Managerial Effectivenes-A Holistic View from The Bhagavad Gita

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Manager’s Mental Health                                                            
The ideas mentioned above have a  close bearing on the mental health of a manager. Sound mental health is the  very goal of any human activity more so management. An expert describes sound  mental health as that state of mind which can maintain a calm, positive poise  or regain it when unsettled in the midst of all the external vagaries of work  life and social existence. Internal constancy and peace are the prerequisites  for a healthy stress-free mind. Some of the impediments to sound mental health  are- 

1. Greed -for power, position, prestige and money. 
2. Envy -regarding others’ achievements, success,  rewards. 
3. Egotism -about one’s own accomplishments. 
4. Suspicion, anger and frustration. 
5. Anguish through comparisons.

The driving forces in today’s rat-race are speed and greed  as well as excessive ambition and competition. The natural fallout from these  forces is erosion of one’s ethical-moral fiber. Although these practices are  taken as normal business hazards for achieving progress, they always end up as  a pursuit of mirage - the more the needs the more the disappointments. This  phenomenon may be called as yayati-syndrome.

In Mahabharata we come across a king called Yayati who, in  order to revel in the endless enjoyment of flesh exchanged his old age with the  youth of his obliging youngest son for a mythical thousand years. However, he  lost himself in the pursuit of sensual enjoyments and felt penitent. He came  back to his son pleading to take back his youth. This yayati syndrome shows the  conflict between externally directed acquisitions, motivations and inner  reasoning, emotions and conscience.

Gita tells us how to get out of this universal phenomenon by  prescribing the following capsules. 

1. Cultivate sound philosophy of life. 
2. Identify with inner core of self-sufficiency. 
3. Get out of the habitual mindset in dealing with the  pairs of opposites. 
4. Pursue excellence by converting work into worship. 
5. Build up an internal integrated reference point  to face contrary impulses, and emotions. 
6. Nurturing ethical-moral rectitude.

Cultivating this understanding by a manager would lead him  to emancipation from the 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.

Bhagawan’s advice is relevant  here: “tasmaat sarveshu kaaleshu mamanusmarah yuddha cha” ‘Therefore  under all circumstances remember Me and then fight’ (Fight means perform your  duties)

Need for Heroes who practice what they preach
Whatever the excellent and best persons  do, the commoners follow, so says Sri Krishna in the Gita. This is the  leadership quality prescribed in the Gita. The visionary leader must also be a  missionary, extremely practical, intensively dynamic and capable of translating  dreams into reality. This dynamism and strength of a true leader flows from an  inspired and spontaneous motivation to help others. “I am the strength of those  who are devoid of personal desire and attachment. O Arjuna, I am the legitimate  desire in those, who are not opposed to righteousness” says Sri Krishna in the  10th Chapter of the Gita.

Conclusion:  Gita’s Ultimate message for Managers
The despondent position of Arjuna  in the first chapter of the Gita is a typical human situation which may come in  the life of all men of action some time or the other. By sheer power of his  inspiring words Sri Krishna raised the level of Arjuna’s mind from the state of  inertia to the state of righteous action, from the state of despair to the  state of faith and self-confidence in the ultimate victory of Dharma (ethical  action).

When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to  fight, Sri Krishna gave him the gospel for using his spirit of intense action  not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own greed and desire, but for  using his action for the good of many. Arjuna responds by emphatically  declaring that all his delusions were removed and that he is ready to do what  is expected of him in the given situation. Sri Krishna’s advice with regard to  temporary failures in actions is ‘No doer of good ever ends in misery’. Every  action should produce results: good action produces good results and evil  begets nothing but evil. Therefore always act well and be rewarded.

And finally the Gita’s consoling  message for all men of action is: He who  follows My ideal in all walks of life without losing faith in the ideal or  never deviating from it, I provide him with all that he needs (Yoga) and  protect what he has already got (Kshema).

In conclusion the purport of this  essay is not to suggest discarding of the Western model of efficiency, dynamism  and striving for excellence but to make these ideals tuned to the India’s  holistic attitude of lokasangraha - for the welfare of many, for the  good of many. The idea is that these management skills should be India-centric.

Swami Vivekananda said that a  combination of both the western and Indian approaches will certainly create  future leaders of India who will be far superior to any that the world has ever  seen.

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