Here is what Gita says about the requirement for Samnyasa.

Abandonment of all desire-prompted actions is Samnyasa (renunciation) according to the wise. Men of discernment speak of the abandonment of the fruits of all actions as Tyaga (relinquishment).

Gita 18.2

So does this mean that action is to done,simply because it is required?

Is this exhortation only applicable for world associated activities,or spiritual,or both?

Does this also mean that all action is to be done without any motive behind it?

  • Just a comment not an answer, I dont have references: I have heard many wise advaita teachers say that we cant and shouldnt just jump to acting like someone enlightened. The best possible motive that eventually ends all personal motives is the motive of achieving moksha. Trying to discard all motives before ready can lead to indifference (in buddhism for example indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference like laying around jaded pretending like one is unconcerned, when they actually are worried and concerned, while equanimity is the focused actually carefree lack of worry)
    – Al Brown
    Jul 31, 2021 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


Does this also mean that all action is to be done without any motive behind it?

Not necessarily. All actions is to be done as a duty without expectations and attachment to results. There should not be motive for personal gains or pleasures.

niyataṃ kuru karma tvaṃ karma jyāyayo hy-akarmaṇaḥ | śarīra-yātrā’pi ca te na prasiddhayed akarmaṇaḥ || 8 || 8. You must perform your obligatory duties; for action is superior to non-action (meditation). For not even the maintenance of the body is possible by inaction.

From Ramanuja’s commentary: If it is argued that any action such as earning money implies 'I-ness, 'My-ness' etc. and will therefore distract the senses, and the Karma Yogi will again be bound through the subtle impressions [samskāras] of his acts then;

Krishan says

yajñārthāt karmaṇo’nyatra loko’yaṃ karma bandhanaḥ | tad-arthaṃ karma kaunteya mukta saṅgas-samācara || 9 || 9. This world is bound by actions other than those performed as sacrifice. O Arjuna, you must perform work to this end [for sacrifice alone], free from attachment.

People become subject to the bondage of Karma only when work is done for personal gain, but not when work is performed, or money acquired for the purpose of sacrifice and other acts of charity which are prescribed in the Scriptures. So that’s should be the motive or thought process behind doing any actions. Don’t get attached to it but have feeling of let go. As Maharaja Janaka said

"Unlimited is my wealth. At the same time I have nothing. If the whole of (my kingdom) Mithila be consumed in a conflagration, I shall incur no loss.

  • Love that. Thank you. Working for duty can be bad to though right? If we consider “duty” for gain.
    – Al Brown
    Jul 31, 2021 at 1:44
  • So basically all action should be done as sacrifice.Then,should the doer have a sense of what Bhagwan should be given as a sacrifice,or can he do whatever he wants and call it as “sacrifice to Bhagwan”?
    – Amethyst
    Jul 31, 2021 at 5:00
  • The quotation from King Janaka you put was in the conversation with Shukadeva ji.(if I’m not wrong).But if the Kingdom did actually burn down,does Janaka’s statement mean he will sit simply and allow both his own body(and those of his family) and all of his kingdom to be burnt to ash?Isnt that his failure as a king,to not protect his citizens’s life,property?
    – Amethyst
    Jul 31, 2021 at 5:03

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