Bhagavad Gita

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Managerial
Effectiveness from
the Perspectives of
the Bhagavad-Gita
By
Balakrishnan Muniapan
School of Business
Curtin University of Technology

Sarawak, MALAYSIA.

Abstract
Managerial effectiveness is predominately culture specific
(Sharma, 2001). This means each country and community
need to develop their own system of developing managerial
effectiveness. Recognizing the important of culture in
management practice, this paper attempts to explore
managerial effectiveness from the perspectives of the
Bhagavad-Gita. The Bhagavad-Gita is an ancient Indian
spiritual and philosophical text and is more than 5000 years old. Chinmayananda (2003) asserted that from time to time
an ancient philosophy needs intelligent re-interpretation to apply effectively in the context of modern times. Based on
text and content analysis of selected verses from the
Bhagavad-Gita, some relevance of the Bhagavad-Gita in the
development of managerial effectiveness is explored in this
paper.

Introduction (1)
People, today is exploring philosophy, transpersonal
psychology, meditation, Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism,
Taoism, and many other spiritual schools of thought.
There has also been an increasing interest in
integrating spirituality and management as the
numbers of articles on spirituality in management
journals are increasing (Kale and Shrivastava, 2003).
One of the ancient Indian spiritual text is the
Bhagavad-Gita or the “Song of the Lord” , which
provides the essence of the Vedas, which was
delivered by Sri Krishna to Arjuna more than 50
centuries ago in Kurukshestra, India.

Introduction (2)
The background for the Bhagavad-Gita is the epic
Mahabharata. The Mahabharata was composed by Sri Vyasa
Muni (son of Parasara Muni) and was written by Sri Ganesa
more than 5000 years ago and it has 110,000 verses.
The Bhagavad-Gita appears in 700 verses (of which 575 are
uttered by Sri Krishna) in Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata
and consists of 18 chapters.
The Mahabharata narrates the war between two cousins; the
5 Pandavas and 100 Kauravas to claim the kingdom of
Hastinapura.
The Bhagavad-Gita was given on the battlefield before the
commencement of the war. The battlefield represent our body
where an unending battle is raging between the forces of good and evil.

Sri Krishna and Arjuna in the
Midst of the Two Armies

Objectives of the Paper
The broad purpose of this paper is to explore the managerial effectiveness from the perspectives of the Bhagavad-Gita,
which presents one of the Indian (Vedic) views on managerial effectiveness.
The philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita should not be viewed from
spiritual perspectives only but also as a guide in developing managerial effectiveness.
The scope, content and context of managerial effectiveness is wide, however in this paper the author explores three basic
principles on improving managerial effectiveness from the
selected verses from the Bhagavad-Gita. The three principles are mind management,
management of duty and the
principles of self management.

Methodology
This paper is based on the qualitative research
methodology called hermeneutics, which is the
interpretation of ancient or classical literatures.
Hermeneutics is also concerned with the usage of
language and the process of using language. The
Mahabharata was written in the Sanskrit language,
one of the oldest languages in the world.
The translation of the Bhagavad-Gita requires a
good mastery of Sanskrit. As a result the main
English translation of the Bhagavad-Gita verses
quoted in this paper is based on the authoritative
translation of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Limitations
The Bhagavad-Gita is perceived as a spiritual and
philosophical text, as such it is not directly related to
managerial effectiveness.
The Bhagavad-Gita is also perceived only as an
Hindu scripture, as such foreigners and other
Indians who are not Hindu will find it difficult to
accept...
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