Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gita: Old Rhymes For New Times (from Indiatimes)

It's time to take the Gita off its religious shelf and reinvent it to deal with the problems of a new era.

The Gita opens our eyes to the truth of living. The closer we are to the truth, the better managers we become in any field of activity.

In fact, those who are established in the highest truth of the Self manage huge tasks without any mental anxieties. The Gita (18:17) praises such a super manager as, "He is not bound despite performing Himalayan tasks!" (A translation with some liberty of language).

Facing Modern Challenges: "Work we must," says the celestial song for no one can possibly be otherwise (3:5). This being the case, our choice is only in two areas: (i) the kind of work and (ii) the attitude to work. We are advised to be honest to ourselves in choosing the kind of work for ourselves.

Using a technical word, 'Svadharma', the Gita warns us to adhere to it (3:35). Svadharma reflects the way God has made us. It is our nature on the level of the personality. Each of us can contribute immensely to our own and others' happiness by discovering and sticking to "that for which God made us!"

Otherwise, personal fancies and false conditionings determine our choice. Sorrow under such circumstances is assured. As for the attitude, the message of Shree Krishna exhorts us to shed our personal attachments and ownership.

The beautiful analogy of the lotus leaf (5:10), points out the reward of freedom for our services rendered in a spirit of humility (non-egoism).

Resource Management: Our inner resource is energy. There is expenditure of energy in talking, working, playing, reading and so on. The holy book of our Sanaatana Dharma insists on being moderate in all our activities (5:16,17). This is the key to balance in living.

Holistic thinking and living bring out the best in us. Those managers who have struck a balance in the different departments of their life such as work, home and society emerge as true winners in the long run.

Qualities Of A New Age Leader: The leader of a team sees the whole group as one (18:20) and has respect for even a member in the lowest rank. He looks at the other person as himself (6:32) and is interested in maximum benefit to all (12:4).

He inspires them, encourages them in their meaningful activities (even of less significance) out of love for them (3:26). He himself works (on his own level and in his own sphere) with enthusiasm and fortitude (18:26) and maintains his equilibrium in success and failure (5:20).

Commitment to a Noble Cause: A manager stays committed to the noble cause that underlies all his actions. The Lord of Brindavan is very poetic when He says, "Work on, dear friend, with no negative energy interfering with your performance! The golden key to do so is offering all your actions to Me!" (3:30).

This 'offering all that we do to God' takes the form of 'commitment to the main (noble) cause' in a secular context. Someone rightly said, "Stay firm like a rock when it is the main principles, go with the flow in small matters."

The manager then gains the necessary flexibility and accommodativeness to mingle well with all the members of his team while safeguarding the chief mission.

Whip in Hand, Sometimes: Obviously, a manager cannot afford to be a 'Yes' man all along. Nor can he always compliment those with whom he works - above, equal to or below him! The divine charioteer says to the human Arjuna, "Do not spare them who have violated Dharma!

They are down already the moment they swerve from truth! Do your part anyhow, like My instrument" (11:34). Reprimanding the wrongdoers and expressing his resentment at unacceptable performance or behaviour of others are a necessary part of an effective manager.

Subjectively too , "Do not come under the sway of mere likes and dislikes. They are your enemies!" (3:34). Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji said, "Use your head while judging yourself, use your heart while judging others!"

We have to act with great responsibility towards our own BMI (body, mind and intellect). We cannot afford either to overindulge or put them to disuse! When used well, they are a wonderful medium of self-expression. Otherwise they bind us.

Truth Alone Wins: That truth alone wins is as much a law as gravity or magnetism. A book of Physics teaches us true laws of the world. The book does not create anything. In the same way, the Gita shows us the spiritual laws! For example, the law of selflessness, "Those who act without desire gain inner peace!" (5:12).

Or again the law of non-agency: "One oneself truly is never a doer, everything is done by Nature!" As we gain clarity in these aspects of Truth, our ability to appreciate the beauty of life increases. Rather than complaining about things, we begin to thank the Lord for giving us our life. Our projections caused sorrow to us; life by itself is awe-inspiring!

The enlightened manager is dynamic outside, spontaneously. She is quiet inside, surrendering totally to the Law of Life. She fully sees the limitations of human intelligence and the irrepressible energy contained in Truth or God.