Holy management techniques!!!

Posted on June 8, 2014
Location: London
Holy management techniques!!!

There is an uncanny resemblance between Modern Management & stories from holy books.   It talks about people enslaved, denied dignity, who were denied freedom, who were denied resources, until profit came along.  The leader is who shows the people the vision of Promised Land and people follow his commandment, rules, dos and don’ts. The problems faced on the way to the Promised Land are called “Non-compliances”. This is how management books are designed. They start with a problem statement, the vision/mission/objectives/goals/targets, then tasks, standard operating procedures, guidance, auditors, governments, external environment, internal environment and then finally come the “Promised Land” / PROFIT, if everything works out well.

If modern management books are inspired from the stories of holy books; then could Indian management be inspired from Indian mythology or puranas? In Indian mythology, there is not a single promised land; rather three promised lands. SWARG, VAIKUNTH and KAILASH!!! Swarg is where the King of the GODs resides and rules. Vaikunth is the eternal aboard of lord Vishnu/Narayan & Kailash is where lord Shiva resides together with this whole family, devotes, vahanas and care-takers.

  • Swarga has the “Kalpataru tree” or “Kamdhenu cow” or “Chintamani Jewel”. Each of them has the capability to give whatever they are ask for, by the residents of swarg. This is called “infinite return without investment” in business terms . Swarg is a place where hunger is indulged, also the need, greed, want and aspiration. I ndra, the king of heaven, is prosperous but Swarga is always under attack.  Indra is always insecure. Indra gets insecure if a human/asura gets powerful or even a sage starts to pray Tridev (Bramha, Vishnu or Shiva). Indra tries by all means, to ensure there is no-one else more powerful/resourceful than him.

  • In contrast, Vaikuntha, where Vishnu prevails, is both peaceful and prosperous. It is like a playground. Vishnu engages with the other - he is participative. And we are referring to a business model, which is participative, and that creates benefits for all stakeholders. Lord Vishnu always lived reclining on a massive serpent and surrounded by affluence and abundances. Prosperity is accomplished with peace. It is a happy playground or “ranga bhumi”. Over here other people’s hunger is taken care by Vishnu. Vishnu takes various forms in various eras to take care of the need/want/hunger of the people. This is what the Americans call “AVATAAR”.
  • Hunger in management terms could mean the hunger of many stakeholders: shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, politicians, regulators, the environment, or even the rest of society. 
  • Inevitably, to most people, their own hunger comes first. But such an attitude (Like that of King of Gods “Indra”), would lead to a battleground and ultimately it may produce prosperity without peace.
  • The ideal model would therefore be Vaikuntha where someone else's hunger matters first. This belief can lead to a playground as opposed to a battleground and finally to prosperity with peace.
  • Kailash is the place where hunger is outgrown and is destroyed forever. There is no predator and they are no prey. Bull is Shiva’s vahana (on which the god travels); lion is Parvati’s vahana (on which the goddess travels). A lion generally kills and eats cows/bull for its food on a daily basis. Similarly a rat is Ganesh’s vahana and a peacock is Kartikeya’s vahana. Vasuki is a snake whom lord Shiva wears as a neckels around his neck. A peacock kills snakes and eats them for its food on a daily basis. And a snake kills and eats rats on a daily basis. However at Kailash all these creatures live together, next to each other, without any fear, without killing each other. This is because hunger is outgrown in Kailash. There is no need, there is no want, and there are no aspirations at Kailash. That is why Shiva and everyone at Kailash are at peace.

So there are three promised lands in Hindu mythology; based on three different beliefs. Belief is subjective truth and to define this we need to understand the difference between animal hunger and human hunger. Human hunger is different from animal hunger in three ways:

  1. Quantity: Human are not hungry for today. They are hungry for tomorrow, day after, after retirement, for their children, for their grandchildren, for generations….so on, so forth. It’s never ending.
  2. Quality: We are not only hungry for food; we are also hungry for qualitative food or status, attainment or power, property etc.
  3. Empathy: Human can be sensitive to each other’s hunger. We stimulate other people’s hunger.

Lord Indra believes that his hunger matter first. Lord Shiva believes that he can outgrow his hunger and Lord Vishnu believes that other people’s hunger matters first and he has to take care.

If there is resemblances between Hindu mythology and Hindu management techniques; then which/whose hunger matters first? Is it the hunger of shareholders or that of employee’s or that of a customer or that of a supplier or that of the Government or regulators or the pressure groups or our environment and its sustainability? Same can be applied in a family situation as well; whose hunger matters first? That of a father or mother or husband or wife or children or relatives or strangers?

We are living in a world at the moment; where we demonstrate “other people’s hunger matters to us, only after our hunger is satisfied”.  But what is celebrated in Hindu mythology is: “THE IDEA OF SATISHFYING OTHER’S HUNGER; WHICH ALSO HELPS US TO OUTGROW OUR HUNGER!”.   There is why there is no temple for Indra in Hindu religion; rather there are temples for Shiva and Bishnu. In fact; Shiva and Vishnu are considered two sides of the same coin, HARI and HARA. Outgrowing hunger is theoretical, as some people may think. Similarly it is not possible to take care of other people’s hunger ONLY; as lord Vishnu does all the time.

So the business model as per Hindu mythology is based on three “B”s (Belief, Behaviour and Business); which says as is your belief, so is your behaviour and so is your business/outcome.

  • If we believe “our hunger matters first” – then we will deal with a battle-ground. There will be prosperity but there will not be any peace.
  • If we believe “other people’s hunger matters first” or “our hunger is outgrown” – then we will deal with a ranga bhumi or Kailash type environment. There will be prosperity with peace indeed.
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