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Essence of Bhagavad Gita in Management Studies

Bhagavad Gita the most holy book in the Hindu philosophy. Lord Krishna through this book teaches not only Arjuna but also the entire world the deep, universal truth of life that speaks to the need and aspirations of everyone. Arjuna got mentally very depressed when he saw his relatives in the battle filed against whom he had to fight. To motivate him Bhagavad gita was preached by Lord Krishna in the battle filed of kurukshetra to do his duty when multitudes of men stood by waiting.

Management is a process of aligning people and getting them committed to work for a common goal to the maximum social benefit – in search of excellence. The critical question in all managers’ minds is how to be effective in their job. The answer to this fundamental question is found in the Bhagavad Gita, which repeatedly proclaims that “you must try to manage yourself.” The reason is that unless a manager reaches a level of excellence and effectiveness, he or she will be merely a face in the crowd.

Management in principle teaches us to become better leaders, art of delegation, motivation and communication, work commitment, developing human resource, planning and executing, way of enhancing knowledge and developing the overall managerial skills.

1. Leadership: Leadership, a critical management skill, is the ability to motivate a group of people toward a common goal. Therefore it is necessary for a leader to be a visionary and seek the wave forward. The Essence of leadership is well explained in the Bhagavad gita – Chapter 7, Verse 11 by lord Krishna to Arjuna “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” It is very important that a leader is the one who believes in self-excellence which is attained by doing his duties rightly first. Bhagavad Gita talks about the meaning of life and its purpose. Its talks about what a human being finally attains self- realization and how karma plays an important role in shaping up our lives.

2. Motivation: Motivation is the driving force which causes us to achieve goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and grades, coercion and threat of punishment. This situation is explained by the theory of self-transcendence propounded in the Gita. Self-transcendence involves renouncing egoism, putting others before oneself, emphasizing team work, dignity, co-operation, harmony and trust – and, indeed potentially sacrificing lower needs for higher goals, the opposite of Maslow. The essence of Motivation is well explained in the Bhagavad gita – Chapter 2, Verse 47 “You certainly have a right to prescribed activities, but never at any time in their results. You should never be motivated by results of the actions, nor there should be any attachment in not doing your prescribed activities”

3. Decision Making: A decision is a choice. “The object of studying philosophy is to know one’s own mind, not other people’s – commenting on philosophers – William Ralph Inge.
In eighteen chapters, seven hundred verses, the Bhagavad Geeta devotes itself to one task – making one decision. It does so through its protagonist, the warrior Arjun, and the metaphor of war. It does so by enabling Arjun to undertake a voyage of self-discovery so he can master the art of making a complex decision in the face of conflicting value.

Take all the philosophy and psychology of the Gita and boil it down to its essence and we end up with some very practical tips. World philosophers and spiritual leaders of today and yesterday teach tips that are not very different from that.

A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all” – Georges Bernanos – 1955

Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions” -Aristotle in 4th century BC.

Prof. Jharna Lulla

Faculty Economics and Placement Officer

International School of Management Excellence

The author of the article is Prof. Jharna Lulla, faculty at International School of Management Excellence, Navi Mumbai. She has done her Masters in Economics and PGDM. She has extensive experience in Industry before moving to academics. Prof. Jharna is currently writing a book on Macro Economics and is a prolific writer in journals and magazines.