The Oxford English Dictionary defines ethos as “the characteristic spirit and beliefs of community, people…..”
Interest in Indian ethos arose due to the development of attitude towards work which emphasizes the individual gain at the cost of the organization or the organization’s gain at the cost of the society at large. This unethical attitude of individuals needs to be improved, because it is harmful to mankind.
Thus, to work in an ethical way, an individual needs to be motivated from within. He should not work for his own interests and harm the society. This kind of motivation can be traced back to our ethos and our philosophy, which is further explained below:
Motivation- as viewed in Vedanta philosophy:
Thinkers of the Western world define motivation in different ways. Williams G Scot defines it as a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals.
In Indian philosophy motivation is not something external. It is rather internal. Infact GITA is a story of motivation. Arjuna was motivated from the very beginning but he lost his motivation due to some obstacles, hurdles and confusion in his mind. All that was required was to remove these obstacles only. Thus removing obstacles during the performance of job is motivation in Indian philosophy.
Every soul is divine, having immense potentialities. Management has to bring out that potential by removing obstacles and hurdles which restrict from performing. Such motivation involves the inner beauty and does not promote any greed in an individual to have more and more in return of his work- as work itself is viewed in a unique way in Indian philosophy.
Lord Krishna motivated Arjuna successfully by this technique. In the beginning Arjuna said that “I will not fight” and at the end he said “ I will do, what you say”. Arjuna was not offered any position etc. for this but all the obstacles had been removed. He was motivated right from the beginning, he only required some of his doubts cleared. In fact the Gita shows the five clear stages of motivation. They are as follows:
1. Patient listening – when Lord Krishna did not interrupt Arjuna and listened patiently, where Arjuna puts his problems from 29 to 47 stanzas in the first chapter of Gita.
2. Putting stress on good points/ strength while removing Arjuna’s doubts.
3. Discussing on intellectual level- showing the essence of karma/ duty.
4. Showing the action plan to achieve the goal.
5. Discussing the consequences of proposed action plan.
Thus Bhagwadgita teaches how to motivate the individual within.
Concept of work in Vedanta:
Work is here considered as an exercise of energy. A living being has no alternative but to be working- physically or mentally. A non working body is a dead body. A man has to work to realize that divinity residing in him. Thus attitude towards work is quite different. An Indian does not work for a livelihood only, but he considers it as his duty( Sadhana), as Indian philosophy teaches that every work you perform can only be an offering to that divine in you.
Thus , the view of work in Vedanta is different.
Indian ethos in management:
Indian management is slowly emerging to promote equally excellence and spiritual enrichment both in individual and collective life. The salient ideas and thoughts of Indian ethos in management revealed by our scriptures are:
1. Atmano Moksharathan, Jagat hitaya cha
All work is an opportunity for doing good to the world and thus gaining materially and spiritually in our lives.
2. Archyet Dana Manabhyam
Worship people not only with material things but also by showing respect to their ever present divinity within
3. Atmana Vindyate Viryan
Strength and inspiration for excelling in work comes from the divine, God within, through prayer, holy readings and unselfish work.
4. Yogah karmasu kaushalam. Samatvam yoga uchyate
He who works with calm and even mind achieves the most.
5. Yahishi Bhavana yasya siddhi bhavati tadrishi
As we think, so we succeed, so we become. Attention to means ensures the end.
6. Parasparam bhavayantah shreyah param bhavapsyathah
By mutual co-operation, respect and fellow feeling all of us will enjoy the highest good both material and spiritual.
7. Tesham sukhm tesham shanty shaswati
Infinite happiness and infinite peace comes to them, who see the Divine in all beings.
8. Paraspar Devo Bhav
Regard the other person as a divine being. All of us have the same consciousness though our containers are different.
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