Vedantic Wednesday: The Desire for Punya

Doing is a part of our nature. Constantly involved ourselves, in some activity or other is almost involuntary. But the central premise behind every action is the expectation of a desired result.  Whether it is studying for an exam, going to work,  writing a book, making a music album or even doing charity. Whatever be the nature of activity human beings are today unable to go through an activity or do an action without result in mind.  Infact many times you would see schools and colleges training people to be result oriented.  Through this article I am not trying to find fault with being result oriented. But if being result-oriented is the best approach – then why are most people who achieve results not happy?

When I went through the talks of sages I found a reference to a word called ‘Punya’ – I immediately thought it referred to some religious methods/practices, which can help us reach god.  But I was in for some surprise.  The ‘Paramacharya’ interprets ‘Punya’ as “Virtuous Action”, that is actions done without any desire for the fruits thereof.

It might even sound unreasonable in today’s circumstances to involve or act without any result in mind. But the perspective that emerged which could be useful for daily use  is the difference between expected results and expectations. Very often what we think of is desired results, which are in reality expectations.   Expectations are very closely related to emotions, hence mismatch between outcome and expectation cause unhappiness

Every action will have a result and in most cases it will be predictable and hence can be expected. If actions are done with this perspective in mind, unhappiness or sorrow cannot occur.  Hence the possible approach to achieve lasting happiness through action is to understand the idea of “Virtuous Action”


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