Sep 26, 2013

Literal Transformations

This post is about that famous sentence - कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेशु कदाचन (Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Faleshu Kadachana)

I have seen three different interpretations of this sentence so far... And it seems that the sentence transforms according to the theories I am dealing with at those particular times.

My first interpretation was the simplest. The way I think of it now, too simple. It said -

"Keep working. Don't bother yourself about the rewards."

And like many people say, this is a very tough advise to follow. Very confusing. Counter intuitive. I did not think of it much back then. For me, the advice was just one more saying that did not need much attention.

Then I read an article about a similar concept, and this sentence received a new interpretation. Now it meant -

"You have the right to perform your duties / work. You do not have the right to demand an exact outcome."

To me, it then fitted into the good friendly quotes that tell you to go ahead and do what you feel is right, without bothering 'too much' about the outcomes.

And now, I have a third interpretation -

"You have the right to do, not to demand (the fruits of someone else's work)."

Oh my! Is this sentence goofying around with me or what!!

-- I understand the words in that sentence. But what do they mean when they come together? It is not a same meaning each time. This is very common in literature isn't it? A seemingly static thing that keeps changing. What is even more interesting is to realize that it is not the sentence that is changing, it is your own point of view. Maybe you yourself.