na me paarthasti kartavyam trishu lokeshu kinchana |
naanavaaptamavaaptavyam varta eva cha karmani || 22 ||

Neither do I have the least bit of duty in the three worlds, O Paartha, nor is there anything for me to gain or lose (through action), yet, I engage in action.

na : neither
me : I
paartha : O Paartha
asti : have
kartavyam : duties
trishu : three
lokeshu : in worlds
kinchana : even a little
na : nor
anavaaptam : not to be obtained
avaaptavyam : to be obtained
varte : engaged
eva : yet
cha : and
karmani : action

As we saw earlier, Shri Krishna wanted to provide concrete examples of individuals who had attained the eternal essence, yet continued to act selflessly in the world. Having given the example of king Janaka, Shri Krishna now spoke about himself as an example of an ideal karma yogi. He had attained a state of supreme independence where he no longer needed to act, yet, he continued to act spontaneously and joyfully in the service of humanity.

The Srimad Bhaagvatam is filled with stories describing the life of Shri Krishna, where we find that he worked tirelessly from the start to the end of his life. There was no duty that he did not perform. He became a charioteer upon Arjuna’s request. After the Mahabhaarata war, Arjuna’s brother Yudhishthira performed a yajna. There, Shri Krishna even washed the feet of guests who attended. While performing any action, his attitude was that of equanimity, and he found great joy in the work while not expecting any reward.

Shri Krishna’s attitude towards life was like that of a perfect actor in a play. In fact, his stories are also known as “leelas” or divine plays. An actor in a play will perform any role – big or small – without the slightest attachment to it, and move to the next role effortlessly. Whether it was a mischievous boy who stole butter from people’s homes, or the ruler of Dwarakaa city, Shri Krishna played his part perfectly with the attitude of a karma yogi.

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