Put the world out of the equation by the strength of devotion
“Work without attachment for success or failure.” This message of the Bhagavad-gita (02.48) begs the question: what are we to work for if not for success?
Love, answers Gita wisdom.
Love is our innermost need. We seek success as a means to love; we hope that, if we become successful, the world – especially the people in it whose love we thirst – will love us more.
Unfortunately, the world frustrates our hope in one of four ways:
- We don’t succeed
- Even if we succeed, it doesn’t attract the love that we had expected
- Even if we are loved, people love us for our success and not for who we are. This makes us perpetually insecure because we become internally dependent on external success, attaining and preserving which is never entirely in our hands.
- Even if we experience authentic love, it ends agonizingly at the time of death.
To avoid such frustration, Gita wisdom urges us to put the world out of the equation by seeking a love beyond the world – the love of Krishna. He is forever waiting in our heart to reciprocate love with us. We can start loving him by practicing bhakti-yoga which guides us to perform our worldly activities as offerings of love for him. This devotional motivation inspires us to do those activities to the best of our capacity, thereby ensuring that we frequently get success. But the focus on Krishna provides an inner security and satisfaction, replacing the insecurity and frustration that had troubled us earlier.
Thus, the sweet paradox of the Gita’s message is that, by putting the world out of the equation, we lay the best foundation for attaining love and also success not just in the next world but also in this world.
“Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.”