Some people argue that being unattached to the consequences of one's action would make one un-accountable as accountability is a much touted word these days with the vigilance department sitting on our shoulders. However, we have to understand that the entire second chapter has arisen as a sequel to the temporarily lost sense of accountability on the part of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita in performing his swadharma.
Bhagavad Gita is full of advice on the theory of cause and effect, making the doer responsible for the consequences of his deeds. The Gita, while advising detachment from the avarice of selfish gains by discharging one's accepted duty, does not absolve anybody of the consequences arising from discharge of his responsibilities. This verse is a brilliant guide to the operating Manager for psychological energy conservation and a preventive method against stress and burn-outs in the work situations.
Learning managerial stress prevention methods is quite costly now days and if only we understand the Gita we get the required cure free of cost. Thus the best means for effective work performance is to become the work itself. Attaining this state of nishkama karma is the right attitude to work because it prevents the ego, the mind from dissipation through speculation on future gains or losses.
It has been presumed for long that satisfying lower needs of a worker like adequate food, clothing and shelter, recognition, appreciation, status, personality development etc are the key factors in the motivational theory of personnel management. It is the common experience that the spirit of grievances from the clerk to the Director is identical and only their scales and composition vary.
It should have been that once the lower-order needs are more than satisfied, the Director should have no problem in optimising his contribution to the organisation. But more often than not, it does not happen like that; the eagle soars high but keeps its eyes firmly fixed on the dead animal below. On the contrary a lowly paid school teacher, a self-employed artisan, ordinary artistes demonstrate higher levels of self- realization despite poor satisfaction of their lower- order needs.
This situation is explained by the theory of Self-transcendence or Self-realisation propounded in the Gita. Self-transcendence is overcoming insuperable obstacles in one's path. It involves renouncing egoism, putting others before oneself, team work, dignity, sharing, co-operation, harmony, trust, sacrificing lower needs for higher goals, seeing others in you and yourself in others etc.
The portrait of a self-realising person is that he is a man who aims at his own position and underrates everything else.
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On the other hand the Self-transcenders are the visionaries and innovators. Their resolute efforts enable them to achieve the apparently impossible. They overcome all barriers to reach their goal. The work must be done with detachment. If this is not the backbone of the Theory of Motivation which the modern scholars talk about what else is it? I would say that this is not merely a theory of Motivation but it is a theory of Inspiration. The Gita further advises to perform action with loving attention to the Divine which implies redirection of the empirical self away from its egocentric needs, desires, and passions for creating suitable conditions to perform actions in pursuit of excellence.
Tagore says working for love is freedom in action which is described as disinterested work in the Gita. It is on the basis of the holistic vision that Indians have developed the work-ethos of life. They found that all work irrespective of its nature have to be directed towards a single purpose that is the manifestation of essential divinity in man by working for the good of all beings -lokasangraha.
This vision was presented to us in the very first mantra of lsopanishad which says that whatever exists in the Universe is enveloped by God. How shall we enjoy this life then, if all are one? The answer it provides is enjoy and strengthen life by sacrificing your selfishness by not coveting other's wealth. The same motivation is given by Sri Krishna in the Th. The disinterested work finds expression in devotion, surrender and equipoise. The former two are psychological while the third is the strong-willed determination to keep the mind free of and above the dualistic pulls of daily experiences.
Detached involvement in work is the key to mental equanimity or the state of nirdwanda. This attitude leads to a stage where the worker begins to feel the presence of the Supreme Intelligence guiding the empirical individual intelligence. Such de-personified intelligence is best suited for those who sincerely believe in the supremacy of organisational goals as compared to narrow personal success and achievement. Work culture means vigorous and arduous effort in pursuit of a given or chosen task. When Bhagawan Sri Krishna rebukes Arjuna in the strongest words for his unmanliness and imbecility in recoiling from his righteous duty it is nothing but a clarion call for the highest work culture.
Poor work culture is the result of tamo guna overtaking one's mindset. Bhagawan's stinging rebuke is to bring out the temporarily dormant rajo guna in Arjuna. Daivi work culture - means fearlessness, purity, self-control, sacrifice, straightforwardness, self-denial, calmness, absence of fault-finding, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of envy and pride. Asuri work culture - means egoism, delusion, desire-centric, improper performance, work which is not oriented towards service.
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It is to be noted that mere work ethic is not enough in as much as a hardened criminal has also a very good work culture. What is needed is a work ethic conditioned by ethics in work. It is in this light that the counsel 'yogah karmasu kausalam' should be understood. Kausalam means skill or method or technique of work which is an indispensable component of work ethic.
Yogah is defined in the Gita itself as 'samatvam yogah uchyate' meaning unchanging equipoise of mind. Tilak tells us that performing actions with the special device of an equable mind is Yoga. By making the equable mind as the bed-rock of all actions Gita evolved the goal of unification of work ethic with ethics in work, for without ethical process no mind can attain equipoise.
Adi Sankara says that the skill in performance of one's duty consists in maintaining the evenness of mind in success and failure because the calm mind in failure will lead him to deeper introspection and see clearly where the process went wrong so that corrective steps could be taken to avoid such shortcomings in future. The principle of reducing our attachment to personal gains from the work done or controlling the aversion to personal losses enunciated in Ch.
The common apprehension about this principle that it will lead to lack of incentive for effort and work, striking at the very root of work ethic, is not valid because the advice is to be judged as relevant to man's overriding quest for true mental happiness.
Thus while the common place theories on motivation lead us to bondage, the Gita theory takes us to freedom and real happiness. The Gita further explains the theory of non- attachment to the results of work in Ch. If the result of sincere effort is a success, the entire credit should not be appropriated by the doer alone. If the result of sincere effort is a failure, then too the entire blame does not accrue to the doer. The former attitude mollifies arrogance and conceit while the latter prevents excessive despondency, de-motivation and self-pity.
Thus both these dispositions safeguard the doer against psychological vulnerability which is the cause for the Modem Managers' companions like Diabetes, High B. Ulcers etc. Assimilation of the ideas behind 2. There is also another dimension in the work ethic. If the karm ayoga is blended with bhaktiyoga then the work itself becomes worship, a seva yoga. The ideas mentioned above have a close bearing on the end-state of a manager which is his mental health.
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Sound mental health is the very goal of any human activity more so management. An expert describes sound mental health as that state of mind which can maintain a calm, positive poise or regain it when unsettled in the midst of all the external vagaries of work life and social existence. Internal constancy and peace are the pre- requisites for a healthy stress-free mind. The driving forces in today's rat-race are speed and greed as well as ambition and competition.
The natural fallout from these forces is erosion of one's ethico-moral fibre which supersedes the value system as a means in the entrepreneurial path like tax evasion, undercutting, spreading canards against the competitors, entrepreneurial spying, instigating industrial strife in the business rivals' establishments etc.
Although these practices are taken as normal business hazards for achieving progress, they always end up as a pursuit of mirage -the more the needs the more the disappointments. This phenomenon may be called as yayati-syndrome. In Mahabharata we come across a king called Yayati who, in order to revel in the endless enjoyment of flesh exchanged his old age with the youth of his obliging youngest son for a mythical thousand years. However, he lost himself in the pursuit of sensual enjoyments and felt penitent. He came back to his son pleading to take back his youth.
This yayati syndrome shows the conflict between externally directed acquisitions, motivations and inner reasoning, emotions and conscience. Gita tells us how to get out of this universal phenomenon by prescribing the following capsules. Build up an internal integrated reference point to face contrary impulses, and emotions. Cultivating this understanding by a manager would lead him to emancipation from falsifying ego-conscious state of confusion and distortion, to a state of pure and free mind i.
Spirituality and Indian Psychology: Lessons from the Bhagavad-Gita
Whatever the excellent and best ones do, the commoners follow, so says Sri Krishna in the Gita. This is the leadership quality prescribed in the Gita. The visionary leader must also be a missionary, extremely practical, intensively dynamic and capable of translating dreams into reality. This dynamism and strength of a true leader flows from an inspired and spontaneous motivation to help others. O Arjuna, I am the legitimate desire in those, who are not opposed to righteousness" says Sri Krishna in the 10th Chapter of the Gita. The despondent position of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is a typical human situation which may come in the life of all men of action some time or other.
Sri Krishna by sheer power of his inspiring words raised the level of Arjuna's mind from the state of inertia to the state of righteous action, from the state of faithlessness to the state of faith and self-confidence in the ultimate victory of Dharma ethical action. They are the powerful words of courage of strength, of self confidence, of faith in one's own infinite power, of the glory, of valour in the life of active people and of the need for intense calmness in the midst of intense action.
When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri Krishna gave him the gospel for using his spirit of intense action not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own greed and desire, but for using his action for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate victory of ethics over unethical actions and truth over untruth. Arjuna responds by emphatically declaring that all his delusions were removed and that he is ready to do what is expected of him in the given situation.
Sri Krishna's advice with regard to temporary failures in actions is 'No doer of good ever ends in misery'. Every action should produce results: good action produces good results and evil begets nothing but evil. Therefore always act well and be rewarded.
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And finally the Gita's consoling message for all men of action is : He who follows My ideal in all walks of life without losing faith in the ideal or never deviating from it, I provide him with all that he needs Yoga and protect what he has already got Kshema. In conclusion the purport of this essay is not to suggest discarding of the Westem model of efficiency, dynamism and striving for excellence but to make these ideals tuned to the India's holistic attitude of lokasangraha -for the welfare of many, for the good of many. The idea is that these management skills should be India-centric and not America-centric.
Swami Vivekananda says a combination of both these approaches will certainly create future leaders of India who will be far superior to any that have ever been in the world. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has lead to this illuminating work.
The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's scholarly and authoritative edition of Bhagavad-gita. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook.