Non-Attachment To the Fruits of Works

The Gita recommends that the seeker of this spiritual transformation through the yoga of works should focus on achieving several steps that, successively, loosen the hold of the ego on the psychological standpoint. The first of these steps is to do whatever one does without being attached to the results, the fruits of the effort.

Sri Aurobindo amplifies this: “For you must deeply feel that the fruits belong not to you but to the Master of the world. Consecrate your labour and leave its returns to the Spirit who manifests and fulfils himself in the universal movement. The outcome of your action is determined by his will alone and whatever it be, good or evil fortune, success or failure, it is turned by him to the accomplishment of his world purpose. An entirely desireless and disinterested working of the personal will and the whole instrumental nature is the first rule of Karmayoga. Demand no fruit, accept whatever result is given to you; accept it with equality and a calm gladness: successful or foiled, prosperous or afflicted, continue unafraid, untroubled and unwavering on the steep path of the divine action.”

This first step is an essential one, and most of us have to focus enormous attention on how we deal with the consequences of action in our own lives. If we can begin to develop the equality spoken of here, and see that sincere consecrated effort is all we really can do, with the result left up to the much broader and comprehensive intention of the spiritual consciousness that manifests and evolves all existence, we will acquire this first foundation to prepare ourselves for the further steps in the yoga of works. Both the Gita and Sri Aurobindo consider this to be simply the beginning, not the end of the individual effort in the transition from the human to the divine standpoint of living and acting.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pg. 567