Corporate Wisdom


According to the Puranas, when Brahma creates the world, the Goddess appears as Saraswati, embodiment of knowledge, serene and aloof, dressed in white, holding a lute and a book, riding a heron.

When Vishnu sustains the world, The Goddess appears as Lakshmi, stunning and alluring, dressed in red, bedecked in jewels, holding a pot that pours out gold and grain, riding an elephant that rises from a lotus lake.

When Shiva destroys the world by shutting his eyes to it, the Goddess becomes Shakti – alternating as the naked and bloodthirsty Kali, who danced on his still body, and as the demure and maternal Gauri, who made him open his eyes with her affection.

Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti are the three forms the Goddess. They embody knowledge, wealth, and power.

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are the three forms of God who create, sustain and destroy.

Now observe carefully. The Goddesses are associated with nouns: knowledge, wealth and power. The Gods are associated with verbs: creating, sustaining, and destroying. 

Knowledge, wealth and power can be created sustained and destroyed

Knowledge, wealth, power provides the capability to create/sustain/destroy.

Action is with the Gods – the result of the action is with the Goddesses who in turn provides more action.
God is the subject; Goddess the object.

Before we jump to gender-based conclusions (“the scriptures are patriarchal and that is why they portray God, hence men, as active and Goddess, hence women, as passive”), note that Gods and Goddesses are embodiments of non-gender based concepts that seek to enlighten, enrich and empower. A leader, whether a man or a woman, is God – the organisation is the Goddess.

The reason why the world/organisation is visualized in female form is because just as women create life inside her body, a world/organisation creates knowledge/wealth/power inside itself.

Man creates life outside his body; therefore man is the best representation for the one who creates, sustains, and destroys the life-giving organisation.

God and Goddess, leader and organisation, cannot exist without the other. Without either, there is neither. He or she can only create, sustain or destroy. What is created sustained or destroyed is knowledge, wealth and power, which in turn offers more opportunities to create sustain and destroy.

Typically, in the corporate world we assume that a leader exists to create wealth – he is Brahma creating Lakshmi. But a Brahma creating Lakshmi will fail, in the long run, because he is too busy creating to bother with sustenance.

We often find fly-by-night operators in the business world who find validation in making that quick buck. These are the Brahmas of the world, desperate to get rich quick, without thinking about sustainability.

A good leader is a Brahma who creates Saraswati-knowledge. Knowledge manifests as innovation and ideas and inspiration. That is why Saraswati holds not just books and memory beads but also the lute with which she makes music. Knowledge appearing as insight provokes a systematic transformation in people.

A good leader is constantly seeking wisdom, within him and others.

Once Chandragupta Maurya ,the founder of the Maurya Empire,was very hungry. The moment rice was served; he put his hand right in the centre of the pile. His fingers got singed and he withdrew instantly. “Never from the centre child”, said his guru, Chanakya. “Always from the sides where it is cooler.” Chandragupta realised his master was not telling him about rice alone. He was warning him against his planned attack on Pataliputra, the capital city. It was a well guarded fortress.

Better to go from the sides, conquer the surrounding, less formidable territories and gradually move in on the centre of power.

The insight made Chandragupta a great General. He was able to overthrow the Nandas and become ruler of the Magadhan Empire. It was knowledge that made him king of a prosperous king. His hunger for wisdom made knowledge appear before him. By becoming Brahma, he discovered Saraswati and so was able to become Vishnu with Lakshmi manifesting as his crown and kingdom.

It is said that Vishnu keeps Saraswati on his tongue. This makes Lakshmi jealous. She rushes towards him and plants himself in his heart. Vishnu knows that the fickle will leave as soon as Saraswati leaves his tongue. Thus to sustain Lakshmi, he needs Saraswati.

Good leaders know that that to sustain their business, they constantly need to inspire, motivate people and at the same time innovate new products and services that will delight the customer. Lakshmi will come into the company where Saraswati thrives.

Knowledge management systems, databases, research documents, patents are all tangible forms of Saraswati. A good leader focuses on them, rather than on account books. He ensures the Saraswati that is generated within the organisation stays within the organisation. In other words, by being Brahma, who creates Saraswati he remains Vishnu who sustains Lakshmi.

With knowledge and wealth, comes power and arrogance.

It is the belief that one is invincible and capable of doing anything. When this happens, the organization becomes naked and bloodthirsty-provoking the leader to act rashly and indiscriminately, indifferent to all rules of conduct, making him believe that he is above the law. In other words, the organization becomes Kali. A good leader recognizes this rapidly and becomes Shiva. He has to destroy the rising ego and arrogance that blinds good judgment. He shuts his eyes and lies still, allowing the Goddess to dance on him but refusing to respond to her. Only then the Goddess becomes Gauri-dressed in green, she becomes maternal and affectionate, and with gentleness she requests Shiva to open his eyes and become Shankar, the benevolent, boon-bestowing, wise ascetic. Thus a good leader has to be fully sensitive to the corrupting influence of power- and try hard not to succumb to it.

Ultimately to establish a knowledge, wealth and power generating organisation, a leader has to be a teacher, a king and an ascetic all rolled into one.

When the three Gods thrive inside, the three Goddesses will thrive outside.



*Article Credits: Devdutt Patnaik


Better Parenting

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In a big city there were independent houses separated by a compound wall.

In one, lived a young techie and in the other, there was an old retired man. Both of them planted identical saplings, on their respective side of the compound wall. Both of them took good care of their plants.

The young man gave his plants lot of water and very high quality manure. The retired man however, gave his plant just the required amount of water and occasionally gave it manure.

The techie’s sapling grew into a lush green leafy robust plant. The retired man’s plant grew luxuriously leafy. One night there was a storm, along with torrential rains and gusty winds.

The next morning both came out to see the fate of their plants. To the techie’s disbelief his plant was uprooted, whereas his neighbours was unharmed.

The techie turned to the neighbor and asked, “Why was my plant uprooted by the rain, despite such good care, whereas yours stayed firm and strong despite minimum care?

The old man replied, “Son, you gave the plant everything it needed in abundance. Since the plant did not have to do anything on its own to search for what it needed, the roots of your plant haven’t gone deep down.”

“And I was giving my plant the bare necessities it needed to survive. It had no choice but to go deep down into the soil to fulfill its needs. Since the root of your plant was superficial, the rain could easily bend and break it. Since the root of my plant was deeply grounded, it could easily withstand the onslaught of the weather.”

Isn’t the story similar to the way we deal with our children, and our youngsters?

We get too overprotective and possessive of them. We end up caring too much for them, pampering them and even meeting all of their unreasonable demands, that they are incapable of handling rejection or failure.

Ask any educator and they will tell you that problem solving is foundational to a child’s learning capacity. Leadership studies as well focus on the same skill set. Good teachers don’t provide correct answers, as much as teach kids how to use problem-solving skills to arrive at a solution. Another major aspect of good parenting is discipline and respect. Instilling high moral character in kids, teaching them to treat each other with kindness, to stand up for what is right, and to respect people strengthens their moral fibre.

Teaching children starts the moment we choose to let our infant find the pacifier that fell just inches from his fingertips instead of scooping it up ourselves.

Give your child some space. Whatever age your kids are, allow them to make mistakes and teach them how to move forward. Encourage them in creative play. Kids of all ages learn most in the context of play. Make sure their play involves enough challenge and requires imagination. Eventually, problem solving becomes its own reward.

Allow children to experience failure. If we’re unwilling to see our children fail at a task, then we’re unwilling for our children to learn. Establish a solid support system at home so that they grow up satisfied with their achievements and ambitions.

By not giving them the space, the air, and the impetus to grow, by not giving them the power to handle responsibility, we are basically limiting their minds to fully develop and tackle issues.

On the other hand if we just leave them to take their own decisions, without giving them appropriate support or assistance they may end up making wrong decisions due to a lack of maturity.

Caring for our children is exactly as caring for our plants. Undoing it will make the plant die and wither but overdoing it will make the plant weak.

Surround your children with love, happiness, and encouragement so they have the confidence to reach goals. And do keep in mind that school grades are not what motivates a top student to succeed, but rather it’s his/her inner drive for learning.

As the plant needs the right amount of nourishment and sunshine to bloom, so does the child need the right balance of attention, inspiration and encouragement to succeed.

And that balance can only be achieved through wisdom and maturity.