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449Actions, rewards and singing songs of joy

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Mar 19, 2006
      From: Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita
      By Swami Rama


      The human being alone has the gift of judgement, discrimination, and
      decision. Every action has its consequent effect, and the fruition of
      the action is ordinarily perceived as either a reward or a punishment.
      But one can choose to make a loving offering of the fruits of his
      actions for the benefit of others. Then one performs his actions
      skillfully, selflessly, and lovingly, offering the fruits of his
      actions for the sake of humanity. Thus he is constantly praying. Such
      prayer is actual prayer; it is not at all like the prayer of
      egotistical prople.

      Most people are motivated to do actions for the sake of receiving
      rewards. Attachment to rewards is a deep-rooted habit. Most people do
      not understand how to be selfless. Such human beings are rajasic.
      Reward-oriented people are very selfish. They suffer and they make
      others suffer. Perhaps that is one reason that the best of people have
      retreated to forest dwellings wondering, "Why do human beings still
      behave like animals?" After intensive self-study those great ones
      devised practical methods for transforming humanity, and they gave us
      their wisdom through the scriptures.

      Suffering comes when one is interested in reward. If one performs
      actions expecting rewards, he is bound to receive the fruits of his
      actions. The fruits then motivate him to do more actions, and in this
      way he finds himself caught in the whirlpool of life, never content,
      always seeking more and more for himself and ignoring or using others
      for his own gain. Actions done for reward thus create bondage. One
      becomes a slave to rewards in much the same way that the rat in
      scientific experiments becomes a slave to the pellet box, performing
      those actions that bring him a token of reinforcement. But there is a
      way to attain release from such enslavement: perform your duties
      skillfully and selflessly without attachment to reward. Then you will
      be free, a mukta traveling and singing the songs of joy without cares
      or fears.