Kartavya is endless and has several concentric circles in which you are the epicenter and those rings are woven in your ascendancy towards self-actualization. Kartavya is your engagement with your surrounding beyond your regular expected work. While you are doing your Kartavya, you have those running parallel and not in series or sequence. At times, you are fulfilling several of those simultaneously and concurrently. Let us elaborate some with examples. As a parent or child, you have immediate responsibilities towards your family, kids, spouse and parents. Going beyond that, you have responsibility towards your extended family, friends, and community where you live. However, it does not end there. For those who are Karmavir, they ask for bigger responsibilities, towards the society, country and the world including nature, around and beyond you.
Kartavya is boundless. No one can be limited within any (concentric) layers. No one can be pushed towards any layer, if they wish not to be. However, it is a journey of this soul as it is passing (transgressing) through this world, a voyage towards eternity. I don’t wish to attach kartavya with ultimate evaluation of our deeds while in this world. However, I do feel that, when bestowed with that ability to influence, if you ignore that, it is definitely willful negligence. Aspiring to gain more responsibilities and working arduously towards executing those is truly blissful, if not pious. I would refrain from calling pious since all acts have another positive and negative dimension and labeling an act as pious is a snapshot analysis, not a full spectrum analysis in continuum.
Let us visit karma. Karma is what you work in this world for a material living. For a teacher, it is delivering course. A doctor is expected to take care of her/his students. Military personnel are to take care of their military responsibilities. A whole gamut of professions is fulfilling their immediate responsibilities. However, the most challenging one, I see, are the politician’s responsibilities.
The most beautiful thing about Karma is that, it is easily guided by conscious and easily trapped and distracted by our material trappings. The more you are involved with the ‘Me’ within, the more you get buried with the material trappings that become an inhibitory force towards self-actualization. It is easy to get lost with one’s position with Karma but a constant penance and prayer would help to most, while those truly on the path to realization, may not need those prayers on a regular basis. Prayers do help in your struggle with keeping you detached from yourself and being more upwardly mobile in achieving your ultimate karmic objectives.
While Karma has an end to its cycle as you retire with advancing age or limitation of capabilities, kartavya has no end until your last breath. Only the nature of your responsibilities changes as you age.