Man-Agement: The Sanatana Approach – 2 by Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya SignUp
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Man-Agement: The Sanatana Approach – 2
by Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya Bookmark and Share
 
 

MAN-agerial Effectiveness is basically a function of the MAN behind the work. It is an indisputable verity that the ratio of pettiness :: dignity is increasing at a swift pace despite the “better” education, salaries, perquisites etc. available to the individual. In 1995 the salary of Rs. 5 lakhs per annum, the highest-ever in the country, was offered to the toppers from IIM Calcutta by a foreign consultancy company. The average annual salary for 215 IIM Calcutta MBA graduates in 2001 was Rs.18.28 lakhs against Rs. 1.5 lakh in 1995, while the highest salary offered was $225,000. The obvious answer is to increase the denominator in order to reduce the ratio.

The irony of the situation is that although the source of fulfilment is built into the individual, he searches futilely for it outside and perishes in vain frustration. In the words of that great savant Kabir, man is like the musk deer frenziedly seeking in the forest the source of the perfume that is secreted from within itself. Since scarcity is built into the material world, seeking fulfilment there is bound to lead to conflict and meanness. Hence one has to identify the wholeness, purnatva, cultivate the intellectual knowing into an integral realization, an anubhuti which alone can change affective behaviour.

The risk is that living up to values demands some sacrifices of the lower self. The gain is that values are their own reward. To quote Sri Aurobindo: “Our confused and embarrassed, ego-centred, small-motived will and action must cease, and make room for the total working of a swiftly powerful, lucidly automatic, divinely moved and guided force.” This is where the Atma Shatakam of Shankaracharya speaks tellingly to us:

“I have a body but I am not the body.
I have the senses but I am not the senses.
I have a mind but I am not the mind.
I have an intellect but I am not the intellect.
I am the self, luminous, pure, consciousness
— complete, perfect, Bliss.”

These verses illustrate the progression from the grossest level of the Lower Self (the body and senses) through gradually more refined layers (the mind and intellect) to reach ultimately the Higher Self. What is necessary is a process of re-education. Not disowning what I have but not identifying with the lower self either which provides the instruments for action by the self. Self-mastery is the basis for self-development. Man has to be the master of the instruments and not their slave. We need to understand that the Self is not a combination of variables subject to flux which is the nature of the body, senses, mind and intellect. The Self is the Constant and the Perfect. The individual has to come to feel himself as a Perfect Constant with an overlay, a super-imposition of imperfections. The next step is to dis-identify from the imperfect variables and re-identify with the foundation, the Perfect Constant, which is the Self.

This going within, the interiorization, need not inevitably lead to passivity and an inability to function powerfully in the material world. On the other hand, it enhances the power of effective functioning. Romain Rolland pointed this out: “A great ‘Introvert’ will know at the same time how to be a great ‘Extrovert’ (Here the example of Vivekananda seems to be conclusive).

Interiorization has never led in principle to diminution of action. Arguments drawn from the supposed social passivity of mystic India are entirely erroneous...her interiorization, where the fires of her threatened life have taken refuge, is the principle of her national resurrection.”

If the human being is imaged as a lamp then Tamo Guna is the wick of the lamp,Rajo Guna the oil and Sattva Guna the flame. The combination of the three can be altered and the key to managerial effectiveness lies in increasing the proportion ofSattva, reducing the Rajas and Tamas. The keynotes of Sattva are illumination, clarity of understanding free from contamination, poise, serenity, compassion, charity, patience, forgiveness, altruism, transparency, delight; of Rajas movement, fluctuating moods, passion, anger, greed, crookedness, fear, envy, grief; of Tamasobstruction and darkness, confusion, indecision, procrastination, sloth. If Sattva is characterised by intensity, then Rajas is swiftness and Tamas is inertia. The strategy is to use the Rajas by consciously activating the Sattva.

A good example of this Guna Dynamics is provided in the Ramayana, where both Rama and Ravana perform leadership functions of planning, allocating resources, making decisions. But, where Ravana’s is a blind dynamism, Rama’s is illuminated dynamism. Among the three brothers, Vibhishana represents Sattva, Ravana Rajasand Kumbhakarna Tamas. A planned cultivation of Sattva is essential for the change agent because thereby he achieves the correct perception and understanding that is the pre-requisite for planning the effective intervention strategy. Sattva also provides the psychological elasticity that helps to absorb shocks invariable in a change process. Sattva provides an effortless ease and passionless in action while Rajas’ is an effort full of struggle and passionate action that dissipates energy. Because of its integral nature, Sattva also provides theakhanda, holistic, perspective that the fragmented Rajasik mind cannot visualise because of its inability to rise above trivialities (like the pussycat that went to look at the queen and ended up catching a mouse under the chair instead).

The practical method for this is to choose one sattvik quality to increase and onerajasik quality to reduce. During mindful breathing, one imagines breathing in air surcharged with that chosen sattvik quality pervading the whole being, and exhaling a willed expulsion of the chosen rajasik quality.

Part of the Ethico-Moral dimension of values are the theories of Karma andSamskara. Karma is actually the opposite of fatalism and has the following features:

  1. A cause or set of causes at present must have an effect or effects in future.
  2. The effect returns to the source of the cause.
  3. Each cause has its own effect, there is no mutual cancellation.
  4. This law is as valid at the global, national, organisational and family levels as it is for the individual.

The effective manager has to cultivate awareness of the fact that like cause leads to like effect. This will act both as a deterrent and as an incentive. No blow comes without the cause originating from oneself, whether one is aware of it or not. Awareness of this is like a psychological thermostat warning us at the brink of taking a wrong decision. The incentive is that wholesome causes produce wholesome effects. There is no fatalism because I am accountable for whatever happens to me. Fate is shaped by my decisions. It is only this moment’s cumulative effect of a series of choices and causes made by me in the past.

As Sri Aurobindo pointed out,

We ourselves are our own fate through our actions, but the fate created by us binds us; for what we have sown we must reap in this life or another. Still we are creating our fate for the future even while undergoing old fate from the past in the present.”

Arnold Toynbee points out that karma

is a running account in the spiritual life of an individual human being...In a karma account, neither the debit nor the credit entries are cumulative; the debit or the credit balance changes at each fresh entry in the ledger. The ethical level of a society at a particular moment depends on the state of the karma account of each of the participants in the society and on the relative ethical influence—positive or negative—of each participant on his fellow participants...The most important objective for a human being, both for his own sake and for the sake of society, is to improve his karma. The only way to improve it is for him to increase his self-mastery.”

The Karma Theory helps one to be ethically right and be aware at a more holistic level and so not to react from a non-sattvic level leading to worse effects later. Each effect can be used as an opportunity to elevate myself spiritually. This is sadhanaand the need today is for the union of the sacred and the secular, for the Manager-sadhak, the teacher-sadhak, the politician-sadhak. A sadhak is distinguished by the non-bargaining spirit of dedication, doing the task for its own sake, not for the calculations of the lower self.

Dr. Chakraborty points out that Duryodhana’s admission to Krishna (in the “Pandava Gita”) that he knows what is right but is not inclined to do it, and he knows what is wrong but is not inclined to refrain from it, shows that between the intellect knowing something and the acceptance of it by the heart exists a chasm. Hence, right knowing is neither superior to right behaviour, nor equal to it. The gap between them occurs because of Samskaras. Any conscious karma leaves a residue deep within, a karmashaya that goes on accumulating as in a receptacle. It is also built up through everything taken in by the senses from the environment. ThusSamskaras pile up daily unawares. Intellectual knowledge built on that foundation is a thin veneer through which the powerful stored karma breaks out in aberrant behaviour. 

Gunas determine Karma which creates Samaskaras, all three being inter-connected. The remedy lies in being aware of the undesirability of the negativesamskaras and adopting the pratipaksha bhavana, by stilling the mind, withdrawing within and arousing consciously the positive feeling.

Theory & Method of Work

Work is sacrifice which is the basis of all existence. Work done as yajna, not for personal selfish goals, does not bind the worker. The higher order freedoms are not possible till we give up the lower order freedoms. The basic idea is not self-aggrandisement but a whittling away of the ego.

Why work? For lokasamgraha, for welfare of the world and mankind, not for the Self which is complete in itself. If the Creator works incessantly, despite being complete, each person as a spark of His, needs to work in harmony with that spirit of desiring the welfare of society at large.

The principle of non-attachment characterises the Creator and therefore should be emulated. Pandering to the small ego can go against the good of the organisation, society and nation. Ego, when in the forefront, compares itself to others, creates anxiety that sucks out psychic energy. Samattva or equilibrium maintains effectiveness, unaffected by joy and grief, keeping the energy level equable, giving strength to the mind.

The work-place can be used as a moral gymnasium and through the conscious cultivation of sattva guna it can be possible to practise acting detachedly, nishkamakarma. This goes hand-in-hand with yogah karmasukaushalam the true meaning of which is not “skill in works is yoga”, for then a pickpocket’s skill would be yogic, but rather that true skill in work is the capacity to remain linked, be in yoga, i.e. while acting in the external world keep the consciousness anchored to the Higher Self. This can be built up by regularly stepping back consciously while working to practise the re-identification with the Higher Self. This marries work-ethic to ethics-in-work, karma sadhana to dharma sadhana. This linking to the Divine through work that is performed as an offering to Him automatically ensures proper networking with other people since everyone is a creation of that Creator. On the other hand, if ego remains the centre, networking with the Supreme cannot take place, and it also sets up a barrier to establishing networks with other persons. It is a subordination of self-interest to larger interests that will produce a wholesome effect, a goodsamskara for the future.

Regarding Work as Worship is to marry the secular and the sacred, attending carefully to quality because work is regarded as an offering to the Divine, ensuring that every detail is in right order, and right means are used with the right attitude. It brings in sincerity in performance, honesty in means and choosing the best constituents. This leads to the inference that improving quality of work depends on improving the quality of mind, on achieving the Pure Mind. Retaining the inner connection, working while remaining in yoga, is skilful working. The individual intelligence being error-prone improves right decision making by keeping in touch with the Supreme Intelligence and carries on working.

Five variables determine the results of which the individual is only one and therefore we should not arrogate to ourselves the credit. These are:

  1. Adhishtham i.e. body and mind form the ground for the soul to function.
  2. Kartta: the doer.
  3. Karanam: the tools, techniques.
  4. Cheshta: efforts of different types.
  5. Daivam/adrishta: unseen forces.

Work done unselfishly becomes a wholesome cause and leads to a wholesome effect. Swami Vivekananda said, “Those who work without any consciousness of their lower ego are not affected with evil, for they work for the good of the world. To work without motive, to work unattached, brings the highest bliss and freedom.” 

Giving Model of Motivation

Management has to meet the needs of man and elicit motivation. In India in the 1950s a need-based approach was implanted in a socio-economic set up which was that of the USA a century ago. But our own pioneers who had built up the Giving Model long ago. If the Self is complete then the needing model is incorrect as it conceives of man as a bundle of needs. That model is also a luxury our country cannot afford.

Social Concept of Man: Five-fold debts exist, to liquidate which is the purpose of life and that is the model of proper education. From birth we go on accumulating inexorably five kinds of debts by virtue of being born on earth and being a member of society. Hence the proper approach in life, the life-position, is that of being a debtor who must exit this world honourably after discharging these debts:

  1. Deva-rin: Elements and forces supporting human life without man doing anything in return. Acknowledge them, relate to them through emotions, prayer, grateful remembrance of super-human forces. Hence our obligation to take care of ecology.
  2. Rishi-rin: Indebtedness to spiritual legacy, svadhyaya which is to be repaid by reverential study (svadhyaya) and practice (abhyasa) and absorbing it in our lives.
  3. Pitri-rin: Parents and ancestors whose heritage we bear, and we need to relate to them even in spirit by maintaining the noble tradition and taking care of one’s elders.
  4. Nri-rin: humanity at large. The summation of contributions of humanity at large is what I am (for meeting my food, education and other needs). Hence let me work remembering that with gratitude.
  5. Bhuta-rin: sub-human species who make my existence possible. Hence there is to be no exploitation but treating them as co-partners of nature and protecting flora and fauna, i.e. environmental indebtedness.

Recalling all these before working brings a realisation that I am the supreme debtor and creates a duties-and-obligations approach to society vis-à-vis the rights approach. If duties are not done, rights cannot be met; duties are the cause, rights the effect. Duty motivates because I feel indebted from birth. Rewards become a secondary issue. The Giving Model of motivation is a sublimation of Maslow’s concept of self-actualisation that is based on the lower self and which is seen to be unsuccessful both in multinational corporations and public sector enterprises whose top and bottom levels both grouse about the same things, the difference being only difference of scale.

The body is a mansion of nine-doors (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, anus, penis) all opening outwards. The mind is like a pond. Stones fall through the nine doors creating ripples of constant agitation because of which the water cannot reflect reality as it is. Hence truth cannot be comprehended. Self-restraint, points out Tagore in Sadhana, is a means to return to the centre of being, harmonising all warring elements, unifying the disparate elements so that the isolated impressions reduce themselves to wisdom. A freedom from not of impulses is needed, the precise opposite of the indulgence of the senses that the West encourages and is propagating in our country. This is achieved through discipline consisting of the following:

  • self-restraint to control the external senses (sam); and
  • self-control to control internal thoughts (dam).

Together, these create the Constructive Charisma for the leader inspiring others to serve a higher cause that is self-exceeding by nature.

The major leadership problem today is that of a credibility gap in the dimension of values and character, not in technology or skills. This has slapped us in the face with the numerous scams, where eminent public figures have been exposed as highly skilled manipulators of public funds for private benefit. Our social matrix is incredibly complicated because of the complex mix of caste, creed, region, language, to which the decision makers are not sensitive. Everywhere the mess we see is a creation of polluted emotions at work behind sharp intellects leading to a widespread alienation in society.

A credible leadership, on the other hand, is characterised by love and discipline, being transformational by nature, not transactional; believing in commitment, not bargaining. Its end exceeds original expectations and the strategy does not depend on wealth and desire. Transactional leadership, however, invariably produces results that are less than the goal and is dependent on bargaining and negotiation for acquiring wealth and desire. The Transformational Leader moves the team towards ekatmanubhuti, the spiritual emotion of oneness, unity and svarup, the homogeneity essential for working as a team as opposed to namarupa, differentiation that is stressed in competition. The leader seeks to cultivate fourbhavanas (dispositions) within himself and the team that Patanjali mentions:

• maitri (friendliness towards the happy) 
• karuna (compassion for the unhappy) 
• mudita (delight in the virtuous) 
• upekhsa (indifference to those acting wickedly towards him).

The process of education needs to stress the sense of homogeneity and the basic unity of all human beings in the image of a mound of clay as the primary reality that can assume so many different forms of vessels as the second order reality. As Tagore points out in Personality, the logic behind the commandment “Love thy neighbour as thyself” is that we are all basically the same.

Among Team Members discipline is an essential component that is founded upon the traditional Hierarchical structure of the Indian family, such as the duty owed by younger members of a family to the father who responds by making sacrifices for them in turn—the agraj- anuj model like the Japanese sempai-kohai relationship, not a wielding of power by the leader in the Western structural system dependent on formal position of the leader); Obedience, Rituals / Symbols, Danda Niti (law of chastisement) [cf. the diagram of Module 2 above]. The leader must be aware that he is a symbol, like the rajarshi (king-priest) of old. The team is loyal to that symbol and a member does not stand aside if his view is not reflected in the decision but, considering himself part of the whole, implements it whole-heartedly. Our culture-specific attitude of respect for age and pride in and love for the brilliance of the younger members need to form the foundation. This is not anti-technology, as the Japanese experience proves. Hierarchism in this sense is not a separative status but an emotional concern acting as a bond between seniors and juniors, constituting a dynamic flow between different levels in the hierarchy.

In practical terms, a model of decision-making is available. In facing difficulties in reaching a goal, anxiety drives us to jump straight into implementation for somehow getting rid of the disturbing emotion without solving the problem. That is a typical lower self solution. Instead, recollect the heart centre, rise to the Higher Self, gather intuitive wisdom, gain confidence thereby and, in the calm, choose the correct option to achieve satisfaction. Again, anxiety, the besetting problem of the manager, can be countered through cultivating trustful surrender to the Divine. Similarly, to tackle anger by accepting it and expressing it, as western psychiatrists suggest, is to legitimise it, create repeated samskaras and turn it into a habit. On the other hand, to deny it and reject it as an intruder into my domain is the performance of a karma that produces inevitably a good samskara and a good habit leading to developing the capacity to use anger where required in the correct proportion while retaining inner poise and tranquillity.

Rituals and symbols affirm the collective identity through collective rituals since behaviour reinforces attitudes, which in turn reinforce values. For instance, the behaviour of saluting elders enforces the attitude of respect to age and builds up the value of humility. The Japanese industry uses this concept actively. In Matsushita the inductees are indoctrinated in seven spiritual values: humility, gratitude, adjustment, harmony, fairness, national service through industry, struggle for betterment. Through a series of disciplined steps the ritual builds up a mental framework of values.

Dandaniti is the social level of regulatory discipline paralleling the natural phenomena that perform their duties regularly actuated by a grand design. This rod of chastisement is wielded with compassion that comes only after the ruler has been disciplined in self control, self-restraint, renunciation. The principle of your heart weeping as you smite requires that the self be purified before administering chastisement. Today the leader is devoid of credibility and therefore no dandanitiexists. 

Both the leader and the team members need to practise de-egoization as a technique for resolving conflicts that have their seeds in clash of egos. It is easier to surrender my ego before my own God within me, which is why such surrender to the Supreme through meditation works well. The individual mind-heart, vyakti-manais linked to, is part of the universal mind-heart, vishva-mana which responds to the former’s prayers. Maintaining a centre of pure luminous consciousness within creates similar vibrations that envelop the individual. An example of this is Sita placing a blade of grass between herself and the demon-lord, her virtue acting as her sure protection while in Ravana’s custody. Humility is the cardinal virtue that prepares the ground of the mind to receive the seed. Conflict resolution should adopt the model of the mother who tells the elder to be large-hearted towards the younger and share his toys with him, while bidding the younger to beg pardon of the elder for insolence. One expands the individual consciousness, while the other teaches humility.

What of Stress?

This is a product of dvanda, duality. When challenge regresses to stress, the individual collapses, as Arjuna did in the beginning of the Mahabharata war. Krishna leads Arjuna back from demoralising stress to enthusing challenge so that he can respond and act by staying above dualities and beyond gunas. Life has both pain and pleasure and stress occurs out of worry regarding how to avoid pain and get only pleasure without increasing the stress of the existential situation of life having both. For this the Purusha perception has to be developed, staying away fromPrakriti’s government. Stress is in the prakriti layer of personality, especially wheretamas and rajas are involved.

Stress-less action is without desire, attachment, ego. The ideal worker can be intensely active, and yet intensely at rest within, as epitomised in Krishna of the Mahabharata. The nirdvanda (beyond dualities) state can be achieved through either jnana yoga or bhakti yoga. The former links through discrimination to the Higher Self which is purna, complete, and thus rises above dualities by being independent of grief and joy, free of attachment and greed while guarding against relapsing into helpless stoicism. Bhakti yoga is devotional, with the attitude ofsamattva, equanimity, that all is from the Lord and therefore I accept both success and failure, praise and blame with an equable mind.

Remembering the boy Nachiketa’s startling response to the Lord of Death,bhumaiva sukham na alpe sukhamasti (in the finite there is no Ananda; the Infinite alone is blissful) helps to reduce stress as one realises that it is best to approach the Infinite direct instead of through an accumulation of finites. Our motto can be Tagore’s words written in 1920: “The whole of human society has felt the gravitational pull of a giant planet of greed with its concentric rings of innumerable satellites.” With a stable inner poise we are less likely to succumb to external stress, while an impure mind defiled by seventeen impurities is bound to be stressful. Defining Effectiveness as a function of processing [E= f (p)], Dr. Chakraborty points out that the strategy of self-management is to prevent challenge from degenerating into stress, and to restore stressful conditions to the state of challenge. For, challenge is energy-stimulating where stress is energy-dissipating. Chapter 1 of the Gita exemplifies how stress leads to paralysis, while subsequently we see the transformation from this to a condition of challenge, reviving Arjuna to act.

The four ingredients of the inner world are the conscience, the reason, the will (which needs to be strengthened to support the conscience against the calculative reason and the vital impulses) and emotion (being the prime mover, this particularly needs to be purified). When they function harmoniously, supplementing and complementing one another, the personality is integrated. When they work at cross-purposes, the personality disintegrates. The Gita deals with I-ness in the first 6 chapters: with the transcendent in the next six; and identity of the individual and the Cosmic Self in the last six. In IX. 27 it offers a central organising principle of life:Yadkaroshi (all that one does), yadashnashi (all that one enjoys), Yajjhoshi (all that one sacrifices), dadasi yat (all that one gifts), yat tapsyasi (all penance performed i.e. labour with self-denial), tat kurushva madarpanam (offer all that to Me), offering to the Divine as a transcendent focus all that one does. This provides integration as opposed to fragmented existence that concentrates on mundane, ephemeral goals like camels munching thorns over and over again although the mouth bleeds. The call is to be the perfect worker, only an instrument of the Divine: yad yad karma prakurvit tad brahmani samarpayet.

Management depends on values and values depend on perception. Man is the highest sampada, and not a resource that is used by others like material drawn from a reservoir to replenish wants. In that case, a source is necessary to keep the resource ready, filled. Giving up, tyaga, is never negative. Tyaga is a value shift from a lower impulse to what is higher and wholesome, identifying with that, attaching to that which has no first cause, will never decompose: Eternal Bliss. Self-centredness is essential for existence while extended self-centredness is needed for self-actualisation. It is a pilgrimage from self-centredness to self-actualisation to self- transcendence, as from insanity to sanity and on to salvation. The search to know in the world of experience is what sets man aside from other creatures driven by biological need who need security, food, sex too. The seer cannot be seen. The eyes cannot be seen. The subject cannot be made an object of experience. The finger cannot be touched. Man seeks after the truth of external and internal. Man alone seeks to end suffering of fellow humans, seeks the good of all. He loves beauty irrespective of economic status, which produces art. The human spirit is ever pushing ahead, not wanting to be bound, craving freedom.

Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya are the dis-values driving action, paralysing us in tamas or showing off in rajas. They have to be contained. The intellect cannot transform them. Only the mind can. First find out what I value most by purifying the intellect, controlling emotion, so that dharma-karma flows, which is turn purifies further. Select the value and ask if you are willing to pay the price for it through transformation. If we remember the adage; “Sow a thought and reap an act; sow an act and reap a habit (samskara); sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny”, it becomes clear that it is transformation of that thought and not the external scaffolding of behaviour that is the key requirement.

One of the finest examples of this is seen in the concept of rajarshi in ancient India, combining the sacred and the secular, taking care of the general weal by first piercing the veil of ignorance to see the eternal verity [cf. King Milinda: meditation is the spine uniting all values]. One cannot earn or spend properly without dharma. Kama cannot be gratified without discretion, for it will lead to death, hence discipline is needed. Only one thing does not fade away: the divinity within, contacting which is salvation, moksha. Karma is for dharma, hence pure awareness is needed,shuchita, purity. For this it is essential to practise the satyam shivam sundaramvalues and achieve them through contemplation. Everything is in me, and I extend it to all; I am akhanda, whole. Once felt, it is not possible to exploit others, for they are myself. That sums up Dr. Chakraborty’s exposition.

What is of interest is that among forty odd senior managers drawn from private and public sector companies for one such course in IIM Calcutta, which had as its guiding principle a quotation from Sri Aurobindo, “In this calm the right knowledge comes”, there was profound ignorance regarding Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. At the end of the programme the majority of them voiced a desire to be told who Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo were! Thankfully, they had heard of Tagore and knew something of his claim to fame. This is a revealing commentary on the nature of the education being imparted in India to the elite of society. Patanjali and the Gita were regarded as highly esoteric stuff vis-à-vis Maslow, Herzberg, Drucker, Macgregor and such Western management experts who are now styled “gurus”. Obviously, the effects of colonization have not yet worn off, and the roots struck by centuries of slavery are so deeply ingrained that what is native to India strikes its elite as esoteric, while it is at home with whatever is touted by the West as the panacea.

The other side of the picture is that companies like Godrej & Boyce, Bhilwara Group, RBI, SBI, BPCL, MIDHANI, Power Grid Corporation, Telco, NTPC, Shri Ram Fibres, Bharat Electronics, Indian Oil Corporation, IFFCO, have been persisting with such workshops, exposing more and more of their managers and staff to them with positive results in enhancing effectiveness. A small yet striking example was provided in a seminar on these workshops held in the IIM in December 1992. The Deputy General Manager of Godrej and Boyce, a self-proclaimed atheist, declared that in order to get over the nervousness and anxiety he was experiencing before entering the conference hall to address the distinguished gathering, he turned to the chapter on Anxiety in Sri Aurobindo & The Mother’s Living Within. Reading this restored him to an ambient calm frame of being so that he could address the gathering.

Dr. S.K. Chakraborty’s effort is extremely significant because it seeks to reverse the prevailing ethos of India management’s slavish worship of western concepts which the West itself is abandoning in search of the ancient wisdom of the East. The encouraging factor is that the annual workshop on Values held in the IIM Calcutta campus was the most heavily subscribed course offered by the Institute. A Values System Alumni Association came into being and in response to their demand an annual re-enforcement workshop was also started where case-studies developed by participants on their application of these techniques were discussed and lessons drawn for future shaping future conduct. In 1994 and 1995 a large number of civil servants were put through these concepts in the Administrative Training Institute of the Govt, of West Bengal. This was re-started from 2004 and a systematic follow-up is planned with these trainees. The corporate world came forward to fund the setting up of IIM Calcutta’s Management Centre for Human Values conceived by Dr. Chakraborty. Nearly 40 organisations and individuals donated a corpus of almost Rs.4.25 crores within 3 years— such was the regard that the conviction of this modern crusader evoked among the business community. There was no institutional or government funding to propagate India’s ancient yet revolutionary system of human development further, fine-tuning it to suit the modern environment.

It is very encouraging to find that Dr. Debangshu Chakraborty, representing the next generation, is in the process of taking over the baton from his father for furthering the cause of Values to usher in a new era. At present the duo is conducting two 3-day-long training programmes on “Values and Ethics” and “Leadership and Management of Stress”.

It is a remarkable instance of a lone crusade only the management institutes who emulate this sterling effort and Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Ramakrishna Mission, Vishva Bharati and such others join hands to form a movement to infuse spirituality in public life particularly in the world of business!


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9-Dec-2007
More by :  Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya
 
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Solitude and other poems by Rajender Krishan 

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