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Friday, September 12, 2008

Human Values from Bhagwad Gita(11-20)

HUMAN VALUES FROM BHAGWAD GITA: RELEVANCE FOR MODERN (Contnd. from last posts)

Human and ethical values have been the very foundation of Indian scriptures, including Bhagwad Gita. This new post attempts to provide some further insights into the remaining qualities ( values 11-20)for jnanam (knowledge) espoused by Lord Krisna to Arjuna, as enshrined in Chapter 13 of the Bhagwad Gita. The first ten values (1-10) have already been covered in the lasts posts. It has also been attempted to provide their relevance to the modern management. It is hoped that these values, if sincerely put into practice, will manifest attitudinal change in the mind of the modern day managers.

Let us recapitulate these qualities or human values asstated in Chapter XIII of the Bhagwad Gita :

VALUE 1: “AMANITVAM”: Absence of Self-Worship-fullness

VALUE 2: “ADAMBHITVAM”: Absence of pretence /Self-Glorification

VALUE 3: “AHIMSA”: Non-harmfulness/injuryVALUE

VALUE 4: “KSANTI”: Attitude of Accommodation

VALUE 5: “ARJAVAM”: Straight-forwardness

VALUE 6: “ACARYOPASANAM”: Service to the Teacher

VALUE 7: “SAUCAM”: Internal and External Cleanliness

VALUE 8: “STHAIRYATM”: Steadfastness

VALUE 9: “ATMAVINIGRAHA” Mastery over the Mind

VALUE 10: “INDRIYARTHESU VAIRAGYAM”: State of Dispassion towards the Objects of Sense gratification.


VALUE 11: “ANAHANKAR”A: Absence of Self-egotism

VALUE 12: “JANMAMRITYU JARAVYADHI DUHKHA DOSA ANUDARSANAM”:Repeated Review of Process of Life-Death-Old Aging- Ailments-Pain

VALUE 13: “ASAKTI”: Non-attachment

VALUE 14: “ANABHISVANGA PUTRADARAGRHADISU”: Non-excessive Attachment towards son and wife

VALUE 15: “NITYAM SAMACITTATVAM ISTANISTOPAPATTISU”: Steadfastness of Mind

VALUE 16: “MAYI CA ANANYAYOGENA BHAKTIH AVYABHICARINI” : Steady Devotion Towards Righteousness and God

VALUE 17: VIVIKTA DES’A SEVITVAM”: Love for Spending Time in Solitary(Aspiring to live in a Solitary Place)

VALUE 18: “ARATIH JANASAMSADI”: Non-Inclination Towards People and Company (Detachment from the General Mass of People)

VALUE 19: “TATTVAJANANARTHADARSANAM”: Keeping in View the Purpose of Knowledge Truth”

VALUE 20: “ADHYATMAJNANA NITYATVAM”: Stability in the Knowledge of Truth


Let us now discuss the remaining values (from 11 to 20) to ascertain their relevance to assist the modern management for efficient performance of various functions by the managers and guide them for ethical dilemmas faced by them.

VALUE 11: ANAHANKARA: Absence of Self-egotism:

According to Dr.(Swami) Parthasarthy, Anahankara means ‘absence of the sense of ahankara, freedom from an individualized ' I-identification'. Ahankara, the Sanskrit word, indicates the conception of one’s own individuality(i.e. ‘I do’, ‘I own, ‘I enjoy’). Total nasa or destruction of ahankara means Self-knowledge, which can not be intended by Lord Krisna because Anahankara has been included here as one of the values which prepares the mind for gaining knowledge , and has a relative meaning as a means preparatory for knowledge.Ahankara is ego. What causes the presence of ego? Presence of ego is the sheer result of ignorance.' Ego gains its status because I never think of examining its reality. When I clearly, objectively examine the claims made by ego, it cannot but quietly deflated. Ignorance is not something to which I proudly lay claim. My claim to knowledge is (also) spurious. Knowledge is not anything created by me, but only discovered in the wake of loss of ignorance. Knowledge is always there. No one owns or creates knowledge. To be knowledgeable is only a matter of shedding ignorance. I can never be author of knowledge. Nor can I assign to Ahankara personal credit for skill or speed in shedding ignorance. Certain preset factors condition my learning opportunities. Parents, teachers, neighbours, schools, various experiences, all contribute to removal of my ignorance. (After all) Ahankara, ego does not create the people or circumstances but claims the result.'Ahankara ego , and manitvam pride, are closely related, both born out of the same cause, that is ignorance of the relationship of the individualized sense of ‘I’ with the world. The result of any act of mine occurs both as the product of materials which I have not authored. Pride and ego, when examined (thus analytically) become so silly that humility really cannot be considered a virtue. When I understand the things as they are, I will be neither proud nor will I will be self-condemning. Self-condemnation also is an expression of ahankara ego, as it is antara asaucam, an impurity of the mind, to be cleaned by understanding that there is no ;locus for condemnation other than a particular thought. In correct understanding of myself and my relationship to the world there is no room for either pride or self-condemnation.'

The world is filled with wonderful opportunities. Therefore, I make use of this vehicle of body-mind etc., as a source of learning to the best of my ability. It is my means of shedding ignorance. I see that personal credit for anything is irrelevant and cannot be substantiated. I simply enjoy the world as a field of the discovery of knowledge, without pride, without egotism'. This is the attitude of Anahankara.

A Manager endowed with such an attitude of Anahankara (absence of ego) will have quite a proactive and objective mind to take various managerial decisions. He will neither be suffering from ego nor be self-condemning, if something goes awry in his managerial functions. Consequently, he will have the least conflict situations to confront and smooth sailing in having his/her various managerial functions performed effectively.

VALUE 12: “JANMAMRITYU JARAVYADHI DUHKHA DOSA ANUDARSANAM”:
Repeated Review of Process of Life-Death-Old Aging-Ailments-Pain.

According to Dr.(Swami) Parthasarthy,this Sanskrit word,' janma-mrityu jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosa-anudarsanam,' stands for a certain rigorously ( pursued) objective attitude towards life. Anudarsanam means ‘seeing again-and-again’ of the dosa, the ‘faults’ or ‘defects’, in life itself, from birth to death. Life begins with janma (birth), along with comes mrityu, death, the inseparable mirror-twin of birth. They are opposite sides of the same coin. In between are other dosas viz. jara, old age. The longer you elude mrityu, the more certainly a time will come when your hearing will grow dull, vision grow dim, steps unsteady, you may be comfortable while sitting, but uncomfortable while lying down, you may have eating problem, digestion problem, thinking problem. It is old age, which always jars, and it is always round the corner.There are two other dosas, vyadhi and duhkha, which may introduce themselves to you in infancy, perhaps even before birth. Vyadhi means disease; dukha means pain. Vyadhi, disease,is some thing that goes with you all the time. It is not limited to a particular time or age. Similarly, dukha, pain, which is a life-long companion, means all forms of pain- physical or mental, small or large , including the grief over loss of a loved one. Pain, like disease, cannot be avoided. Pain or trouble coming from inside are adhyatmika, and from the outside adhibhautika, and from a heavenly source adhidavika. Aadhyatmika duhkha (internal pain) comprises the aches and pains and troubles of my individualized person, while adhibhautika dukha (external pain) is made up of the problems of the world around me, and adhidavika duhkha is the painful result of an event over which there is no control whatsoever, like a tidal wave or an erupting volcano.Therefore, we should bear in mind the nature of life, which is uncertain, painful and swiftly moving towards old age and death.

Keep your mind on your purpose of life. Don’t fritter it away. Rember time, kala, is the devourer of the world: kala jagadbhaksakahThus, Lord Krisna says to Arjuna: janma-mrityu jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosa-anudarsanam,This is an important value. It is not negative but simply factual. Its purpose is to direct your attention to the need to see life objectively just as it is, so that you will be able to make (the best) use of the precious time available in your hands right now. Make use of time consciously and you won’t find one day, that time has passed over you and suddenly you are old. By making use of time alertly, consciously, you are a Swami of time , a master of time.

No Manager worth his/her salt can probably ignore such a value, while discharging his/her managerial responsibilities.Unless he/she makes the best use of the precious time available right now consciously in a planned manner, both for him/herself and for his/her team, he can not succede in achieving the organisational goals efficiently and effectively.


VALUE 13: “ASAKTI”: NON-ATTACHMENT:

Asakti means absence of attitude of ownership , particularly that anything belongs to me. While ownership is notional, possession is factual. Asakti is reduction of all the relationships involving claims of ownership to factual relationships. Analysis shows that no claim to ownership can survive close scrutiny. Nothing is really mine. I cannot claim exclusive permanent title to anything to land, to knowledge, to people, to things, or even to my own body-mind unit. For example, my house, which is made up of the materials available in an existent creation, assembled by or in accordance with the knowledge of countless human beings, is simply an aggregate structure available for my temporary possession and control. Similarly, even for my own body, to which my mother, father, society, my wife, son, etc. may claim creation or ownership , I am just an indweller of this body and its managing trustee . Even the laws of the state recognize that bodies are entrusted and prohibit suicide, reflecting the recognition that the person has no right to kill, and has the right to maintain it but not to destroy it., a possessive right only to make use of it. Thus, a possessory attitude, (whether it be towards house, money or one’s own body), rather than an ownership attitude, towards anything is a relief. A possessory attitude with factual perspective promotes dispassion and objectivity. This is the right attitude towards my mind, towards any wealth I may have, towards the people around me. To all of them I relate myself with asakti, with no clinging attachment or attitude of ownership.Asakti, non-attachment by seeing one’s relationship to things objectively, is another example of vairagya, dispassion In asakti, the dispassion highlighted is towards the relationship between oneself and the things, by discovering that there can be no valid nor lasting attachment (or ownership) to anything.
The value of Anasakti(non-attachment), if practised consciously by the Manager will help him/her in imbibing a more balanced attitude towards ethical dilemmas. Coupled with the concepts of performance of duties with Niskama bhava and the value of Anahankara, this can prove a golden value for the modern day manager, who is presently more obsessed with results in the competitive business environment and likely to develop attachment with the associated endeavours.

VALUE 14: “ANABHISVANGA PUTRADARAGRHADISU”: NON-EXCESSIVE ATTACHMENT TOWARDS SON AND WIFE:

Abhisvanga is the kind of intense attachment or affection one feels for what is particularly beloved such as putra, a son, dara, one’s wife, or grha one’s house, and all other people and things usually very dear. Abhisvanga is, therefore , atisneha(excessive attachment). So, here, anabhisvanga means absence of an obsessive, sticky attachment for those certain people or things generally considered very dear, putradaragrhadisu Essentially, anabhisvanga, as a value, means ‘dispassionate caring’.

In the discussion of the attitude of asakti, absence of the notion of ownership, we saw that one cannot have a special, total claim on any person or thing. In the understanding born of asakti, freedom from ownership, one will have anabhisvanga, lack of excessive attachment towards family, but no lack of dispassionate care and affection.

A Manager should inculcate the value of anabhisvanga, avoiding excessive attachment towards the near and dear ones, with due dispassionate care and affection for them, during the discharge of his/her duties and responsibilities towards the organisation. Moreover, when cionfronted with ethical dilemmas in making decisions, the interests of dear ones need be judged dispassionately and ignored, if necessary, if these clash with the overall organizational interests. The ideal and better course rather would be to get oneself exluded f for taking such a decision, where the Manager's' 'near and dear ones' are involved and tell the senior management to entrust the matter to some one else for taking appropriate decision on merit.

VALUE 15: “NITYAM SAMACITTATVAM ISTANISTOPAPATTISU”:Steadfastness of Mind :

According to Dr.(Swami) Parthasarthy, 'Samacittatvam Isat-anistopapattisu ' simply means that one greets with ‘sameness of mind’ the results one likes or dislikes. Sama means ‘equal’, Cittavath means ‘state of mind’. Istanistopapattisu indicates the happening of something considered desirable or undesirable. So, here Lord Krisna tells Arjuna: to always maintain sameness of mind in the face of the desirable or the undesirable. Neither get elated over getting what you want nor feel dejected when you get what you do not want. Accept results as they come, factually.

As a Manager,if some venture fails, look at the facts, learn from them if you can, and do whatever is now needed. View all situations as they occur, factually, with a mind unshaken by emotional intensity- a mind that simply decides what is to be done and directs the doing of it.When something happens that you like, don’t get elated. A mind that reaches ecstasy over getting what it thinks it wants will also hit the bottom when loss or failure occurs.
Samacittatvam is the state of mind which does not swing between elation and depression, but remains in equilibrium regardless of the situation. When I face every situation with such a mind, I will meet the situation objectively. The attitude of Samacittatvam is another example of reducing subjective response to factual acceptance. More often than not, we resist accepting facts. When we refuse to accept facts, facts become problems. The factual response is the approach to situations of a truly practical person. My job is to greet all the facts with sameness of mind. This is real human strength, which is not found in powerful miracles but in the quiet mind of the one who faces the situations as they are. As I reduce situations to facts without projection of my emotional reactions upon them, my mind assumes a poise that makes it easier to appreciate the vision of Vedanta., which teaching distinguishes the apparently real and unfolds the nature of Reality itself. Such a mind, without subjective reaction, simply, quietly determines what needs to be done in a particular situation.We can very well visualise how successful and effective such a Manager will be, who has imbibed and is gifted with the golden value of NITYAM SAMACITTATVAM ISTANISTOPAPATTISU”(Steadfastness of Mind ). With the steadiness of mind inculcated such value his/her decisions will be par excellence. In contrast, one with the wavering mind and lacking steadfastness will certainly prove a failure.

VALUE 16: “MAYI CA ANANYAYOGENA BHAKTIH AVYABHICARINI” : Steady Devotion Towards Righteousness and God:

This expresses the value of steadfast devotion to the paramesvara, a devotion characterized by non-separateness from the Lord. The non-separateness from the Lord can be seen in two ways: first, ananyayoga , the Lord is not separate from me, which view comes when I know the truth of the Lord, myself, and of creation. He is never away from me.. He is always around me ; He is in me. He is indeed me. Secondly, we can say that non-separateness is in terms of seeing the Lord as my refuge. Parmesvarat anyah mama spranam nasti. For me there is no refuge other than parmesvara.The Lord is everything. He is my security. He is the source of my security. He is karmaphaladata, the giver of the fruits of all actions.Such devotion is very helpful in preparing the mind for Self-knowledge. When I view all results as coming to me directly from the hands of the Lord, samacittavah, the sameness of mind will come. Whatever happens I will see it as prasada, a blessing given to me from His hands . This graceful acceptance of whatever comes to me from the Lord is called prasada-buddhi .There is no regret; there is no failure; there is no elation; there is no depression. The attitude is simply grateful, graceful acceptance. This kind of devotion frees one from any kind of reaction. Experience is good teacher for the person with a mind clear of reactions, a mind attentive and available to be taught.

In the Management scenario,one may visualise positive benefits accruing from the attitude of 'graceful acceptance of whatever comes fromGod, with no regret, no elation,, no depression on failure, leaves themind clear of reaction, making it more proactive, attentive, and receptive to be taught', makes this golden value worth trying. In fact, such an attitude will provide the Managera dispassionate and objective frame of mind to view the things in right perspective, without being attached to the outcome of his/her deliberations/actions.

VALUE 17:VIVIKTA DES’A SEVITVAM”: Love for Spending Time in Solitary:

Vivikta des’a sevitvam is ‘love for a quiet place.’ It is a value for resorting to a secluded place. According to Dr.(Swami) Parthasarthy, it is not the separateness of the place that makes the value. The value thing is the kind of mind which is happy with such a place. A mind which that appreciates quiet and solitude is a mind that has a love for being with itself. This is a beautiful attitude which is not found very often in our society. We ( usually) try to escape because we are not satisfied with ourselves. Therefore, we keep the mind busy so that there is no time place or quiet in which we can be with ourselves. For some the avenue for escape may be wanderlust, while for others drugs, gambling or drinking.. Whether harmful or seemingly benign , the need to escape betrays a reluctance on one’s part to face oneself. You can tell that the activities have become an escape for you, when without activity, you feel lost, sad or incomplete.However, a person who enjoys being with himself in quietude is not a sad person. He is a simple quiet, contemplative person.

To be contemplative means to be able to face yourself happily. For the one who wants Self-knowledge, it is very important to have a value for being with oneself, for quietude. 'So, I learn to be with myself by willingly taking myself to a quiet place where take stock of myself and learn to love and accept myself. By inculcating the habit of repairing to a quiet place, you are learning to be with yourself, come to terms with yourself. Clear knowledge of yourself is then possible'.

Imagine a situation in which a Manager is titally devoid of solitude and is constantly working under a noisy and distracting environment, in which he/she is not able to concentrate at all. He will not be able to contemplate on a serioius emerging situation, and, therefore, deprived of making a correct decision, being not left quite free to be with himself. The value of vivekta desa sevitam is 'love for a quiet place is obvious in such situations to the Managers. Thus, meditation rooms for managers sadhaks shall, hopefully, be the future scenario.

VALUE 18: “ARATIH JANASAMSADI”: Non-Inclination Towards People and Company:

Ratih means ‘love for something’ or ‘inclination towards’ it. Aratih indicates lack of inclination towards something. Jana stands for people(male or female), and samsadi means in ‘assembly’. So, this value means a lack of craving for company, not reveling in company, not courting company. It is not value that calls for hatred of company or that one should dislike being around people. If the people are there, fine, be happy in their presence. But know that you do not require people to be happy. Vivikta des’s sevitvath( love of quietude, in which one is happy with oneself), and aratih janasathsadi ( non- reveling in the presence of company) , are companion values, complementing each other. It is not that a quiet place in itself is intrinsically something good, or that the presence of company is something bad. But the values are for a happy, non-securing mind that loves being with itself. It neither revels nor hates company.

With these values, I will have composure whether I am with people or without them. Someone who seeks seclusion out of hatred of people is not expressing these values. But one the other extreme, courting the company of people all the time, trying to escape from oneself, is not any more desirable than the fear of people.So, an attitude that is desired is not hatred of people but a simple love of quietude. That is, because I love to be with myself I do not court company. This attitude establishes the right frame for a contemplative mind- for a mind given to vicara, inquiry into the basic profound questions about myself. Who am I? What is this creation? Who is God? What is the relationship between me, God and the creation? Such an inquiry requires special sensitivity of the mind. To appreciate the knowledge of the Self , to see the Self for the non- objectifiable wholeness which it is, requires a mind that is contemplative and sensitive. The mind should be highly sensitive, but not the sensitivity characterized by getting hurt at every turn. Values come when I thoroughly understand my relationship to people, places and things around me.. Pride and pretence, which court hurt, drop away from me; and non-harmfulness and accommodation, which soften hurt, become natural to me. Vivikta des’s sevitvath, resorting to a quiet place, and aratih janasathsadi ,absence for the need for a company, are attitudes which establish such a contemplative mind centered on Self-knowledge.
On the superficial level, a Manager imbibing such values(like Aratih Janasamsadi (lack of craving for company) and Vivikta desa sevitvam(love of quietude) may be a considered a failure in dealing with people(both inside and outside the organisation).However, if we think of the imperative need of his/her being contemplative in certain situations, especially where he requires to be left with him/herself, the advantage of having such golden values are obvious. Moreover, 'craving for company' itself may be unbecoming of a Manager and sullen his image.

VALUE 19: “TATTVAJANANARTHADARSANAM”: Keeping in View the Purpose of Knowledge Truth”:
Tattva
means ‘Truth’(as the irreducible reality of anything and everything), Jnanam is ‘knowledge' (the sought-for-knowledge), Artha means purpose (or goal), and Darsanam is ‘sight’ or ‘vision’. Thus, tattvajnanarthadarsanam is ‘keeping in view the purpose of the knowledge of Truth’. Tattvajnanam(knowledge of Truth) is the Jneyam of the ‘things to be known’ in life for which the values called jnanarth prepares the mind The basic knowledge of truth can also be called the knowledge of the Self, atmajananam.. In fact, this value can be described as not losing sight of Self-knowledge as one’s primary goal. It also means having an overwhelming value for that goal so that it does not become eclipsed by other goals. Self-Knowledge, for what purpose? All human purposefulness, with collective Sanskrit name purusartha (fron purusa, ‘human being, and artha, ‘purpose’), can be classified under four headings . The fourfold human aims purusartha in life are:
Dharma (Ethical standards): the goal of conforming one’s behaviour to scripturally sanctioned ethical norms in order to obtain merit or avoid demerit in this life or the next.; or for the one who is not adherent to any particular scriptural sanctions, simply the universal set of ethical standards maintained by human free will and shaped by one’s wish to be treated in a certain manner by one’s fellow human beings.
Artha(security or means): the goal of acquiring all the things which one thinks will make one secure - money, prioperty,possessions, power, influence, name and fame.
Kama(pleasures/desire): the goal of enjoyingthe varieties of pleasures life affords - physical comforts,sensory delights,, mind-pleasing escapes.
Moksha(liberation): the goal of discovering freedom from the hands of time- freedom from change, age, death, grief,,loss,escape from a never-ending sense of inadequacy and incompleteness, from all forms of limitations; the desire to be rid of desire itself.Looked at from the standpoint of the four-fold humanaims(purusartha), Self-knowledge atmajnanam or knowledge of truth(tattvajnanam) does not fit into any of the first three categories. Self-knowledge is not meant for obtaining merit(punya) nor for the avoidance of demerit(papa). It is also not a commonsense ethical standard serving the interest of free-willed, self-conscious being interacting with one another. Thus, the purpose of Self-knowledge is not to serve scriptual or commonsense ethics. Similarly, Self-knowledge does not result in the gain of either securities(artha), or pleasures(kama), as actions, efforts are required to gain securities or pleasures. Particular knowledge shapes the effort, which does the job.Thus, there is one category moksa(liberation) where "TATTVAJANANARTHADARSANAM”fits.This value signifies ' keeping in sight the goal of moksa, complete freedom from the human sense of of bondage (limitation,incompleteness,inadequacy) by the seeker called mumuksu, who never loses sight of the freedom he seeks or compromises or settle for a lesser thing'. Swami)Dr.) Parthasarthy has very beautifully exemplified: "like a salmon out of the ocean of back into the river from which it came, where, against all odds, the fish battles the current in the single-pointed drive, back to its place of origin, so too, does the mumuksu seek freedom- a freedom that is discovered in the knowledge of the tattva, the truth of the origin."
Just as a mumuksu aspires for the knowledg eof of truth for his liberation(achievement of final goal), similarly the Manager should keep him/her-self adequately informed about all truths(factual information) impinging upon his/her organisation, so that he is fully armed with pertinent relevant data to assist hem/her in taking correct decision for achievement of the organisational goals.

VALUE 20: “ADHYATMAJNANA NITYATVAM”: Stability in the Knowledge of Truth:
Adhyatmajnana nityatvam, the19th value in the order told by Lord Krisna to Arjuna, is discussed here as the final 20th value for the sake of more logical analysis. How does one gain the tattvajnanarth-adarsanam, of not losing sight of the knowledge of truth (tattvajnanam ), as one’s primary goal? For any knowledge to be discovered there must be a valid, effective and appropriate means available to know that which is sought to be known. Adhyatmajnana nityatvam alone is the value, which fulfils the desire for liberation, which has matured into inquiry into tattva, the Truth. Adhyatma means ‘centred on atma’ or spiritual, Jnana is ‘knowledge’. Thus, Adhyatmajnanam is the knowledge for which the subject matter is atma, oneself or spirituality. Nityatvath is ‘constancy in spirituality or knowledge centered on Self . Such Self- knowledge can be found in the teachings of Vedas, Upanisad or Vedanta. In fact, the very word Upanisad etymologically means Adhyatmajnanam(spirituality). So, the value called Adhyatmajnana nityatvam (stability in spirituality or knowledge of Self) is a value of constancy in the study of the scriptures relating to the spirituality.To gain knowledge of Self, the study of Vedanta sastra (scripture) involves three things: hearing (sravanam), reflection (manana), and contemplation (nididhyasanam). These are the three things which constitute Adhyatmajnana nityatvam ( constancy centered on Self-knowledge). Of these, Sravanam is the primary means. Reflection and contemplation are concurrent but secondary means, being simply aid to sravanath. The basic ‘hearing’ is listening to the words and sentences of Vedanta scripture unfolded by a teacher of Vedanta. Sravanam also includes the ‘hearing’ that occurs when one, by oneself, studies the written scriptures in order to find out what Vedanta has to say about oneself, about the world and about God.Vedanta unfolds what Lord Krisna calls jneyam which means ‘that –which- is- to- be- known’, that ultimate knowledge which is liberation itself. The ultimate jneyam of Vedanta is stated cryptically in the scriptures in aphorisms called mahavakya, ’great statements’ taught by teachers to the students. Study of the great statement like ‘Tattvasmi’ (That thou art’), requires an in- depth inquiry asking questions by the seeker like: 'Is it a factual statement or mere a mystic one? What meaning Vedanta gives to this statement? What, if any thing, does it mean to me right at this moment that I am a ‘thou’ which is’ that’? What is the connection between them? ' The answers to these and similar questions are found by studying the scriptures and other supporting sentences which expound the great statements. Using the words of Vedanta to ‘see myself’ is like using my eyes to see colours.
For the present day Manager, the value like Adhyatmajnana nityatvam, may be required in the form of siritual quotient. For a good Manager not only an IQ(Intelligence Quotient) and EQ(Emotional Quotient) are required, but SQ(Spiritual Quotient) is also necessitated, as an additional achievement. Constancy in spirituality will certainly help him inculcate moral and ethical values to sensitise him/her as a more human being than functioning like a machine, in the ultimate reckoning.

Conclusion

Thus, the attitudes and ways of thinking called jnanam values as specified have relevance for ever one., including the present day Manager. Reflecting upon them will certainly provide a keen insight and a profound grasp of the working of the mind, to make it more contemplative and steay. These basic values, if sincerely developed , shall usher a mind, which is beautiful, proactive as objective instrument, quiet alert, and effective. It is a mind ready for any study or pursuit. Such a mind unsplit by internal conflict, undismayed by external adversity, has the best possible preparation for daily life as well as for facing the ethical dilemmas faced by the manager. Such values enhance the quality of life , whatever one’s activities may be. Daily life gains efficiency and cheerfulness-even radiance- when these values become personally assimilated norms. One becomes a cheerful person, both saintly and effective. True saintliness makes one the most effective person possible in any situation or transaction, as he/she is totally objective. His /her appreciation of given circumstances is not clouded by subjective conditioning. Like a saint, such a manager sadhaka clearly sees the facts for what they are and can make and act upon a fact-based judgment free from subjective interpretation or need. A person not affected by the situation is the person who can be most effective in the situation. We may conclude this humble attempt with:
vihaya kaman sarvan pumans carat nihsprhanirmamo
nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati(Bhagwad Gita 2.71)

" A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, wwho has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego - he alone can attain realpeace."
With good wishes,
Yours sincerely,
Ved Prakash
Blogspot http://www.vedic-ethicsvalues.blogspot.com/

REFERENCES

1. Rokeach, M. ; The Nature of Human Value: Free Press, New York (1973), p.52.
2.Kar, Bijayananda,Prof.: Value Perspective in Indian Philosophy: Mittal Publications, New Delhi(2000);Preface page vi.3.
3.Gupta, N. L. Dr.: Human Values for the 21st Century: Anmol Pubs.Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi(2002), Page2.4. ibid Page 25.
4.Parthasarthy, Swami(Dr.): Human Values and Management: 20 Key Principles for Modern Management: Ane Books, New Delhi(2006 ) P, Pages 17-51.
6. Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta, A.C.,Swami: Bhagwad Gita: As It Is: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Mumbai(2006 Reprint); Chapter 13.8,Page 573.7.
Prabhupada,Bhaktivedanta,A.C.,Swami: Bhagwad Gita: As It Is: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Mumbai (2006 Reprint); Chapter 2.71, Page43.

_________________________________________________________________

Mr. V.P.Bhatia, MBA (HRM), who retired as Assistant Director from the , GOI, is a Vedic scholar(student) doing research on 'Relevance of Vedic Ethics and Values for Modern Management' with Dr. Ravi Prakash Arya(http://www.vedascience.com/):
E-Mail ID: vpbhatia39@yahoo.com or vedprakshbh@gmail.com

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Human Values from Bhagwad Gita(7-10)

HUMAN VALUES FROM BHAGWAD GITA (Contnd. from previous posts)

VALUE 7: “SAUCAM”: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CLEANLINESS:

According to Swami(Dr.) Parthasarthy, Saucam is cleanliness in a two-fold sense: Bahya, outer cleanliness, and antara, inner cleanliness. The former is a well-understood universal value. It is easy to see the benefit that comes to me and to others from external cleanliness. Clean body, clean clothes and clean dwelling place make the life more pleasant. In addition, the daily discipline of maintaining cleanliness brings about a certain attentiveness and alertness of mind. Antara saucam, internal cleanliness, which means cleanliness of antahkarana , is less easily recognized. What makes the mind asaucam or unclean? Jealousy, anger, hatred, fear, selfishness, self-condemnation, guilt, pride, possessiveness, all these negative reactions and the climate of despair and resentment which comes in their wake , are the unseemliness, the asaucam, of the mind. Like my body gets daily asaucam in my transactions with people and circumstances, similarly linked to my ragas and dweshas ( likes and dislikes, which produce desires and aversions), smudges of envy settle, a spot of exasperation lands, streaks of possessiveness appear, and overall, the fine dust of self-criticism, guilt and self-condemnation spreads into my mind. Like I maintain daily external cleanliness, each day, my mind must be cleaned until my false identification with the mind goes, in the knowledge of the Self When there is no daily cleaning outside or inside, the accumulation makes the task much more difficult..

We can clean the mind through pratipaksa bhavana, which means by being proactive and deliberately taking the ‘ opposite point of view’ and to willingly think the opposite of the unclean thought. Suppose, someone may do an improper action which insults or injures me. A resentment settles in my mind, which is my asaucam of the mind. Allowed to remain, this resentment can build up to hatred, a painful, disturbing mental state. Seeing, therefore, the personal consequences of allowing asaucam to remain, when the object of resentment comes to my attention, I summon the will to think thoughts opposite to the negative thoughts that first came to my mind. By analysis I see that the person I resent is not disliked by every one. Deliberately I search for reasons why others like him. I think of positive facts and call to mind whatever good things I know of him. Therefore, to clean the mind of resentment and dislikes which solidify into hatred, it is essential for a deliberate search for those things in another person which indicate his humaneness, his saintliness,.They are there in every one. Saintly qualities are the qualities of the Self, the qualities which really constitute human nature. Negative qualities are incidental; they come and go . Seeing the person behind the action from such pratipaksa bhavna(opposite view point) will discover an attitude of ksanti, accommodation towards him as well. Pratipaksa bhavna is a daily act for mind. A mind kept clean in this manner will be quiet and alert mind. A clean, quiet, alert mind is comfortable with itself and ready to learn, to be taught.

In the case of Selfishness, the pratipaksa bhavana thoughts can often be reinforced by action as well. When I see in myself non-consideration for the wants, needs, happiness of others, I can deliberately program myself to overdo in the opposite direction, by making myself alert to the needs and happiness of those around me.
Self-condemnation can be called subtle asaucam of the mind. Universal ethical values , consciously or unconsciously, remain as a matrix for self-judgment for any thought or action which transgress their standards. Whenever I fail to abide by a general value, some conflict usually registers in my mind. Conflict becomes guilt and guilt turns into an underground chorus of self-condemnation, which becomes a subtle asaucam pervading my mind. It can no more be justified than condemnation of others, as both rest upon the faulty understanding of the Self. Both produce turmoil in the mind. Self-condemnation can be controlled by pratipaksa bhavana, by refusing to condemn myself, while at the same time deliberately thinking non-self-condemnation thought. Upon analysis it is found that our body-mind package cannot be condemned. From Sruti (scriptures) I know that Atma illuminates the mind But Atma is satcit-ananda: boundless, timeless, full of awareness, form-free, action-free; neither karta(doer) nor bhukta(enjoyer).Thus, Atma cannot be blamed, and, no condemnation of Self is required. Clearing away of asaucam self-condemnation leaves the mind free to discover, as a personal value, the ethical norm, which has been transgressed.

Of all the asaucam, Jealousy is the most illegitimate of attitudes because even by the standards of the relative world it is “unreal.” Jealousy is a reaction of sorrow over a lack , which I conclude exists, when I compare myself with some other human being, who is seen as superior. This supposed superiority, when examined , will always be found as partial and incomplete. I will never be jealous of all the aspects of another person – nor will anyone jealous of me ever find me totally superior.. Thus, there can be no real locus of jealousy for me . A jnani is not jealous because no second person exists, others seeing themselves as separate entities will indulge in self-demeaning comparative judgments of excellence, followed by the pain of matsarya (jealousy). When the illegitimacy of jealousy has been seen, it will readily be susceptible to pratipaksa bhavana by deliberately thinking: “I am happy to see someone with such excellence. I am happy to see the happiness of this person. I admire the person. I appreciate the person”. By such thought I nip the jealousy in the bud.

A Manager, who imbibes the value of asaucam, including internal cleanliness, will be more proactive and adequately sensitized to appreciate the others point of view, and therefore, shorn of selfishness, jealousy, self-condemnation , and be more effective in dealing with conflict situations and ethical dilemmas bein presentlt faced in the corporate environment.

VALUE 8: “STHAIRYATM” Steadfastness:

Sthairyath is nistha, ‘firmness’ or ‘steadiness’. Derived from the Sanskrit root ‘stha’ ‘to stand’, Sthairyath indicates constancy or perseverance. Sthairyath is: Karma nistha, swadharma nistha i.e. “ steadfastness in action, steadfastness in one’s duty.” Thus, a steady effort on one’s part toward committed goals or toward duties or responsibilities imposed upon one, is Sthairyath. Swami (Dr.) Parthasarthy has candidly pointed out that" When it comes to applying effort towards a goal, most of us find ourselves to be arathbhasurah i.e., ‘heroes at the beginning’. We start any undertaking very bravely; we are lions of resolution at first, but then enthusiasm wanes. The energy of the ‘heroic beginner’ dwindles when the total effort required becomes clear. Then, some pretext is found to escape completion of the job. Lack of steadiness towards a commitment results in goals not being achieved. This brings a build-up of guilt over failure to complete what was started. Sthairyath means there should be steady effort towards whatever you have committed yourself to achieve until it is achieved. Thus, it is a steadiness that neither yields to laziness nor is disturbed by distraction.
In the management context
, Sthairyath highlighted is nistha or firmness not only in seeking the total content of all knowledge, in which all other goals resolve, but also total commitment and steadfastness in one’s duty through appropriate and timely action, in which Sthairyath; steadiness is a prerequisite. Without this golden value the manager simply can not survive. He need imbibe the value of Sthairyath constancy or perseverance and be steadfast in both planning and action.

VALUE 9: “ATMAVINIGRAHA: Mastery over the Mind:

Atmavinigraha, according to Swami (Dr.) Parthasarthy, means mastery over the mind. The Sanskrit word ‘atma’ signifies the first person singular ‘I’. It can be used for the physical body or its vital functions; mind or its ‘ego’ sense can also be called atma. Atma is also saccdanada, the timeless, limitless awareness that is truth of ‘I’ , the Seelf. Here, in the context of Lord Krisna’s instructions to Arjuna, atma simply means the mind of the antahkarna. Vinigraha means ‘restraint’ or ‘curbing’, which, with reference to this value is ‘mastery’ of the mind. What must be mastered is one’s way of thinking. Swami( Dr.) Parthasarthy has , here, beautifully explained that "The mind is colourful kaleidoscope of fanciful thoughts which come and go, as the mind is whimsical by nature But I, the thinker, need not fulfill the fancies or yield to the caprices, as I am the sanctioning authority."

In general, thinking of mind is of three types: Impulsive, in which unexamined thoughts born of instinct hold sway; mechanical, in which prior conditioning is the dictator; and, deliberative, wherein my budhi, the evaluating function of mind, consciously examines my thoughts, accepting or dismissing them in accordance with my value structure. There is a fourth way of thinking – spontaneous, in which my thoughts without deliberation, conform to the highest universal values. Spontaneous thinking of this kind manifests at an absolute level only in one who has Self-knowledge. At a relative level, spontaneous thinking reflects the degree to which universal values have become my personal and assimilated values. In essence, spontaneous thinking is complete atmavinigraha. It is only knowledge of Self that can completely destroy the hold of the likes and dislikes that compel and condition the way of thinking. Complete mastery is characterized by spontaneity.

Sama, dama, and samadhana are Sanskrit terms often used to indicate different aspects of atmavinigraha. Sama is understood to mean discipline over thinking at the level where the thoughts arise, dama indicates choice exercised over thoughts and actions at the level of sense organ expression. Samadhana.means cittaikagrata, which literally indicates single pointed -ness of the mind. Cittaikagrata is the art of applying the mind consistently to a given pursuit for a length of time. The art of Samadhana. , or cittaikagrata can then be learned by beginning to apply the mind with a sharpened awareness of distractions. The whole of atmavinigraha is a matter of alertness and awareness. If I am alert and conscious of what my mind is doing, I always have choice over my way of thinking . With choice, I can change and can conform my behaviour to values, learn from mistakes, and can hold to commitments in the face of distraction.
A Mmanager should necessarily have the complete mastery of his/her mind by imbibing this golden value of atmavinigraha. Being endowed with spontaneous thinking (where universal values become personal and assimilated values) he/she is shorn of personal likes and dislikes to have a dispassionate view of all the emerging situations and deal with the problems effectively. If his judgment is clouded with personal prejudices without atmavinigraha, his decisions may become arbitrary, affecting the overall functioning of the organization adversely. Aatmavinigraha may be candidly relevant to the manager at corporate level while facing ethical dilemmas.

VALUE 10: “INDRIYARTHESU VAIRAGYAM: State of Dispassion towards the Object of Sense Organs:

As explained by Dr. Parthasarthy INDRIYARTHESU VAIRAGYAM means a ‘state of dispassion towards the objects of sense organs’ or the absence of compelling drive for worldly pleasures and possessions’. Raga is more than just a fancy or preference; it is craving for something. One who is free from such cravings is called vairagi and his bhava – the state of mind – is called vairagyam. Dispassion is, however, not a state of inner suppression. It is (rather) a serene state of mind characterized by total objectivity towards the things of the world, the objects of the senses. Dispassion is gained by clearly seeing objects for just what they are: by seeing, without subjective distortion, just how objects relate to me , to my happiness and welfare.

Basically, a human being seems to find himself to be a wanting person, with all compelling desires turn upon this human sense of want. That I want to be a complete person and which, I am not(as I am), is the common human experience. Seeing myself as incomplete, unfulfilled, inadequate, insecure, I try to bring completeness to myself by the pursuit of pleasures and acquisition of things. I devote myself to two of the fundamental human pursuits – the struggle for kama and that for artha. . Kama in Sanskrit stands for all forms of sense pleasures. Kama indicates not just eating, but gourmet eating; not just drinking, but drinking as a compelling pleasure. Artha stands for all the things which I think will bring security in life to me: wealth, power, influence, fame and name.
As a human being, there will be no end to my longing and struggle for artha and kama, so long as I feel both insecure and incomplete and think that artha and kama can make me complete and end my insecurity. Till then I will not be able to gain Indriyarthesu vairagyam, dispassion for sense objects. To become free from the compelling drive of raga, the desire for artha things, and kama pleasures, I must by analysis and discernment recognize that no number of things would ever make me secure nor could any amount of pleasure fill my sense of emptiness. I must discover that my struggle to fulfill my sense of want is endless. No accumulation of wealth is ever enough to silence the inner anxiety, no pleasure sufficient to bring lasting fulfillment. Moreover, gain of any kind of wealth also involves loss: a loss through the expenditure of time and effort required; a loss through responsibility assumed; a loss through some other alternative abandoned. No gain I obtain through effort is ever absolute. A lasting sense of security is never achieved through artha.
Similar is the result when I analyze pleasure. Human struggle for pleasure does not produce lasting contentment. In the subjective world I see objects as desirable, undesirable or neutral (neither desired nor undesired). What I desire, what brings me pleasure, is subject to constant change, depending upon three factors: availability of object of pleasure, availability of the appropriate effective instrument for enjoying the object, and presence of the proper frame of mind for enjoying the object. Analysis of pleasure shows that it , like other possessions, fails me in my effort to find fullness and completeness. Pleasures proves to be momentary and capricious, while possessions, no matter how many, do not equate with security, and I clearly see that the best I can hope for in the aggregation of wealth is the exchange of one kind of anxiety for another.When I don’t place my security, my fullness, my happiness in these things, they gain an objective disposition for me. I quit giving them extra capacity which they do not have in reality. Then, I am objective about them. I am dispassionate. This is the mental state of vairagya, which is an important value. Vairagya is a state of mind brought about by understanding, not compelled by a commitment to self-denial or deprivation. Things do not catch and hold me. I catch them. When I see the things as they are; that state of seeing is called indriyarthesu vairgyam.
In the management
context, a manager with a serene state of mind characterized by total objectivity towards the things of the world, including the objects of the senses, can have the dispassionate view through non-attachment with artha and kama, to steer clear of all the ethical dilemmas faced by him. If he/she get swayed by the worldly objects of the senses, disregarding indriyarthesu vairgyam, there is no end to his ethical dilemmas, as recently faced by Mr. Paul Wolfowitz, who had to resign as the World Bank President, having favoured his companion lady employee for her high paying promotion. Such examples at the corporate level, both within India and abroad, abound to show how passions of the senses have brought bad name both to the individuals and the institutions concerned.
CONCLUSION
Thus, the attitudes and ways of thinking called jnanam values, as specified above, have relevance for every one, including the present day manager. Reflecting upon them will certainly provide a keen insight and a profound grasp of the working of the mind, to make it more contemplative and steady. These basic values, if sincerely developed, shall usher a mind, which is beautiful, proactive as objective instrument, quiet alert, and effective. It is a mind ready for any study or pursuit. Such a mind unsplit by internal conflict, undismayed by external adversity, has the best possible preparation for daily life as well as for facing the ethical dilemmas faced by the manager. Such values enhance the quality of life , whatever one’s activities may be. Daily life gains efficiency and cheerfulness-even radiance- when these values are personally assimilated norms. One becomes a cheerful person, both saintly and effective. True saintliness makes one the most effective person possible in any situation or transaction, as he/she is totally objective. His /her appreciation of given circumstances is not clouded by subjective conditioning. Like a saint, such a manger sadhak clearly sees the facts for what they are and can make and act upon a fact-based judgment free from subjective interpretation or need. We may conclude this humble attempt with:
Vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprha
nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati (BG 2.71)
“A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he alone can attain real peace.”


Ved Prakash

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Human Values from Bhagwad Gita(4-6(

HUMAN VALUS FROM BHAGWAD GITA (4-6) Continued from previous posts

VALUE 4: KSANTI: Attitude of Accommodation:

According to Swami(Dr.) Parthasarthy, Ksanti is a positive attitude (and not painful resignation) signifying ‘accommodation.’ The attitude of ksanti means that I cheerfully, calmly accept the extraction or demand that another person(or situation) should make, in order to conform to what I think would be pleasing to me. I accommodate situations and people happily. All relationships require accommodation. The value must be built upon an understanding of the nature of people and relationships between them. I will never find in one person all qualities which I like, or all qualities which I dislike, having a mixture of things which I find appealing and others which I find non-appealing. Similarly, I am also both appealing and non-appealing. No one is going to find me totally likeable.
When I recognize these facts, I will see that every relationship is going to require some accommodation from me. I am not going to be willing or, perhaps, be able to change and meet all expectations other people have of me, nor are they for themselves. In particular, relationships with such things which I strongly dislike, require accommodation from me. If I can change the person or can put distance between him/her and me without avoiding duty, that is fine. But if I can not, I simply must accommodate happily, taking the person as he/she is. I can expect neither the world nor the people to change in order that I may be happy. It is just not possible to compel people to change to meet my image of what they should be like. More often than not, when I want change from others, they will just as strongly want change from me. It will be a stand –off. Hence, the need for an attitude of ksanti or accommodation.

For an attitude of accommodation(ksanti) I should lessen my expectations from others and place every one, whether a friend or a fool, in the same category. No one should ever be able to disappoint me but should only be able to surprise me. And my attitude should be that I am prepared to accommodate all surprises! I should accommodate people and take them as they are. Swami (Dr.) Parthasarthy has beautifully stated that "I do not ask the sun to quit shining and appreciate the mixed blessing of hot shining sun, nor do I hate honey bees for the fear of receiving a sting and appreciate the place of honey bee and enjoy honey." Anyway, the world is wide. Variety makes it more interesting. Thus, there is room enough to accommodate all.

To be free to respond to a person I must be free of mechanical reactions and choose the actions deliberately. A reaction is a mechanical non-deliberative behaviour on my part, being rather a conditioned response borrowed from previous experience, which response I measure against the value structure which I am trying to assimilate but which I just allow to happen. Reactions can go against all my wisdom and learning and prior experiences. I may have read all the scriptures of the world, may be a great student of ethical systems, or may be professional counselor to others, but when it comes to a reaction, mine may be just as mechanical as that of every one else. Therefore, until my ethical values become thoroughly assimilated and comprise a ground out of which right attitudes and actions spontaneously arise, I must, through alertness, avoid reactions and, instead, deliberately, reflectively choose my attitudes and actions. When I avoid reactions, I am free to choose my actions and attitudes - I can choose to be accommodative in my thoughts, words and deeds.

Ksanti (accommodation) is a beautiful and saintly quality. Among all the qualities, ahimsa and ksanti constitute the qualities of a saint. One need not have wisdom, one need not have scriptural learning to be saint, but one must have these two values. A saint is a person who never consciously hurts another person by action, word or thought, and who accepts people – good or bad –just as they are. He is the one who has endless capacity to be accommodative, forgiving, merciful, which are included in the quality (or value) called ksanti, which attitude expands one’s heart. Through ksanti, the heart becomes so commodious, it accommodates all people and circumstances just as they are , without desire or demand that they be different10.

As a Manager, in order to discover within myself a value for accommodation, I should look at the person behind the act, and respond to the person, not to the action. Usually, when I am responding to the behaviour of the person, or to his action, that I find it difficult to be accommodative. But when I try to understand the cause behind the action(e.g. what is behind the fit of anger or outburst of jealousy or domineering manner) and respond to the person( not to his actions) I find it easy to be accommodative, and the potential conflict situations are minimized. Moreover, this value of accommodation(ksanti) when fully imbibed , will ultimate lead to the discovery of Self, which will further sensitise the Manager for understanding others(his seniors, subordinates and others concerned viz. lients, vendors,etc.)
in the image of Self, and be more accommodative and elicit fuller cooperation towards achievement of the goals set forth.

VALUE 5: “ARJAVAM”: Straight-forwardness:

Arjavam means ‘straightness.’ When used as a value, ‘straightness’ or arjavam is like the English word rectitude (from the Latin word rectus, straight), which means ‘conduct in accordance with one’s thought and words.’ When there is rjubhava (arrow-like straightness) between a physical action and the word, or between the word and the thought, the alignment is called arjavam . When I think of one thing and say another, or when I say one thing and do another, or when I think about one thing and do yet another third thing, all of these constitute a non-alignment of thought, words and deeds on my part. Avoidance of this gap, this division between word and action, word and thought, and action and thought, is arjavam .Arjavam can be considered to be extension of satya vacanam, truthful speech. Arjavam includes not just speech but thoughts and actions also. For arjavam, my actions must be true to my words and my words true to my thoughts.

Non-alignment ( of thoughts, words and deed) results in a splintered personality. By such non-alignment I become disintegrated, being no longer a whole person. When there is conflict between my values and myself I become splintered. I am not ‘together’. If there is a gulf between me the thinker, and me the speaker or actor, the result will be a restless mind troubled by guilt and conflict. For such a mind, Self-knowledge is a far cry. To be prepared to listen to the teaching of Vedanta, one needs to be ‘together’, not split. Therefore, arjavam, the alignment of thought, word and deed is included as one of the values of jnanam.
A Mmanager shorn of this value with the splintered and disintegrated personality can not perform the leadership role, as no body will trust and respect him and a crisis of confidence may emerge, where both his seniors and juniors may find him a suspect and unreliable. In contrast, if he sincerely imbibes the Arjavam value, he will certainly be a honourable person to be reliable and worthy enough to become a leader of his team, and accepted as a leader in his/her own right.

VALUE6: ACARYOPASANAM: Service to the Teacher:

Acaryopasanam, which primarily means ‘service to the teacher’, is a value which is deeply embedded in Hindu culture. Its intensity and universality within the culture show the high regard for knowledge and for the teacher who imparts it. It is also used to indicate specific aspects of the student-teacher relationship, including Gurukula vasa. ‘Meditation upon the teacher’, which means meditation upon the teachings by keeping the teacher(acarya who stands for the vision of the teaching) in one’s heart. ‘Service and surrender’ is, however, the general meaning of acaryopasanam, in which sense Lord Krishna uses the term when talking to Arjuna. However, it requires a certain discrimination in its exercise and care must be taken in choosing, as it can lead to exploitation of the value holder, if the teacher is not a responsible person.

Service to the teacher implies a whole frame of mind, characterized by surrender of personal ego, subordination of personal likes and dislikes, a willingness to give without demanding any return, and a general attitude of respect and devotion, towards the teacher. Thus, acaryopasanam ,is a great personal surrender made only to such a person who has no need of this kind of surrender, or service., to be the beneficiary of the attitude of acaryopasanam. Only a person who has clear steady knowledge of the truth of Self is without needs.In acaryopasanam, willingness to serve is the most significant, rather than the particular act of service done. Through such an attitude of unquestioning , complete service the student becomes blessed. When the teacher is true to his name and the nature of service is understood, the surrender of acaryopasanam is a beautiful value, blessing the student and making his mind receptive to the knowledge to be unfolded. In gaining any discipline of knowledge, respect for the teacher is an essential element.

In the management scenario , both the manager and his subordinates need inculcate this value by respecting their seniors from whom they have learnt many professional aspects of management. Such a spirit of service paves way not only to teach and learn more but also better understanding and communication among them. Service to the teacher (acaryopasanam) is a beautiful value as it inculcates a spirit of gratitude towards the teacher /person from whom the particular knowledge or skill has been acquired.

Ved Prakash

Friday, August 22, 2008

Human Values From Bhagwad Gita(2-3)

VALUE 2: ADAMBHITVAM: Absence of Self-Glorification:

According to Swami Dr. Parthasarthi Adambhitvam is the mental attitude in which damba is absent . Dambha is an expression quite similar to the manitvam, namely, manifestation of self-glorification, although the foundation of the expression differs. While manitvam’s conceit is an expression based on real achievements and abilities, the claim to fame caused by dambha stems from pretended or fabricated accomplishment and abilities. Thus, a dambhi is one who claims achievements that are not his or pretends to possess abilities which he does not have. It is called dambha when 'I trumpet my glory for what is not there, when by design I give the impression that I am something, which I know I am not'. Dambhitvam( self-glorification) brings with it the need to be ever alert and to have a long memory, while truth does not require any special remembering.
Such expression to dambhitvam manifests because I think that through my pretences I will impress others who will then respond to me in a way that will make me feel good, as I do not feel good about myself. I do not accept myself as I am. I find myself unacceptable. So, I present myself as I think I would like to be or in a way which I think will impress others. It is particularly absurd because it brings even less comfort than manitvam to the mind which harbours it. Self-glorification is a big problem for the mind. Any dambhitvam is commitment to falsehood. This attitude is not conducive to the frame of mind which is receptive to the teaching of Vedanta, which stresses on owning up and seeing myself as I am. The truth of the Self that Vedanta reveals to me is that I lack nothing., with the non-dual reality of myself being limitless. I should be free from self-condemnation. Through Dambhitvam, my commitment to falsity and outright rejection of my relative self, falsify even a desire for freedom. When Dambhitvam (self-glorification) goes away, the mind will enjoy the sate of adambhitvam, i.e.the absence of phoniness, hypocrisy and pretence. With such a mind I become a real person., who is a simple person. The complex person is a false person, for whom there is no learning , but only hiding and tension. Neither any scripture nor any master can help a person with a mind ruled by pride and pretence.
When I truly see the futility and absurdity of the attitude of manitvam and dambhitvam, these negative values will drop off, leaving me with a mind reflecting amanitvam and adamhitvam, the absence of pride and pretence. A mind which is simple and factual is the kind of mind which is ready to discover the truth of Self .
A manager inspired with the value of adambhitvam, will have spontaneous respect from his/her colleagues and subordinates to elicit the best of cooperation from them. In contrast , the one who has the disvalue of dambhitvam (self-glorification) will not be able to inspire adequate confidence to be an effective manager/leader, as his /her very attitude based on falsehood, which pretence does not long last, will expose him/her in the eyes of the concerned person and slur his image.

VALUE 3: “AHIMSA”: Non-Harmfulness:
According to Swami(Dr.) Parthasarthy, Ahimsa means ‘non-injury or non-harmfulness,’ and reflects one’s desire to live free of hurt or pain or threat of any sort. If I know that someone holds hurtful thoughts about me , I feel hurt, despite such thoughts being not expressed in deeds or words. Ahimsa means not causing harm by any means: by deeds kayena, by words, vaca, or by thought, manasa. The moot point that why should I not hurt other beings is because I do not want to be hurt myself. Commonsense ethics dictates that I can not do unto another what I do not want to be done to me. So Ahimsa, non-injury becomes a value for me . Ahimsa is a simple commonsense dharma, confirmed by the Vedas, and by all scriptures but subject to interpretation. If an act which is literally injurious is otherwise meant for the benefit of another, such as the cut of the surgeon’s knife, it is not himsa. In a relative world absolute ahimsa is not possible.

Vegetarianism is an example of the application of the value of ahimsa. In India, where there are more vegetarians than anywhere else in the world, vegetarianism is squarely based on the Vedic mandate: Himsam na kuryat: Do not harm. For the man, unlike animals, whose self-consciousness brings into play a will that is free to choose many means to meet life’s ends, including the basic need, food. Being not pre-programmed, man must choose the kind of food he eats There is also evidence that human dental and digestive systems are more suitable for a fruit grain vegetable diet than for meat. They have fewer degenerative diseases and live longer, and enjoy a more vigorous old age than do their meat eating neighbours. Moreover, all living beings have a value for life and seek to live harm-free. Animals, birds, fish- all mobile creatures- run away when they know I am trying to catch them for the stew pot. When I do catch them, they struggle and cry. Therefore, it is evident that they do not want to be hurt, that they want to live. Since I have been given free will to choose the food to sustain myself, I must find some norm to guide me in choosing that food. The gift of free will carries with it a responsibility to follow an ethical norm in the exercise of that will. My commonsense dharmic norm for choice of food tells me that 'I should not make ‘somebody’ my dinner since I do not want to be somebody’s dinner.' Those who cry in protest or struggle against me are more ‘somebody’ than plants rooted in one place, which quietly give up their fruits for my food, normally without even surrendering their lives. Thus, plant food is the rational/ethical choice for human diet.

The value for ahimsa requires daily alertness and sensitivity in all areas of life It is a value that finds expression in my attitude towards plants also, besides toward human beings and animals. Wanton destruction of plant life indicates a lack of sensitivity for the value of ahimsa. Ahimsa is a value for not destroying or damaging any part of creation., of which I too, am part. With regard to my fellow human beings, I watch out those words or acts or even thoughts which may be hurtful. I develop a finer appreciation of the feelings of others. I come to see beyond my own needs, to the needs of those around me. I treat all things and beings with sensitivity and appreciation of their common existence with me. With such an attitude I become alert , observant person with a sensitive saintly mind which is ready to hear and appreciate the truth of Vedanta. Ahimsa is an important value among the values that constitute the jnanam for gaining Self-knowledge.

With such finer appreciation of feelings of others by inculcating this golden values of Ahimsa, a manager becomes adequately sensitized to handle human element in the enterprise more effectively, minimizing the conflict situations adequately. Through Ahimsa by causing no harm by any means: by deeds , by words, or by thought, the manager becomes proactive enough to have more friends, both within the organization and outside, to build more and more bridges of understanding (than misunderstanding) and reap full advantage through this positive endeavour, both for himself and his organization. ' Environmental protection', an essential part of Ahimsa, has also become sine qua non of corporate existence and survival. Environmental protection', an essential part of Ahimsa, has also become sine qua non of corporate existence and survival.

Ved Prakash

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Human Values from Bhagwad Gita

HUMAN VALUES FROM BHAGWAD GITA: RELEVANCE FOR MODERN MANAGEMENT Human and ethical values have been the very foundation of Indian scriptures, including Bhagwad Gita. Here, attempt is being made to provide some insights into the qualities ( values) for jnanam (knowledge) espoused by Lord Krisna to Arjuna, as enshrined in Chapter 13 of the Bhagwad Gita. While explaining these values, it has also been endeavoured to provide their relevance to the modern management. It is hoped that these values, if sincerely put into practice, will manifest attitudinal change in the mind of the modern day managers. Each of the total twenty values are proposed to be covered in 20 posts(one in each post) to facilitate better assimilation of these values.Values are the deeply held beliefs of individuals and groups what they cherish as desirable or good. Rokeach (1973) defines value as an “enduring belief that is personally or socially preferable to opposite or converse mode of conduct or a state of existence.In essence, values are our bedrock conception of what we want (or want to avoid)". Indian philosophical studies, both in the past and present , have emphasized the significance of value in the human life –situation. Indian Philosophical tradition has been value-centric within the background of deep religio-spiritual foundation, with dharma being deeply ingrained in its cultural heritage. Dharma is intrinsically ethical. Right from the Vedic period four main values of life have been highlighted in Purushartha, which incorporates Dharma(righteousness), Artha(wealth), Kama(enjoyment) and Moksa (salvation or liberation). Three main ways (margas) of Indian life are closely associated with the trio Satyam (truth), Shivam(good) and Sundram (beauty). These have been considered as basic values of the Indian ethos.
The present alarming erosion of human values in management practices leading to ethical dilemmas could prove a threatening factors for all round development of a nation. India has the eternal wealth of human values which were taught in the cosmic science of Bhagwat Gita and Upanishads. One has to inculcate and develop these human values for leading a peaceful integrated life, as also for reorientation of various management practices for the achievement of managerial goals . Such transformation would not only better ones own life but also help to attain peace and prosperity in the practice of business in the world of corporate management. Today, the essence of human values is the nourishing factor for 'the management capability' of a manager, who is the leading figure of the management scenario.
The Bhagwad Gita is considered as the essence of the Vedas and Upanishads. One of the greatest contributions of India to the world is the Holy Bhagwad Gita .Today the ancient Indian philosophy of Bhagwad Gita , which has entered inter alia in the managerial domain of the world, has found its place not only as an alternative to the theory of modern management, but also as an inspirational source to individuals by bringing them back the right path of peace and prosperity . The management lessons from Bhagwad Gita have been illumined to the world by many Indian saints including Swami Chinmayananda, Swami (Dr.) Parthasarthy, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who has called the Bhagavad-Gita as the essence of Vedic Literature and a complete guide to practical life., as it provides “all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level..” It reveals the deep, universal truths of life that speak to the needs and aspirations of everyone. To motivate Arjuna to do his duty, the Bhagavad Gita was preached in the battlefield of Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna . For the present day managers , who are also facing similar ethical dilemmas, albeit in a bit different scenario, Bhagwad Gita has got all the management tools to provide the mental equilibrium and to overcome any crisis situations through inspirational messages gleaned from it. The Bhagavad Gita can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation. This divine book will contribute to self -reflection, finer feeling and deepen one's inner process, making the worldly life more dynamic, full of joy—no matter what the circumstances might be- through attitudinal changes in the individuals. What makes the Holy Gita a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to connect with our deepest intangible essence , leading us to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge.
In Chapter 13 of the Bhagwad Gita , Lord Krishna , in response to a question by Arjuna about jnanam ( knowledge) and jneyam (that which is to be known), lists 20 qualities of the mind (values) which must be present before the mind of the seeker. The values to be personally valuable must be discovered through knowledge (seen as valuable by the value-holder) and not simply impressed upon from without. Although the list of values constituting jnanam is long, yet the qualities(values) stated therein are inter-related , defining a harmonious frame of mind in which knowledge can occur. Each of the them highlights a certain attitude, the value for which must be discovered personally, in order that attitude becomes a natural aspect of the seeker’s frame of mind . Lord Krisna declares all these to be knowledge, and anything beyond these as ignorance.
These qualities or human values have been stated in the Bhagwad Gita as follows:
Amanitvam adambhitavam ahimsa ksantir arjavam
Acaryopasanam saucam sthairyam atma-vinigraha (BG:13.8)
Indriyarthesu vairagyam anahankara eva ca
Janma-mryyu-jara-vyadhi- dukha-dosanudarsanam (BG:13.9)
Asaktir anabhisvangah putra-dara-grhadisu
Nityam ca sama-cittatvam istanistopapattisu(BG: 13.10)
Mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini
Vivikta-desa-swevitvam aratir jana-samsadi (BG:13.11)
Adhyatma-jnana-nityat vam tattva-jnanartha-darsanam
Etaj jananam iti proktam ajnanam yad ato ‘nyatha.(BG 13.12).
Let us discuss these twenty values (one by one) for jnana (knowledge) advised by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, to ascertain their relevance in assisting the modern management for efficient and effective performance of various functions by the managers and guide them for ethical dilemmas faced by them.
VALUE 1: “AMANITVAM”: Absence of Self-Worship-fullness
According to Swami(Dr.) Parthasarthy, Amanitvam originates from Sanskrit word manitvam , which means extending to conceit or haughtiness. It is an exaggerated opinion about oneself. ' Manah' implies that whatever qualification one has looms large in one’s mind as worthy of respect and regards from others. Thus, manitvam stands for exaggerated self -respectfulness or self- worshipfulness. The value Amanitvam indicates the absence of such self-worshipfulness.
A simple , factual self-respectfulnesss , in fact, is a good quality of mind. The problem arises only when self-respectfulness is exaggerated into self-worshipfulness, which undesirably incites others 'to show me the respect that I feel is my due.' But,' when I demand respect, rarely will it be given to me on my terms'. The person upon whom I make such a demand may not respond. Or, he/she may be suffering from his own manitvam, and respond with hostility or make a demand upon me for greater respect. The result can be mutual hurt, friction between each other, troubled minds.
The basis/cause of self-worshipfulness is found in a deep underlying doubt in my own mind about my own qualifications. When I am completely certain that I have, in full measure, the qualifications that I claim, I have no need to demand from others respect for them. Manitvam arises because I do not seem to accept myself as one who is qualified. The demand from others for recognition shows that I need some support so that I can feel that I am somebody. This demand comes from an inner sense of emptiness, a lack of readiness to accept myself as I am, because I secretly fear that what I am not good enough.. ' I assert not just my qualifications, but my qualification in the glorified light in which I view them.'
Hurt is possible when there is a ‘bloated ego’ or pride. Inflated ego is disproportionate, with excessive significance attached to what I know, what I feel, what I possess, what I do, how I look. With this over emphasis on a ‘knower-doer-I’ comes the expectation of a certain response from others recognizing my importance. When response does not come, then comes hurt. A hurt -deflated ego tends to spend a lot of time planning how to teach a lesson to the one who brought about the hurt, and… with lot of hurts, the list of those who have to be taught a lesson is likely to be long. For such a person, sitting quietly in meditation is not possible. In such a firmament of the mind the luminaries are all the people who caused hurt; and it is upon them that he dwells in meditation. 'A hurt mind is like a monkey’s wound, which does not heal but only gets reopened.'
It is fine to have abilities and to use them; but abilities should be allowed to speak for themselves . 'My attitude towards my accomplishments should be like a flowering bush towards its blossoms. It blooms because it must bloom'. And this is the way I should be about my gifts and skills. I should simply use them as best I can because that seems to be what I am supposed to do. People who have a value for these particular abilities may give me some respect for them, (while) others who have no value for these particular abilities, no doubt, will ignore them. I should let my actions themselves command respect from those who are able and willing to extend it, but I should never demand the respect.
Manitvam (Self-worshipfulness) is displaced when its foolishness is realized. It will cease to be a value for me when I clearly see for myself that its very basis is false, and, that it does not work. My concern with the respectful attitudes of others is a tremendous squanderingof my mind’s time. Moreover, self-worshipfulness is never justified by accomplishment. I claim the honour for my accomplishments because I consider myself the author of the acts,the producer of my skills or gifts, for which there must be a body to wield them. But I didnot author the body that houses me, which came to me with certain inherent potential or predisposition. Even if I subscribe to the belief in reincarnation and my karmas, I can claim neither authorship nor knowledge of the particular laws that ordained this body. My jivatav (apparent separate individuality) housed for the moment in this particular upadhi(body) is anadi (beginningless) like creation itself, of which it is a part. 'I am neither the author of creation, nor am I the author of my body. 'Therefore, I can exploit the abilities provided to me but I did not create them.
Moreover, even in the exploitation of my skills, sheer ability is not the determinant of success or failure, which are because of certain opportunities I had, as well as because of my personal effort. I can not claim to have created or commanded the opportunities, which were given to me as I happened to find myself in the right circumstances, grow and learn what I needed to learn, happen to meet the right persons, and someone provided me right guidance at the right time. There is, thus, no place for manitvam. I should rather be grateful for whatever abilities I seem to have.Every time manitvam pops up , assume the position of a dispassionate analyst and try to understand its foolishness under the particular circumstances. To be effective, I must conduct my analysis of manitvam without self-condemnation or regret and try to see things as they are. From the position of an observer I can see the senseless of my expectations in all their absurdity. I should see that my real problem(in seeking self-worshipfulness) is my basic feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt, which is made worse, not better, by harbouring manitvam. In contrast, when I enjoy amanitvam I become a simple person, who does not have any complexities.However, a prideful ego, despite being irrational, is very common problem, especially in Western society, where individualism has come to be so highly prized. It will also be noticed that amanitvam is a quality of mind conducive to discovery of Self.
A Manager, who is imbibed with the quality of mind (value) of amanitvam ( Absence of Self-Worship-fullness), will be shorn of complexities, and, therefore, have lesser conflict situations, as people will respect him for his /her qualities of their own and extend cooperation towards achievement of organizational goals. On the contrary, if he/she seeks Manitvam (Self-worshipfulness) the concerned persons shall start doubting his credentials and not respect him spontaneously. Moreover, if he/she could imbibe this value by constant reinforcement/ practice, this will also give him the advantage of quality of mind that is conducive to discovery of Self, making him a perfect Manager and a perfect man.
Let us, therefore, ponder over this value of amanitvam ( Absence of Self-Worship-fullness), and inculcate it to the best of our endeavour, to become perfect individuals and effective Managers.

Ved Prakash