QUESTION: Sir I have few questions
1.is there any secret of success?
I.e do we have any control over results of our actions?
2.which law governs action-result relationship?
I.e doea results or success depends on our hard work,,how efficiently we work
or it depends on good karma of person?
3.does destiny i.e karma of a man decides results or success
Or hard and efficient work decides it?
4.sometimes even after working hard we fail,is it due to lack of efficiency and hard work
Or is it due to bad karma of individual?

ANSWER: Dear Aaryan,

Thank you for your questions.

It is clear from your questions that you are confused about the meaning of the word "karma." It seems you think the word means something like "fate" or "destiny," but in fact the word means simply "action."

Your own actions from past lives and from this present life determine your situation, your success or failure. Because we cannot usually know the actions we took in our past lives, we may sometimes feel that our present actions do not always determine an outcome. Of course, there are many factors in any outcome, most of which may be outside our awareness or control.

For this reason, and also to elevate karma to the status of Yoga, or spiritual practice, Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to act according to Dharma but without attachment to the results. "To action you have the right, but never to the fruits [of action]." (Gita 2:47) By  performing your duties diligently, with full attention, and then offering the results to God, you will attain the highest success in life, which is spiritual liberation.

Best wishes,

Brother William

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sir my confusion is still not removed.
Say I fail in exam for which I have prepared very hard.
What could be rhe reason?
Is it due to my bad karma in the past?
2.if I get 1st rank then many say success is due good karma only
And hard work has no role?
How it could be ,as I had studied very seriously.
3.i have also that results depend on motive behind it and does not
Depend upon hard and sincere work?
Ie success depends only on good work not on hard work.How it could be?

Dear Aaryan,

Thank you for your follow-up questions.

Sri Krishna says in the Gita chapter four that even the wise are puzzled about the workings of karma, so do not feel bad if you are still confused. You are in good company. If hard work does not produce a desired result, we can only guess that some other factors must be at work, such as your own past-life actions. This explanation provides us a sense of divine justice for things that otherwise might seem random or arbitrary.

However, this explanation does not fully satisfy, because it does not tell us precisely what caused the outcome.

Therefore, Swami Vivekananda taught us to do our duties diligently, because our current situation is the result of our past actions, and our future depends at least in part on our current actions. Act without hankering for a specific outcome, and you will never be disappointed.

I'm sorry if this is not a fully satisfying answer, but the fact is that much of what happens in life is both our of our control and subject to forces which we do not fully understand.

Best wishes,

Brother William


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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William


I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.


I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.


I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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