As the curtains lifted on the first working day of the new year yesterday, a prospective PI’s unexpected request for a Zoom call set the stage for a cascade of contemplation, even some anxiety.
The air was thick with questions—did the grant we worked on last year find its deserving spotlight, or did it fade into the background? Was the evaluation plan write-up lacking, or perhaps, life just took a detour?
Why did he want us to meet “very” briefly? Was he upset with the reviewers’ comments? Shouldn’t he just let it go and plan for this year’s (re-)submission, instead?
In the distorted dance of thoughts, the revelation came forward – the grant was indeed awarded! The absence of immediate updates stemmed not from unfavorable reviews or hesitation but rather from the tumultuous waves of life—commencement of the semesters, summer, family matters, and the juggling act that ensued.
This scenario resonates deeply with the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita (is a 700-verse Hindu scripture, which is part of the epic Mahabharata), urging us to “do the deed, don’t expect the outcomes.” In academia and business alike, it’s very easy to get entangled in the web of expectations – outcomes, yearning for the fruits of our labor. Yet, the Gita gently nudges us to focus on the sincerity of our actions, detached from the uncertainties of results.
The lesson unfolds in a personal narrative: the emphasis shifts from the outcome to the dedication poured into the project, the collaborative spirit that fueled our efforts for a long time. Life, with its unpredictable twists, reveals its secrets in its own time.
So, here we are, embracing the wisdom of the Gita in this unfolding chapter. May our actions be guided by sincerity, our efforts unwavering, and our hearts resilient in the face of the unknown. The beauty, after all, lies not just in the outcomes but in the steps we take on this uncharted journey.
For those who might be slightly inclined to read the original sayings in Sanskrit (loosely translated here for ease):
“karmany evadhikaras te
ma phalesu kadachana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ’stv akarmani” (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Two verse 47.)
Sri Krishna said: “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”