Nishkaama Karma

The working population across the globe has a common pet peeve. Many believe that they are not being recompensed or recognised enough in comparison to their colleagues who may be paid better or posted in higher positions.

The grievances of the affected party could be genuine or otherwise, nevertheless the employee develops a deep sense of resentment which will eventually corrode his psyche and personality. Explanations or consolations cannot help the person to resolve his affliction.

Such sufferers will do well to air their complaints to the boss and seek justice or simply migrate to greener pastures to salvage their self esteem.

The message of the Bhagvad Gita which says, one must do his duty without any expectations of rewards will sound absolutely obsolete to the people who feel discriminated at their work place. Yet an honest introspection of the self and the situation can certainly pave way to better understanding and a happier state of mind.

One of the Upakathas of the Ramayana illustrates this point beautifully. When Rama was crowned the king of Ayodhya after his exile and the Great War with Ravana, Hanuman stayed back with him. Maruthi took up the responsibility of serving the lord from dawn to dusk.  The other servants also worked hard to please the sovereign. Yet Anjaneya seemed to be the king’s favourite.

After much deliberation, the aides took up the matter with the ruler. Raghukula Tilaka bestowed a beautific smile on them and told them to take turns in serving him so that he could judge their services fairly. Accordingly, the best among them took up the assignment the following day. His meticulousness and competence were certainly praiseworthy.

Soon it was late night and it was bedtime for the monarch. The helper of the day massaged Rama’s feet even as the latter yawned. The personal assistant was alarmed when the king could not close his mouth. No amount of plea or physical pressure could alter Ramachandra’s predicament. Rama looked on helplessly with his jaws ajar, as the aide rushed around for help.

Hanuman came along and promptly snapped with his thumb and middle finger at the lord’s open mouth. The rigid jaws relaxed and closed relieving Rama of the pain.

The staff members who witnessed this incident perceived Raghunatha’s answer to their petition.

Hanuman was several shades better than any of them; he was not merely competent but was also aware of the subtleties of his work. Anjaneya’s humility and devotion made him the quintessential essence of Nishkaama karma. Hence it was little mystery that rewards and recognition followed him!

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