Vedic Mathematics to Vedic Management

I understand Dr. S Kannan, a Chennai-based Chartered Accountant, has written a new book ‘Vedic Management’. I had known only Vedic mathematics. One of my old friends, MK Sharma demonstrated once the ease with which one can solve big arithmetical problems using Vedic Mathematics methodology. Perhaps writing a book on Vedic management might be easier, as the management is not as exact a science as the mathematics. One can correlate the content of old scriptures easily with the present management problems and its solutions.

I have gone through some scriptures at least partially. In my school days, I had read the Hindi version of Mahabharata. It appeared to me as one of the most interesting stories that I came across. Ramayan was equally engrossing. Later on I came to know about Kautilya’s Arthashastra that can provide some tricks about corporate governance even today.

In Chapter I of Book XI, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, one can find some guidance as to how a chief executive should conduct himself: “The chief of corporations should endear himself to all the people by leading a virtuous life, by controlling his passions, and by pursuing that course of action which is liked by all those who are his followers.”

In Chapter XV of Book 1, one can find some advice to what can be considered board and audit committees: “All kinds of administrative measures are preceded by deliberations in a well-formed council. The subject matter of a council shall be entirely secret and deliberations in it shall be so carried that even birds cannot see them.”

Kautilya prescribed severe punishment for all who do not act as per these norms: “Whoever discloses counsels shall be torn to pieces. The disclosure of counsels may be detected by observing changes in the attitude and countenance of envoys, ministers, and masters.”

Will the managers today follow the lessons Kautilya prescribed in the 4th Century BC?

Dr S. Kannan’s ‘Vedic Management’ will be an interesting reading.

Both Ramayan and Mahabharata emphasizes about truth and righteousness. “Ravana and Duryodhana, though highly learned, powerful and wealthy, faced destruction finally when they went against dharma (righteousness). Harischandra suffered a lot but emerged finally victorious as he remained steadfast and upheld truth at all costs.”

The ancient Indian wisdom inspires to speak the truth and follow the path of righteousness. (Satyam vada! Dharmam cara! – Taittiriya Upanishad i-11).

The path of truthfulness is said to be supreme (Tasmat satyam paramam vadanti – Mahanarayana Upanishad lxxviii-1). Truth is the foundation of the earth (Atharva Veda Samhita xiv-1-1). Truth alone wins (Satyameva jayate – Mundaka Upanishad iii-1-6).

The Vedas talk about the following key values as very important: (a) Satyam – Truth; (b) Tapah – Austerity; (c) Damah – Sense control; (d) Samah – Tranquility of mind; (e) Dharmah – Righteousness; (f) Danam – Charity; (g) Daya – Mercy; and (h) Nyasah – Renunciation.

The Bhagavad Gita specifies twenty values (Chapter XIII -8 to 12), which are immensely relevant for any manager in the modern day corporate context as well:(a) Amanitvam – Humility; (b) Adambhitvam – Pridelessness; (c) Ahimsa – Non-violence; (d) Kshanti – Tolerance; (e) Arjavam – Simplicity; (f) Acaryopasanam – Service to the teacher; (g) Saucam – Cleanliness (internal and external); (h) Sthairyam – Steadfastness; (i) Atma vinigraha – Self-control; (j) Vairagyam – Renunciation; (k) Anahankara – Absence of ego; (l) Janmamrityu jaravyadhi duhkha dosa anudarsanam – Reflection of the sufferings of life-death, old age-disease, and distress; (m) Asakti – Non-attachment; (n) Anabhisvanga putradaragrhadishu – Detachment towards son and wife; (o) Nityam samacittatvam istanistopapattishu – Equanimity amidst pleasant and unpleasant happenings; (p) Mayi ca ananyayogena bhaktih avyabhicarini – Constant and unalloyed devotion towards God; (q) Vivikta desa sevitvam – Love for solitary life; (r) Aratir janasamsadi – Detachment towards company of people; (s) Adhyatmajnana nityatvam – Understanding the importance of self-realisation; and (t) Tattvajananartha darsanam – Philosophical search of the ultimate truth.
There are verses to encourage and motivate us to maximise wealth so that we can take care of those dependent on us. (Annam bahu kurveta! Tad vratam! – Taittiriya Upanishad iii-9). At the same time the Vedas guide us to earn wealth only through deeds of glory (Rig Veda Samhita vi-19-10). They advise us to take care of our wealth as well as welfare. (Bhutyai nappramaditavyam! Kusalanna pramaditavyam! – Taittiriya Upanishad i-11).

One shall not blame wealth and that’s the vow (Annam na nindyat! Tad vratam! Taittiriya Upanishad iii-7). They encourage us not only to possess wealth but also enjoy the same (Annavan annado bhavati! Taittiriya Upanishad iii-7). The rich have to satisfy the poor (Rig Veda Samhita x-117-5).

The Vedas insist on proper distribution of wealth. Wealth earned by 100 hands has to be distributed to 1,000 hands (Atharva Veda Samhita iii-24-5). They encourage us to give charity in plenty with utmost faith and humility (Sraddhaya deyam! Sriya deyam! Hriya deyam! Taittiriya Upanishad I-11).

The Vedas also inspire us to innovate and improve upon (Rig Veda Samhita i-31-8), and also to succeed in trade (Atharva Veda Samhita iii-15).

Importantly, the Vedas caution us to take care of the ecology and environment as well, in the process of development and growth.

In the Bhagavad Gita iii-21 it is said, “Whatever a great man does, others follow it.” (Yadyat acarati sreshtah tad tdeva itara janah. Sa tat pramanam kurute lokas tadanuvartate.)

One shall emulate the best practices of others (Yan yasmakam sucaritani! Tani tvayopasyani – Taiitiriya Upanishad i-11).

Action has to be done whole-heartedly without attachment to its fruits. (Karmanyevadhikaras te ma phaleshu kadacana – Bhagavad Gita ii-47).

Most of the institutions including my own IIT, Kharagpur (Yogah karmashu Kaushalam) gave importance to the old scriptures by using some phrases from there. I wish the institutions give importance to the values. It should not be discarded and neglected to prove our secularism. Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita, Upanishads, and many other ancient books including the very important Arthshastra are full of such the self improvement tips for individuals and institutions of different sectors.

Let me end this with a sloka from Gita that talks of all the elements for success in any project.

Adhisthanam tatha karta karanam ca prthahvidham
Vividhas ca prthak cesta daivam caivatra panchamam Chapter 18-14

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