This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Nishkama karmayog and anasakti: Motivation for Self-realization

Adesh Agarwal - DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur.

The Indian system of motivation is different from theories of motivation in contemporary western psychology. This paper outlines the motivational concepts of nishkama karmayoga and anasakti as espoused in Srimad Bhagwatgita. These concepts have often been mistakenly understood to mean either a lack of motivation or fatalism.The Gita, however, does not teach abandoning ones duties but teaches one to avoid greed and avarice. It motivates a person to reach the higher planes of Self-hood In the state of stithiprajna one carries out one’s duty without being swayed by either greed and pride or by distress, when one encounters success or failure respectively.The author and her students have undertaken empirical researches on healthy people and on patients who have undergone surgery. These researches show that among healthy people doing ones duty without worrying about the results produces greater satisfaction and well being. Detachment leads to faster recovery of patients who have undergone surgery. Developing mastery over ones emotions may lead one to realize that all others have the same Atman as oneself. This may lead him/her towards holistic growth culminating in Self-realisation.

Email the author:  "Prof. (Smt) Adesh Agarwal" <>