IIM-Indore’s corporate solutions lessons, from the Bhagavad Gita

via By Anubhuti Vishnoi - http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/550862/ published on December 10, 2009

New Delhi :   It is a new management mantra that is being marketed by the Indian Institute of Management-Indore. The institute has incorporated the Bhagavad Gita in one of its courses as a means of providing spiritual guidance in the corporate battlefield — a way to check “western-oriented business ethics” going the “Enron, Satyam way”.

The sessions on the Bhagavad Gita are part of the course module on “Ancient Oriental Philosophy and Spirituality”. The institute’s first batch of the recently launched one-year full-time Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) went through 10 sessions, from November 24-31, that took them through the discourses on Karma Yog and Raj Yog detailed in the Gita.

The sessions were conducted by Swami Samarpanananda of Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (Belur Math), who imparted lessons on “how to develop and channelise their spiritual and mental energies to achieve excellence in the field of business management”.

From reconciling detachment with the desire for a Rolls Royce, compassion with the need to do away with non-performing employees at work, and handling stress, the Swami drew lessons from the Gita to explain the ten modules: Harnessing Mental Energy; Values in Leadership and Administration; Philosophy of Life and its Importance; Acquiring Excellence; Managing Stress, Duty, Work; Karma Yog; Dynamics of Work; Self Upliftment; The Goal Supreme and Looking Back.

For instance, at one of the sessions, the Swami cited the example of Arjun, who was reluctant to battle his relatives, to illustrate his point on non-performing employees. Just as Lord Krishna advised Arjun to abide by duty, so also the students should be guided by Dharma — which, at any workplace, is to get the job well done. “On such occasions, do not be beset by weakness,” he said.

Explaining the thought behind the course, Prof Shubhrabrata Basu, chairman, EPGP, said: “The one-year EPGP programme is all about commodification based on the western school of thought. We felt we needed to offer something different to our students and also equip them so that they can handle the tough market outside. The idea is to impart holistic learning and the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads are something we have started with. There will be more to follow. The problem is that most western-oriented business ethics go the Enron and Satyam way. By using the Gita as a text-book we are telling students that they must always conduct themselves so that neither their inner self, nor their families and the media point a finger at them.”

An IIM-Indore note on the programme said: “Coming at a time when companies are drawing flak for chasing money with complete disregard for society, these lessons promise to help the EPGP students not only become good managers, but responsible corporate citizens too.”

The EPGP targets middle to senior level managers looking to propel their career to the next level. Launched this year, about 40 students are enrolled for the course at IIM Indore.

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