One of the precepts of the ‘karma marga’ path of Hinduism, as set down in the Bhagavad Gita, is any action done without attachment to fruits. The command to act in this way comes from a conversation between the god Krishna and a prince named Arjuna. Arjuna found himself in the midst of a battle against an army that is wholly evil, and yet, his family. He turns to Krishna and asks what he can do, and in the midst of the battle and confusion, Krishna teaches Arjuna a way of life that would become one of the three primary paths of Hindu dharma.
The ‘karma marga’ path is the path of action in Hinduism, so the call to action is not unusual, but the command that the action be done ‘without attachment to fruits’ is. In a basic sense, ‘without attachment to fruits’ means without worrying about the outcome. To do everything in your life without worrying about what will happen, what people will think of you, if the result will be what you desire, etc. There is a similar concept in Taoism called wu wei or “actionless action”. There is plenty of evidence of it even in our American society.
Think about the poem that begins with ‘Sing like no one is listening, Dance like no one is watching’. That is what this doctrine is all about. Sing without thinking about who hears you and if they like what they hear. Act without worrying about if you are having an impact. Live in that absolute trust. Because that is what it comes down to. It comes down to whether or not I trust my god. Do I believe God can work through me, or do I need to see the results?
There is a famous quote that says, “There is no end to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” I know that I have a desire to see results, to know that I am making a difference, to know through my actions that I matter, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. But what if I gave all that up to God? If I followed the wisdom of ‘action without attachment to fruits’? Maybe I would be freer to truly beautify his kingdom.