Bhagvad Gita Be Emotionally Intelligent

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Bhagvad Gita Be Emotionally Intelligent

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Bhagvad Gita Be Emotionally Intelligent

  1. 1. Be Emotionally Intelligent: Follow Bhagvad Gita “Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind” Arjuna to Sri Krishna 1
  2. 2. In this chapter, we will see how our ancient sacred teachings may enlighten a modern day manager to identify, interpret and apply emotions in personal and professional life. We will also see how an emotionally intelligent manager can update his skills based on the sacred teachings of ancient times. It is generally believed that emotions have not received adequate attention in organizations since the emergence of scientific management in the 19th century, which focused on designing organizational systems based on rationality to control/eliminate emotions. It was falsely believed that emotions are disruptive and interfere with effective functioning of individuals in organizations. No doubt emotions could be disruptive if these are exhibited at a wrong time or in other words, are inappropriate to a situation. However, emotions, if exhibited intelligently are very constructive and play an important role in organizational effectiveness. 2
  3. 3. The emotional make-up of Indian society can be gauged from the philosophies it has inherited from its ancestors. These are accumulated life experiences gathered over thousands of years resulting from culmination of civilizations passed on from generation to generation through Shuruti. Emotions play an important role in any society and are reflective of its strengths and weaknesses. Hence, we may agree with the premise that emotions are acquired largely by observing things happening around us in the social environment and our reactions to the environment. The way one conducts one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships reflects one’s emotional intelligence. The emotional competency, emotional maturity and emotional sensitivity constitute a common thread, which concretizes the emotional intelligence of a person. The objective of this chapter is to find out the ways to be emotionally intelligent as enshrined in our sacred sayings. 3
  4. 4. Looking into the ancient past, we find that the Indian society is predominantly a ‘Hindu’ society which has thrived on ancient literature and religions which have taught us ways and means to live, sustain and develop. The ‘Hinduism’ advocates that “A man should first seek spiritual wisdom and thereafter pursue material ambitions.” He/she will then never lose his/her peace of mind. For example, when the sea of one's mind is agitated by the waves of emotions, it cannot reflect tranquility. One needs to have perfect emotional self-control or emotional self- mastery to attain self realization. Emotional self- control implies both control of the body and control of the mind. We need to keep all the senses emanating a vast variety of emotions under our control. This means one must lead an emotionally intelligent life. According to Indian scriptures our senses are like wild horses, the body its chariot and the mind its reins. Intellect is the driver. The Atman is the Lord of the chariot. If the senses are not kept under proper control, they will throw this chariot into a deep abyss. He/she who keeps the reins firm and drives this chariot intelligently by controlling the horses (senses) will reach the destination (Moksha or the Abode of Eternal Bliss) safely. The author has found that most of the literature relating to human behaviour, emotional traits, and personality characteristics signifying effective handling of ongoing environment, is found in great ancient holy epic called ‘Bhagwat Gita’. Bhagwat Gita is the holy book of authority for the Hindus meaning ‘Song of Divine’. It was written some 5000 years ago by Rishi Vyas and it is believed and practiced by Indians by heart. Although it appears in the mythological epic the ‘Mahabharata', it is given the status of 'Shruti' as it contains the essence of the Upanishadic teachings of the Vedas. The central theme of the Bhagwat Gita is sanyas i.e., 4
  5. 5. renunciation. It means exploration of the purpose of human life. It states that renunciation is a desired goal. "Work away; but offer the fruits of your actions to God. Do not run after the objects of the senses. Lead a detached life. Yet renunciation does not mean running away from one's duties. As long as we feel we are bound we have to make an effort to be free. The way to achieve this is by righteous living. Shrugging off your duties towards society is not the way forward, teaches the Bhagwat Gita. Further, that work which gives elevation, joy and peace to us is right and that which brings depression, pain and restlessness to us is wrong. This is an easy way to find out right and wrong. However, an individual with the acumen of emotional intelligence would be in a position to judge the distinction between right and wrong. “Let noble thoughts come from all sides”, Bhagvad Gita tells today’s manager. This conveys that there should not be any restriction on receiving thoughts and one should not be apprehensive about outside influences. A manager may learn to open up to novel ideas and accept or reject them after due considerations. An intelligent manager would do well to himself and his community if he recognizes the importance of this. Great men and women have appreciated the wisdom of the Bhagvad Gita across cultures, religions, races and professions. The need for the spiritual illumination provided by the Bhagvad Gita is never as urgent as it is now, in the darkness of a world torn apart by cultural fragmentation, terror, rank materialism, technological isolation and global competition. Why is it necessary to be emotionally intelligent? We are enlightened by Bhagvad Gita that being genuinely in touch with emotions tends to be tremendously difficult amid work and other activities. Emotions don't follow a routine, and if you have a tendency to ignore your feelings, the mad rush of present day life makes it convenient to 5
  6. 6. suppress and avoid feelings as they arise. Yet nothing is more precious than experiencing your feelings and moods. They are the most spontaneous part of your makeup, the most primary expression of your awareness as it relates to the world. You are the totality of all the relationships you have, and the most accurate mirror of them is your emotions. It helps to make your emotions enjoyable. The life of feelings is meant to be rich and satisfying, but if your emotions are strangers to you, you cannot enjoy them. Many people have convinced themselves that they have few, if any, emotions. Yet, despite your efforts to repress them, there is a feeling attached to every single thought we have. Bringing all these feelings to light puts you back into the wholeness of the mind-body connection, and wholeness is the most satisfying state in you would love to live. We term this state as being emotionally competent. 6
  7. 7. It may be seen that the teachings and knowledge of Bhagvad Gita are directly relevant to today’s corporate world. We believe that a sincere adoption of Bhagvad Gita teachings may still have positive relevance to our managers. What are these teachings? The various episodes as enshrined in Bhagvad Gita provide succinct illustrations of beneficial results of righteous behaviors and harmful effects of sinful behaviors. Learned religious leaders in the past often cited these sacred sayings to rulers, the kings, the princes and others in their hours of indecision and despondence. Over centuries and millennia they provided guidance to successive generations in making morals and ethical judgments as to what is right and what is wrong. The philosophy of Bhagvad Gita has been summarized in the following sections keeping in view the emotional aspects of one’s personality. The Bhagvad Gita needs an intelligent reinterpretation in the changed context of modern times and its wisdom can motivate and guide a manager on how to appropriately adopt ancient philosophies in the present life. Only those issues which are considered important from management effectiveness viewpoint, have been highlighted here. The idea behind such an exercise is to identify areas in which sacred sayings of Bhagvad Gita can be applied for leading a harmonious life at workplace and elsewhere. These broad areas of Bhagvad Gita identified in the background of the great war of Mahabharata are as under: a) How To Succeed: Bhagvad Gita Tells The Way b) How to Resolve Conflicts: Learn From Bhagvad Gita c) Jealousy-Its Origin and Fallout d) Stand For Dharma-the Righteousness e) Believe In Karma: the Path of Action 7
  8. 8. f) Tackling Emotional Upsets Effectively: The Bhagvad Gita’s Way We will now discuss the above sacred teachings of Bhagvad Gita individually: a) How To Succeed: Bhagvad Gita Tells The Way The concept of emotional intelligent and its role in success has been beautifully explained by Bhagvad Gita. The Bhagvad Gita says that there are two ways to succeed in life. These are the paths of ‘knowledge’ and the path of ‘desire’. These paths are controlled by our rational mind as well as emotional mind as shown in the table below: KNOWLEDGE (The Rational Mind) DESIRE (The Emotional Mind) Sri Krishna says that the path of knowledge is difficult. Tools of Knowledge are 'Vivek' which distinguish between what is real and what is unreal in other words distinguishing fact from fancy. Bhagvad Gita further tells that time is life; so 'killing time' is a form of gradual suicide. Learn to invest every moment of your life in thing which counts for The desire is an emotional response to immediate environment and instinctively drives a person towards satisfying that desire. From desire comes attachment; from attachment comes passion. Passions further arise desires and attachments. When passion is not satisfied, it generates anger; from anger arises delusion that causes loss of 8
  9. 9. knowledge. One must realize that the cause of bondage is 'desire'. Let the discriminating faculty direct the mind and keep the desires for objects of pleasure under control. 'Thus using dispassion and discrimination go above your primitive nature in search of the divine', teaches Sri Krishna. The rational mind is the outer mind facing the object and is termed as ‘objective mind’. In Sanskrit we call it Manas. The modern day psychologists refer it as rational mind or IQ memory. With loss of memory, wisdom is lost and that brings complete ruin. The ‘mantra’ of Bhagvad Gita is therefore to lead a detached life and not to run after objects of senses of worldly pleasures. This directly means suppressing one’s emotions, feelings and desires. The inner mind is called the ‘subjective mind’ and in Sanskrit it is termed as ‘Buddhi’. The modern day psychologists refer it as emotional mind or EQ. It may be seen that the teachings of Bhagvad Gita tend to be followed by Indian society in letter and spirit. We have learned to concentrate on ‘knowledge’ and suppress ‘desire’ or emotions. Such behaviour is evident today and Indians by habit tend to either ignore or suppress emotions. In fact expressing emotions is largely considered to be a sign of weakness or defeat. In other words, ‘thinking mind’ is considered to be superior to the ‘emotional mind’ in the development of personality. However, In the changed environment of business and elsewhere, emotions are playing a major role today to improve life. This may not to be taken as contradiction of what Bhagvad Gita teaches but be seen as being in harmony with the changed environment. We may reinterpret the preaching of Bhagvad Gita by saying that emotions that lead us to depression, uncontrolled anger, jealousy, wrong path etc. need to be controlled. In contrast, the emotions which 9
  10. 10. lead us to harmony, self esteem etc. need to be encouraged. Emotionally intelligent organizations are now recognizing that emotional knowledge is an asset, perhaps the only one that grows with time, that harnessed properly can provide them with the ability to continuously compete and innovate into the future. What follows from the above is that, if the mind is disturbed, the individual is disturbed. If the mind is at peace, the individual is also at peace. An individual is whole and healthy in whom the objective and subjective aspects of mind work in unison with each other, and in the moment of conflict or doubt, the objective mind readily comes under the disciplining influence of the subjective mind. But unfortunately, except for a rare few, the majority of us have minds that are split. This split between subjective and objective aspects of mind is created by the layer of egoistic desires in the individual. The greater the distance between these two aspects of the mind, the greater the inner confusion in the individual, the greater the egoism and low desires which the individual comes to exhibit in life. The psychological interpretation tells that there should be a harmonious relationship between IQ and EQ. The recent research has proved that EQ plays a dominant role as compared to IQ in attaining ‘success’ in life. The readers may note that while defining emotions the Bhagvad Gita has also elaborated upon the concept of Gunas, the moods. The Bhagvad Gita tells us that there are three moods which express themselves from expression to expressions. These three moods called the Gunas are; Unactivity (Sattwa), Activity (Rajas), and Inactivity (Tamas). The concept of Sattwa is that of ‘perfect purity’, the Tamas of ‘foul darkness’ and Rajas of ‘dusky colour’. When the mind is purified (Sattwa) from all its agitations (Rajas) and the intellect is cleansed of criminal lust (Tamas), the personality experiences inward peace and happiness. 1
  11. 11. The psychological being in everyone of us continuously comes under the influence of these moods. These three moods reflect differently among different people in the same ways as the water poured into hundred different bottles look different not because of water but because of shape and colour of each bottle. The moods in different proportions influence every individual and results in the distinct flavours every time in each personality. The modern manager must therefore know precisely what are the nature and behaviour of these moods and also must learn the art of subjectively diagnosing them in oneself. For example, a manager under the influence of Tamas would lose capacity to discriminate between the right and wrong and would act as if under the influence of hallucination or stupefaction. A manager should therefore be sensitive enough to recognize the various influences under which one is forced to function from time to time. This will help him to discard all wrong impulses, immoral tendencies, unethical urges and animal passions and keep himself balanced in righteous living. Even an intelligent manager will need repeated consolation when being extremely agitated by any dire emotion. The way out is to be emotionally sensitive towards ongoing environment. b) How to Resolve Conflicts: Learn From Bhagvad Gita Let us see how Bhagwat Gita tells us about the genesis and strategies to resolve the conflict. What is dramatically interesting is that in the background of the Bhagwat Gita there are a large number of individual agendas that the many characters pursue, and the numerous personal conflicts, ethical puzzles, subplots, and plot twists that give the epic a strikingly powerful development. For example, conflict is reflected when Arjun is torn between his duty to fight for justice and his love for his 1
  12. 12. kinsmen - whom he has to fight. This situation is being termed by the psychologists as the greatest conflict a human being can face in life. As we know that on the battlefield of Kurukshetra Arjuna becomes dejected and debates with Sri Krishna that no war threatening such a mass scale destruction can be justified on any grounds. Sri Krishna, through his dialogue convinces him that he has to fight; there is no other way. The discussion brings into focus various interesting aspects which can help modern day managers to solve emotional conflicts. For example, while facing psychological conflicts in circumstances such as taking decisions under pressing circumstances, balancing judgments impartially etc, the managers may find insight from Bhagvad. In the beginning Arjuna, the great and brave warrior, finds himself suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling of mental depression, grief, dejection and fear when he realizes that he has to fight with his close relatives - brothers, uncles, and teachers - present as his enemies. Arjuna is greatly disturbed about the outcome of the war; destruction and death that was sure to follow. He feels like retiring to the forest rather than to kill his own relatives. The brave warrior Arjuna, with Sri Krishna as his charioteer, is standing between the two arrayed armies at Kurukshetra ready to start the battle, and then Arjuna lays down his arms to retire at the back of his chariot! Trembling with nervousness and anxiety, unable to lift his mighty bow he pleads to escape from the consequences of the war. His emotions of love for the near ones, his concepts of duty and Dharma, all appear to be confusing to him. He is unable to determine the correct approach in this piquant situation of grave urgency and emergency. In such an emotionally charged setting let us see how he was convinced to resolve the conflict to fight or not to fight the war. 1
  13. 13. Arjuna turns to Sri Krishna, his friend, his teacher, and his all: "How can I kill them? O Krishna, I am unable to decide my further plan of action”. Sri Krishna says, "O Brave one, why this infatuation at this hour! Why have you given yourself to this unmanliness and cowardice? Do not think that by your high talk of 'renunciation and retiring to forest' future generations would adore you and call you mighty and intelligent. On the contrary, for centuries to come, blame would be put on you for running away from the battlefield. Generation after generation, people would laugh at you and make fun of your unmanly flight." "In such a crisis, whence comes upon thee, O Arjuna, this dejection, un-Aryan-like, disgraceful, and contrary to the attainment of heaven?” "Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Kunti !. Cast off this mean faint-heartedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies." On listening to this masterly advice, Arjuna steadies himself and fights the war to win. We find Krishna repeatedly motivating his friend Arjuna with the words, ‘get up and fight’. It may be seen that in the hour of conflict Arjun was provided with emotional support by Sri Krishna, which helped him understand his inner strengths, and competences and he decided to walk on the righteous path. The only emotionally intelligent way left to him was to fight the war irrespective of the emotional bonding he had with his opponents. He acted firmly, with conviction and showed emotional maturity. His behaviour has also proved that being emotional does not mean being a weak person. On the same lines Bhagvad Gita is beneficial to modern managers in solving the identical situations they may face in workplace. It may be interpreted as a call to each one of us to get up and fight the battle of our own life, and be successful. The success story of Arjuna fighting and winning the battle after being motivated 1
  14. 14. by Sri Krishna should be emulated by one and all. How to re energize yourself in the event of demotivation can help managers to a great extent. In practical life every man is a victim of ‘Arjuna-Disease and the ‘Krishna-Cure’ which is the theme of Bhagvad Gita. As the saying goes, the war Arjuna fought at Kurukshetra was not the last war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The war, according to Sri Krishna, will continue in all Yugas. In these wars, the kauravas will again and again confront the Pandavas. In all these years, lord Krishna will be Arjuna’s charioteer. The divine message of the lord will be delivered again and again. This reflects the symbolic philosophy that such war like situations will surface again and again in our day to day lives and we have to get up and fight them. The whole Bhagvad Gita has been unfolded in the ‘battle field’ of Kurukshetra; it has the potential to motivate modern managers who have also to ‘fight out’ in the competitive business world. The Bhagvad Gita epitomizes the mental conflicts and dilemmas of a man of action - the great warrior King Arjuna - and their resolutions with the aid of his Divine Teacher - Lord Krishna - in the midst of the battlefield of Kurukshetra leading to affirmative action. Every modern manager faces similar moral quandaries and spiritual quagmires in his or her battlefield of day-to-day living. The Bhagvad Gita offers an immortal and eternal message for practical living - one of philosophical sublimation and mental transcendence. c) Jealousy-Its Origin and Fallout The jealousy is an important emotional response widespread in human psyche. It denounces rational as well as emotional mind and usually ends up in the 1
  15. 15. feelings of aggression, dejection, and inferiority complex. It also has its origin in ‘egoism’ of an individual. The canvas of Mahabharata is full of instances of jealousy among its characters. It appears that Bhagvad Gita has provided perfect background to teach us as to how to subliminate even these apparently negative emotions to help the process of regeneration of mind, character and the principles of a civilized society where the weakest member of the society. Let us now see the instances of the genesis of powerful emotion called jealousy. As the story goes, out of all Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna had immense liking for the sport of archery. He practiced this art with great concentration and perseverance. Soon he became an expert in this art. Acharya Dronacharya was very much pleased with Arjuna and showed preferential love and favour towards him. This caused a natural adolescence jealousy in the heart of Duryodhana and silently ill feelings like hatred towards Pandavas took birth in his heart. One day the Kauravas openly criticized their Guru for favour shown towards Arjuna, telling him they also were not less skillful in archery. As a reply to their criticism, Acharya Dronacharya arranged an acid test to decide the best archer amongst all. Accordingly, a wooden bird was put on a branch of a distant tree. It was partly hidden by the foliage. A prominent artificial eye was painted on the wooden bird. The Acharya called all his disciples and said, "Look my children, a bird is sitting on that far off tree. You have to hit the arrow exactly in its eye. Are you ready?" Everyone nodded. First the eldest Yudhisthira was invited to try his skill. He stretched his bowstring and was about to release the arrow when Dronacharya asked him a question, "May I know what is visible to you at this point of time?" Yudhisthira replied innocently, " I am seeing you, the tree, 1
  16. 16. people around me, and the bird!” Similar questions were put to Duryodhana, Bhima, Nakul, Sahadeva and others, and Acharya Drona got the similar answers as those given by Yudhisthira. Acharya told them to step aside as it was obvious that with such poor concentration they were sure to miss the target! Lastly, it was the turn of Arjuna. He readied himself, his bow and arrow in perfect graceful harmony! When the Guru asked him, "O Arjuna, will you tell me what is being observed by you?” And Arjuna replied, "Sir, at this point of time only the eye of the bird is visible to me." When asked by the Acharya whether he was able to see the bird, the tree, and people around, Arjuna replied in negative maintaining that he saw the eye of the bird only. Dronacharya was pleased with Arjuna's immense concentration and correct approach towards the art of archery. He then explained to Duryodhana how due to such peculiar qualities and powers he preferred Arjuna as his best disciple. Everyone saw the point, including Duryodhana; but the seed of jealousy was sown in his heart. In his attempt to equal Arjuna, Duryodhana fell victim to anger and similar base emotions; the effect of it was visible later in the evil designs of Duryodhana, which led to the war of Mahabharata. The above story is reflective of multiplicity of emotions culminating in jealousy. The other emotions reflected are hatred, fear, apprehension, anger, disappointment, depression, shock on the one hand and concentration, conviction, dedication and motivation on the other. The story tells us the genesis of negative emotion namely jealousy and its ramifications. The defeat in the archery competition sowed the seeds of inferiority complex in the hearts of kauravas, which culminated with the feelings of jealousy, hatred and revenge towards Pandavas resulting in the great war of Mahabharata. 1
  17. 17. The modern day managers may note that the feeling of jealousy has its origin in the feelings of inferiority complex or egoism. If not tackled in time this can mould itself in the feelings of revenge, aggression and hatred. Hence, the managers need to master the appropriate emotional competency to negate the impact of these feelings at all costs. Bhagvad Gita says that bitterness is secret hatred. It often comes because we believe someone criticized us unfairly. All criticism hurts, but with emotional maturity, we can keep from letting it makes us turn sour. This requires emotional sensitivity, which means understanding the threshold of emotional arousal and responding to it appropriately. However, there is a caution. The feelings of jealousy, egoism and inferiority are not always negative in nature and may sometimes help managers in facing healthy competition and in personal growth, if viewed and practiced with sensitivity and maturity. The managers further need to understand that emotions arouse desires which are like scattered mustard seeds. They break up our personality likewise in infinite tiny fragments. Jealousy and hatred are the natural consequences of fragmented mind. Spiritual discipline is like engaging in the act of collecting the scattered seeds into one heap. Though difficult, such a practice creates positive impulse to become one with others. This is also the process to become ethical. Peaceful, and selfless actions lead to building of mature and tranquil personality. d) Stand For Dharma- the Righteousness The term ‘Dharma’ is one of the most intractable terms in Bhagvad Gita meaning righteousness. The term has been defined as religious code, as a system of morality, as duty, as charity etc. It means the ‘law of being that makes a thing or being what it is’. For example, it is Dharma of fire 1
  18. 18. to burn, of the sun to shine, the earth to sustain life, etc. Similarly, all human beings are also expected to follow their Dharma till the last breath. The family Dharma is thus nothing but the rules of living, feeling, thinking, and acting as better citizens of country. The today’s managers would do a lot of good to themselves and the society if they understand the tenets of Dharma and stand for it. But how many of us stand for the righteousness i.e., right cause, these days. Do we earnestly take cognizance of evils and corruption around us as responsible citizens of country? Do we raise our voice against the exploitation and humiliation of poor, needy and underprivileged sections of our society? Are we not witness to open violation of human rights in the society? Do we follow the path of righteousness? It is shocking to observe that many powerful characters of Mahabharata miserably failed to protect their dharma and the interests of their country and family in the event of adversity. All this is told to us in yet another story of infuriated Duryodhana and uncle Shakuni. They were not happy with the glorious progress and prosperity of their cousins Pandavas and their kingdom Indraprastha. Unmanaged jealousy and hatred, as is well known, create conditions for revenge and meanness. Somehow or the other they wanted to see an end to the well being of Pandavas. Duryodhana and Shakuni started to analyze the strength and weaknesses of their counterparts. At last, uncle Shakuni, the great schemer and manipulator, found the weak point he was looking for. He knew that Yudhisthistra as a king was bound by the Dharma of the time, unlikely to refuse to play game of dice if royal invitation was sent to him. He specially prepared a dice that followed his command. On receiving the invitation, the five Pandava 1
  19. 19. brothers and their wife Draupadi reached Hastinapur. A warm welcome awaited them. Yudhisthira was bound to lose as the game was already corrupted by Shakuni. Shakuni came up with requisite number with his magical dice. But as a losing gambler, Yudhisthira lost reason and discrimination. He put his estate Indraprastha at stake and as expected lost that turn too. Hope never dies for a gambler! Yudhisthira asked Shakuni to put at stake his brothers Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul, and Sahadeva and lost. At last, the desperate gambler in Yudhisthira put Draupadi, their wife at stake! The destiny of this great Bharatavarsha –the India as was called in those days - could not be changed, as if it had the tacit sanction of Almighty! Male chauvinism put a helpless lady at the mercy of crooks. As was destined, Yudhisthira lost the dice, and with it started the dark period of India’s downfall. Draupadi became the serving maid of Duryodhana and Kauravas. Victorious and lustful Duryodhana asked his brother Dushasana to bring Draupadi to the court. He obeyed his elder brother and brought helpless Draupadi dragging by her hair. Her protest that Yudhisthira had no right to put her at stake remained unheard. All heads in the court drooped with shame. Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura could do nothing. King Dhritarashtra remained silent. Duryodhana ordered Dushasana to disrobe the lady. Bhishma objected, Dhritarashtra trembled, but the lust, pride, and blind power of victory was not prepared to listen or see sense. Helpless Draupadi had but one hope Sri Krishna to save her grace. Here, Dushasana pulled one yard of her robe -sari - and two yards were added by the grace of Sri Krishna! The evil Dushasana went on and on, his hands aching and paralyzed with fatigue, but there was no end to the covering of Draupadi's body. At last Dushasana collapsed, completely exhausted. “Victory to Lord Krishna", exclaimed Draupadi and fell down unconscious tears rolling down her eyes. But still, 1
  20. 20. Shakuni and Duryodhana were not to be put off. Duryodhana baring his thigh invited Draupadi to sit on it. This was the last straw on camel's back. The infuriated Bhima rose to kill Duryodhana but was prevented by Yudhisthira to act. "O brothers, we have no right to protest or fight against our master. We are all slaves of Duryodhana", said he. After they had lost, the drama of Draupadi humiliation enacted, everything lost in the game was returned to Pandavas on the intervention of elders and when they were returning to there homes, they were again under the pressure of Duryodhana invited for a fresh game. This time Shakuni himself put the new condition that whosoever loses second time will relinquish his kingdom and go to forest exile for twelve years with additional one year of living incognito. If detected in the last year, again exile of twelve years will ensue. Yudhisthira agreed and the game started. As destined the Pandavas lost the game again. After facing insult and humiliation all the five Pandavas and Draupadi put on simple dress and left for the forest. The agony of Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura can only be imagined at the outrageous treatment meted out to Pandavas in general and Draupadi in particular. The disgrace of their own daughter-in-law left them speechless and hurt to the core. But their protests and appeals for sanity fell on the deaf ears of Duryodhana and Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra was too weak a king and a father whose heart went out for the 'love' for Duryodhana. He always looked in the narrow confines of comforts and material pleasures for his son, Duryodhana. He could not think beyond. That Duryodhana was treading the path of self- destruction by setting such an example of ignoble behaviour towards women that was sure to lead to the downfall of India in coming centuries. Based on this 2
  21. 21. episode the question being asked by the present generation is: "Why did Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura not desert the evil company of king Dhritarashtra?" Why did they not stand by Pandavas who were following the path of Dharma. The answer to this query is being searched for all these centuries, in India and elsewhere! In part, Bhishma himself gives the answer. He had vowed to remain loyal to the throne of Hastinapur irrespective of who occupied it. He never cared to make a distinction between the throne and the king. This pledge was more than anything to him. His life, non-righteous behavior of Kauravas, and sufferings of Pandavas had no value in the face of his pledge. As to Dronacharya and Vidura, they were the paid servants of king Dhritarashtra. They choose not to honestly discharge their duties as a teacher and a minister. It was essential for them to serve their master who gave them name, fame, and position. To save their own jobs they preferred to remain silent and did not oppose the king or found faults with him (or his sons). Probably, they had no say in such matters; and to revolt was to show disloyalty to the throne whose salt they had eaten. It may be noticed that even after the expiry of approximately 5000 years, we have innumerable individuals who behave and exhibit personality identical to that of Bhishma, Vidura and Dhritarashtra. The role of the then society which cries for the protection of mental, physical and social health of women in India also needs to be scrutinize here. The social norms prevalent at that time did not allow a woman to have independent thinking and feeling. One only wonders if the situation has changed even after a lapse of five thousand years. It may be seen that Draupadi invited wrath and insult from Kauravas because she choose to reject Duryodhana as a suitor. This infuriated Duryodhana to insult her as it had 2
  22. 22. hurt his ego. It is pitiable that even today millions of women are publicly humiliated, assaulted, raped and murdered as a ‘punishment’ for challenging the male domain. The women have by now learned not to retaliate or call back if they want to feel safe in the family or in the society. Draupadi’s burning passion for revenge against kauravas, who disrobed her in the full assembly in the presence of her five husbands, terminated in the epic war between Kauravas and Pandava in Kurukshetra. Draupadi’s oath that she would tie her long tresses only with bloodstained hands is symbolic of her emotional personality characteristics reflecting self-esteem and capacity to fight back. Her anguish while being disrobed and humiliated in the Kauravas court led her to curse that a country where women are reduced to such ignominy would never prosper. Even today many of us believe that women’s anguish and cries against monumental injustice has left India with centuries of sufferings, slavery and bloody conflicts. This has led to the development of two distinct emotional characteristics among Indian womanhood i.e., vengeful anger and gentleness. The outrageous treatment meted out to Draupadi is symbolic of the insecurity of the women in particular and the common and the weak in general in the society. Unfortunately the position has not changed even today. it also makes the position of the Bhishma, Dronacharya and Vidura untenable. The argument of Bhishma that he was bound to the throne is weak and unconvincing. He was committed to the throne and not to the person who occupied it. Therefore, it was imperative upon him to oversee that the occupier of the throne does not defy it by his actions and jeopardizing its sanctity. For inexplicable reasons he failed to protect the interest of the state by subjecting himself to the whimsical commands of the occupier. Dronacharya, as 2
  23. 23. teacher was bound to assert his moral authority over the King, yet he too under the garb of being the servant of the state allowed himself to be a party to an unjust rule. His love for Arjuna does not mitigate his culpability. Vidura, the minister was duty bound to offer the correct advice. It might be said that he always approved the mechanizations of Duryodhana and company. But one might well ask if the role of a minister is to go on offering advice which is never heard? Is it morally correct for him to continue in the post when he is repeatedly failing in protecting the long term interests of the state? The tragedy of the Mahabharata is partly due to the inability of the individuals to manage their emotions and therefore reach out for the right path. The above unfortunate happenings are relevant even at present. Today also we see many bureaucrats, public servants and managers and executives loyal to corrupt rulers and manipulative business houses. It is not uncommon to see many 'righteous persons' keeping mum over irregularities and misconduct of their bosses. We encounter instances of rape, physical exploitation and murders of hapless women everyday in the present society and prefer not to raise our voice. The social scientists conclude that it is becoming an international phenomenon. The stance of Bhishma, Dronacharya, Vidura, and etc. remaining silent at the great injustice meted out to Draupadi, a woman and Pandavas will always remain unanswered. Such incidences are not uncommon in any era or epoch. Some are dramatized; others are forgotten in the flow of time. However, they expose weakness of human nature and character. These incidents reflect a weak personality, which would not stand and revolt in the event of crisis. This tale of Mahabharata urges its followers to fight for righteousness and not to be cowed down by the evil elements of society. If we can do so we will be following the path of righteousness 2
  24. 24. and in turn show our emotional sensitivity towards social evils and emotional maturity to raise our voice against them. Such response would be known as an emotionally intelligent response. e) Believe In Karma: The Path Of Action The theory of karma is the central theme of Bhagvad Gita which when translated into modern day management may provide fresh approach into ‘doing’ the ‘right’ things at the ‘right’ time. Needless to say that the deeds or actions of a manager not only reflect his past experiences but also the future likely actions he/she is likely to initiate. Everybody looks for peace and happiness and nobody likes to face adversity. That is why the soul is bounded with Karma (deeds or actions). Bhagwat Gita tells us that future is always based in our present deeds whether they are good or bad. We can change our future happening by virtue of our present pious deeds and worship and by adopting true path. The aim of human being is, spread brotherhood, love humanity, spread cooperation, discharge duties, do pious deeds and finally get salvation. Hindus believe in reincarnation. The basic belief is that a person's fate is determined according to his deeds. These deeds in Hinduism are called 'Karma'. A person who does good Karma in this life will be awarded with a better life in the next incarnation. A person who does bad Karma will be punished for their sins, if not in this incarnation then in the next incarnation. Karma Yoga (duties towards nation/organization/family etc.) preached in Bhagwat Gita are the duties related to the religious Mahabharata war for which Arjuna is fundamentally liable to discharge being a warrior and he discharged the same accordingly. Therefore, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna, 'Your only duty is to act (right to work) and not to hanker after the fruits (or the results) thereof.' Neither the purpose of 2
  25. 25. your actions nor the work should bind and blind you. To work is to worship with total non-attachment and selfless attitude. An emotionally intelligent manager would interpret his/her emotions and follow the path of actions. He/she would also decide which path of action will lead him/her towards ‘success’ at the workplace and personal life. The managers may note that Bhagvad Gita tells about valid actions, inaction, and improper or prohibited actions. Sri Krishna teaches, the path of action, as “Action is better than inaction. Without action no one can survive." He teaches, "respond in such a way that it does not bind but frees one from ignorance." The method prescribed by Sri Krishna is: "Do all work as worship to God. Do everything to the best of your ability; suited to your ongoing environment." In order not to be bound by our actions we have to offer the fruits of our action to God. We have to bear in mind that we are not the real doers - the real doer is God (Sri Krishna) who is just the witness to all these activities. 'Actionlessness' in midst of all action is the secret prescribed by this path. It may be seen that Bhagvad Gita provides for continuous responding to ongoing environment with emotional sensitivity. Whatever the scriptures advocate should be accepted as correct action. Similarly, the great sages and seers, prophets and avatars also are sources for determining beneficial karma. One should follow their advice. Actions like hoarding, engaging in corrupt practices, bribery, doing harm to others are considered bad. Similarly, excessive, inappropriate and unmindful expression of emotions such as lust, greed, hatred, anger, and jealousy must be shunned. Therefore, these are not proper karma. A manager who learns to appropriate emotions to the desired levels will always get appreciation. In other words he/she would be termed as emotionally intelligent. 2
  26. 26. Every action produces some effect in the form of impression on the subtle mind. As we sow, so do we reap! Repeated karma of similar nature becomes a habit. The sum total of karma is tendency which is a learned emotional response to a particular situation. The character of a manager is determined by such tendencies; predominantly good tendencies make a person noble, and bad tendencies him/her wicked. We begin encountering karma as soon as we are born, and continue to act till death in ceaseless chain of karma. It is a continuous process of cause and effect. Emotion is the main motivating factor behind the karma. It may be noticed that complete fulfillment of any emotion is impossible; on the contrary, as habits, these emotions lead us to do repeated karma even against our wish. Our karma may harm us or may prove injurious to others; still we act according to our predominant emotional tendencies. Similarly, binding with good karma make a manager work for the good of others (empathy). The theory of karma also outlines the keys to maximizing productivity at workplace and satisfaction in personal life. As you, too, complete your own personal Karma, you will naturally have a less stressful attitude toward previously distressing situations, and a strengthened ability to be present in the moment, regardless of the circumstances. If you wish to be emotionally competent and desire to achieve all you have been longing for follow the ‘karma’, which is emotionally, spiritually and practically beneficial for the entire humanity. It may be observed that successfully and appropriately responding to a vast variety of emotional stimuli being elicited from inner self and external environment is the key to understand theory of karma. If a manager is looking to enrich your experience of well-being and wish to lead an exciting and extraordinary life, Bhagwat Gita can show the way through the path of action. 2
  27. 27. f) Tackling Emotional Upsets Effectively: The Bhagvad Gita’s Way The managers may learn certain emotional competencies to tackle emotional upsets by emulating the sermons of Bhagvad Gita. The emotional upheavals in personal and professional life affect the productivity, effectiveness and self image. The life of Pandavas in exile is a perfect example of tackling emotional upsets in life. As the story goes, losers in the deceitful act of gambling, and humiliated by Kauravas, the Pandavas started for their exile in forest. Sri Krishna reached Kamyak forest where Pandavas and Draupadi were staying and advised Pandavas to be patient and not lose heart. He explained that the ordeal they had to face was for their good, as "experience is the only source of effective learning". Good and bad experiences are essential to get correct perspective and fulfillment of life. Suffering and sorrows bring requisite feeling of renunciation essential to seek higher goals in life. However, not satisfied with the arguments of Sri Krishna, Draupadi questioned him about the recent insult inflicted on her at the hands of Duryodhana which was fresh in the mind of Draupadi. She had also not forgotten scornful laughter of Dhritarashtra and Shakuni. All these memories made Draupadi emotional and angry. Opening her heart to Sri Krishna, she said in anguish: "O Krishna, how is it that this Draupadi, sister of the Lord of Universe and wife of five brave, powerful and invincible Pandavas has to go through such horrible time? Was that not their duty to protect me and punish the miscreants? Was that fair on the part of Dhritarashtra to allow Dushasana to drag me by hair and attempt to remove my clothing? 2
  28. 28. Does Yudhisthira have right to put me at stake when he himself had become slave of Duryodhana? And even if the husband becomes slave does he lose right to come to the rescue of his wife; does he lose the right to protect the honour of his wife?" Draupadi was emotionally upset due to assault on her honour. She asked empathetically why Sri Krishna the God incarnate allowed the game of dice in the first instance as it leads to total corruption and degeneration of the race. He would have forcefully prohibited Duryodhana from engaging in such vice. Gambling, smoking, drinking, hunting, and prostitution are the curse on humanity, which every righteous person should labour to avoid. The persons who engage in these acts are doomed to destruction and moral death. She rightfully demanded an answer from Sri Krishna. The barrage of questions affected Sri Krishna intensely. With due seriousness he proclaimed, "O dear sister, do not grieve. I promise you that every Kaurava would shed more tears than what you have shed; for the non-righteous Kauravas and their supporters in this shameful act are sure to perish at the hands of Pandavas very soon." He sermons Draupadi to face the challenges of life with optimism as one day it is Pandavas who will conquer and rule the mother India. The episode tells us to be patient, optimistic and keep aim at your target to enjoy the fruits of future. The managers may learn to delay the gratification of reacting to the uncomfortable situations instantaneously and strike back as and when environment becomes favorably inclined. Such a tendency is a sign of emotional competency. Another emotional competency we learn from Bhagvad Gita is to face stress in life. The cause of stress is basically because of built up of emotions and the perceived inability to meet the existing challenges or problems satisfactorily. This happens 2
  29. 29. when the emotions could not get released or resolved. Even though it is the same world for everyone, yet as perceptions differ so do the responses. The important causes of stress as enumerated in Bhagvad Gita are, keeping goals without taking into consideration of ones capacity and inclinations, imagining that without the ‘fruit’ life would not be worth living, imagining ourselves to be the only one responsible to attain our goals, entertaining values and life-styles which do not help us relax, having self-centered, calculative and loveless relationships and faulty perceptions about ourselves, life and also the world at large. How to counter the causes of stress. The Bhagvad Gita says that you are never alone. “Look at the cosmos, the world, the seasons, your body, everything is working so beautifully. There is a great intelligence operating in and through everything. One should learn the art of performing actions while holding the hands of this power called God. Everyone in the world seeks pleasure, but it is strange to see that majority has never cared to go into this secret of life. Happiness is never in any object, achievement or person in life. It is the subjective essence of all. It is extremely important to open the inner gates of joy, thereafter there will be a subjective revolution in life. Further we learn from Bhagvad Gita is that the essence of one is the essence of all. Atma is Paramatma. Know that and be free from all sense of limitations. The experience of knowing one’s self is the experience beyond description. It is verily total contentment. The cancer of selfishness and egocentric existence is rooted out completely thereafter.Any person who sees the above facts of life, and also assimilates this knowledge, shall certainly root out the very cause of stress. Any other methodology is a compromise; it is only a temporary cure, or a first aid. The thrust of 2
  30. 30. most the stress workshops is only in facilitating release of 'pent-up-emotions' and do not provide any plan of action to guarantee that the emotions will not be repressed in the first place. Bhagvad Gita provides a holistic approach in this regard. Before facing the situation charge your mind with positive thoughts and emotions, know your stress symptoms and stressors Learn the ways to emotional release and intense living, learn to 'let go' and relax, cultivate positive qualities such as not getting swept away by surge of an emotion, not losing your cool for the fault of others, see all ego-centric actions to be the cause of all negativities etc. Yet another emotional competency to learn is self-realization. It further means emotional maturity, which constitutes evaluating emotions of oneself, identify and express feelings and balancing state of heart and mind. This is a state where an individual recognizes his inner self and responds accordingly. As stated in Bhagwat Gita, meditation is the tool to achieve self-realization. In a secluded place establish a posture with a straight back. Concentrate between the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. Fix the mind on the Self (Atman). Develop one pointed concentration called 'Dhyana' and achieve Self-realization (or Union with God) in the state called 'Samadhi'. Observing moderation in everything; with strict celibacy; one overcomes the lower self in order to gain the higher Self. Thus the Yogi no longer relishes the pleasures of the senses. He cannot be deluded any more. He abides in the Self. Needless to say that many modern organizations and individuals are practicing meditation to tackle emotional upsets such as frustrations, conflicts, inferiority complexes, stress and burnout etc. 3
  31. 31. Another emotional competency which the Bhagwat Gita teaches you how to express yourselves. It may be understood that there are many moments in our lives when we knowingly suppress many of our emotions. This becomes cause of many emotional upsets. The psychologists explain that repressed emotions accumulate a tremendous amount of dynamic energy which must necessarily seek a field of expression. If the expression of repressed emotions is not permitted it can boomerang back to destroy the very individual. As we may see in Mahabharata, the great hero Arjuna came under the influence of his repressed conditions on the battle field and behaved as a victim of perfect neurosis. The causes of his emotional repressions are not far to seek. A great hero, confident of his own strengths, was made to live amidst the unjust tyranny of his Machiavellian cousins. At the same time the great archer could not give vent to his nature because of the righteous policy of peace of his elder brother, Yudhishthira. Moreover, during the last year of their lives incognito, the Pandavas family had to serve as a menials in the palace of king Virata. The carping injustice and the cruel indignities caused a lot of repression in Arjuna’s mind. For expression of these repressed emotions he found a healthy way in the severe tapas which he performed during his life in the jungles. It now transpires that an individual needs to channel to express himself or herself for healthy and stress less life. But how to do it is the question. If the managers decide to follow these philosophies it may provide them eternal peace and happiness. There are innumerable strategies illuminated in Bhagvad Gita to cope with unpleasant situations. For example, Bhagvad Gita tells you that your behaviour should never be such that you don't expect others to behave like you do. Revenge is not 3
  32. 32. always better, but neither is forgiveness; learn to know them both, so that there is harmony. Be aware that after joy follows sorrow and sorrow is followed by joy like a cycle of day and night. They ceaselessly rotate on the wheel of life; This is relevant from point of view of modern concept of management such as adaptability and flexibility – an important sign of emotional maturity. These tell you to behave differently in different situations. If you have to get angry, do it; only thing to keep in mind is that the anger should be appropriate to the situation-neither more nor less. In addition, Bhagwat Gita tells you that friendship is an important emotional relationship, which has to be followed in letter and spirit; similarly enmity is also an emotional relationship, which needs to be followed up to its logical conclusion. We are told to be emotionally competent and fight your way out. There are numerous other teachings Bhagwat Gita has given which ranges from being emotionally mature to being emotionally sensitive. The teachings go a long way in helping us to understand how to tackle emotional upsets in life. The modern world can benefit by putting them in practice. For example, according to Bhagwat Gita, lying is to deception what adultery is to lust. Being honest about our dishonesty is a lot harder than just not telling lies; but it will bring freedom and wholeness when we learn how to do it. Anger and lies may make people mad; but genuine love and truth can be far more convincing, and could lead to fiercer persecution. If only we would confess our sins, our fears, our disagreements, our delusions, our weaknesses, etc., we could be "cleansed from all unrighteousness." Such a situation may be described as being emotionally intelligent in modern times. The social conscience forces us to hide the truth about the many games we play with opponents in an effort to score points 3
  33. 33. against them. It may be wise to keep some things (like suspicions) secret for a while, but it is important to be clear with yourself and with God about what is really happening. Clinging to a unique self-image can blind people to the benefits of identifying with others who preach the truth. Fear and pride hold us back from spiritual growth. Make the impossible possible, make room for us where there is no room, bringing back life to us for we are as good as dead. Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind. But if we can master the art of doing the same we will have all the joys in life and handle emotional upsets. This is the real mantra of Bhagvad Gita for modern day managers. Conclusion: While summarizing the lessons learned we may say that a manager would know to inculcate the emotional competency of righteousness actions from Bhagvad Gita. It may be seen that the popularity of the Bhagwat Gita is, to some extent due to the fact that it managed to show that different pathways to God are all equally valid. God can be reached through different ways. Here ‘reaching the God has to be interpreted in a wider perspective by the managers. It may include craving for a satisfying personal life or having effective outcome at workplace or perhaps both. Any path which provides inner strength or satisfaction to a manager to achieve his/his goals is the path of action. It may be seen that Bhagwat Gita stresses the paths of knowledge, action, devotion and meditation while discouraging the path of emotions. This may not be interpreted as ‘emotions’ being given low priority or being ignored in Bhagwat Gita. The correct interpretation would be that emotions, many a times are so forceful and blind that they take over human cognition and non-cognition. The effect in such 3
  34. 34. a circumstance is disastrous. Hence, Bhagwat Gita tells a manager to regulate emotions in an appropriate way and measure. This may be referred to as emotional sensitivity which helps a person to maintain harmony, rapport, and comfort with others. Finally, a manager can choose the pathway or any combination of pathways to suit his/her own abilities. Mahatma Gandhi wrote that ‘I find solace in the Bhagvad Gita when disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to Bhagvad Gita and begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies’. A deep insight into the tenets of holy Bhagvad Gita can help you inculcate in your personality the traits of a great manager and chief executive like Arjuna or greatest teacher and patron like Krishna or an effective leader like Yudhistra. There are other characters, as we have seen, who in their own right, exhibit traits reflecting diverse emotions, thought to be appropriate even in modern times. This is why this great epic is considered relevant and appropriate even today worldwide. We have to learn to spread the bright light of Bhagvad Gita to the world to achieve definite excellence and move towards a stress free and a dynamic managerial environment, which could be applied both in our day-to-day activities and in the competitive corporate environment. 3

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