When we talk about business we mean ‘Money’ … I read a quote the other day “Money does not matter, but make enough before you say that”. We all agree that the best things in life are free – mother’s love, baby’s smile, cool breeze, rain, etc. We also know that one needs to balance between our desires and our needs. But how do we translate that into the business world driven by creating more desires and thus more money?
Let us look at what the words Satvik, Rajasic and Tamasic mean with relation to business:
Sattvik – pure, conscious decisions, only wanting to do good to others, service & welfare is the motive.
Rajasic – activity driven, not intending to harm others but a strong desire for profits, recognition is the motive.
Tamasic – profit is the only motive with scant attention to quality, welfare, environment, etc.
For most of us the Rajasic way of doing work is what attracts us to business. But unfortunately within no time, before we know it, we are drawn to the Tamasic way because of various factors like bottom line, profits, targets, competition, and so on. It is like I enter a horse race with all the good intentions of racing well, without any thoughts of whipping the horse or cheating, but when the finish line is visible & it is apparent that another person is likely to beat me to win the race, I am suddenly gripped by the excitement, fear of losing the race, etc. and I start whipping the horse to win the race. All’s fair then, even if I know that I’m doing wrong! So how do we stick to the right values at that crucial minute?
The first and foremost point to realize is that all actions with the result in mind, base themselves on me. Sattvik thinking is one that makes us dissolve our individual identity into that of the cosmos. This does not mean that one should not have responsibility; on the contrary it means that one has more responsibility – only that it is not responsibility to one-self but to many.
When man kept aside betterment of mankind and replaced it with pleasures to mankind, he started walking on a dangerous path – the path to satisfying the insatiable desires, the path to destroying nature to fulfill such desires. We started thinking only of the present and paid scant heed to the future. Look at the result - 30% of the Earth's surface already cropped. If we consider that 80% of people rely on medicines obtained from plants and ¾ of the world's prescription medicines have ingredients taken from plants, loss of the world's rainforests could result in a loss of finding more potential life-saving medicines.
But what can we do?
We take up jobs in companies which pay well; we have a family to feed, etc. etc. Alright, but how about encouraging ideas which work towards reducing the strain on Nature. How about setting goals to having a better ‘life’ & not just a better ‘lifestyle’? Take responsibility for saving lives not serving Mammon. Make reasonable profits, not obscene ones. Keep aside some profits for social responsibilities.
A story from our scriptures – Nahusha was a great king, very much interested in being known as the best king on earth. He was told that the names of all the rich and famous kings were written on Meru Parvat & he resolved that his name too would be written there. He ruled well and was the richest king of his times. When he died and went to heaven, he told Brahaspati the Guru that he wanted to write his name on his own. Brahaspati told him to go ahead. But when he reached the mountain, to his surprise he saw that there was not an inch of space. He complained to Brahaspati that there was no space for him to write his name. With a smile, the Guru told him to wipe out one name and replace it with his. Nahusha was stunned. He realized that in the future someone would do that to his name too. All his money gathering and ruling over vast lands did not grant him a permanent place in heaven! If only he had spent that time in helping people and making a difference in even one person’s life, he would have been remembered for a long time, at least on earth.
Sattvik thinking …
Another important area of business environment is inter-personal relationships. Good values like telling the truth, respecting people, encouraging knowledge gathering, anger management, rewarding hard work, all these, never go out of style. All are part of our Sattvik thinking, isn’t it? When I put myself in another’s shoes, I automatically realize that all these values are what I take for granted from others, but do not want to commit myself to.
Once, Mulla Nassrudin got into a bus all drunk. He could barely stand properly. One woman was so disgusted that she told him: “Do you realize that you are on the path to Hell?” Immediately Mulla screamed at the driver: “Stop, Stop! I got into the wrong bus!” Now this may sound funny to you, but just think what happens when we are drunk on power! Which bus are we taking? I personally feel, “Don’t talk bad about others to show that you are good!” How can we dream of harmony when we don’t want to accept that we are as good as every other person? We have to realize that the Divine in you is the same Divine in me. Only then can we think of harmony. What is a rainbow? It is nothing but droplets of water reflecting themselves in the sunlight. Every drop is different from the other but the light is common. And how gloriously they reflect themselves … some as red, some as blue, yet others as yellow, green and orange. And together they form the most beautiful rainbow, all in harmony, without arguing, many a times overlapping, still divine. In the business world, in the office, no success can come without any harmony. Harmony in our lives comes only from accepting others as they are, whether in our personal and professional world.
I also want to make another point here that peace and love in one world carries to the other & arguments and spite from one world carries to the other. The world could be any – the personal and professional world or the world within you and without. Unless you have peace within, there cannot be peace outside; unless you love yourself, there cannot be love for others; unless you respect yourself, you cannot truly respect another; unless you radiate sattvikta, you cannot attract sattvikta.
(The above was originally a speech given by the author at the International Women Leadership Forum, Mumbai)