कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७

Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana । Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani ।।

Meaning- Your right is to perform your work, but never to the results. Never be motivated by the results of your actions, nor should you be attached to not performing your prescribed duties.

This is famous shloka from Shreemad Bhagwat Gita in which lord Shree Krishna is advising arjuna about how to perform karma ( own work) in a right way and about "Nishkam Karma"

My question is -

What are the other Sanskrit scriptures , shlokas from Vedas and Upanishads ,that convey similar message of performing "Nishkam karma" to us?

  • I think Vedas do not talk about Nishkama Karma but in Upanishads there are some indications and in Gita there are number of other verses regarding this. If you want then I can post answer based on this. Sep 20, 2016 at 9:32
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    Yes , although Gita itself is a upanishad , you can give answer quotiong from other upanishdas apart from Gita. Go ahead :) Sep 20, 2016 at 9:35
  • One can also give answer in scriptures (shlokas) resembling to this one , it's not necessary that , exact Similar shlokas should be given in answer. But at least should convey similar message. Sep 20, 2016 at 9:42
  • ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam eko devo devaki-putra ev eko mantras tasya namani yani karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Gita are the words coming from his lotus mouth. Such words in itself are perfect and more authoritative than any other scripture. The sooner we realize this, the closer we are to liberation. Jun 19, 2020 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


Mundaka Upanishad, Second Khanda Sanskrit source English source contains some verses that leads to Nishkama Karma.

अविद्यायं बहुधा वर्तमाना वयं कृतार्था इत्यभिमन्यन्ति बालाः ।

यत् कर्मिणो न प्रवेदयन्ति रागात् तेनातुराः क्षीणलोकाश्च्यवन्ते॥ ९

Children, when they have long lived in ignorance, consider themselves happy. Because those who depend on their good works are, owing to their passions, improvident, they fall and become miserable when their life (in the world which they had gained by their good works) is finished.

इष्टापूर्तं मन्यमाना वरिष्ठं नान्यच्छ्रेयोवेदयन्तेप्रमूढाः ।

नाकस्य पृष्ठेतेसुकृतेऽनुभूत्वेमं लोकं हीनतरं वा विशन्ति ॥ १0

Considering sacrifice and good works as the best, these fools know no higher good, and having enjoyed (their reward) on the height of heaven, gained by good works, they enter again this world or a lower one.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 5 also contains Shlokas leading to Nishkam Karma (desire-less deeds).

brahmaṇy ādhāya karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ

lipyate na sa pāpena padma-patram ivāmbhasā

Bg 5.10- One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.

kāyena manasā buddhyā kevalair indriyair api

yoginaḥ karma kurvanti saṅgaṁ tyaktvātma-śuddhaye

Bg 5.11- The yogīs, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12 also talks about renunciation of fruits of action.

śreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate

dhyānāt karma-phala-tyāgas tyāgāc chāntir anantaram

Bg 12.12- If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.

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    Yes , shlokas from Gita are similar. Lets wait for some more answers. :) Sep 20, 2016 at 10:05
कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छत समाः ।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥२॥

If a man wishes to live a hundred years on this earth, he should live performing action. For you, who cherish such a desire and regard yourself as a man, there is no other way by which you can keep work from clinging to you.

Origin & Reference: Isha Upanishad

  • Yes , Your answer appreciated . The verse is similar , but the only difference is it tells us about doing "our Karma" but not "Nishkam" karma.I already have gone though that verse. But found two different meanings of same verse. So i myself haven't given answer. Anyway , surely a Nice Answer. Sep 22, 2016 at 11:42

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