"Your right is to work only and never to the fruit thereof. Do not be the cause of the fruit of action; nor let your attachment be to inaction." - Bhagvad Gita, Gita Press 2.46
I accept that Nishkaam karma (which I understand as doing work for non selfish reasons) is possible. But how so, I do not understand-perhaps because of my ignorance.
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yagnavalkya had said to Maitreyi in IV.5.6. (The Principal Upanishads- S Radhakrishnan) that "Verily, not for the sake of the Vedas are the Vedas dear but for the sake of the Self are the Vedas dear" and similarly for gods, family, wealth etc. Isnt that hinting towards selfishness ("for the sake of the Self")?
And also, isnt the establishment of Dharma as done by Arjun in the Dharmayuddha also a desire? What about the Purushartha Artha? Are only good (Dharma aligned) desires to be kept, as said in one of the books of the Arya Samaji books, or are all desires to be vanquished?
Should we not keep a track of the probable result of our work? Imagine that I am studying something, or just working endlessly on something that is bound to harm the society (and is hence Adharmic karma), and I keep on doing that, because Bhagvaan Krishna has said not to think about the result. Or, say I do a business transaction, and it results in loss, but I never thought of the financial implications while doing the act, because of the philosophy of Nishkaam karma yoga.Shouldnt I think about the result of the karma and then start doing the karma after weighing the pros and cons? Isnt there a contradiction between this philosophy and reality? wont efficiency arise from result oriented actions?