Like Rajasthani village women who, while carrying pitchers full of water , balanced one upon another on their head, go chatting and laughing about with their friends , are yet mindful that the precious water does not spill over from the pitchers, so should one perform his multifarious duties in this world, ever remaining conscious of Him- this is the anasakt karmyog ( action through non-attachment ) of the Gita symbolically expressed. Non – attachment is living intensely from moment to moment unaffected by disturbing thoughts of past or the future, concentrated on the task in hand. Anasakt karmyog , as described in the Gita ( Ch. II, Verse 48 ) is to ” perform duties dwelling in yoga, with eqanimity of mind, relinquishing attachment and being indifferent to success and failure”. Yoga is defined as ‘ skill in action’ .
Management, whether Corporate or Government, is essentially skilful and optimal utilization of human and material resources available fr achievement of the stated objectives of the organization. Needless to say , the human resource plays a vital role in this regard. The integrity, attitude, diligence, honesty of purpose etc of employees can make or mar an organization. Some may possess these qualities in some measure but it may have to be inculcated in others. The Bhagvad Gita, which though reflects Hindu view of life, is yet relevant to all persons of all religious faiths as it transcends the reigious bounds. It is a practical and spiritual guide to good, uprighteous and successful living even while engaged in mundane affairs. Its main emphasis is on doing one’s duty well , unruffled by the anxieties of success or failure and surrendering the results to God. So, while management courses are necessary to upgrade the technical know how of CEOs and employees, an input from the Gita is also desirable to improve the quality of people employed in the organization.
Every organization has an objective, be it maximizing profit or providing effective governance. The CEO tasked to achieve these objectives has to have, therefore , proper orientation towards the goal. There may also be corresponding promotion to higher ranks for doing the job well or appropriate punishment for showing slackness in results ( though in the Indian bureaucratic system , non-performers are not necessarily punished and often get promoted on the seniority based escalator system on consideration other than merit ).
For achieving good results, stillness of mind is required. A still mind is one which does not get unduly excited about the prospects of success in a particular venture or gets unduly perturbed about a likely failure. There is a story in Mahabharat that Guru Dronacharya, while teaching archery to Pandav and Kaurav princes , asked them to shoot an arrow at the eyes of a clay bird perched on a tree. He then asked each of them what all they had seen while aiming at the bird. All the princes, except Arjun, described the various parts of the tree and the bird. Arjun replied that he could only see the eye of the bird. Drona complimented him for his single pointed concentration and declared him the best archer.
Arjun proved to be the possessor of ‘ still mind ‘ in the field of archery but had a wavering mind in the battlefied of Kuruksheta. Hence the need for Lord Krishna to advise Arjun to do his duty as a warrior without attachment to the fruits of action and being unmindful to the consequences. Arjun was hesitant to battle against his kith and kins but the Lord Krishna exhorted him that it was his duty to fight against injustice and deceit and it would be unbecoming of his reputation as a warrior to run away from battle. ” Your right is to work only but never to the fruit thereof. Let not the fruit of action be your object , nor let your attachment be to inaction ( Ch. II, Verse 47 )”.
Non- attachment to the fruits of action gives eqanimity of mind to a person. He does not get rattled in case of failure nor get delirious in case of success knowing fully well that success or failure are attributable to various tangible or intangible factors over which he may not have control. Decision making , whether in a Corporate or Govt set up, is a vital factor for proper management of the organization. Decisions can be of two kinds- short range and long range. Short range decisions are required for day -to-day functioning and long range for policy matters. Ability to take quick and correct decisions make the organization successful in its day-to-day functioning. Policy decisions require wider consultation with the peers/ experts with an eye on the market trends or public expectations , as the case may be. Only a Leader, who is calm, composed, unruffled, clear about objectives, possessing courage of conviction, unmindful of praise or opprobrium , can take effective and correct decisions. It is surely a tall order for a person to possess so many qualities of heart and mind, but a Karmyogi , as described in Chapter V of the Gita is likely to have most of these qualities. Govt organizations , in particular, suffer from paralysis of decision making and a culture of passing the buck prevails. Since no individual person wants to take responsibility for a decision, committees are formed to take collective decision or for making recommendations so that the responsibility is diffused. The committees take their own time in deliberations and arriving at a certain decision. The same virus of procrastination afflicts the implementing authority. This is largely due to the babu mentality ingrained and deely entrenched in the government system to punish the decision maker if things go wrong but there is virtualy no punishment for the indecisive, the shirker or the non-performer. While in the govt the non-achievers and non- performers not only manage to survive but thrive also, this pernicious culture can spell doom to any private/ corporate enterprise. While a non- performing govt may, if at all, be punished by the public in elections after a period of 5 years, a private sector enterprise, which does not respond quickly and effectively to the market forces , may fold up in no time.
A person performing his job, whether big or small, with an unwavering mind and to the best of his abiity, is more likely to succeed rather than one always worrying about the result. ” In this path of disinterested action, there is no loss of effort nor is there fear of contrary results ( Ch. II, Verse 40 ) “.
A man possessed of equanimity or still mind does not withdraw from action for fear of failure. ” Man does not attain freedom from action without entering upon action nor does he reach perfection merely by renunciation of action ( Ch.III, Verse 40 ) “.
A good CEO not only performs well himself but guides others also in the organization to perform well. ” A wise man established in Me should not unsettle the mind of ignorant attached to action, but should get them to perform all their duties, duly performing them himself ( Ch. III, Verse 26).
Apart from the management jargons used like SWOT analysis, CPM / PERT techniques, MIS, Organizational Methods / Behaviour etc , all management theories end up with a suggestion to improving human resource. It is man behind the system, they say, who plays a pivotal role in the success of the organization. Technical skills alone are not enough. What is also required is conversational skill, proper attitude, commitment and a desire to excel. Such values can not be imparte in training classes, these require proper orientation and practice. A person would endeavour to acquire certain qualities like equanimity, concentration of mind through meditation, physical and mental fitness through yoga etc when he consders that these would help him in personal life also as well as giving him happiness and peace of mind. Teachings in the Gita can help develop some of these qualities., if practised in the manner suggested therein. The Gita is not for renunciates but for men in the thick of action in the mundane affairs of the world.
The predicament that Arjun was in, is common to us all in some ways at some stage in life and Lord Krishna ( or who ever composed the Gita in His glory- perhaps it was Maharishi Ved Vyas ) used this as a pretext to educate and guide us through the trials and tribulations encounteed in the battle of life. It applies to all in whichever profession one may be and whatever caste, creed, gender or religion one may belong to.