Theory of Karma - Chapter 18
 

18. FREEDOM OF ACTION - NO FREEDOM TO ESCAPE REACTION

There is a categorical statement in Geeta (with an imperative direction) that
KARMANYE VADHIKARASTE MA FALESHU KADACHANA meaning your authority (ADHIKAR) lies only in doing your action but never on the fruit of it. People misinterpret its meaning that you have to labour or do your job and perform your duty without any initiative, any expectation or desire to get in return any fruit (labour charges, emoluments etc.) either in terms of money, commodities or service. This interpretation is not correct. Nobody would like to work without any desire or expectation to get in return anything like emoluments, labour charges etc. for his work. Only the thieves and such other wrong-doers would do their wrong deeds, theft etc. without any desire to get any punishment as a fruit of their wrong deeds.

If I do my job sincerely for the whole month in my office, I have got a right to demand my pay as a fruit of my work (KARMA) at the end of the month.

I ask a porter to carry my baggage to the Railway Station and as a fruit of his labour he would naturally demand one dollar from me. At that time if i give hin a long lecture (instead of a dollar) on the above statement of Geeta that his right (ADHIKAR) is only to perform his action to labour but he has no claim or right on the fruit of it in the form of a dollar, he would at once ask me to read Geeta for myself alone after first giving him cne dollar (which is the fruit of his labour).

The correct interpretation of the above statement in Geeta is that you have got the authority (control) in doing your action i.e. you are totally competent and independent to do any action you like but then you have no claim (control) on the fruit of it. That means you are not competent enough and you have no power or authority to escape or avoid facing the resultant fruit of your action. You are independent to do any action, of course, at your cost and risk, but then you must be prepared for the consequences. You have full control (ADHIKAR) over your actions
but no control whatsoever over their results (Reactions).

I am your guest. On the dinner table you offered me a sumptuous dainty dish containing various items like Dudhpak, pudding, vegetables, cereals, condiment, papad etc. etc. Now it is my duty and responsibility, and not yours, to see and decide which items are congenial to my health for consumption and which items are injurious to my health which I should not eat. If I go on eating voraciously more and more Dubhpak and beans, you will go on offering only those items more and more even though over-eating them would be injurious and create trouble in my stomach. I am independent to overeat, of course at my risk and cost, any item that I relish more, but then I must be prepared for the consequent effect thereof. Then, thereafter, if I start running frequently towards the latrine due to diarrhoea as a result (effect-fruit) of my over-eating (cause), I and i am alone responsible for that and not you. Then I cannot blame you or anybody else. I am not competent and I have no authority, (ADHIKAR) control or powers to escape the results (fruits) of my overactions.