I distinctly remember those long, sultry summer afternoons of leisure when ma, grandpa and grandma would narrate stories from the legendary epic Mahabharata, an amalgam of perhaps every kind of situation, emotion and circumstance that a human being may find himself or herself in during one’s lifetime. The hundreds of characters, apart from the main protagonists, namely the Kauravas and the Pandavas, who are embroiled in this intriguing saga of love, relationships, family ties, betrayal, leadership, value systems and spiritualism, offer some food for thought for almost every person trapped in this circle of life. Of course as a child, I would not understand these finer nuances and instead just be transported to a fantasy world inhabited by kings and queens, horsemen and warriors, and would listen all wide-eyed and mesmerized to numerous tales of the flautist Krishna, jewel-laden queens like Draupadi with luscious locks and the ever so hungry Bheema.
However, growing up years came with their own set of peculiar predicaments and these tales loaded with so many pearls of wisdom were relegated to the background. Any advice in the form of lectures or discourses never made much of an impact as I always felt they came from a non-understanding, impersonal heart and would never pay much heed to any such advice.
Until one day, when a dear friend suggested that I attend a seven-day discourse on the Bhagvad Gita at the Dayanand Ashram in the ethereal hills of Rishikesh. That is when I discovered how the treatise offered by Lord Krishna to the greatest archer ever, Arjuna, who is assuaged with doubt and guilt at the threshold of the battlefield with the Kuravas chronicled in the Bhagvad Gita, is perhaps the lesson in ethics and business management that can be a point of reference for all business practitioners in the contemporary industry scenario. And I have been meaning to share it with friends and acquaintances for a long time on a social platform…
I have always believed in the philosophy of ‘Seek and ye shall find’! Perched smugly in our insulated and air-conditioned offices or homes in the midst of the concrete jungles that we have created for ourselves in this day and age in our cluttered metropolises, we are constantly grappling with pertinent issues, be it of the professional or the personal kind.
The key to most problems is surprisingly as simple as managingthem well. Most management techniques are intrinsic to our culture and social values, which we are taught as children and gradually imbibe whilst we are growing up and embarking in life’s so called ‘bigger’ or ‘serious’ pursuits.
In our quest to prove our abilities of professional prowess and quick gains in the world of trade and commerce, whilst short-cuts to success may offer an initial high, but in the long run, the best and most ethical business practices that will ensure a prosperous and thriving business for years to come.
Sustained growth and maximization of profits are the end-goals of any successful business manager and to achieve that, the first step is to keep the team motivated. If the team comprises of warriors as demoralized as the mighty Arjuna, who are unable to give their best shot owing to lack of vision, clarity of thought and fear of competing with near and dear ones, that is arguably a manager’s toughest challenge.
Hence, the first step needs to be the ability to perform one’s duty no matter what the circumstances. It might sound fairly easy, but trust me, having been at the helm of a team in various capacities as a leader, in the advertising and now in the hardcore industrial domain, I sometimes find it a Herculean task to explain to my colleagues how just wanting to achieve success is not enough…one needs to pull up one’s socks, go out in the arena and prove one’s mettle. That is the crux!
The mind constantly keeps on churning thoughts at a roller-coaster pace and upping the ante of desires and wish-lists that need to be fulfilled. That is where the intrinsic knowledge of our scriptures can seamlessly enable us to blend our desires into first fulfilling our duties without waiting for the results and then actualising our desires, which will automatically then fall into place.
This is what the Bhagvad Gita also propitiates: perform the karma (action and duty) selflessly, to the maximum potential and the results will eventually start showing. Personal or individual goals, whether set up by an employee for rising up a notch or two in terms of job designation or even by an employer to further business interests can never fructify into holistic gains in the long term.
Sooner or later, one has to just keep an eye on the collective good of the business conglomerate or society or colony or settlement or family in order to attain accrue some gains. And that is the very first principle which the Bhagvad Gita teaches us, which is a treasure trove of management principles and expositions that can be a reference manual for any successful business manager…
I shall take you through them in this series, dedicated to delving into the business-related techniques, methods and strategies and principles and tenets that can be learnt from the Bhagvad Gita, one step at a time!