How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Indian ethos in Management - Part I

A few days ago, we had a three-hour session on 'Indian Ethos in Management' taken by Prof. S. K. Chakraborty, who had come here from Kolkata. This was an adjunct to our course 'Designing Work Organisations'. Prof. Chakraborty has been the Director of the Centre for Human Values at IIM, Calcutta, and is a stalwart in this area. He has authored more than 20 books in this area. He is quite elderly and looked frail, but his voice had a wonderful ring to it, and his oratory was superb.
The session was divided into two parts - a 1-hour first session and a 2-hour second session. I will describe the first session in this post:

Coming into the class, he quite dramatically took the shawl he was wearing on his shoulder and draped it on the computer monitor, saying, "Sorry, I am allergic to all this new technology!".
He started off straight away and said that the major source of conflict in the lives of Indians today was that we were trying to superimpose Western culture on our Indian selves, and it was not a good fit.
This session's theme was 'The Notion of Self'. The Self, he said, existed at two levels: the lower self or the brute self, which was deficit-driven, and therefore constantly pursuing something that was missing - fame, power, money, appreciation, etc. And the Higher Self, or the Transcendent Self, which was always a witness ('saakshii'). Using quotes from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and others, he explained how to identify one's Higher Self (although it is really 'manaso_agocharam' or 'incomprehensible to words and minds') and the approach toward realizing it. Only through recognizing and realizing one's Higher Self could one become 'puurNa'. When one thus becomes 'svayamsampuurNa', the result is generosity and nobility - 'qualities in short supply today'. One then graduates from a 'vyaavahaarik vyaktitva' to a 'paramaarthik vyaktitva'.
Through the story of the musk deer which runs and runs, and eventually dies of exhaustion in search of the sweet smell which is really lying in its own navel, he illustrated the two levels of learning: 'aparaavidyaa' and 'paraavidyaa'. In this context, he quoted Swami Vivekananda: 'Education is the realization of the perfection already in man'.

He ended the session with a quote from Adi Shankar's 'aatmashaTakam' - 'The Song of the Self'.


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