What raises motion to action is motivation

‘Motion’ refers to the movement of unconscious things, whereas ‘action’ refers to the movements of conscious people.

The waves flowing in a river are in motion, whereas boatpersons rowing their boats on that same river are in action. The laws of physics govern motion like say the motion of waves. These laws affect, but don’t determine, the actions of conscious beings – their motivations are the primary determinants. A predator fish pursuing a prey is affected by the laws of physics that determine the motion of wind and water. But its motivation may make it swim against the current. 

The motivations that drive sub-human species fall in four broad categories: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. These motivations drive us humans too, but we have the developed consciousness to choose a more fulfilling motivation – the motivation to seek eternal life and everlasting love.

This longing of our heart is fulfillable at the spiritual level of reality, where we as souls actually belong. As long as we let ourselves be driven by material motivations, we stay subject to the laws of karma, the material laws that link motivation, action and consequence.

When we choose to act based on a spiritual motivation, material laws cease to apply. The Bhagavad-gita (04.23) indicates that actions transcend the arena of matter (samagram praviliyate) when motivated by spiritual selflessness (yajnayacaratah karma). The best way to cultivate spiritual selflessness is by striving to act for Krishna’s pleasure, for Krishna being reciprocal blesses us with the fulfillment of love. This makes spiritually motivated actions easier to choose and exciting to execute.

Indeed, the motivation of love for Krishna makes life action-filled – and reaction-free. Once we get a taste for this action-packed life, materially motivated actions lose their charm, being exposed as loveless motions, akin to the motions of unconscious things. 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 04 Text 23

"The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence."


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  1. thank you pr ji for motivating us spiritually , will help us further to advance spiritually.

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  2. the only wish of a devotee is to how to please Krsna.
    anya lasita shunya.

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  3. the spiritual blending of motion to action by process of spiritual motivation.

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  4. harre krsna.. thank you pr ji for another sub set of macro wish to GBTGH.

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  5. a person surfing on water, has to catch the waves of water to glide over it, what is required is , motivation. hari bol.similarly we have to also glide over the spiritual waves of devotional sevices to GBTGH.

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  6. another aspect of PMOG…..pure mode of goodness…above the 3 MOMN.shudha-tatva. thank you pr ji.

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  7. Hare Krishna,
    So beautiful explanation Prabhuji ,thank you.

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  8. Very clear explanation give here by the author , wonderful and thanks

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  9. Based on my own experiences, the younger generation and those devoid of Krishna consciousness often desire an action-filled life – without any knowledge and care for the reactions arising from these materially motivated actions. I feel fortunate now to be blessed by Truth, and pray others too, especially non-devotees, become enlightened soon enough. Hare Krishna!

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  10. Thank you for yet another wonderful article on how and why we should free ourselves from the material world. 🙂

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  11. Hare Krishna for another wonderful article, prabhuji. Your articles are motivation themselves to help motivate us.

    I have a question with regard to something you say in the article: “When we choose to act based on a spiritual motivation, material laws cease to apply”

    In PQPA, when Bob Cohen asks Srila Prabhupada, that you (SP) are a pure devotee, so even if you have to drink poison, this will not affect you? Srila Prabhupada replied that as long as we are in the material world, we have to abide by the laws of material nature, as we are affected by them. I’m parapharasing this point.

    How do we reconcile these apparently different viewpoints?

    Your servant
    Visvambhara dasa

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  12. Wonderful…
    Hari bol

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  13. Thank you pr for sharing this nice article…,

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  14. Thank you very much prabhuji for giving very lucid and clear understanding.

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