I have the full intention to perform actions without the expectation of its fruit, such as fame, respect etc. However, I still feel that there is a hidden expectation within me for the fruit of my actions. What is the solution to this?

When a desire arises and it is fulfilled, this is God’s grace. When it is not fulfilled, then one who is wise understands through satsang (association of saints, good books, religious scriptures, good company etc) that this is God’s wish.

Devotion means, trust in God that whatever happens is for our well-being. God’s ordinary grace is when our desires are fulfilled whereas no desires left is God’s extra-ordinary grace.

Until there is a hidden desire to gain glory for our action, we may think we are performing actions without any expectation but in fact we are not. If there was no expectation, then the desire for glory would not rise.

On the other hand, if we truly perform deeds without any expectation and we achieve glory, then a devotee will perceive the glory to be due to the energy bestowed by God to us for the success. The devotee will experience oneself to be the means and God the doer.

However, if we accept the glory as ours and are pleased with it, then be prepared to listen to criticism also. If there are five people who praise you then there will also be one person who will censure you. If this does happen, then as a devotee, beware! Treat praise and criticism equally i.e. do not be affected by both.

A person once went to a saint and said, I want to be free from desires. The Saint said, get rid of that desire also!”

How will one know if glory is a desire? If one gets pleased on achieving the glory. However, if one is equanimous to praise and criticism, then there is no desire.

A spiritual aspirant went to Raman Maharshi once and said, “God, I want to be free of thoughts. Please guide me”.

Maharshi replied, “Becoming thought free is also a thought!”

What does desire mean? The feeling that we are incomplete. Something is lacking. That’s when we want something. When we feel complete, we want nothing.

So, when can we feel complete? When we experience the complete.

Who is complete? The Supreme Almighty.

Pūramada pūramida pūrṇātpūramudaccyate, pūrasya pūramādāya, pura mevāvaśiyate

In summary, desires are born out of the feeling of being incomplete. This feeling rises due to ignorance. Hence Gita says, you will be emancipated from desires through knowledge only. Knowledge gives us the feeling of being complete. Then it will make no difference to us whether we are praised or criticized. Otherwise we may think we are performing actions without the expectation of fruit yet there is a hidden expectation.

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