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Expecting results from actions


113   That which veils your insight into the real is the attitude of desiring fruits from actions. Therefore, you should cultivate an understanding in which there is no expectation of results.


114   Without an exceedingly strong rectitude of mind, the performance of obligatory duties without desiring their fruits is impossible.


115   Except for those who can perform karma as yoga, for everyone else karma will end up as moha [infatuation].


Responsibility for actions performed


116   So long as you have not renounced the belief ‘I am the doer’, keep in your mind the correct perspective that your responsibilities are yours alone.


As long as the ‘I am the doer’ idea persists, new karma will accumulate and will be experienced by the one who thinks he is the doer. When this idea ends, no new karma is accumulated. Bhagavan is saying that one cannot evade responsibility for one’s actions until one has the direct experience of the Self in which the sense of being an individual person has vanished.


Question: Even though people commit adultery and theft and take alcoholic drinks and so on, can their sins be wiped out by doing japa… Or will the sins stick to them?


Bhagavan: If the feeling ‘I am not doing japa’ is not there, the sins committed by a man will not stick to him. If the feeling ‘I am doing japa’ is there, why should not the sin arising from bad habits stick on?


Question: Will not this punya [the merit accumulated from performing the japa] extinguish that papam [the consequences of the sinful acts]?


Bhagavan: So long as the feeling ‘I am doing’ is there, one must experience the results of one’s acts, whether they are good or bad. How is it possible to wipe out one act with another? When the feeling ‘I am doing’ is lost, nothing affects a man. Unless one realises the Self, the feeling ‘I am doing’ will never vanish.18


Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 570, Pozhippurai: An ignorant person thinks, through the delusion I-am-the-body, that an individual ‘I’ exists separate from God, the complete and utter fullness. So long as he believes himself to be an individual, it has to be accepted that he will alternately perform good and bad actions through the ego-feeling I-am-the-doer and will necessarily receive and experience their results in the form of joy and misery.


Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 668: If it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are only Siva’s actions, then the jiva should have become, by a perfect self-surrender in which independence and individuality are lost, not different from Siva. If he exists as different from Siva, all his actions are his actions and not Siva’s, and he will be considered an independent agent.


Vilakkam: This is a very subtle point. When it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are those of Siva, then jiva and Siva are not different. At that point the jiva, having lost the feeling that he is performing actions, becomes Siva, the free One. Surrendering in this way is not yielding to the ego, but is the complete destruction of it. However, those who behave with their ego nature, saying, ‘Everything is Siva’s doing,’ have not really surrendered.


117   The sense of responsibility, a false feeling, does not exist in the true state of realisation of the Self.


118   When this ego-based sense of responsibility is destroyed, the bliss of the Self will surge and overflow.


Kartavya [the feeling that there are activities that must be done]


119   The notion of duties that need to be done [kartavya] will not cease as long as the sense of doership [kartrutva] exists in the heart.


120   Why do you become mentally agitated, blindly believing there are things you have to do [kartavya]?


121   The bondage called ‘duty’ will cease [being known] as a delusion caused by the ego, when the firm knowledge of reality is attained.


Question: I want to know my tattva [my truth, my reality] and my duties.


Bhagavan: Know your tattva first and then you may ask what your duties are. You must exist in order to know and do your duty. Realise your existence and then enquire of your duties.19


122   A mind that has dissolved in the state of God, and ceased to exist, will not be aware of any activity that needs to be performed


123   because when the ego, which has the idea that it is the performer of actions, has been completely destroyed, the idea that something needs to be accomplished ends.


124   Those who do not see anything as a duty that has to be done will attain the bliss of peace that yields limitless contentment.




1 Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad, cited in The Power of the Presence, part three, p. 174.

2 Five Hymns to Arunachala, tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan, p. 68.

3 Self Enquiry, The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, pp. 33-4.

4 Sri Ramana Darsanam, pp. 49-50.

5 Five Hymns to Arunachala, tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan, p. 125.

6 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 612.

7 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 146.

8 Ulladu Narpadu – Kalivenba, The Mountain Path, 1981, p. 220.

9 Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 47-8.

10 Day by Day with Bhagavan, 2nd November, 1945.

11 Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 80-1.

12 The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 118.

13 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 383.

14 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 404.

15 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 503.

16 Day by Day with Bhagavan, 3rd January, 1946.

17 Spiritual Instructions, Collected Works, pp. 63-4.

18 Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 3rd June, 1946.

19 Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 565.


The slide show comprises photos of Muruganar, the author of Padamalai.

David Godman Books


Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings

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