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DHARMA AND THE WORK CULTURE AND ETHICS OF INDIA.

A few years back I had an excellent experience, when I was in Kolkata to get my
Masters degree certificate from Kolkata University. Actually I as an Indian also a part
of the same system and am no saint when I say that I had lost my Masters Degree
certificate and that necessitated me to go to Kolkata to get the duplicate copy of
the original certificate. I went to the University office at sharp 0900hrs only to find
the chairs are empty and desks are strewn with heaps of what looked like official
documents everywhere. When I enquired about the gentlemen that I was supposed
to meet the janitor told me that the gentleman will only occupy his seat at 1030hrs.
Fine, I had one and a half hour to browse through various books store that line up
college street. College street was the seat of Indian intelligent elite and the seat of
Indian independence revolution during the early 1900s. Raja Ram Mohan Roy,
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Michael Madhusudhan Dutt were the luminaries of that
time and era and all were stalwarts of Kolkata University. Standing in front of the
same University 100years later, I was about to enter the office building and the time
was just 1030hrs when I came in front of the same desk and I saw a gentleman
occupying the chair, looking at some photographs of a wedding ceremony and was
having a very animated discussion with another gentleman who was sitting beside
him.

“Excuse me sir,” I said but he refused to look at me. “excuse me sir,” I said the
second time and little loudly and this time he looked at me and said “don’t you see I
am busy” I was angry at him but I had to get my work done so I was polite enough
to tell him that I have come all the way from Mumbai to get this work done. He
smirked at me and as though he is doing a great favor to me he took my application
and without even reading it told me to come tomorrow. I told him that I would be
highly obliged if he can give me the certificate by the same evening and to this he
said that he is too busy to get it done in one day. To cut the story short I got my
work done through my brother’s contact on the same day, BUT this whole episode
exemplifies the dilapidating work culture and ethics in India. There are examples
galore but we are yet to look into ourselves and question why we as Indians have
such poor work ethics and culture in our country. Whereas when we Indians go
abroad to earn our living we excel in all fields and we are termed as the most hard
working groups. In USA Indians are working as scientists in NASA, as engineers and
software experts and doctors of reputation. In fact Indians are among the most
prosperous communities in USA. Indians are very diligent, reliable, loyal and
perseverant workers outside Indian soil but inside India the story is somewhat
different.

Once when swami Vivekananda was in Dakshineshwar with Sri Ramakrishna


Paramhansa an interesting incident happened. A young boy of about eleven years
old came to dakshineshwar Kali temple and met Swami Vivekananda. He wanted to
serve the Master,( Ramkrishna paramhansa ) and be a devout disciple. Swamiji was
very angry at him and told him that his temple and devotion lay in the football field,
by which he meant that his job at his age was to play and that is the only way to
show once devotion and allegiance to God. He said to the young boy that playing in
the field with full concentration and honesty and positivity is the dharma. This
incident also exemplifies the work ethics as mentioned in the scriptures. The
philosophy and culture of India is one of Ananda or Bliss. "From Bliss-Absolute we
have come; in Bliss-Absolute we are rooted; and to Bliss-Absolute are we destined,"
says the Taittiriya Upanishad. It is not a message of pain, agony and distress.
Pessimism is unknown to India's culture. It is a culture of exuberant positivity of
approach, an approximation to God in the end, who is the greatest of positivity. Life
is held to be a movement from joy to joy, and it is this that we call the evolutionary
process of the soul. It is movement from a lesser truth to a higher truth, which is a
better way of putting things than to repeat the hackneyed tradition that we move
from error to truth.

Historically Indians were definitely very diligent, perseverant, intelligent and sincere
workers as is evident from the epics Ramayana and The Mahabharata. In Ramayana
the entire epic teaches values, ethics and morality and the importance of selfless
work. In Mahabharata the same values and ethics and morality concerning work
culture is taken to another plane where Lord Krishna says one must work with all his
love, passion, intelligence and not think of rewards. He says, “act without
expectation” The moment we start thinking of how my actions will reward me I tend
to loose the value ,the passion, the ethics of the work. With these values all Indians
grow up but somewhere down the line these values were lost completely. The only
guiding principal in doing once job seems to be the monetary compensation. These
values and ethics in work culture during those times provided with a perfect work
life balances. I have been writing about values here and I need to elaborate on
values as to what do we mean by values. These values ultimately lead to Dharma.

Values are ideals that guide or qualify your personal conduct, interaction with
others, and involvement in your career. Like morals, they help you to distinguish
what is right from what is wrong and inform you on how you can conduct your life in
a meaningful way. Values can be classified into four categories: Personal Values,
Cultural Values, Social Values, Work Values.

Personal values are principles that define you as an individual. Personal values, such
as honesty, reliability, and trust, determine how you will face the world and relate
with people. This is very important attribute of a person as this becomes one of the
guiding principal in work culture and ethics

Cultural values, like the practice of your faith and customs, are principles that
sustain connections with your cultural roots. They help you feel connected to a
larger community of people with similar backgrounds. In a work environment this
attribute has some bearing but it is not a hindrance in maintaining a positive work
culture and ethic.
Social values are principles that indicate how you relate meaningfully to others in
social situations, including those involving family, friends, and co-workers.

Work values are the most important of the four. What do we understand by work
value or what constitutes the work value. Strong Work Ethic , Employers value
employees who understand and possess a willingness to work hard. In addition to
working hard it is also important to work smart. This means learning the most
efficient way to complete tasks and finding ways to save time while completing
daily assignments. It’s also important to care about your job and complete all
projects while maintaining a positive attitude. Dependable and Responsible,
Employers value employees who come to work on time, are there when they are
suppose to be, and are responsible for their actions and behavior. It’s important to
keep supervisors abreast of changes in your schedule or if you are going to be late
for any reason. This also means keeping your supervisor informed on where you are
on all projects you have been assigned. Being dependable and responsible as an
employee shows your employer that you value your job and that you are
responsible in keeping up with projects and keeping them informed of the things
that they should know about. Possessing a Positive Attitude, Employers seek
employees who take the initiative and have the motivation to get the job done in a
reasonable period of time. A positive attitude gets the work done and motivates
others to do the same without dwelling on the challenges that inevitably come up in
any job. It is the enthusiastic employee who creates an environment of good will
and who provides a positive role model for others. A positive attitude is something
that is most valued by supervisors and co-workers and that also makes the job more
pleasant and fun to go to each day. Adaptability, Employers seek employees who
are adaptable and maintain flexibility in completing tasks in an ever changing
workplace. Being open to change and improvements provides an opportunity to
complete work assignments in a more efficient manner while offering additional
benefits to the corporation, the customer, and even the employee. Adaptability also
means adapting to the personality and work habits of co-workers and supervisors.
Each person possesses their own set or strengths and adapting personal behaviors
to accommodate others is part of what it takes to work effectively as a team.
Honesty and Integrity, Employers value employees who maintain a sense of honesty
and integrity above everything. Good relationships are built on trust. When working
for an employer they want to know that they can trust what you say and what you
do. Successful businesses work to gain the trust of customers and maintain the
attitude that “the customer is always right”. It is the responsibility of each person to
use their own individual sense of moral and ethical behavior when working with and
serving others within the scope of their job. These values are the dharma and the
spirituality of one’s self. Values and spirituality are central to the moral philosophy
of human civilization and its legal institutions. Traditionally, values and spirituality
are considered to be the prerogatives of the religions and they are viewed as being
embodied in the family unit. Every religion in this world has preached these values
irrespective of their geographical location. If this is true that these values are been
inculcated to every human being from the time they are born then why do we see
such dramatic changes in the work culture and ethics now a days?

Religion today appears to be shaking from its very roots, because the edifice of the
popular religion is built on a sandy basement and has no substantial support at the
bottom. The so-called religious man does not really believe in God. The religious
mind has taken advantage of its apparent belief in God or concept of God as an
instrument in the personal fulfillment of its wishes and ambitions. To most of us,
God is an instrument, not the aim or goal of life. Our asking for God is not because
He is all-in-all, but because He is a tool for the fulfillment of our ulterior motives. We
have desires and desires, in all the levels of our personalities. We are made up of
desires: "Kamamayoyam purushah". We do not possess or have desires: We are
made up of the desires. Every fiber of our being is constituted of desire alone.
Therefore, this desireful personality contrives a tool in the form of the concept of a
God in Paradise, in Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha or Kailasa, for its own fulfillment. God's
existence is travestied; it becomes a blasphemy of the very notion of God. We are
told, again and again, that God is the goal of life and not a means to the satisfaction
of the needs of the individual. The most dramatic results you will see in any country,
any group, or nation, is when each individual takes responsibility for his or her
personal growth, self sufficiency, and inner connection to God. Until God is first in
the individual, people will operate from a level of personal interest instead of seeing
all as a part of the 'whole' of God. When God is first, the life of the individual
becomes an example and inspiration of the 'way' to be which is stated in all the
Scriptures around the world. The essential purpose of each religion and faith is to be
a way to show higher knowledge with human interpretation as inspired from the
Divine Intelligence within. The experience of higher consciousness establishes the
basis for maintaining peace within oneself, which creates peace naturally in one's
environment. From this level of higher consciousness, this advanced education
crosses the boundaries of traditional education in an innovative and dynamic way.
The spiritual understanding shows the interconnected value of all life which creates
and sustains unity. Through this integration, the individual has a greater sense of
responsibility; this effects the environment and maintains non-violence through the
appreciation of the inner and outer values of life. The combination of meditation,
spirituality and education will provide the foundation for even greater economic
potentials through the individual's comprehension of obligations to family, society,
and government. Spiritually, the individual feels a sense of belonging to humankind
through the direct experience of "Oneness" within; crossing boundaries of prejudice
and creating harmony in one’s family, community, nation, and extending into a
global view of unity.

You cannot have an economically sustained society without the personal experience
of inner peace. Higher intelligence and the experience of peace within give a self-
referral understanding of non-violence, promoting personal productivity in all areas
of life. Compassion combined with understanding of the spiritual teachings will
reveal through direct experience the greater values for all life.
Thus when we talk of dharma, religion and vise a vise work culture and ethics we
must look into our religious scriptures. The scriptures have the answer to create an
environment of proper work culture which will allow personal growth, which will
enhance social upliftment, and which will give a proper work life balance. In today’s
management the style in which the MNCs function is at times very ridiculous. They
follow a system of 1x2x3 which means you as one, you are given the salary of two
persons and the work load of three persons. One can never get a proper work life
balance in such conditions. No dharma in this world has preached such work culture
but sadly such is the culture which is prevalent now because both the organization
and the individual are looking to maximize the pleasure quotient, organization, by
showing more profit and individual, by earning more salary. The deterioration of the
work culture is not only in India but is a worldwide phenomenon.

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