Motives for Work

In Karma-Yoga Chapter I of the book ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ (Vol.I) based on his lectures and writings it is described that, “Man works with various motives. There cannot be work without motive. Some people want to get fame, and they work for fame. Others want money, and they work for money. Others want to have power, and they work for power. Others want to get to heaven, and they work for the same. Others want to leave a name when they die, as they do in China, where no man gets a title until he is dead; and that is a better way, after all, than with us. When a man does something very good there, they give a title of nobility to his father, who is dead, or to his grandfather. Some people work for that. Some of the followers of certain Mohammedan sects work all their lives to have a big tomb built for them when they die. I know sects among whom, as soon as a child is born, a tomb is prepared for it; that is among them the most important work a man has to do, and the bigger and finer the tomb, the better off the man is supposed to be. Others work as a penance; do all sorts of wicked things, then erect a temple, or give something to the priests to buy them off and obtain from them a passport to heaven. They think that this kind of beneficence will clear them and they will go scot-free in spite of their sinfulness. Such are some of the various motives for work.

There are some who are really the salt of the earth in every country and who work for work`s sake, who do not care for name, or fame, or even go to heaven. They work just because good will come of it. There are others who do good to the poor and help mankind from still high motives, because they believe in doing good and love good. The motive for name and fame seldom brings immediate results, as a rule; they come to us when we are old and have almost done with life. If a man works without any selfish motive in view, does he not gain anything? Yes, he gains the highest. Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practise it. It is more paying from the point of view of health also. Love, truth and unselfishness are not merely moral figures of speech, but they form our highest ideal, because in them lies such a manifestation of power.”

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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14 Responses to Motives for Work

  1. “Karmanyavadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachan”. Lord Krishna, while guiding Arjuna in Gita told a very important fact that “Person has powers to work only, results are beyond his control and he should not worry for results.” Motive of work should also be above self and for social benefit. No work is without motive and nothing can happen without motive. Selfish and selfless are relative terms. If motive of social benefit is made the aim of life and requirements of self are also fulfilled while working for society that is the best way to live. Keeping oneself alive and fulfilling mandatory requirements of life is usual motive for majority of people. If a person does not harm others, then it is sufficient test for motive of living in present day scenario.

  2. Vinod Varma says:

    Karma has its results as its consequences but it is not for man to work for it. Much of good work done in anticipation of benefit is selfish first and then only service as one is guided by self interest than true service. When river flows serving water to all around is not with motive. Trees give fruits not with motive. In the same way a good person does service as it is his very nature rather than to get anything in return.

  3. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    Motives for Work in Yoga and spirituality have a vast inner significance that propels the mind & body in each individual level and reflects at social level. It may be instinct or induced on individual due to his past or present action respectively. Hence like carrot of gold man may be Tamasic, Rajasic, Sattwic in nature. So when motives to work are divinely selfless he is realized and steps into salvation; but when demonically selfish, he is punished and circulates in the clutch of birth and death. So motives for work is always influenced or related to one to decide his own destiny for present or future though he has taken birth with past action. But one`s visionary action of divine nature can counter even past worst action and bestowed with safe and best future. Needless to say it is divine law to fame by father and to put in motion by mother since they give birth to children in each family. So parent should be ideal for full moon spirituality. Then there will be father-hood of God and brother-hood of man be established in society. Now it is high time in present society for parents to take alert role for their kids not to be derailed on line of spirituality because spirituality is the Indian philosophy. Time will definitely dawn and ripe in near future to make India super power in way of spirituality and that`s should be our motives for work to keep in running forces and dedication to end our journey of life spiritually.

    With Regards and Thanks,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh Odisha

  4. Madhusudan Mahunta says:

    Dear Sir,

    I read your article ‘Motives for Work’ posted on April 17, 2013 that Men work for many motives in the Universe which is elaborately described in your article which is universal truth. Every man wants name, fame, money, power, social prestige etc. till he lives in the world. But everything is temporary (Nashban) only fame comes after death.Love,Truth,Dedication,Unselfishness Work and Service to the mankind will continue forever.

    In Odia Proverb, What we learn that-
    “Manisha Mariba Dine, Janma Hoi Debata Bi Mare;
    Sarthaka Jiban Tara, Jaha Lagi Mati Godi Jhure”
    According to my opinion, your motive for work at present is teaching (shikshyadan) to the society through your articles.

    Thanking You
    Sri Madhusudan Mahunta
    H &F.W.Deptt.,Govt.of Odisha

  5. Kedarnath Sahu says:

    Wish you happy Sri Ramnavami.

    With out any motive how a person can work in this Universe, but sir the motive for the work should be Pure, Unselfishness,i.e. Nishkama Karma. Generally unreal motive creates proudness, selfishness and at last such type of motive destroys the personality and social prestige of a person. Your description in the article will surely purify our motive.

    A common Odia Proverb i.e.
    “Dharma aka sina mahata pania,
    Aau sabu katha adhei diniaa.”

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela,Dist-Bargarh Odisha

  6. Prakash Padhan says:

    This is an article of different charm. One can not work without motive, even work selflessly is also a motive. I wanted to add another motive that some people work to get both fame & money. I think work for name & fame is not bad. In Gita, Lord Krishna advised Arjuna that “If you will not work (quit battle) people will defame you for many generations”. One famous Jain Muni once told that “I give up everything, I have no single cloth in my body, but I could not give up motive of name & fame. Personally I am hungry and thirsty of name & fame”.

  7. V Nageswara Rao says:

    Dear Sir,

    Your Recent Article “Motives for Work” is well elaborated with realistic messages to learn.In my Opinion the Motive of Selfless Work will give the utmost satisfaction than selfish; as it gives immense pleasure and we as human beings will be not only leading healthy life but also we can able to change the attitudes of others for positive thinking and doing. Selfless work made into practice will be for betterment of the individuals and community other than self and moreover it will be Self Motivation for selfless service.

    Thanking You
    With Regards,
    Bhubaneswar, Odisha

  8. Umesh says:

    Respected Brother,

    According to Swami Vivekananda ‘Service to mankind is service to God’ that means in an unselfishness way one should love & help others without expecting any thing in return. Sometimes work done for Name, Fame or for Money gives us sadness when we want the returns. So it is always better that one should work without any selfish motive to be happy & healthy all times.

    Yours Sincerely

  9. Santhosh says:

    Sai’s words :”Once when I was young and wishing to get a job to sustain me, I stinted on my own needs and set out. I walked on and on and reached Beedgaon, where I rested. The God had other plans for me. There I found Zari (embroidery) work. I worked tirelessly and my efforts were rewarded. Those who were employed before me were extremely clever and skilled. All four of us worked there and our wages were fixed on the quantum of work done. One had done work worth Rs.50, the second had done Rs.100 worth, the third had done Rs.150 worth ;and mine was twice more than all of them put together. The owner was very pleased with my work and skill. He praised me to many and loved me a lot. He gave me a full dress, a turban for the head and a magnificent fine for the body. But I kept it tied up, unused. Who can give enough to another person? However much is given, it is always inadequate. But my Sarkar(God) begins, it lasts till end of time. The only true giver is my Sarkar. Can anyone else be compared with him? How can the finite be the ornament of infinite? ”

    When the great Sadguru Saibaba himself said this, most of the people now strive for getting name and fame in front of people. But what people give don’t remain permanent, but what Sai gives remains for ever and ever.

    Om Sairam.
    Kind Regards,
    San 🙂
    Santhosh KV.

  10. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    Every work has its motive and importance. Above all selfless work and serving for mankind will always be rewarded and appreciated as it gives immense pleasure and satisfaction.

    Thanks for a valuable article and new thinking to learn.

  11. Motivation to family members for self and family development, to society for family development, to student for success in teaching learning process to citizen for success in democracy and leadership is essential.Without motivation to soldiers, farmers they may not labour hard for nation. Even Laden also notified his followers that beautiful daughters eagerly welcomed dedicated fighter of their religion lover after death to marry in heaven. But we will have to check the motivation which have no production rather destruction which is a primary step to check crimes.

  12. Let us reduce chastity of building graves, funeral ceremony, marriage ceremony, comfort living in heaven, excess children production as blessing of God, Homa and Puja, destruction of ghee, rice, milk, coconut water for good faith and uttering the name of God, flattering decoration for leaders, ornaments, dress, vehicles for chastity point of view which is not productive for society although used for motives.

  13. Thanks to such friends who work more but speak less.They are valuable for nation but not the public speaker who destroy fuel, non violence, road communication just for their own party.Facebook as well as Yoga and Spirituality welcomes every body for internet discussion freely but without fuel, crimes, meat, alcohol and feast for any party.

    • There are some who are really the salt of the earth in every country and who work for work`s sake, who do not care for name, or fame, or even go to heaven. They work just because good will come of it. There are others who do good to the poor and help mankind from still high motives, because they believe in doing good and love good.

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