factor.

But once you start acting, let go of the expected result. Just focus on the work on hand. This is the way of the wise!


13 comments on “Act without Expectation: It relaxes and rewards

  1. Dear Sir,
    Jai Gurudev !
    Was experience anger within myself , as my mother keeps comparing me with every tom dick and harry and it became so worse that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started talking to myself as my mother is having cancer and she is in the last stages, but she came for breakfast I couldn’t control it and I helled at her , but being a leo that she is she kept her stand and went on, I couldn’t take it , just offed the gas and sat on the computer and clicked your website and your Blog “read the whole articile u had written ,it calmed me down a lot and went back to my work in the kitchen and other housework to as one gets tired doing everything no maids so an added responsibilty , I realised I should come to this site more more often to keep my cool in future too , sometimes life has no meaning too , but doing DSN with u changed me a lot , hope u will be always be there for me ,ThankYou Sir .
    With Best wishes,
    Your Student ,

  2. Anandji

    Thanks for posting this…although read this after two months…i read it at the right moment. Reading this article set me back to the right state of mind to work further.


  3. this knowledge is refreshing, and bring back the person to action
    your student
    Rajesh Lamba

  4. i would really appreciate if you can post your schedule here! so that we wll know your whereabout!! may be catch up with you during the tour 🙂

    Joy Gurudev!

  5. Its a very encouraging line ” karmanyeva vikraste na bhaleshu kadamchana’ but there is no action without thinking about the result. If you don’t think about the result how can there be action? For example, i see a blind person standing across the road,and i want to help him and the action i am doing to go across the road and help him cross is just because i want to help him. So thats the motive of the action, so i am thinking about the cause so if i don’t think about the cause how can there be action. Krishna told Arjuna to fight not thinking about relations but why did he fight?? Just because he wanted to fight against injustice.So in brief there is a goal we want to achieve behind every action if you don’t have a goal there will be no action, and if the principle of yours is followed the universe will freeze. So i don’t agree with your point. I am not against you sir, but i want an answer to my question.

  6. beautiful anand ji. I hope i can learn to relax while fighting. This wisdom is a step in that direction! Jai Gurudev!

  7. Jai Gurudev Anand Ji. I know you remember me. I am Anusha, Ms Pushpa’s niece. I had done my basic course which you had taken At 4th block Jayanagar, May 2004. I miss those days when I did my basic course. Though I have been to Ashram many times, I did not see you. It was really nice reading through this knowledge. Though we are aware of knowledge, we do not understand its implications, and keep talking about it like a tape recorder. The same happened with me, when I just read the knowledge. I have understood it deeply now. 🙂 Thank u for sharing this profound knowledge. And see you soon.
    Jai Gurudev..

  8. jai guru dev to all of you who are visiting this blog and specially to you sir.i am happy to inform you that we are having navratri special advance course at jalandhar,stsarting from ninteen of this month with grace of guru come forward and register for this course my mobile number is 09815960708 .i am always available .jai guru dev

  9. When can we expect your DSN at Dehradun? Want to make the Doon Jakaaaaaaaass. Shwetaji, Nitinji and Hemantji already working exactly like what Guruji says, and results are Jakkaas. I think soon whole Dehradun will be doing long kriya on every Sunday at NEW TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE, RAJPUR ROAD, DEHRADUN.

Comments are closed.