I have read that humans shouldn't have desires but I am student it becomes sometimes hard to study if I don't have desires to succed I can't imagine because without desires I can't have passion and without passion I wouldnt take actions?

  • 1
    Nobody says "don't have desires". They only say "Don't have mundane desires". If you are passionate about watching movies, you don't need a salary for it, do you ? Now, apply the same passion (i.e. focus on work itself, not reward), towards higher goals in life.
    – ram
    Sep 2, 2021 at 16:33
  • 4
    This is why teachings of highest knowledge must be kept secret. Just throws young unqualified mind to turbulence Sep 2, 2021 at 16:56
  • Can you please reframe question to avoid this being closed as personal advise question? Please reframe in a way asking generally what hindu scriptures says about work without desire Sep 2, 2021 at 16:58
  • 1
    I think we need to not worry about results,but the intensity we put in the work Sep 6, 2021 at 7:59

3 Answers 3


Dharma, Artha, Kama and moksha are four purusharthas. So Sanatana dharma accepts that ordinary people will have desires. So people are free to work with desires.

Nishkama karma, work with out desire, is only for people who want to attain moksha.

Karma Yoga is explained below.

You are asking about the practicality of nishkama Karma which is part of Karma Yoga. A person practices Karma Yoga when his work benefits other people and the work is done without caring about the result or name, fame, promotion, wealth etc. This type of work is called nishkama karma. Nishkama Karma is not about the ordinary karma like professional work done by us. The idea behind nishkama karma is that God dwelling in the other person is giving us a chance to serve God and thus help ourselves. Whether the other person is helped will depend on God.

Does detachment from results mean we should not plan at all to get good results when performing karma? Should we not focus on efficiency of work because we do not care about results?

You should of course plan to the best of your ability. You also should focus on efficiency of work. You should, however, always remember that it is hubris to think that one human can help another human.

Only Ishvara can help

Therefore, O dear one! Give up your infatuation born of ignorance, which makes you feel worried, thinking – how will these helpless people get without me? To think that one can save or protect another while one’s own body, subject to the power of time, karma and Guna, is decaying, is like a person in the grip of a python thinking of saving another.

Srimad Bhagavata Purana I.13.44-45

An example of nishkama karma is the Sun. I am posting a poem by Hafiz, the 13th century Persian poet, that captures the essence of Karma Yoga.



All this time

The sun never says to the earth,

"You owe



what happens With a love like that,

It lights the

Whole Sky.

The Gift, Poems of Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

The sun does not care what man does with the energy of the sun that makes life possible on earth. The sun just keeps on pouring energy. It doesn't matter what field you are in. If you can help even one person without caring about the result of your help then you are doing Karma Yoga.

It is not possible to do karma Yoga in a job setting. You will most likely get fired if you are unattached to the result of your work. Karma Yoga is after all a Yoga and unattached work can only be done as part of divine work.

A householder will find it difficult to do nishkama karma. He will hanker after the fruits of his work. He will certainly lose motivation if he doesn't have the expectation of good things of life and if his effort fails. It takes a great deal of effort to work with passion and yet remain detached from all expectations. Most persons only do desire driven karma. Only spiritual seekers try to do karma Yoga.

  • Wouldn't a government job would be perfect for someone trying to practice Nishkam karma?(After all once admitted you cannot be fired under any circumstances + pension guaranteed(its a joke sir lol)) Oct 10, 2022 at 3:42
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    Nice answer Sir! Oct 10, 2022 at 3:43

In Gita, Krishna says: कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७ Krishna always has emphasized on doing our duty(dharma). Thus it becomes a life mission or a training to follow dharma, of course without any desire! So the detachment from “फल” is a process one has to learn.



Iam not a great scholar of vedas and hinduism but i feel that when you say desire it means a particular direction of results that are preferred by you.

None of us have any say in the actual result. In my opinion Bhagavad Gita says that, you do your action and leave the results to me (master)

Let us introspect on this: I can write an exam with a desire to get distinction. I can only influence my result to the extent of writing the exam. I cannot go and evaluate my own paper and give myself distinction. My results are with evaluators (experienced teachers)

Therefore what will help me in my exam is not my desire to get distinction but a plan to achieve my goal "To get distinction" and a committed action as per my plan.

So from this perspective, desire is useless. As our actions have more potent to influence the result than our desire. Now there is a difference between a Goal and desire. Its always better to work with a Goal than Desire.

whether to desire or not should not be our desire.

what is desire? I dont know exactly but i certainly say that

"how can i work without desire" is also a desire ie you desire to work without desire


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