saktaah karmanyavidvaanso yathaa kurvanti bhaarata |
kuryaadvidvaanstathaasaktashchikeershulokasangraham || 25 ||

Just as an ignorant individual performs action with attachment, O Bhaarata, so does a wise person perform action without attachment, wishing for the welfare of society.

saktaah : with attachment
karmani : in action
avidvaansah : ignorant
yathaa : just as
kurvanti : act
bhaarata: O Bhaarata
kuryaat : act
vidvaan : wise
tathaa : so does
asaktah : without attachment
chikeershuh : wishing
lokasangraham : societal welfare

Here, Shri Krishna offers a guideline for Arjuna in regards to working with other people. He says that one who is working with the attitude of karmayoga should learn to work in harmony with others who may have not yet understood or learned that technique. In other words, Shri Krishna warns us from adopting a “holier-than-thou” attitude with others when performing action.

For instance, imagine a little girl playing by herself, and pretending to make tea in a small cup. She brings an empty cup to her aunt and asks her to drink that tea. The aunt should enjoy that fake tea, not start questioning the reality of that team. There is no need to do so, the child is doing what is appropriate. Similarly, just because one is studying karmayoga does not make him or her eligible to behave differently with others.

Now, most of our actions are either performed individually or in a team. If we are performing actions individually, it is very straightforward to adopt the attitude of karmayoga. If we are working in a team, we could be playing the role of peers, leaders or followers. In all three of these situations, Shri Krishna urges us to maintain the attitude of karmayoga regardless of whether our peers, leaders or followers have the very same attitude. Their attitude in no way should impact the efficiency of our work.

This “live and let live” approach is extremely practical and sensible. But is there a reason behind it? Shri Krishna will explain in the next verse.