Gita series - 41. Bhagavad Gita - Chapter III. 19 – 21:

“Therefore, perform your duties well, without associating with the fruits of such actions. By performing duties without attachment, one reaches the Paramatma. Kings like Janakar attained perfection only by performing their prescribed duties. You have to do your duties, at least for the purpose of guiding others. Whatever the actions done by great men are followed by common men. Whatever standards set by such great men are simply being followed by all other men”. Krishna stresses the importance of performing ones prescribed duties. Shirking from responsibilities and thereby avoiding work has already been disapproved by Krishna. Krishna reemphasizes the fact that one should not be concerned about the end result of an action. Whether good or bad, the fruits of all actions should be surrendered to God. If someone thinks that he is responsible for the achievement arising out of his actions, “I” ness dominates, which is otherwise known as ego. Only materialistic actions give rise to ego, thereby creating a huge distance from God. If the same action is performed spiritually, the doer of the action moves towards the God. The action being the same, it is only the mind that differentiates between material and spiritual.

Material actions are done with the sole purpose of one’s own benefits, whereas spiritual actions are done for the welfare of the humanity. King Janakar, a noble king of his times was a highly realised person. By remaining as a king, he remained unattached to the material comforts, at the same time not causing any disrepute to his status. He is a typical example of a realized person. No one teaches that one should not enjoy the available and affordable material comforts. If one’s karma is good, he is bound to enjoy such material comforts. The point driven home by Krishna is that one should not get attached to such comforts. It should be understood, that the comforts made available are all given by Him, probably in appreciation of good karmas done by him in his previous births. Such comforts do not belong to the enjoyer but belong to the supreme giver, the Brahman. By performing noble actions such material prosperity can be retained are increased. But, by not performing any actions, either to protect or to increase the wealth and on the contrary without doing any work and make a living out of such wealth does not mean anything and tantamount to committing sin. This is sin because the prescribed duty has not been done. This is a situation where an idle mind becomes a devil’s paradise prompting to do evil actions. By associating with evil actions, one’s karmic account swells, resulting in further births and colligated miseries and sufferings. Thus, neglecting one’s duties lead to chain reactions that can easily be averted by performing the prescribed actions at the right time. Based on these factors, Krishna draws Janakar as a typical comparison who never permitted his commune with God to interfere in his state duties and vice versa.

Krishna repeatedly emphasizes the importance of not shirking ones responsibilities. By going to forest and remaining all alone and doing nothing except sitting cross legged (padmasana), spiritual knowledge cannot be attained. God is omnipresence in nature and therefore it is not necessary to seek in an isolated place. There is yet another point that Krishna emphasizes. A spiritually evolved person like Arjuna should set an example to others by performing prescribed rituals, though such rituals may not be necessary for a yogi like Arjuna. That is why, rishis, saints, sages and yogis perform their daily rituals, though they do not derive any additional spiritual benefits out of such actions. Such great men act merely to set an example. It is like a school student takes his teacher as an example. Nobody can become spiritually evolved without first performing rituals. Spiritual progress is an evolution by itself. Starting with rituals, one has to gradually transform to internal exploration. Mantras, pujas, fire rituals, meditation, etc are only the intermediary processes. Epics teach only these principles. It is difficult to locate a person like Janakar today. Still, we can know the qualities of Janakar and other great men like him through scriptures. It is irrelevant to discuss if such things happened in the past. What is important is to understand the subtle spiritual messages conveyed through them. Involved study of such scriptures provides us with a lot of knowledge and wisdom, which is otherwise not possible today.