Yearly Archives: 2017

14Dec/17

Rajarishi Leadership – A book Review

The ancient Indian spirituality presents two great ideals: First is the ideal of the sanyasin who renounces the world and becomes a wandering monk. The other one is that of the perfect Karma Yogi  who lives  and acts in the  world  from an enlightened  consciousness  which is free from ego and desire, calm and composed in action, and as a result much more energetic , efficient and creative than the one  who is driven helplessly  by his ego and desires, and living in the turmoil of  his passions.

This book under review presents a thoughtful and comprehensive exposition of the second ideal of the Karma yogin in the corporate context .Such a karma yogin is called as the Raja Rishi and conceived as an ideal leader for piloting the corporate world.

The authors of the book S.K.Chakraborthy and Debangshu Chakraborthy write from their long experience in the corporate world.S.K.Chakaraborthy is a former professor and founder convenor, Management Center of Human Value. IIM, Calcutta and a pioneer in the domain of Indian ethos to Management. Debangshu Chakraborthy is a professional Manager with varied experience in top and middle management positions in different companies.

This book argues that only a leadership inspired by authentic spirituality based on the ancient spiritual wisdom of India and its modern exponents like Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore can heal the problems and melodies facing the corporate world and steer its evolution. This book offers critical insights into spirituality-in-action — with concrete example from the corporate world—- which will be useful for leaders and managers of enterprises, scholars and researchers in Management, Sociology and Post- Graduate students in these areas.

 

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14Dec/17

Dimensions of consciousness – An Integral View

The term “consciousness” is one of the most ill-defined and unclear word in the English vocabulary. Many authors and writers use the word without telling what they mean by the word. However, we need not strive towards a precise and dogmatic definition of the concept of consciousness. There can be many definitions of consciousness depending on the stand point, context or way of looking at it. This article presents a paradigm of consciousness based on the integral psychology of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. But we accept that there can be other equally valid ways of looking at the concept of consciousness. In this Integral paradigm, the concept of consciousness may be viewed in three dimensions: first is the metaphysical or spiritual or transcendent dimension; second is the cosmic or universal; third is the individual or psychological.

The Spiritual Dimension

In a metaphysical perspective Consciousness is the fundamental Reality behind all existence. The eternal Consciousness of the divine Reality, beyond time and space and beyond Mind, is the Alpha and Omega of all creation, and the source, ground and the underlying unity which links all life.

Consciousness has two aspects: Awareness and Energy. The divine Reality knows itself and all that exists within itself through an intrinsic self-evident identity, as Itself within Itself. This is the highest essence of consciousness which can be described as the supreme and eternal light of Awareness. All forms of consciousness are partial and limited expression of this supreme Consiousness. All knowledge of the self or the world are the partial, limited or broken reflections of this eternal Awareness of Consciousness. The other aspect of consciousness is Energy. There is an eternal Energy inherent within the supreme Consciousness of the divine Reality, one with it, a supreme Consciousness-force, which is the source of all energies- spiritual, mental, vital and physical- in the individual and the universe. If the awareness-aspect of consciousness may be regarded as the Light by which the divine Reality knows itself, the Energy- aspect is the Power by which the timeless Reality manifests itself in space and time as the universe. If the Awareness aspect is viewed as the source of all knowledge, Energy aspect is the source of all movement, action, expression and creation. In the Indian spiritual tradition this Energy aspect of consciousness is called as Shakthi or Prakrithi, Nature.

The Cosmic Dimension

The process of creation is the descent of this Supreme Consciousness from its highest supramental station through various stages, through Mind, Life, Matter, becoming them, and finally involving itself in the apparent unconsciousness of Matter. Thus, in this perspective, Matter is a dense outwardly unconscious and mechanical whirl of consciousness. The fundamental unit of Matter is a point of consciousness lost in its own whirl.

These descending layers of consciousness creates another dimension between the transcendent and the individual. It is the cosmic or universal dimension-universal Mind, Universal Vital and Universal Matter, which may be regarded as the cosmic poises of the transcendent Consciousness. Our individual mind, life and body are made of and derived from the corresponding substance and energy of the universal mind, Life and Body. Our individual mind is a receptacle of the Universal Mind; our individual life is a channel of the universal Life; and our individual body is a formation of the universal Matter.

Evolution is the reverse of this process of creation or involution of consciousness, first liberating itself from the dense, unconscious, mechanical whirl of matter and becoming the more sensitive vital response of the plant to the environment; moving further, it becomes the sense-conscious mind of the animal; progressing beyond, it becomes the self-conscious rational mind in man. But, according to the spiritual paradigm of evolution, the rational mind of man is not the last summit of evolution. The evolutionary force in consciousness is moving forward from the imperfect, half-conscious rational mind of man towards a perfect, integral and total consciousness of the supramental being.

Thus, Consciousness may be viewed in the form of a spectrum, the self-conscious rational mind of humans coming in the middle of the spectrum. Above the rational mind of humans are the many levels of the spiritual mind and at the summit of it is the supramental consciousness of the divine Reality. Below the human mind there are many levels of the submental or subrational consciousness of the atom, plant, and the animal.

The Psychological Dimension

In a psychological perspective, the transcendent and universal Consciousness expresses itself in the individual as a four-fold being made of Body, Life, Mind and Soul or to be more precise physical, vital and mental consciousness and the consciousness of the soul. In this perspective, our body is not a mere inanimate matter but an expression of consciousness or in other words it has its own consciousness. The vital consciousness is the source of our sensations, emotions, desire, vital energy and the dynamic faculties action. The mental consciousness is the source of our thoughts, perceptions, ideas, reason, discrimination and judgement. The consciousness of the soul or what is called as “psychic being” in integral psychology, is a direct emanation or spark of the transcendent and universal Consciousness. In our human organism, this soul or divine element in us, which is beyond our body, life and mind, may be regarded as the essence of consciousness. Our body, life and mind are the instruments of our soul or consciousness.

Our thinking mind has the capacity or a faculty which the animal doesn’t have; it is the ability to turn upon itself and watch its own movements and also that of the vital and the body as an aloof and detached witness. There is a ray of the pure awareness-aspect of consciousness in this faculty of our mind. By this faculty, our human consciousness acquires the ability to separate the awareness-aspect from the energy aspect of consciousness. In Indian Raja Yoga, this faculty is used as the main lever for liberating the soul from its identification with the body, life and mind, and recover its original nature as the pure unalloyed Awareness of the Soul.

M.S.Srinivasan

 

 

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15Nov/17

CORPORATION AS A COMMUNITY

A business organization is undoubtedly an integral part of the economic life of a community. But it is not exclusively an economic entity; it is also a social organism or a community. This idea is not something new. In fact, this is the core concept of some eminent management thinkers such as Mary Parker Follett and Rosebet Mass Kanter. The Economist in a series of profiles on management theorists describes Rosebet Mass Kanter as “Kanter-the-Guru still studies the subject with a sociologists eye, treating the corporation not so much as a micro-economy, concerned with turning input into output, but as a mini-society bent on shaping the individuals to collective ends.” This is an idea with an immense pragmatic potential for unlocking the creative energy of a community as a whole.

Management as Community-building

Modern business is not merely a techno-economic system. It is a great human enterprise with not only a techno-economic dimension but also social, political and cultural dimensions. Every business organization is a social system with a political power structure and a set of cultural values. In other words, a business organization is a ‘Community’ and the aim of management must be to not only focus on the economic and market bottom-line but also dedicate itself to community-building. With the growing emphasis on the human side of business and ‘soft’ factors (such as human capital, vision, values, culture, teamwork, etc.), the power and importance of these non-economic and non-technical dimensions of business are bound to increase more and more and shape its technical and economic dimension. So these non-economic dimensions of business can no longer be treated as a secondary appendage to the techno-economic dimension. They have to be studied and understood in their own domain as something which is as vital to business as the economic and technological factor.

However, to realize the full creative potential of this community idea in business, the question or the problem has to be viewed in a broader perspective than ‘shaping the individuals to collective end’. The main challenge to be tackled here is the categorization of the factors that lead to a creative, harmonious and progressive flowering of a community as whole in all the dimensions of its corporate life¾economic, social, political and cultural. This means to realize the community ideal in business requires something more than economic, technological or managerial innovation and pragmatism; it requires social, political and cultural innovation and pragmatism.

What are precisely the guiding values for community development? They are the great values of the French Revolution: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and the modern ideal of Progress. A creative and practical synthesis of these four values creates the foundation for the progressive perfectibility of a community. Modern political attempts to organize these values in nations have either failed or achieved only limited results. This is because a balanced synthesis of these values has not been found. The attempt of democratic governments to organize individual liberty resulted in loss of equality and dilution of fraternity. On the other hand, the attempt of socialistic or communistic governments to organize equality and fraternity ended in total loss of individual liberties or in colossal inefficiency and massive bureaucracies. Similarly, the great attempt of our modern age to achieve endless progress in the material and economic domains ended in ecological degradation and inner alienation in the psychological and spiritual realms.

The Inner Dimension

The main cause of failure lies in the lack of sufficient attention to the inner dimension. These four values have an inner as an outer dimension. The modern endeavour has laid a more or less exclusive emphasis on the organization of these ideals in the outer economic, social and political life. But the key to an effective synthesis of these values lies in the internal realization of these values in the mind, heart and soul of people and allowing this inner realization to organize itself spontaneously in the outer life from within outwards. This means the primary emphasis has to be on a concrete, experiential realization of liberty, equality and fraternity in the consciousness of people with a predominant stress on inner progress in the mental, moral, aesthetic and spiritual dimension.

But this does not mean neglect or rejection of the outer dimension. We should not get trapped in the dualistic either/or habit of the divisive mind. The inner and outer realizations are not mutually exclusive. The path towards inner awakening involves education and inner discipline based on the principles of yoga. The outer realization requires an appropriate organization favourable to this inner realization and its outer actualization. Both can be pursued simultaneously in a mutually supportive manner. However, without the inner awakening, the outer attempts and methods are uncertain in their results. But until the inner awakening is well established, the outer methods have to be used to create an external environment favourable to the inner awakening.

Modern business is nearing its saturation point in the techno-economic dimension. Endless growth in this dimension will only lead to diminishing returns. For further healthy growth, the corporate world has to strive for a quantum leap from the techno-economic to the ecological and psycho-social dimension.

M. S. Srinivasan

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15Nov/17

Management by Consciousness – A Book Review

Management by Consciousness, by G.P. Gupta and M. S. Srinivasan, is a book that will help all the readers to explore and harness the immense innate powers possessed by everyone. Whatever we are seeking, in whichever field or activity, there are corresponding powers with our consciousness, which when fully manifested can help us to achieve the highest effectiveness in that activity. This book also makes it very clear that it doesn’t mean rejecting external aids or technology, but underscores a shift of emphasis in our approach from an excessive reliance on outer aids and instruments to a much greater reliance on our inner powers, with external aids and technology as supplements or supports for expressing or enhancing the efficiency of inner powers.

The book is divided into two parts, the first part is on knowing and understanding of consciousness, faculties of consciousness, the technology of consciousness, self-governance, consciousness approach to business management, the leadership of the self and intuition to name a few. This portion of the book mainly focuses on exploring and harnessing the immense powers within. This part comprises a collection of writings from Sri Aurobindo, the Mother, Swami Vivekananda, Jigme Wangchuck, M.P. Pandit, M. S. Srinivasan, Shraddhalu Ranade, Gary Jacobs and G. P. Gupta.

The second part of this book deals with three case studies of persons who have used Integral Leadership and Consciousness to succeed. The first case study is about Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy (known as Dr V., founder of Arvind Eye Care chain of eye hospitals), an eye-care visionary and an exemplar of ‘integral leadership’. He was able to build an institution where spiritual inspiration, social sensitivity and kind service blend harmoniously with professional excellence, executive skill and corporate efficiency. The second case study is about R. K. Talwar, who is an praiseworthy banker. His moral courage and spiritual dedication elevated the level of his leadership from the average to extraordinary height. And the third case study is about a successful youngster who has minimized his negative effects and maximized his positive potentials by consciously enhancing the natural capacities to succeed in the career with the help of his mentor. These real-life case studies depict that consciousness is very important for realizing the full potential in a human.

This book is an entirely revised version of an earlier book with the same title published in 1994. In the words of the editors of this book, the main objective of this revision is to make it more relevant to the present conditions of business and management and also incorporate new research and studies on the consciousness approach to management.

As stated earlier, this book is suitable for any reader who wants to understand and learn about ‘consciousness’ from the rudiments to its highest form and especially for readers who wants to explore and harness the immense powers within for their work life.

About the editors:

Dr G. P. Gupta, Formerly Professor, Chairman, Dean and Director, School of Business Management and Commerce in Indian Universities; visiting faculty to various universities in the USA; Lecturer on contemporary problems of management in Japan, the USA, the UK, Germany and other west European countries; coordinator of non-traditional management-oriented courses at Birlagram, Nagda (Madhya Pradesh).

M. S. Srinivasan is a Senior Associate at Sri Aurobindo Foundation of Integral Management (SAFIM), Puducherry. He has an extensive knowledge in the field of Integral Management. He is a prolific writer and has authored many books and published numerous articles in the field of Integral Management in many nationally and internationally reputed journals.

Jayachandran F

Research Associate

Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences (SAIRSS)

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