action, axe, bhagavat gita, activities, rewards, self driven, expectations, parenting

The Axe of Action

Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana” says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavadgita, clearly emphasizing the fact that we have the right to action only, and not to its rewards. Action is always seen as done on time. There is an element of seriousness associated for any action to be performed. Without realizing the purpose, we are not driven to action. But is this purpose just another form of the rewards which Krishna reminded us not to be bothered of?

The purpose behind every action prompts the doer to act, but this need not result in the requital that could have been expected as the ultimate outcome. A well-intended and thoughtful plan could turn out to be a disaster through a poor execution. When we get carried away by our dreams about the fructification of our action, we might not put in the right efforts to achieve the end. Therefore, Lord directs us to simply focus on action and concentrate on the efforts, instead of the result.

By nature, action is an act of will. It is very different from an activity or a series of activities. Activity is the quality or state of being active. We always tend to mix up these two terms and have seldom applied ourselves in understanding the difference and subtleness behind it. We could bury ourselves in a continuous period of activity but not engage ourselves in a single action. When we look around, we see every other person in our family, community or office immersed in activities, but rarely come across a man of action. Strange but true enough, a man in action could be singled out in a crowd. Extending this context, could we imply that a man not engaged in any activity could be the one who is immersed in action?
Action is unique and all encompassing. It is not a product or result of belief, experience, thought or any earlier action, which is nothing but reaction. Action invariably stems out of nowhere and from an empty mind. Though it is hugely perceived as being voluntary, it is involuntary in nature. It is born out of a deep sense of awareness and understanding of our Self and everything around us. It is self-driven and cannot be performed unless there is a feeling and a will to support it. The American philosopher and psychologist, William James elaborates this point beautifully in The Gospel of Relaxation as-

Actions seem to follow feeling, but really actions and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.

Undoubtedly, action speaks louder than words. The sound of the words fills our hearts and is generally the roadblock for any action. Unless we still our mind and perceive the silence, there would be no inner urge to any action. We realize that the powers of observation and self-enquiry will ultimately guide us to "action" and only then the “axe”, the expectations for rewards, will fall.

Comments (2)

Shyam Kumar Posted on Sep 03, 2018

Action as the construct for cheerfulness is as true as it for remorse, jealousy, anger or any emotion identified with us humans. When we talk of action we forget that every object animate or inanimate, earthly or heveanly are in a continuous state of action and what we see around is the grind of the axe, the resultant of all these actions. Every action is prescribed or subscribed by actions that are either directly or remotely related to us and we are right in the middle of each of these whirlpool of resultants and then become the cause for the next course of action. Heave on don\'t wait for the axe to fall let\'s act. \r\n( My take Bala) Brilliant article with a wonderful depth.


Sundar Ramakrishnan Posted on Sep 03, 2018

Very profound thought but it\'s going to take an enormous effort to restrain the mind from seeking rewards of action. Nevertheless we can definitely give it a sincere attempt. Thanks Dileep for your wonderful views



A finance professional in a reputed organization with an experience of over three decades, he thoroughly enjoys the twin but taxing pursuits of music and reading and loves to live his life to the ful

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