Aparna Jairam isn’t trying to steal your job. That’s what she tells me, and I believe her. But if Jairam does end up taking it – and, let’s face facts, she could do your $70,000-a-year job for the wages of a Taco Bell counter jockey – she won’t lose any sleep over your plight. When I ask what her advice is for a beleaguered American programmer afraid of being pulled under by the global tide that she represents, Jairam takes the high road, neither dismissing the concern nor offering soothing happy talk. Instead, she recites a portion of the 2,000-year-old epic poem and Hindu holy book the Bhagavad Gita: “Do what you’re supposed to do. And don’t worry about the fruits. They’ll come on their own.”
She’s quoting the Bhagavad Gita? The Bhagavad Gita? That, and the particular quote, is particularly funny and ironic.
Here’s the Brian’s Notes version of the Bhagavad Gita, kids: Prince Arjuna is a little reluctant to enter a war where he has friends and relatives on the other side. He’s a bit reluctant to go into battle because he doesn’t want to slaughter them. His charioteer, Krishna, happens to be an incarnation of a deity, and he spends the poem convincing Arjuna that it’s his duty to go into battle and slaughter his friends and relatives because that’s how the his life is scripted. So Arjuna does. I’d imagine this quote is Krishna giving a pep talk, probably before revealing one of his majestic and terrifying forms.
With that context, make of the quote what you will. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of Java!
Note: Don’t take this post as demeaning to the Bhagavad Gita or Hinduism. Go read the whole thing, as they say. It’s an interesting piece, and describes an eastern worldview that I don’t entirely share. It’s got certain truths in it, though, and as from any philosophical work, perhaps you can draw something from it to apply to your own life.