Akarma or Inaction as Ultimate Nishkama or Selfless-action

Karma means willed action. Akarma is inaction. Vikarma is action that is prohibited. Karma may be nithya karma which is action that has to be performed every day, naimithyaka karma is that to be performed which is specific for person concerned, kamya karmas those are optional with a specific fruit in view and nishkama karmas are those actions that are performed without any personal benefit or authorship, as a sacrifice for the general good of others.

When a karma yogi does his duty with selfless attitude, his duty is determined by the rational insight in perfect harmony with the soul. A karma yogi rises from the level of rational insight to spiritual insight. He makes a paradigm shift from selfishness to selflessness. He becomes endowed with a unique perception of inaction which means, “He who sees no work in work, and work in no work, he is wise among men” (Bhagavad Gita 4.18).

Akarma or inaction invariably involves selfless work for universal welfare. Akarma is not non-action but action soaked in jnana, in the knowledge of the Self it is no longer a work. A person who has attained that state works without any desire and he has his senses and mind under perfect control. He understands that though he does his duties, it is not the real Self that acts rather the Self is in state of akarma or inaction. One who knows the truth that one is not an agent of the works that he is doing is freed and he only knows how to work.

One does not get inner peace and joy by escaping from action or doing it badly but by doing it well, rising from kamya karma to that of akarma darshana [ literally, ‘seeing inaction’ ] through nishkama karma. Doing work in state of akarma or inaction of Self, a person is freed from boredom, stress and strain of work and he becomes established in his divine nature involved in selfless work for universal welfare.

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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20 Responses to Akarma or Inaction as Ultimate Nishkama or Selfless-action

  1. Really an enchanting reading. The article by Dr Panda gives a deep insight to real karma, selfless karma. Our great Bhagbat Gitaa has all the fineries of great living which most of us do not know. Dr Panda has researched thoroughly in to the teaching and I am very thankful, he shares his findings here for us.

    Susant Purohit

  2. Tapas Kumar Mohanty e-Zone W3b says:

    A nice article on someone’s devotion towards selflessness karma. In today’s world most of us are spending a lot of time in official works and rest for seeing notifications in our smartphones/ tabs. We got less time to think or to see what are we doing to help others. Devoting time is more valuable than giving monetary support or donation. It would be nice if we can ask ourselves at the end of each day that,”Which selflessness work I have done today”; which would definitely stimulate our so called busy mind to act upon the said karma.

    Om Sai Ram

  3. Prakash Padhan says:

    It’s a very good reminder about karma. Gopabandhu says-
    Manaba jivana nuhai kebala barsa maasa Dina danda,
    Karme jiyen Nara karma ekatara jivanara manadanda.
    Gita also says- karmanye badhikaraste maa falesu kadachana.
    I think there is no selfless work in this materialistic world. Work for name and fame is also a motive.Thank you sir for posting on akarma,karma etc.

  4. Thanks for referral. One should work sincerely and to best of one’s abilities. Desire for results partly puts a strain on concentration while working. Selfless work is usually possible when one`s needs are settled. Being in a position to do selfless work or service is a relatively difficult these days. Even if one is able to remove greed and can work truthfully, it is sufficient in current scenario. Love to Snigdha.

  5. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    A very nice article about Karma which has a deep and brief description in Bhagavad Gita. Sakama Karma might lead to excessive work pressure as it aims at success. On the other hand Nishkama Karma means more balanced approach to work, and as work has been turned into a pursuit of personal excellence, which results in greater personal satisfaction, which one would have otherwise sought in job satisfaction coming from external rewards. As Bhagavad Gita says, he who is disciplined in yoga, having abandoned the fruit of action attains steady peace.

    A happy Dasherra to you and family.

  6. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    The topic Akarma as ultimate Nishkama karma has immense ambiguity and difficult to explain and to grapse and vice versa. This is self explanatory and one has to acquire and enjoy when engaged and cultivated bliss and perpetuates the same to others either knowingly or unknowingly. The action or inaction as I mean is esoteric called spiritual nature. It is nothing but ATMASANTOSHA , a real unsoiled one full of LOVE only.Hence the action is eternal as if it is waving from PARAMATMA, the Cosmic Soul even if action is done by Individual Soul.

    With thanks and regards
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh, Odisha

  7. V Chandra Sekhar says:

    As regards your article ‘Akarma or Inaction as Ultimate Nishkama or Selfless-action’, my views are exactly the same as those of Purnima Pandaji who has posted her valuable comments about this.


  8. Dhandapani Muthuswamy says:

    As mentioned in your last lines, if one adhere to it he will be a yogi. Nicely narrated about Karma Yoga. Thanks Pandaji for giving this knowledge.

  9. Kedarnath Sahu says:

    Respected Sir,

    A nice article which enlighted about Karma. It is hard to me comment about your article because the summary of your article is about the different forms of karma, I think which cannot be realised without the blessings of Sadguru. Karma Yoga is the path of doing nishkama karma. The Almighty shows us the real path for nishkama karma through yoga and spirituality.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela, Bargarh Odisha

  10. Madhusudan Mahunta says:


    Your article is learningful and nice article. Without Karma life is meaningless.Your elaboration inbetween karma and akarma enlighted the readers. In Oriya proverb:
    Manaba jibana nuhai kebala
    Barsha masa dina danda,
    Karme jiyen Nara karma eka tara
    Jibanara manadanda.
    I am very glad after reading your article. Thank you very much.

    Madhusudan Mahunta
    Sohela,Bargarh Odisha

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