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The Desire You Are Required to Get Rid of: A Functionalist Analysis of Desire in the Bhagavadgītā

Niskamakarma is generally understood nonliterally as action done without desire of a certain sort. It is argued here that all desires are prohibited by niskamakarma. Two objections are considered: 1 desire is a necessary condition of action, and 2 the Indian tradition as a whole accepts desire as a necessary condition of action. A distinction is drawn here between a goal and a desire, and it is argued that goals-not desires-are entailed by action, and that the Indian tradition accepts goals-not desires-as a necessary condition of action.