Modern day entrepreneurs often turn towards the International bestselling management books or the industrial stalwarts of the biggest enterprises in order to learn the art and science of entrepreneurship. But have we ever thought that maybe entrepreneurship can be learnt better if we look back at our own roots? The eternal management lessons that had been given in our own historical past heritage? Maybe not. If we were to look back at our own cultural artifacts, we would see that there exists the best of the entrepreneurial lessons in the ancient Hindu scripture of the Bhagvad Gita.
Bhagvad Gita & Its Relation with Management
Bhagvad Gita is the ancient Hindu philosophical scripture, written over 18 chapters, where Krishna counsels Arjuna during the war of Kurukshetra, in the ancient Indian epic of Mahabharata. Mahabharata is all about the feud between the related ruling clans of Pandavas and Kauravas and during the war of Kurukshetra, Krishna, the charioteer and friend of Arjuna takes him to the middle of the battlefield so that Arjuna can clearly observe the people who he is going to fight. Since all of them were his own family and consisted of people who he loved dearly, Arjuna was not prepared to fight and kill them. This is when Krishna counsels him, over the next 18 chapters, that we know of as the Gita. Hence, the Gita is all about management and nothing else. Managing your own self, your resources and keeping focus on your work against all odds and all crises. It is about knowing what is right and performing what you have to do no matter what. Given below are five lessons from the Bhagvad Gita which is extremely crucial for any entrepreneur.
Lesson I: “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurma Tey Sangostva Akarmani”
The first lesson is all about the concept of ‘karma’ and it says that one needs to keep focus on his/her work and enjoy the process and the journey of doing it rather than being guided by the expectation of the results, which is anyways uncertain. Most of the times, we tend to focus on the results so much that we get swayed in our journey of the work itself and our work commitment faulters.
Lesson II: “vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro parani tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navani dehi”
This lesson talks about the importance of the ability to adapt, to be versatile, to innovate and change as per requirement. Change is the only constant in life and one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs do is to remain stuck to their first vision or focus areas. It is crucial for entrepreneurs to understand changes taking place all around and innovate and adapt to them as effectively as possible.
Lesson III: “krodhaadbhavatisammohahsammohaatsmritivibhramah | smritibhramshaadbuddhinaashobuddhinaashaatpranashyati ||”
This lesson talks about the control on one’s temper. For entrepreneurs, who have to take so much stress amidst uncertain conditions, becoming angry is highly common. However, anger hardly solves anything ever. What it basically does is make the person delusional, divert away his mind from his goals, make him take some rash decisions and eventually hamper a few relationships. Entrepreneurs as a principle need to learn the art of anger management and the virtue of patience more than anyone else.
Lesson IV: “tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara asakto hy acaran karma param apnoti purushah”
Attachment to nothing and being open to everything – That should be the mantra for successful entrepreneurship. Though attachment makes one work harder, but too much attachment to something is never good. It makes the journey of growth, shift and change difficult. One needs to be open enough to understand changes and change with the times and need for achieving ones true potential in life.
Lesson V: “dhumenavriyate vahnir yathadarso malena ca yatholbenavrto garbhas tatha tenedam avrtam”
One of the Shloks having the maximum significance and the deepest meaning for entrepreneurs is this. It talks about an often misleading cover or film that exists on the real and pure aspect within. For example, smoke around fire, sheen over a mirror. One needs to remove these upper hindering layer to be able to make use of what is within. Similarly, knowledge is covered by desire and it is only by disregarding desire that we can acquire true knowledge and use it in our journey of life to what we are really destined to become, or have the potential to become.