Gita | Bhagavad Gita | Soul

Management Lessons in Bhagwat Gita

Western & Indian Models of Management

Leadership &Motivation Styles
• Maslow‟s & other models are based on NEEDS & appropriation. • Gita model is GIVING MODEL-aparigriha, renunciation, based on the concepts of Atmana, Brahmana, Sattva Guna, Lok Samgraha, & Sthithaprajna. • Karma is Dharma without anxiety over the fruit.

S-R-T model
• S=Sattva-purity, fineness and goodness • R=Rajas-restlessness, activity, passion, and their derivatives like lust, greed, pride, etc. • T=Tamas-darkness, obstruction, laziness, procrastination, confusion • Effective Leader has to be Sattvic.

Sattvic Leader • That action which is prescribed by scriptures, and which is done without the sense of doership & without passion or prejudice, by one who does not seek its fruit is said to be Sattvic (XVIII.23). • Freed from attachment, unegoistic, endowed with fineness & vigour and unaffected by success or failure, such a doer is said to be sattvic (XVIII.26).

Mentor Protégé relationship
• Nishkama karma and bhava are the foundation of Mentor Protégé relationship. • It distinguishes between what is good (Hitam) and what gives pleasure (Sukham). • Lays stress on Guru- shishya relationship: “Attain this knowledge by all means, if you prostrate yourself at the feet of the wise, render them all forms of service, and question them with a guileless heart again and again, those wise seers of truth will unfold that knowledge to you.” (IV.34). • Paternalism is the realistic and effective feeling in the sphere of superior/subordinate relationships in Indian society.

Nish-kama karma
• When practiced in real life situations, it is useful because it eliminates tensions caused by desires and enables one to be at peace within. • It synthesises selfishness and altruism, individual good and good of society. • It is the process of internalisation (Chittashudhi)the yoga of control (chapter 6). “He who regards well wishers, friends, foes, neutrals, mediators, the objects of hatred, relatives, the virtuous, and the sinful alike stands supreme”. (Chap.6.9).

Team Building Gita-Way
• De-egoization on the part of the leader and surrender on the part of the team members. • Leader‟s effectiveness will depend on his development of love, impersonality, true impartiality and self-culture. Both the leaders & followers have to transcend petty loyalties and affection, mean antagonisms & aversions. Relationship is based on trust, cooperation, openness, sharing etc. Leader must set personal example of self-restraint, self-control and he is bound to exercise charisma grounded in this self-transcendence. The guiding principles are Maitri (friendliness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joy), Upeksha (indifference to the wicked).

The Giving Model
• There are over nineteen theories of motivation, starting with the Needing Models (NM) of Maslow, McGregor, Herz, Likert, Skimer and others. All of these are rooted in Epicureanhedonistic theory of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, based on rights, or claims approach to the man-society nexus. • Bhagwat Gita model of motivation is based on the motivation of renunciation. In the mansociety nexus GM (Gita Model) lays emphasis upon duties. Not personal rewards but consolidation of society is the ultimate goal of all activities.

• NM will be categorised by Gita Tamasic or at the most Rajasic. According to Gita, “the tamasic gift is offered with no consideration of the right time, place and object, it is offered without any regard for the feelings of the recipient and despised by him even in acceptance.” (XVII-22) • “The Rajasic kind of giving is that which is done unwillingly or violence to eneself or with personal and egoistic object or in the hope of return of some kind.” (XVII-22) • Gita recommends only Sattvic way of giving (XVII-20)- doing one‟s duty under all circumstances, without any regard for rewards.

Application in Business
• In a survey to measure corporate excellence on human dimensions (1978), S K Chakraborty arrived at the following operational definition of corporate excellence, “The more comprehensive is the extent of matching between what the enterprise positively gives to its members and what the members positively give to the enterprise, the higher the point at which such matching occurs at any time, the greater is the degree of corporate excellence prevailing at that time.”- Managerial Effectiveness and Quality of Worklife
Indian Insights p 161

Metaphysical Beliefs in Gita • According to R G Collingwood “ Metaphysics is the attempt to find out what absolute presuppositions have been made by this or that person or group of persons on this or that occasion or groups of occasions, in the course of this or that piece of thinking”. Essay on Metaphysics –

Metaphysics in Gita
• There are two types of realities – kshar (perishable), and akshar (imperishable). While prakriti is perishable, atman, brahman are imperishable. • Beyond both prakriti & atman is the Purushotam – the Absolute divided into the lower & upper nature. • Apara-Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason & the ego constitute the lower (insentient) nature, and Para the Jiva –the life principle, that by which the whole universe is sustained is the upper nature (sentient). • Prakriti is the maya of God.

Body & Soul
• The body is limited in space-time, it is born and it dies. The soul is unborn, immortal and beyond time-space- infinite & eternal. • Soul, atman, is gunatita – beyond the three gunas. Knowledge is the essence of soul. Soul is the seer while nature is the seen. • By controlling the senses through the mind, mind through the intellect, and intellect through the spirit, one realises the self and ultimately the God, thereby attaining the state of absolute bliss- satta-chitta-anand. (VIII-18-21, IX-17-18, XII-16-18).

Varnas- horizontal classification
• Gita has mentioned four orders of society- the Brahmin, Kshatria, the Vaishya, and the Sudraaccording to their prenatal qualities and appropriating corresponding duties to them.(IV-13) • Ashramas- vertical classification of human evolution: Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha, and Sanyas. The duties of human beings change in different stages of life. Ashramas are the modes of life through which a human being attains multisided and total development. • Trade & industry functions fall in the Grihastha Ashrama which has been called the preserver and sustainer of all the other three Ashramas.

Purusharthas, Pravratti, Nivratti
• Gita mentions four-fold aim of life: Artha, Kama, Dharma, Moksh- economic goal, social & personal desires, righteousness, and transcendence. • Artha, and Kama are goals for fulfillment of the Pravratti aspect and Dharma, Moksh are grounded in Nivratti supported by Sattvaguna. • Pravratti includes the outgoing, evolving, differentiating tendencies, while Nivratti includes inward, involving, and integrating tendencies. • All the four are required for Guna mix. Artha & Kama are the empirical (Vyavharika) self and they are generally causes of one‟s bondage unless correlated and controlled by a mind disciplined by Dharma and Moksh.

Rinas- payment of debts
• I am a gift from God. I have got to return this gift. Sacrifice is this return. • Man-in-society has five debts to liquidate: DevaRina- to be paid off by means of Yajnas; RishiRina- to be paid off by achieving knowledge; Pitri-Rina – by bringing up children as our parents have brought us up; Mri-Rina- debt to mankind is paid off by working for human welfare; Bhutta Rina- debt towards all- to be paid by practicing love and sympathy for all beings and working for their welfare.

Sthithaprajna-the ideal man in Gita
• Describing the ideal man called Sthithaprajna, Gita says, “The sage, whose mind remains unperterbed in sorrows, whose thirst for pleasure has altogether disappeared, who is free from passion, fear, and anger is called stable of mind.” (II-36) • In the corporate field such a leader will have an integrated personality. The ideal leader perseveres through misfortune and does not let good fortune go to his head. Praise and honour do not sway him as he is beyond these. He is always self-controlled and perceives the same Divine everywhere.

Nishkama Karma & Loka Samgraha
• Action is superior to inaction • The more non-attached is a person to the results, the better will be his team spirit. • Duty should be done not merely for duty but for the sake of consolidation of societyLoka Samgraha. • Nishkama Karma is to reduce hankering for personal gain or personal success and abhorrence of personal reverses from efforts undertaken. Contd…

Contd… • Verses 13-15 of Chapter XVIII explain that the final results of a course of action depend upon: 1. Adhisthana- The frame of body-life-mind as the standing ground of soul in nature. 2. Karta- The Ego, the doer himself 3. Karanam- The various senses used 4. Vividh Chesta- the various efforts made 5. Daiva- The super personal cosmic power which governs unseen the results of human actions (Adrista). Detachment cultivated on the basis of above leads to realisation of Loka Samgraha.

Work ethic and ethics in work
• Work ethic is work responsibility, work conscience, the purpose of work. According to Gita Karma Yoga is the work ethic. It is that mode of thinking which is concerned with human character and conduct in the context of employment, it denotes the „art‟ side of the coin. Work ethic may be taken as the science part of it- accepted norms of behaviour governing the conduct of a group of persons involved in work situation. These are the DOs and DON‟Ts at work place. • Karma Vada- work for the sake of work is a western creed. • Gita preaches Karma Yoga, not karma vada.

• Karma Vada is an ethico-moral law of causation for regulating karma, which includes thoughts (manas, Vacha), and actions (Karman). Karma is inevitable. According to Gita none can remain inactive, even for a moment, everyone is driven to action. (III-5) Therefore, inaction is no issue, Karma is a must. Karma Vada in human affairs is the cosmic law or Ritam. It only provides a psychological basis for ethic-in-work. Karma yoga, on the other hand, supplies the psychological basis for work ethic through Samatwa Yoga. Nishkama karma is working without attachment , expectation of rewards, it means to redirect the empirical self from its egoinvolvement with the needs, desires, passions. It leads to maximum responsibility and accountability. Success or failure is immaterial. Karmayogi is committed to work. It is Swadharma, to be followed even in the face of death.

Quality of work-life in Gita
• Work is a sacrament, an offering to Divine. According to Gita “He, from whom is the emanation of all beings, by whom all this is pervaded, by worshipping Him through the performance of his own duty, man attains perfection” (XVIII-46) • Nishkama Karma leads to the highest quality of work life. • Spiritual discipline, according to Gita, proceeds along the path of action for the Karma Yogi (III-3) • Chitta Shuddhi, God realisation, atma shuddhi or Loka Samgraha are the motives for work. • Managers have to be Karma Yogis. The art and skill of work is Yoga. Yogakarmasu Kaushalam. • Gita says that whatever is natural to man is not always optimal. Between the Preya (desired) and Shreya (duty) the karmayogi chooses the latter.

Decision Making • Decision is choosing one of the alternatives for taking action. While scientific procedures are more useful at lower levels, intuition, gut feeling, value judgment is more characteristic at the upper levels of management. • Decision making is a normative process. Financial returns are not the only criteria for taking decisions. What alternative „ought‟ to be selected.

Decision Models
• In order to construct a decision model, one must identify the controllable variable, discover all the uncontrollable variables, determine the result and make a forecast about probabilities. • Decision criteria change according to change in organisational situations. • DUMA, decision under ambiguity the criterion is the best value in the single column of the matrix. • DUMUR, decisions made under risk require the criterion of first obtaining an expected value and then search for procedures to attain it. • DMUC, if there is the condition of decisions made under certainty the approximation of certainty must be realistic.

Decision Models contd…
• According to Harrison (1981) rational-choice models are the most traditional models of decision making. • Satisficing models were developed by March & Simon (1958)- decisions made in the face of cognitive limitations and social constraints. • Braybrooke and Lindbloom (1963) formulated disjointed incrementalism to describe decision making in government and bureaucratic organisations. • Janis and Mann, in their Conflict Model, argue that vigilance is the most effective coping pattern in decision making. • The choice of the criterion – pessimistic, optimistic, rational, is greatly influenced by the manager‟s attitude.

Decision Models contd… • Collective, group decision techniques: brain storming, Delphi, and nominal group techniques. • Decisions are very much governed by the personality, attitude and values of the decision taker. • A multisided, holistic and integrated approach is likely to produce a better decision.

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