Doing a project on the Bhagavad Geeta for my MBA was an epiphany. I was flipping through the pages of a book on my favourite subject ‘Organizational Behaviour’. Suddenly, I knew I wanted to do this – combine my two favourites i.e. Mythology & Science. (Some people have already come up with studies about applications of the Geeta in HR but I still wanted to do it, from my own perspective.)
I started with the project topic as ‘Bhagavad Geeta & Organizational Behaviour’. For research, I read ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’ by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada & Organizational Behaviour books.
The experience was overwhelming. I had heard of it but after reading I realized – even though the Geeta is a Hindu scripture existing since some-date B.C., it is universal – it can be read by people of any faith, it is applicable in all eras, it appeals to all – young/old, professionals/students… believers/atheists! Because it is not about religion – it is about the human intellect, it is about the Mahabharats we fight everyday in our homes, offices & minds!
In the language of Organizational Behaviour, the Geeta is about changing our perception of Terminal Values. Terminal values are our desired states of existence that we think are worth striving for. For example, some strive to be rich, some strive for beauty, some strive to be professionally successful, etc. We have the realization of our instrumental values, some of us are kind, some are hard-working. But how many of us really know what we are finally trying to achieve?
While I came to a conclusion via the Covariation Model of Attribution to why Arjun reacted the way he did when he saw his blood relatives, teachers & friends as opponents, I also learnt about the right attitude towards work. What should be our motivation to work? According to Organizational Behaviour, there can be different motivators to work – recognition, achievement, advancement for growth, etc. The Geeta gives you a straightforward simple answer of what should really be the motivation to work – the work itself! (Sankhya Yog Verse 38) In fact, we have seen people unknowingly or knowingly applying it – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Verghese Kurien, A. R. Rahman, Sachin Tendulkar, etc. These people are well-known because they love what they do; they are experts. They work for the sake of work itself; success & fame automatically followed.
The Geeta talks in detail about controlling our senses so that our intellect works better. (Sankhya Yog Verse 68) I found the idea vague initially but I was thoroughly surprised when I came across a scientific study which says that in crisis situations, a stress hormone called Cortisol is released which initiates our survival instinct. This necessarily means less blood supply to brain & more to sensory organs & limbs, so that we are prepared to run. Hence, when we are under the control of emotions & stress, we are distracted easily owing to the hyper-active senses; we make bad decisions & can’t remember details easily.
Even though I studied the Geeta in terms of Organizational Behaviour, it has given me much more than that. Whether the Geeta was only a figment of Maharishi Vyaas’ imagination or really the song of God, it has certainly answered my questions & it has made me a better person than before.
You can find my project here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101141927/Bhagavad-Geeta-Organizational-Behaviour
(The beauty of Geeta – every reader can have a different interpretation. Readers may disagree to my interpretations. Feedback is welcome.)