Work is Worship – Fact or Fallacy?

Work is Worship – Fact or Fallacy?

There is a common notion among general mass of people.  They say, “When I work honestly, what is the need to worship God?  Are doing my duties perfectly not worship of god?  Why should I worship the creator?”  In this article, let us try to understand what Lord Sri Krishna says about this in Bhagavad-gita.

In the eighteenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Lord describes about the various qualities of work of different classes of people.  He mentions nine brahminical qualities – peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness.  He says that the brahmanas (intelligent class) work by these qualities.  He also mentions the qualities of work for the ksatriyas (administrative class) as heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership.  The vaishyas (business class) qualities of work as farming, cow protection and business.

The  sudras (labour class) quality of work as labor and service to others .  After thus mentioning the various qualities of work of different classes of people in the society, Lord states that every man can become perfect by following his qualities of work.  This perfection can be achieved by worshipping Lord with the result of one’s work because He is the source of all beings as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan and He is the all-pervading Supersoul, Paramatma.

In the third chapter, Lord details the result of performing one’s prescribed duties for his own satisfaction and for His (Lord’s) satisfaction.   Sri Krishna states that work should be done as a sacrifice to Him otherwise work binds one to this material world.  If at all, one wants to get out of this material world, he should perform his duties for the satisfaction of Lord.

Srila Prabhupada explains how one can perform his duties for the satisfaction of Lord.  Srila Prabhupada says, “One has to work in Krishna Consciousness to satisfy Krishna (or Vishnu) and while performing such activities one is in a liberated stage.  This is the great art of doing work and in the beginning this process requires very expert guidance.  One should therefore act very diligently, under the expert guidance of a devotee of Lord Krishna”.

Thus, we can conclude that doing one’s prescribed duties perfectly is not worship.  But the work (prescribed duties) should be performed for Lord’s satisfaction alone and not for our own sense gratification.  In such case, our work turns into worship and it becomes the means for our liberation from this material world, otherwise the prescribed duties only bind us to this material world.  And the prescribed duties should be performed very carefully and attentively, under the expert guidance of a pure devotee of the Lord.


Bhagavad-gita As it is – 3.9, 18.42 to 18.46