Placing emphasis on duty instead of expectation of rewards helps to usher collective welfare
All of us have to constantly deal with two different pulls. One, we have duties to perform, every day, at every stage of our lives. Two, we have many desires and entitlements, of different kinds, and we expect that they should be met. In most people, which of these two forces tend to dominate? Generally, we put apeksha, expectations, first. Our stance is first meet my expectations or demands, then, I will do my work.
A few people put their kartavya, duties, first. They also get rewarded. Maybe a little late, initially. And, less than what they expected, or felt as deserved. After some time, such people find that their good qualities are appreciated, such as maturity, responsibility, trust and patience. Their rewards and recognition go up.
Often, such people overtake many of those who had taken such a bargaining stance. Some such 'bargainers' may be more talented, better qualified etc. But, they under-utilise their own potential, while the set of people at the other spectrum end up having more job satisfaction, and life satisfaction. It is a practical way of implementing Karma Yoga.
This behaviour of kartavya before apeksha has to be practised by us at different levels. First, at our own individual level. Whether in studies, sports, cultural pursuits, or pursuit of any goal, our own weakness to go for apeksha first, can impede our progress and success. In studies, we have to put in our attendance, homework, extra reading, concentration on tests and examinations.
Sports are getting more rewarding, but also highly competitive and challenging. To succeed in any sport, one has to stay fit, take coaching, practise regularly, take part in lower and middle level competitions, win more, lose some, etc. Only then can one succeed at district, state, national, and world competitions.
Arts like music, dance, painting, sculpting also require rigorous sadhana practice. Secondly, in your family life, continue to do your kartavya, irrespective of whether some of your siblings or even your elders, do theirs. Normally, the sisters and the mother are relatively more conscious of their kartavya.
But, modern material life drags many towards their apeksha. Stand like a rock on your kartavya. You will emerge as the real leader of the family and earn the respect and gratitude of the next generation. Third, at the organisational level, one has to realise that she/he has been recruited on the basis of qualification, tests, interviews, references etc., on the basis of promise and potential. That has to be demonstrated and proven.
In the early stage of one's career, it is best to focus totally on kartavya. Some bosses will give you full credit for your contributions, while some others may give less. Sooner or later, you will be seen as a responsible performer. Accept transfers, job rotations and relocations.
These are not disruptions of your life, but learning and development opportunities. Go where the organisation needs you. Do not demand that the organisation meets your apeksha on your terms and preferences.
Fourth, at the social level, there is increasing urbanisation, where more and more people are living in metros, cities and towns. Here, apeksha is even stronger than kartavya. We all want all the urban amenities of good roads, water, electricity, schools, colleges, hospitals, parks etc. The local body does attempt to provide them. But, citizens have their kartavya to responsibly use all such assets, their maintenance and cleanliness.
The very wealthy have the kartavya to do big dhana dharmam.
Be philanthropists. The middle and richer classes should donate money, time and skills to NGOs, Self-Help Groups and volunteers engaged in better local self-governance. Take pride in your city, suburb, ward etc winning accolades in svacchata and other friendly competitions.
Finally, our kartavya is to assist in the formulation and success of good economic and social programmes of the Governments. Individually, as well as in groups like Resident Welfare Associations, Professional bodies, Clubs etc., keep giving your suggestions and critiques to the elected representatives, civil servants and other relevant decision-makers.
Support the ground level, last mile implementation, in your area to assist reach of all good programmes. If all our people put kartavya first, our collective apekshas will be met.
That is the path to loka sangraha and Rama Rajyam.
Dr. M B Athreya