There are two techniques by which one can liberate oneself from attachment to work.
One is by telling oneself, ‘I am not the doer.’ By continuously reminding yourself that it is the senses and not you who is doing something, you distance yourself from the action. This is what Kṛṣṇa explains in the previous verses. The other way is by surrendering the fruits of one’s work to the Divine to the ultimate life force that is conducting this Universe. This is the technique that Kṛṣṇa talks about here.
Bhagavān says, ‘O Kaunteya, perform your work for Me and you will do it with authenticity, liberated and without attachment, tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara (3.9).’
When you do work as a sincere, humble offering to the Divine, the very attitude of this surrender will make you do the job authentically to your peak capability and you will be liberated. When you are excessively bothered about the results, you actually think you are the doer of the action! That is why you get attached to the work and its results. This is when you start getting stressed and tensed about results. Naturally, when you are tensed, you are not performing at your maximum efficiency because so much of your valuable energy is getting wasted in being tense. How will you then be able to get your job properly done?
I always tell people, ‘When you are afraid to make small mistakes and are over- cautious, you end up making big blunders.’ You waste your entire life trying to avoid making mistakes and attempting to be perfect, and your life becomes a blunder.
This doesn’t mean you can be careless about your work. I am only saying that you should have the courage of authenticity to make mistakes and learn to not give up on yourself. Only when you make mistakes can you learn from them and complete with your unconscious inauthenticities. Only then have you been exposed to your inauthenticity and seen both sides of the coin. Then, with experience, when you have learnt from the mistake and stood up powerfully with completion, you will have the cognition of both sides. Otherwise, just at the crucial time, your inauthenticities that have been hiding from you will make you commit mistakes and you will powerlessly give up on yourself. You can have this courage of authenticity only when you are not attached to the ownership of tasks and results.
When you see that Existence is purposeless and you are living in the loving, caring arms of Existence, you will relax and surrender to that very Existence. When you are in this relaxed mood, you can function at your best and enjoy every moment of life without feeling like the doer and therefore not worrying about making small mistakes. Real surrender happens when this understanding becomes your experience.
Utmost integrity and authenticity is enough for surrender. Nothing else is needed. Surrender has a tremendous power, a tremendous energy. Whether you surrender to an idol or to a person or to your Guru, or even a rock, is not important. What is important is surrender itself.
Vivekananda says beautifully: ‘When you pray to God, your prayers actually awaken your own inner potential and it showers blessings on you.’ Even if you see logically, surrender helps you to simply relax. When you are relaxed, you can work beautifully, with intelligence, rather than with your pre-programmed intellect.
A small story:
There was once a bank cashier who used to take all the cash home everyday and bring it back with him the next morning. He had done this for a month and could not do it anymore. He found himself trembling all the way while driving back home and was not able to sleep at home with all the money in his custody. He finally asked his boss to relieve him of the job since he could not bear the stress any longer. His boss told him that even if the money were to be lost, he would not be blamed and he could continue with his job. The cashier slept peacefully from that day onwards.
What was the difference in him? He was doing the same job, but why was the fear and tension not there anymore? It was because the responsibility had been shifted to a higher authority, that’s all. This is surrender! Do your work with authenticity and responsibility to enrich others and yourself, surrendering the responsibility of the results to Existence.
Understand, Existence loves you and understands you better than you understand yourself. See the example of Arjuna; Kṛṣṇa knew Arjuna better than Arjuna knew himself. The very trust, the very connection enabled Arjuna to relate with Kṛṣṇa, who took him to the Ultimate Consciousness.
Have simple trust in Existence, in the intelligence of the life force. This is the very life force, the energy that is keeping you alive. This is the energy behind the marvelous functioning of your brain, of your digestive system, of your nervous system. This is the energy that runs our solar system, all the galaxies and the entire Universe so smoothly. Imagine, is it possible for so many billions of stars and planets to move in such beautiful order even if you had the most modern traffic control system in place? Such a beautiful order, in what appears to be chaos when seen superficially!