What is the meaning of “assigned duties” and how to perform them to please Krishna?
A Question from a devotee:
“what are our duties assigned by the lord ? i mean to say i often read that “we must concentrate on the services to lord ” , what are those services ?? Please guide me.”
Our duties assigned by Lord means, the duties that NATURALLY come to us for yourself, family, society and God. What Krishna has done is teaching us how to do all the four kinds of duties as a service to Krishna. That’s all. He has beautifully explained them in Bhagavad Gita.
If you have parents, spouse, children, etc., you should properly take care of them with love, but not with attachments, ie, thinking that they are eternal relations for you. You should engage them in devotion that means a grahastha life. This is the duty for the family.
Next, let us take the profession.
You may like to become a doctor. But, whatever you try, you became as an engineer only, not as a doctor. This is the profession that you naturally got as per your karma.
A son of a big business man NATURALLY wishes to continue the business of his father. Though you settle him in any other job, he can’t do that efficiently! If you settle him in his father’s business, he will shine well, as he can involve in it naturally.
Thus, if you do your naturally assigned duties WITHOUT attachment and dedicate the benefits to the Lord, it is the right way of performing duties.
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita (3-5):
“All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.”
So, though you like to avoid it, a duty will be NATURALLY assigned to you as per your karma. You have to accept it and do with satisfaction. If you hate that naturally assigned duty and like to do the duties of any other person, your karma will not support it and hence you can’t do that perfectly.
Lord says in Bhagavad Gita (3-35) about wishing to do others’ duties:
“It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though they may be faultily, than another’s duties. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.”
How to perform your duties?
Lord gives clear tips in Bhagavad Gita (3-9):
“Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.”
He also says in (3-19):
“Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.”
In (3-20), Lord further says:
“Kings such as Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.”
Lord says in (3-25):
“As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading the people on the right path.”
Finally, Lord concludes in (3-30):
“Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight”.
Hope you are clear now. Do your duties as concluded by Lord.
Do any work, keeping Krishna in mind and treat those duties as a service to Krishna. With this mindset, you can please Krishna and you will never involve in mundane activities that do not elevate you in devotion to Krishna.