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Determining The Outcome.....Deepak M Ranade
The Bhagwad Gita says, “Thou hast power only to act not over the result thereof. Act thou therefore without prospect of the result and without succumbing to inaction.’’ The allusion is to being dispassionate about the outcome and not assigning a personal pleasure-pain verdict. Pleasure-pain based assessment of the outcome contains seeds of despondency and dejection along with euphoria and elation. Keeping track of the outcome of your efforts is critical in determining the future course of action. An accurate, impersonal reality check of the outcome of your efforts lends a vector attribute to subsequent efforts. A vector approach is one which is well directed, calculated and targeted; a genuine effort sanctified by direction.
Adequate concern and analysis about the outcome ‘‘vectorises’’ future endeavours, particularly when the task to be achieved is monumental, and distant. Reaffirmation of the trajectory in such situations remains the only solace and succour to cope with trials and tribulations on the arduous journey. This essence is captured in the story of two monks in steadfast penance, meditating under a Peepul tree.
The Lord is appeased and asks them what they wished for. The first monk asks: “How many more births to take before i attain salvation?’’ The Lord replies, ‘‘Six more births.’’ The reply saddens the monk and crestfallen, he continues his penance with a heavy heart. The second monk asks the same question and he is told that he would be reborn as many times as the number of leaves the Peepul tree has. On hearing this the monk is elated and thanks the Lord and resumes his penance in all earnest. The first monk is puzzled and asks him the reason for his celebration. The monk replies, ‘‘I celebrated because i was assured that i am on the right path. How long it will take is no concern of mine. When i am sure of the direction there is no doubt about reaching the destination and i can focus on enjoying the journey.’’
Every endeavour has a scale element of physical hard work, sincerity and dedication. This tangible element is largely common in most instances of genuine effort. The vector dimension is about working smart in addition to working hard and this is what decisively impacts the outcome.
The sacred scripture alludes to the realisation of not being in any position to ascertain the outcome of one’s endeavours to remain undeterred in the event of momentary setbacks. It is nonetheless replete with many instances of astute machinations deployed by the Lord himself. Valour without strategy is either being immature or emotional. The ‘‘Charge of the Light Brigade’’ certainly stirs passion but such impulsive acts are pregnant with doom. Emotion should remain as motivation and never take over navigation. Valiance of endeavour is necessary but not sufficient and rudderless sentimental indulgences are more likely to set one adrift.
Statistically it stands to reason that all cannot succeed. Success and failure typically are complementary. Ability to control the outcome would make the art of trying mundane and unromantic. Probability of failure elevates the effort of courting success to an art form. Any guarantee of outcome would make the journey merely a function of time and would render dexterity of navigation obsolete. The perspirationinspiration rhetoric crucially needs navigation to ensure success. Action without prospect of outcome is undoubtedly spiritual but outcome without respect to direction is sophomoric.
The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon.