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BHAGAVAD GITA
AND MANAGEMENT
"Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O
Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind
than to control the wind ..." ......Arjuna to Sri
Krishna
Introduction
• One of the greatest contributions of India to the world is
Holy Gita.
• Arjuna got mentally depressed when he saw his relatives
with whom he has to fight.
• To motivate him the Bhagavad Gita is preached in the battle
field Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as a counseling
to do his duty while multitudes of men stood by waiting .
• It has got all the management tactics to achieve the mental
equilibrium and to overcome any crisis situation.
• The Bhagavad Gita can be experienced as a powerful
catalyst for transformation.
Management guidelines from
the Bhagavad Gita
There is an important distinction between effectiveness
and efficiency in managing.
• Effectiveness is doing the right things.
• Efficiency is doing things right.
The general principals of effective management can be
applied in every field
The differences being more in application than in
principal.
Management guidelines from
the Bhagavad Gita Conti…
The Manager's functions can be summed up as:
• Forming a vision.
• Planning the strategy to realise the vision.
• Cultivating the art of leadership.
• Establishing institutional excellence.
• Building an innovative organisation.
• Developing human resources.
• Building teams and teamwork.
• Delegation, motivation, and communication.
• Reviewing performance and taking corrective steps
when called for.
Management guidelines from
the Bhagavad Gita
• Management is a process of aligning people and getting
them committed to work for a common goal to the
maximum social benefit - in search of excellence.
• The critical question in all managers’ minds is how to be
effective in their job.
• The answer to this fundamental question is found in the
Bhagavad Gita, which repeatedly proclaims that `you
must try to manage yourself.‘
• The reason is that unless a manager reaches a level of
excellence and effectiveness, he or she will be merely a
face in the crowd. Old truths in a new context
Modern(Western) Management
Concepts and Bhagavad Gita
• The modern (Western) management concepts of vision,
leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving
goals, giving work meaning, decision making and
planning, are all discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. There
is one major difference.
• While Western management thought too often deals with
problems at material, external and peripheral levels, the
Bhagavad Gita tackles the issues from the grass roots
level of human thinking.
• Once the basic thinking of man is improved, it will
automatically enhance the quality of his actions and their
results.
Modern(Western) Management
Concepts and Bhagavad Gita
Conti…
• Utilisation of Available Resources
• Attitudes Towards Work
• Work commitment
• Motivation - Self and Self-Transcendence
• Work Culture
• Work Results
• Manager's Mental Health
Utilisation of Available
Resources
• The first lesson of management science is to
choose wisely and utilise scarce resources
optimally.
• During the curtain raiser before the Mahabharata
War, Duryodhana chose Sri Krishna's large
army for his help while Arjuna selected Sri
Krishna's wisdom for his support.
• This episode gives us a clue as to the nature of
the effective manager - the former chose
numbers, the latter, wisdom.
Attitudes Towards Work
• Three stone-cutters were engaged in erecting a temple. An HRD
Consultant asked them what they were doing. The response of the
three workers to this innocent-looking question is illuminating.
• 'I am a poor man. I have to maintain my family. I am making a living
here,' said the first stone-cutter with a dejected face.
• 'Well, I work because I want to show that I am the best stone-cutter
in the country,' said the second one with a sense of pride.
• 'Oh, I want to build the most beautiful temple in the country,' said
the third one with a visionary gleam.
• Their jobs were identical but their perspectives were different. What
the Gita tells us is to develop the visionary perspective in the work
we do. It tells us to develop a sense of larger vision in our work for
the common good.
Work Commitment
• A popular verse of the Gita advises `detachment' from
the fruits or results of actions performed in the course of
one's duty. If we are always calculating the date of
promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our
efforts, then such work is not detached.
• Some people might argue that not seeking the business
result of work and actions, makes one unaccountable. In
fact, the Bhagavad Gita is full of advice on the theory of
cause and effect, making the doer responsible for the
consequences of his deeds.
Work Commitment Conti…
• While advising detachment from the avarice of selfish
gains in discharging one's accepted duty, the Gita does
not absolve anybody of the consequences arising from
discharge of his or her responsibilities.
• Thus the best means of effective performance
management is the work itself. Attaining this state of
mind (called `nishkama karma') is the right attitude to
work because it prevents the ego, the mind, from
dissipation of attention through speculation on future
gains or losses.
Motivation - Self and Self-
Transcendence
• It has been presumed for many years that satisfying
lower order needs of workers - adequate food, clothing
and shelter, etc. are key factors in motivation. However,
it is a common experience that the dissatisfaction of the
clerk and of the Director is identical - only their scales
and composition vary.
• This situation is explained by the theory of self-
transcendence propounded in the Gita. Self-
transcendence involves renouncing egoism, putting
others before oneself, emphasising team work, dignity,
co-operation, harmony and trust and, indeed potentially
sacrificing lower needs for higher goals, the opposite of
Maslow.
Motivation - Self and Self-
Transcendence Conti..
"Work must be done with detachment. It is the ego
that spoils work and the ego is the centerpiece
of most theories of motivation. We need not
merely a theory of motivation but a theory of
inspiration."
Work Culture
• An effective work culture is about vigorous and arduous
efforts in pursuit of given or chosen tasks. Sri Krishna
elaborates on two types of work culture `daivi sampat' or
divine work culture and `asuri sampat' or demonic work
culture.
• Daivi work culture - involves fearlessness, purity, self-
control, sacrifice, straightforwardness, self-denial,
calmness, absence of fault-finding, absence of greed,
gentleness, modesty, absence of envy and pride.
Work Culture Conti..
• Asuri work culture - involves egoism, delusion,
personal desires, improper performance, work
not oriented towards service.
• Mere work ethic is not enough. The hardened
criminal exhibits an excellent work ethic. What is
needed is a work ethic conditioned by ethics in
work.
Work Results
• The Gita further explains the theory of `detachment' from
the extrinsic rewards of work in saying:
• 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, the cause of the modem
managers' companions of diabetes, high blood pressure
and ulcers.
Manager's Mental Health
• Sound mental health is the very goal of any human activity - more
so management. Sound mental health is 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.
• Some of the impediments to sound mental health are:
 Greed - for power, position, prestige and money.
 Envy - regarding others' achievements, success, rewards.
 Egotism - about one's own accomplishments.
 Suspicion, anger and frustration.
 Anguish through comparisons.
Manager's Mental Health
Conti…
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.e. universal, supreme consciousness wherefrom
he can prove his effectiveness in discharging whatever
duties that have fallen to his domain.
“Management Needs those Who Practise what they
Preach”
The Ultimate Message of Gîta
for Managers
• The despondency of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is typically
human. Sri Krishna, by sheer power of his inspiring words, changes
Arjuna's mind from a state of inertia to one of righteous action, from
the state of what the French philosophers call `anomie` or even
alienation, to a state of self-confidence in the ultimate victory of
`dharma' (ethical action).
• When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri
Krishna reminded him of the purpose of his new-found spirit of
intense action - not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own
greed and desire, but for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate
victory of ethics over unethical actions and of truth over untruth.
The Ultimate Message of Gîta
for Managers Conti…
• Sri Krishna's advice with regard to temporary failures 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.
• The idea is that these management skills should be
India-centric and not America-centric.
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  • 1. BHAGAVAD GITA AND MANAGEMENT "Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind ..." ......Arjuna to Sri Krishna
  • 2. Introduction • One of the greatest contributions of India to the world is Holy Gita. • Arjuna got mentally depressed when he saw his relatives with whom he has to fight. • To motivate him the Bhagavad Gita is preached in the battle field Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as a counseling to do his duty while multitudes of men stood by waiting . • It has got all the management tactics to achieve the mental equilibrium and to overcome any crisis situation. • The Bhagavad Gita can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation.
  • 3. Management guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita There is an important distinction between effectiveness and efficiency in managing. • Effectiveness is doing the right things. • Efficiency is doing things right. The general principals of effective management can be applied in every field The differences being more in application than in principal.
  • 4. Management guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita Conti… The Manager's functions can be summed up as: • Forming a vision. • Planning the strategy to realise the vision. • Cultivating the art of leadership. • Establishing institutional excellence. • Building an innovative organisation. • Developing human resources. • Building teams and teamwork. • Delegation, motivation, and communication. • Reviewing performance and taking corrective steps when called for.
  • 5. Management guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita • Management is a process of aligning people and getting them committed to work for a common goal to the maximum social benefit - in search of excellence. • The critical question in all managers’ minds is how to be effective in their job. • The answer to this fundamental question is found in the Bhagavad Gita, which repeatedly proclaims that `you must try to manage yourself.‘ • The reason is that unless a manager reaches a level of excellence and effectiveness, he or she will be merely a face in the crowd. Old truths in a new context
  • 6. Modern(Western) Management Concepts and Bhagavad Gita • The modern (Western) management concepts of vision, leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving goals, giving work meaning, decision making and planning, are all discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. There is one major difference. • While Western management thought too often deals with problems at material, external and peripheral levels, the Bhagavad Gita tackles the issues from the grass roots level of human thinking. • Once the basic thinking of man is improved, it will automatically enhance the quality of his actions and their results.
  • 7. Modern(Western) Management Concepts and Bhagavad Gita Conti… • Utilisation of Available Resources • Attitudes Towards Work • Work commitment • Motivation - Self and Self-Transcendence • Work Culture • Work Results • Manager's Mental Health
  • 8. Utilisation of Available Resources • The first lesson of management science is to choose wisely and utilise scarce resources optimally. • During the curtain raiser before the Mahabharata War, Duryodhana chose Sri Krishna's large army for his help while Arjuna selected Sri Krishna's wisdom for his support. • This episode gives us a clue as to the nature of the effective manager - the former chose numbers, the latter, wisdom.
  • 9. Attitudes Towards Work • Three stone-cutters were engaged in erecting a temple. An HRD Consultant asked them what they were doing. The response of the three workers to this innocent-looking question is illuminating. • 'I am a poor man. I have to maintain my family. I am making a living here,' said the first stone-cutter with a dejected face. • 'Well, I work because I want to show that I am the best stone-cutter in the country,' said the second one with a sense of pride. • 'Oh, I want to build the most beautiful temple in the country,' said the third one with a visionary gleam. • Their jobs were identical but their perspectives were different. What the Gita tells us is to develop the visionary perspective in the work we do. It tells us to develop a sense of larger vision in our work for the common good.
  • 10. Work Commitment • A popular verse of the Gita advises `detachment' from the fruits or results of actions performed in the course of one's duty. If we are always calculating the date of promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. • Some people might argue that not seeking the business result of work and actions, makes one unaccountable. In fact, the Bhagavad Gita is full of advice on the theory of cause and effect, making the doer responsible for the consequences of his deeds.
  • 11. Work Commitment Conti… • While advising detachment from the avarice of selfish gains in discharging one's accepted duty, the Gita does not absolve anybody of the consequences arising from discharge of his or her responsibilities. • Thus the best means of effective performance management is the work itself. Attaining this state of mind (called `nishkama karma') is the right attitude to work because it prevents the ego, the mind, from dissipation of attention through speculation on future gains or losses.
  • 12. Motivation - Self and Self- Transcendence • It has been presumed for many years that satisfying lower order needs of workers - adequate food, clothing and shelter, etc. are key factors in motivation. However, it is a common experience that the dissatisfaction of the clerk and of the Director is identical - only their scales and composition vary. • This situation is explained by the theory of self- transcendence propounded in the Gita. Self- transcendence involves renouncing egoism, putting others before oneself, emphasising team work, dignity, co-operation, harmony and trust and, indeed potentially sacrificing lower needs for higher goals, the opposite of Maslow.
  • 13. Motivation - Self and Self- Transcendence Conti.. "Work must be done with detachment. It is the ego that spoils work and the ego is the centerpiece of most theories of motivation. We need not merely a theory of motivation but a theory of inspiration."
  • 14. Work Culture • An effective work culture is about vigorous and arduous efforts in pursuit of given or chosen tasks. Sri Krishna elaborates on two types of work culture `daivi sampat' or divine work culture and `asuri sampat' or demonic work culture. • Daivi work culture - involves fearlessness, purity, self- control, sacrifice, straightforwardness, self-denial, calmness, absence of fault-finding, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of envy and pride.
  • 15. Work Culture Conti.. • Asuri work culture - involves egoism, delusion, personal desires, improper performance, work not oriented towards service. • Mere work ethic is not enough. The hardened criminal exhibits an excellent work ethic. What is needed is a work ethic conditioned by ethics in work.
  • 16. Work Results • The Gita further explains the theory of `detachment' from the extrinsic rewards of work in saying: • 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, the cause of the modem managers' companions of diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers.
  • 17. Manager's Mental Health • Sound mental health is the very goal of any human activity - more so management. Sound mental health is 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. • Some of the impediments to sound mental health are:  Greed - for power, position, prestige and money.  Envy - regarding others' achievements, success, rewards.  Egotism - about one's own accomplishments.  Suspicion, anger and frustration.  Anguish through comparisons.
  • 18. Manager's Mental Health Conti… 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.e. universal, supreme consciousness wherefrom he can prove his effectiveness in discharging whatever duties that have fallen to his domain. “Management Needs those Who Practise what they Preach”
  • 19. The Ultimate Message of Gîta for Managers • The despondency of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is typically human. Sri Krishna, by sheer power of his inspiring words, changes Arjuna's mind from a state of inertia to one of righteous action, from the state of what the French philosophers call `anomie` or even alienation, to a state of self-confidence in the ultimate victory of `dharma' (ethical action). • When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri Krishna reminded him of the purpose of his new-found spirit of intense action - not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own greed and desire, but for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate victory of ethics over unethical actions and of truth over untruth.
  • 20. The Ultimate Message of Gîta for Managers Conti… • Sri Krishna's advice with regard to temporary failures 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. • The idea is that these management skills should be India-centric and not America-centric.