An effective work culture is about vigorous and arduous efforts
in pursuit of given or chosen tasks. Sri Krishna elaborates on two
types of work culture – "daivi sampat"
or divine work culture and "asuri sampat" or
demonic work culture.
• Daivi work culture - involves fearlessness, purity, self-control,
sacrifice, straightforwardness, self-denial, calmness, absence of
fault-finding, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of
envy and pride.
• Asuri work culture - involves egoism, delusion, personal
desires, improper performance, work not oriented towards service.
Mere work ethic is not enough. The hardened criminal exhibits
an excellent work ethic. What is needed is a work ethic conditioned
by ethics in work.
It is in this light that the counsel, "yogah karmasu kausalam"
should be understood. "Kausalam" means skill
or technique of work which is an indispensable component of a work
ethic. " Yogah" is defined in the Gita
itself as "samatvam yogah uchyate" meaning an
unchanging equipoise of mind (detachment.) Tilak tells us that acting
with an equable mind is Yoga.
(Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1856-1920, the precursor of Gandhiji, hailed
by the people of India as "Lokmanya," probably
the most learned among the country's political leaders. For a description
of the meanings of the word "Yoga", see foot of this page.)
By making the equable mind the bed-rock of all actions, the Gita
evolved the goal of unification of work ethic with ethics in work,
for without ethical process no mind can attain an equipoise. The
guru, Adi Sankara (born circa 800 AD), says that the skill necessary
in the performance of one's duty is that of maintaining an evenness
of mind in face of success and failure. The calm mind in the face
of failure will lead to deeper introspection and see clearly where
the process went wrong so that corrective steps could be taken to
avoid shortcomings in future.
The principle of reducing our attachment to personal gains from
the work done is the Gita's prescription for attaining
equanimity. It has been held that this principle leads to lack of
incentive for effort, striking at the very root of work ethic. To
the contrary, concentration on the task for its own sake leads to
the achievement of excellence – and indeed to the true mental
happiness of the worker. Thus, while commonplace theories of motivation
may be said to lead us to the bondage or extrinsic rewards, the
Gita's principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental,
and indeed moral, satisfaction.