Baghavad-Gita For Management

Bhagavadgita Discourse in the Battlefield of Kuruksehtra

Bhagavadgita in the context of worldly life

by Jayaram V

A scripture must be useful to everyone and to people of all wakes of life. Only then you can consider it a great scripture. Whether it is a sinner or a saint, a man or a woman, an adult or a child, or an ignorant person or an educated person, they all must draw inspiration from it and find it useful for their religious, spiritual and temporal needs. What is the use of any scripture if it is not relevant to the lifestyles of the people and the times in which they live? It is possible only if the scriptures possess timeless wisdom which can be applied in all ages. The significance of a religious book also depends upon your knowledge and understanding of it.

There are many wonderful scriptures in the world in which great wisdom is hidden. If we do not read it or know about it, what is the use even if that book is of great value? One of the misconceptions about religious scriptures is that they are meant only for pious and religious people who devote their lives in the contemplation of God. It is not entirely true. A worldly person is also expected to live religiously and perform his or her duties according to the established norms and the values the religion inculcates.

Living and worshipping are not two processes. This is the essence of Hinduism. Its scriptures, such as the Bhagavad-Gita suggest that you can make the act of living an act or worship and you can use the very life you live and the actions you perform as the means to your liberation. The Bhagavad-Gita suggests that people can perform their actions without desires and expectation discharge their duties as God's agents in creation.

As long as they recognize their allegiance to God and their role in the preservation of the world and its order and regularity, they are safe and they have a chance to escape from the cycle of births and deaths. The Bhagavad-Gita contains many valuable lessons for modern people. It tells you how can manage your life as well as your duties, without becoming involved with the world and its traps. In the following essay the author speaks about such possibility, and how managers of today can make use of the wisdom found in the Bhagavad-Gita.

Management principles and practice from Bhagavadgita

by Dr. L Balasubramanyam

Management of time is a systematic way of doing all activities in any field of human effort. The western management thought of prosperity to some for some time has absolutely failed in its aim to ensure betterment of individual life and social welfare. The despondent position of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is typical for this human situation which may come in the life of all men of action some time or other. Krishna in the Gita advises how to manage for a better time.

"Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind" said Arjuna to Krishna

India's one of the greatest contributions to the world is Baghavad Gita.

According to the Mythology of Mahabharat, Arjuna got mentally depressed when he saw his relatives with whom he has to fight. The Baghavad Gita is preached in the battle field Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as a counselling to do his duty. It has got all the management tactics to achieve the mental equilibrium..

Management has become a part and parcel in everyday life, be it at home, office, factory, Government, or in any other organization where a group of human beings assemble for a common purpose, management principles come into play through their various facets like management of time, resources, personnel, materials, machinery, finance, planning, priorities, policies and practice.

Management is a systematic way of doing all activities in any field of human effort. It is about keeping oneself engaged in interactive relationship with other human beings in the course of performing one's duty. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their weaknesses irrelevant.

It strikes harmony in working - equilibrium in thoughts and actions, goals and achievements, plans and performance, products and markets. It resolves situations of scarcities be they in the physical, technical or human fields through maximum utilization with the minimum available processes to achieve the goal

The lack of management will cause disorder, confusion, wastage, delay, destruction and even depression. Managing men, money and material in the best possible way according to circumstances and environment is the most important and essential factor for a successful management. Managing men is supposed have the best tactics. Man is the first syllable in management which speaks volumes on the role and significance of man in a scheme of management practices. From the pre-historic days of aborigines to the present day of robots and computers the ideas of managing available resources have been in existence in some form or other. When the world has become a big global village now, management practices have become more complex and what was once considered a golden rule is now thought to be an anachronism.

Management Guidelines from The Baghavad Gita

There is an important distinction between effectiveness and efficiency in managing.

Effectiveness is doing the right things and Efficiency is doing things right.

The general principles of effective management can be applied in every fields the differences being mainly in the application than in principles. Again, effective management is not limited in its application only to business or industrial enterprises but to all organizations where the aim is to reach a given goal through a Chief Executive or a Manager with the help of a group of workers.

The Manager's functions can be briefly summed up as under :

1. Forming a vision and planning the strategy to realise such vision.

2. Cultivating the art of leadership

3. Establishing the institutional excellence and building an innovative organisation.

4. Developing human resources.

5. Team building and teamwork

6. Delegation, motivation, and communication and

7. Reviewing performance and taking corrective steps whenever called for.

Thus Management is a process in search of excellence to align people and get them committed to work for a common goal to the maximum social benefit.

The critical question in every Manager's mind is how to be effective in his job. The answer to this fundamental question is found in the Baghavad Gita which repeatedly proclaims that 'you try to manage yourself'. The reason is that unless the Manager reaches a level of excellence and effectiveness that sets him apart from the others whom he is managing, he will be merely a face in the crowd and not an achiever.

In this context the Baghavad Gita expounded thousands of years ago by the Super Management Guru Krishna, enlightens us on all managerial techniques leading to a harmonious and blissful state of affairs as against conflicts, tensions, lowest efficiency and least productivity, absence of motivation and lack of work culture etc common to most of the enterprises today.

The modern management concepts like vision, leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving goals, meaning of work, attitude towards work, nature of individual, decision making, planning etc., are all discussed in the Baghavad Gita with a sharp insight and finest analysis to drive through our confused grey matter making it highly eligible to become a part of the modern management syllabus.

It may be noted that while Western design on management deals with the problems at superficial, material, external and peripheral levels, the ideas contained in the Baghavad Gita tackle the issues from the grass roots level of human thinking because once the basic thinking of man is improved it will automatically enhance the quality of his actions and their results.

The management thoughts emanating from the Western countries are based mostly on the lure for materialism and a perennial thirst for profit irrespective of the quality of the means adopted to achieve that goal. This phenomenon has its source in abundance in the West. Management by materialism caught the fancy of all the countries the world over, India being no exception to this trend.

India has been in the forefront in importing those ideas mainly because of its centuries old indoctrination by the colonial rulers which inculcated in it a feeling that anything Western is always good and anything Indian is always inferior. Hence management schools have sprung up on the foundations of materialistic approach wherein no place of importance was given to a holistic view.

The result is while huge funds have been invested in building these temples of modern management education, no perceptible changes are visible in the improvement of the quality of life although the standard of living of a few has gone up. The same old struggles in almost all sectors of the economy, criminalisation of institutions, more and more social violence, exploitation and such other vices have gone deep in the body politic.

The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are not far to seek. The western idea of management has placed utmost reliance on the worker (which includes Managers also) - to make him more efficient, to increase his productivity. They pay him more so that he may work more, produce more, sell more and will stick to the organization without looking for alternatives. The sole aim of extracting better and more work from him is for improving the bottom-line of the enterprise. Worker has become a hirable commodity, which can be used, replaced and discarded at will.

The workers have also seen through the game plan of their paymasters who have reduced them to the state of a mercantile product. They changed their attitude to work and started adopting such measures as uncalled for strikes, go-slows, work-to-rule etc to get maximum benefit for themselves from the organizations without caring the least for the adverse impact that such coercive methods will cause to the society at large.

Thus we have reached a situation where management and workers have become separate and contradictory entities wherein their approaches are different and interests are conflicting. There is no common goal or understanding which predictably leads to constant suspicion, friction, disillusions and mistrust because of working at cross purposes. The absence of human values and erosion of human touch in the organizational structure resulted in a permanent crisis of confidence.

The western management thoughts although acquired prosperity to some for some time has absolutely failed in their aim to ensure betterment of individual life and social welfare. It has remained by and large a soulless management edifice and an oasis of plenty for a chosen few in the midst of poor quality of life to many. Hence there is an urgent need to have a re-look at the prevalent management discipline on its objectives, scope and content.

It should be redefined so as to underline the development of the worker as a man, as a human being with all his positive and negative characteristics and not as a mere wage-earner. In this changed perspective, management ceases to be a career-agent but becomes an instrument in the process of national development in all its segments.

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Author: Dr. L Balasubramanyam is a Senior Consultant. He has a doctorate in Dynamic Simulation Modelling for Staffing in projects and Companies. He is also a keen researcher in the Use of Fine chemicals and natural extracts for various industries and contributes articles. He has been instrumental in setting up start up organisations in the Systems Integration field for services and has vast experience in handling issues of trust and public affairs. Dr. Balasubramanyam also is a Sr. Human Resources Professional practising the science and management of HR over the last 10 years and is now writing on the subject for very many publications.Lakshman Balasubramanyam may be contacted at