Management Mythos: Where Management Meets Religion and Mythology

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  • Topic: Vishnu, Krishna, Arjuna
  • Pages : 52 (22596 words )
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  • Published : December 14, 2012
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Management Mythos-Devdutt Pattanaik
(The author is the Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group who decodes the wisdom of mythology for modern times.

Where management meets religion and mythology
According to the Puranas, when Brahma creates the world, the Goddess appears as Saraswati, embodiment of knowledge, serene and aloof, dressed in white, holding a lute and a book, riding a heron. When Vishnu sustains the world, the Goddess appears as Lakshmi, stunning and alluring, dressed in red, bedecked in jewels, holding a pot that pours out gold and grain, riding an elephant that rises from a lotus lake. When Shiva destroys the world by shutting his eyes to it, the Goddess becomes Shakti alternating as the naked and bloodthirsty Kali, who danced on his still body, and as the demure and maternal Gauri, who made him open his eyes with her affection. Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti are the three forms of the Goddess. They embody knowledge, wealth and power. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three forms of God who create, sustain and destroy. Now observe carefully. The Goddesses are associated with nouns: knowledge, wealth and power. The Gods are associated with verbs: creating, sustaining, destroying . Knowledge/wealth/power can be created/sustained /destroyed. Knowledge/wealth/power provides the capability to create /sustain/destroy. Action is with the Gods the result of the action is the Goddess who in turn provokes more action. God is the subject; Goddess the object. Before we jump to outraged gender-based conclusions ( the scriptures are patriarchal and that is why they portray God, hence men, as active and Goddess, hence women, as passive ), note that Gods and Goddesses are embodiments of nongender based concepts that seek to enlighten, enrich and empower. A leader, whether it is a man or a woman, is God the organisation is the Goddess. The reason why the world/organisation is visualised in female form is because just as a woman creates life inside her body, a world/organisation creates knowledge/wealth/power inside itself. Man creates life outside his body; therefore man is the best representation for the one who creates, sustains, destroys the life-giving organisation. God and Goddess, leader and organisation , cannot exist without the other. Without either there is neither. He or she can only create, sustain or destroy . What is created, sustained or destroyed is knowledge , wealth and power, which in turn offers more

opportunities to create, sustain and destroy. Typically, in the corporate world we assume that a leader exists to create wealth he is Brahma creating Lakshmi. But a Brahma creating Lakshmi will fail, in the long run, because he is too busy creating to bother with sustenance. We often find fly-by-night operators in the business world who find validation in making that quick buck. These are the Brahmas of the world, desperate to get rich quick, without thinking about sustainability. A good leader is a Brahma who creates Saraswati knowledge. Knowledge manifests as innovation and ideas and inspiration . That is why Saraswati holds not just books and memory beads but also the lute with which she makes music. Knowledge appearing as insight provokes a systemic transformation in people. A good leader is constantly seeking wisdom, within himself and others. Once Chandragupta was very hungry. The moment rice was served, he put his hand right in the centre of the pile. His fingers got singed and he withdrew instantly. Never from the centre, child, said his guru, Chanakya. Always from the sides where it is cooler. Chandragupta realised his master was not telling him about rice alone. He was warning him against his planned attack on Pataliputra , the capital of the Nanda Empire. It was a well guarded fortress. Better to go from the sides, conquer the surrounding , less formidable territories and gradually move in on the centre of power. This insight made Chandragupta a great general. He was able...
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