was once a horrible drought. For year after
year not a drop of rain fell on the arid
ground. Crops died, and � as the land became
parched � farmers gave up even planting
As the time of planting and tilling the
ground came for the fourth rainless year in a
row, the farmers of the region had given up
hope and they sat listless, passing their time
with playing cards and other
one lone farmer continued patiently to plant
his seeds and sow and till his land. The other
farmers poked fun at him and derided him as he
daily continued to take care of his fruitless,
they asked him the reason behind his senseless
tenacity, he said, �I am a farmer and it is my
dharma to plant and till my land. My dharma does not
change simply due to whether the clouds rain or not.
My dharma is my dharma and I must follow it regardless
of how fruitful or fruitless it appears to be.� The
other farmers laughed at his wasteful effort, and went
back to their homes to continue bemoaning the rainless
sky and their fruitless land.
a passing rain cloud happened to be overhead when the
faithful farmer was giving his answer to the others.
The cloud heard the farmer�s beautiful words and
realized, �he�s right. It is his dharma to plant
the seeds and to till the land, and it is my dharma to
release this water which I am holding in my cloud onto
the ground.� At that moment, inspired by the
farmer�s message, the cloud released all the water
it was holding onto the farmer�s land.
This rain cloud then, continued to spread the
message of upholding one�s dharma to the other rain
clouds, and they too � upon realizing it was their
dharma to rain � began to let go of the moisture in
their midst. Soon, rain was pouring down upon the
land, and the farmer�s harvest was bountiful.
In life, we tend to expect results from
our actions. If we do something well, we want to be
rewarded. If we work, we want to be paid (whether
financially or in some other way). We want to work
only so long as the work reaps rewards. If the fruits
cease to come, so we decide the work is not �meant
to be,� and we abandon it.
However, that is not the message of which
Lord Krishna gives to Arjuna in the Gita. The message
is that we must do our duty regardless of the fruits. We
must live according to our dharma regardless of
whether it is �successful.� We must perform our
duties for the simple fact that they are our duties.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to stand up and
fight, and says that �even if he dies in the
battle�he must still do his dharma. The Lord tells
Arjuna that it is divine to die on the battlefield of
life (meaning engaged in performing your duty). He
explains that either way, Arjuna will �win.� If
the Pandavas win the battle, then they will obliterate
the evil influence of the Kauravas and inherit the
kingdom. If, on the other hand, the Kauravas win the
battle and the Pandavas are killed, then they will go
straight to the Lord�s eternal abode, for they died
in the service of Dharma.
Usually in life, we know what our duties
are. We know our responsibilities. We can see the
�right� thing to do. This is especially true if we
take quiet time to meditate, reflect and contemplate.
Yet, too frequently we walk away from doing the
�right� thing or from performing our duty due to
the uncertainty of the result. We don�t want to
�waste our time� or �look like a fool.� We
neglect our responsibilities by saying, �it
doesn�t matter any way.� We shun our duties with
words like, �well no one else is doing it, so why should I?�
This is not the way to live. We must
realize that there is an enormous, infinite cosmic
plan at work and we must all perform our allotted
tasks to the best of our ability. Whether we actually
succeed or fail in the venture should not be the
biggest concern. True success
comes not in a financial �win�, but rather in the
humble, tenacious, dedicated performance of our tasks.
Interestingly enough, when we act with
righteousness and integrity, we find that others will
follow. It is not that we are taken advantage of, as
we frequently fear. Rather, if we set the divine
example, others will follow suit. Just as the rain
cloud followed the example of the tenacious farmer, so
will those in our lives follow our own examples. If we
act with honesty, we receive honesty. If we act with
dedication and love, so we will receive dedication and
love. If we fulfill our dharma, so will those around
us learn to do the same.
Yet, even if we are the
only ones acting piously, acting honestly, acting with
devotion, it should not matter. Our lives, our
happiness and our karma are individual entities. They
are not dependent upon the response from others.
must all learn to stand up, have courage and keep
performing our duties, regardless of whether it looks
like success or failure will result. Through the
fulfillment of our dharma we will achieve the greatest
success in life � bliss, peace and enlightenment.