After reading Bhagvad Geeta, one common thing which I learned is "Doing work without thinking of Fruit of your activity". But it is really difficult to understand the meaning of it because if we don't think of "what is our aim or goal", then how can we do work to achieve that ?

For example : Suppose if I want to clear some competitive exam and after clearing that exam, I will get some reward and suppose if I don't think of reward, then what will inspire or motivate me do this?

So I am confused!

So can anyone please explain to me what is the real meaning of "Doing things without thinking of reward" ?

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    – Vivikta
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 17:20
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    in simple terms - suppose you go to office and work. whether company makes profit or loss, you get salary, right ? similarly think that world/life is office. work = your duty as per varna/ashram. sometimes you might succeed/win other times you might fail/lose. but as long as you do your duty according to shastras, you get salary which is moksha.
    – ram
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


There are two levels of interpretation:

  1. Material
  2. Theological

Material meaning

Basically "don't think of reward" means two things in material level -

  1. Don't lose hope and enthusiasm even if you know that the probability of failure is higher than that of success
  2. Don't become over confident and hasteful just because you know that the probability of success is higher than that of failure

Theological meaning

We should first understand that the rewards themselves are of two types:

  1. Short term reward - which extends to this birth or at max a couple of births (Preyas). It is temporary, uncertain and have side effects. Basically it is material pleasure and binds us to this world.
  2. Long term reward - which extends beyond the cycle of births and deaths and which becomes part of our happiness even in Moksha (Shreyas). It is certain, permanent and have no side effects. It is basically progress us in the path of liberation and results in the grace of God.

It is important to note that Arjuna is only interested in Shreyas as seen in shloka 2.8.

यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्॥ २ - ७॥

So "don't think of reward" means "sacrifice the short term reward and aim for the long term reward".


3. Practical and straight forward meaning

We don't have control over the outcome of our work and we are even not authorized to either give it or demand it. Its upto the sovereign God if, when and how we receive the reward. Will we surely get the reward if we put our 100% effort? There is no guarantee. Hence we are bound to get disappointed if are doing work for the passion in reward rather than passion in work (in case the outcome is not in our favour).

So be mentally prepared not to break down after the results are out, whether it is success or failure; and instead enjoy the work while you are on it without putting yourselves into mental pressure!

Sounds like facebook gyan but that is true according to Geeta too!

  • "Long term reward - which extend beyond the cycle of births and deaths ", Can you explain this line to me?
    – user27254
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 17:35
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    It means the reward which will keep giving returns not only till the last birth and death but also afterwards in moksha. It's like FD which gives you interest while term is active but gives full maturity amount after the term. But in case of performing one's duties both the rate of interest and return on investment is huge
    – kingvittu
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 19:08
  • There was a grammatical mistake, i have corrected it
    – kingvittu
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 19:10

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