Saturday, September 10, 2011
Almost every religion & book on values prescribes people to do good acts and think positive. In order to convince people to do good, they talk about the benefits in the form of better relations with people, better environment, a place in heaven etc. This certainly is good as it encourages otherwise negative, lazy or disinterested people to do good work. We see people practicing charity and doing service etc. to others with high enthusiasm and fervour.
The Sanatana Dharma - also known commonly as Hindu religion - recommends that people do good acts without any motive. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that one should practice Karma Yoga or do actions without any motive or desire. The reason for this recommendation is simple - while actions are in our control, results are not. Moreover, if actions are motivated mainly by results, one can see a reversal in enthusiasm if the desired results are not met.
Actions carried out with a selfish motive are also dangerous. Selfishness usually denotes an interest for gaining something for oneself at the cost of others. As long as one is selfish, one tends to become biased and unfair. One justifies this behaviour by various methods and arguments. The other problem with "selfish good acts" is that it stops as soon as the self interest is served.
Motives do matter even if one is doing a good thing.