Indian Ethos For Modern Management

Indian ethos for management means the application of principles of management as revealed in our ancient wisdom brought forth in our sacred books like our Gita, Upanishads, Bible and Kuran.

There are 6 basic principles, which come to light in the holy books applicable in today’s management world. They are :

  1. Each soul is a potential God
  2. Holistic approach
  3. Equal importance to Subjectivity/Objectivity
  4. Karma yoga
  5. Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam
  6. Co-operation

Each Soul is a potential God

A human being has a soul, a spark of the Divine. The divine resides in the heart of a person. The Divine means perfection in knowledge, wisdom and power. Therefore a human being has immense potential power or energy for self – development. Thus human efforts can achieve even an apparently impossible goal and convert the impossible into a reality. The partnership of  God and Man can bring about extraordinary or miraculous results; only if man chooses willingly to collaborate with God and actively participates in the affairs of the society by right action under his guidance and grace. He can bring about not only personal development, harmony, happiness but also prosperity of his own organization and the society without injustice to others.

Of course here, also, God helps those who help themselves.

Holistic Approach

Holistic approach in Management is based on spiritual principle of unity, oneness, non-dual or Advaita concept. Under this principle of unity, the universe in an undivided whole where each and every particle is connected with every other particle. Thus, entire Humanity is ONE.

Such an integrated human personality of self-developed manager and worker can assure best and competent management of any enterprise, involving collective works and efforts. It will achieve perfection or excellence in whatever sector you work. This is the ideal of Indian ethos : ‘Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitya Cha.’ (For gaining perfection in individual life, as well as for the welfare of the world.). This is the message for all managers and workers given by the Indian ethos for management.

Equal Importance to Subjectivity / Objectivity

Indian ethos for management distinguishes between subject and object. Subject is subtle and intangible. Object is concrete and tangible or visible.

We have the concept of the third eye, the eye of wisdom. It can see even that which the normal two eyes cannot. It can see the intangible i.e. invisible.

Human and ethical values or qualities such as courage, vision, social awareness, fearlessness, integrity, pure and clear mind, truth, etc. are subjective, subtle and intangible concepts. These subjective or subtle qualities are as important as money, materials, machines, information or data as well as human skills. Inner resources of human beings are more powerful than external resources.

Creator is subjective. Creation is objective. Insight i.e., creator is more important than Outsight i.e., creation. Our body, senses, intellect, mind,etc., are objective, seen, tangible. But our soul atman is unseen, intangible, subtlest and subjective. Hence, wisdom manager/ worker is much more important and valuable than knowledge manager/ worker.

Therefore, manager must develop his third eye, ‘Jnana Chakhu’ , the eye of Vision intution, insight, foresight and such other divine qualities or values. This is the essence of Indian ethos for management.

Karma Yoga

It is yoga of selfless service to others. Karma Yoga is all about identifying your priorities and trying to achieve them. Also, a person should have accountability i.e. he should always hold only himself responsible for whatever goes right or wrong. This brings about the union of human being with the Divine.

Gita says that do your duty without ego and without calculations of gain or loss. One should believe in Nishkama Karma i.e. fruits of work should not be thought of while performing the duty.

The memorable words of Gita are “ To work only you have the right and you have no right to the fruits of work”. However, this does not mean that one should work day and night and the returns that he gets should be almost negligible. What the Gita tries to say is that let not the fruits of action motivate you as they might just divert your attention from work. When you are doing a job, put your heart and soul in to it. One has no control over the future hence never waste your present in useless dreams of future hopes and fears of present actions.

Why Do I Work?

  1. For my own salvation and personal growth.
  2. For the good of the world.

The inner joy of doing something gives the doer a sense of achievement and also helps him in respecting himself more than he used to. Money is important but running behind money all the time leads to tension, stress and total loss of peace. Self-motivation can assure self-development. When work is performed without passion, hatred, arrogance and desire we have individual development and social good.

Indians always had two great truths of successful, harmonious and happy life:

  1. Divinity of life can be used through self-development for personal growth and also for social welfare.
  2. I cannot cheat you and nature without cheating myself. Working for harmony and peace results in a sense of fulfillment.

It is becoming clear that a chapter, which had a Western beginning in business management, will have to have an Indian ending. Karma Yoga is not just meant for the common man but also for leaders and managers who if act responsibly will in turn influence the behavior of a number of people.

Karma Yoga thus is a good pathway for:

  1. Self-purification and Self-development.
  2. Individual growth and welfare.
  3. Collective growth and welfare.
  4. Minimum play of passion, jealousy, hatred.
  5. Team spirit and Teamwork.
  6. Autonomous management, minimum control and supervision.
  7. Manager acts as a Mentor.
  8. Self-motivation.
  9. Perfection.
  10. All round happiness and prosperity.
  11. Skills and values united.
  12. Conflicts resolved by integration.

Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam

Yoga means excellence at work. Seek to perform your assigned duty or work in an excellent manner. Kaushalam denotes doing work with devotion and without attachment i.e. without being a work-a-holic.  Such detatched attitude enhances its values and improves the concentration and skill of the worker. You work with smartness, determination and ability. Your head, heart and soul co-operate with your hands. You do not hanker over the fruits of action. You have no anticipation of reward, or personal gain. You become a tool of God to perform the work. Any work carried out with full concentration, dedication and with all abilities that a person has, becomes valuable and the person also becomes valuable to others as well as to society. In total quality management(TQM) Karma Yoga and Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam provide valuable contributions. Under this slogan we have one hundred percen concentraion coming from within. The extrinsic incentives e.g., money, other perks, etc. play a very minor role as motivators.


Healthy competition is a powerful motivator for excellence and success, especially business success. The idea of cut-throat competetion is founded on the concept of ‘struggle for existence’ and survival of the fittest.

Indian ethos says that for human beings the royal road is co-operation as a powerful motive for team work. We are human beings having mind and power of discrimination.

The Gita says : “ By co – operation and mutual help all shall achieve the highest human welfare.” Unity is strength. Even in the holistic approach, we stress the co-operation integration, synthesis and team – spirit for extraordinary performance, for enduring harmony and peace, because in our hearts chamber is living the pure conciousness of the Divine, i.e., Purnatman. Peaceful co-excistence, harmony, not struggle is the rule. Indian insight endorses this in the management of any enterprise.

Excessive competetion at work can destroy many young people and our social life. Co-operation, united efforts and striving for success leads to all round prosperity and success leads to all round prosperity and success in any field of human enterprise.

Features of Indian Ethos and Insight

  • Divinity of a human being is not merely a notion but a truth which can be experienced in the stillness of the mind.
  • Balance is the keynote of Indian thought. We have synthesis, harmony between the dual concepts.
  • The Individual is the central focus.
  • Divine element in the individual is only a portion of the universe of the universal or cosmic consciousness.
  • Gives greater emphasis on values, human and ethical. Knowledge is not power.
  • Indian ethos are based on Indian scripture. Indian thoughts provide eternal knowledge
  • All work is worthy and honorable.
  • Emphasis on duties and responsibilities.

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  • sajini

    Very useful essay.Thanks……………..

  • dencil

    its realy good……..

  • Surekha Reddy

    Very useful msg…i learnt so much….thank u