India has been known for long as the land of spirituality. Recent studies have brought out the depth of secular wisdom that is also embedded in the ancient Vedic and classical literature. ‘Management Mantras’ is an attempt to bring about a synthesis between a modern subject like Management and one of the most ancient literatures of the world. In the words of Swami Mukundanandaji who has written from the ancient Indian civilization speaking to us the theme of Management Science. Whether one is questing for tips to hone one’s managerial acumen, or searching for gems of practical wisdom in life, or merely an admirer of the Vedic culture, there is enough material in it to satisfy everyone.
The book touches upon all aspects of Management like Decision Making, Human Resource Development, organizational Behaviour and social Responsibility in 12 chapters. The discussions in each chapter are logically organized setting forth the principles of management at the outset, followed by corresponding references from texts like Arthasastra.
It is hoped that the book will interest scholars and students of Management and will be a useful addition to Libraries in Management schools as well as Humanities and Language Departments of Colleges and Universities.
Dr.S.Ramaratham is the Vice-Chancellor Designate of the proposed jagadguru Kripalu University in Orissa. Earlier to this, he was working as the Director of a Managements Institute and Principal of Colleges, he has more than 40 years of experience in the academic world. He has 5 postgraduate degrees including MBA and MPhil. in Management and MA, PhD in Sanskrit, as well as degrees and diplomas in as many as 12 subject. He has been awarded a number of titles such as Samskrta Ratna and Bharata Kala Nipuna. He was also a Visiting Professor at Oxford University for two terms. He has presided over sessions at international Conferences held in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, USA, South Africa and Malaysia. He has published a number of book and more than 50 articles in leading journals.
As India marches its way into the firmament of nations, discarding the stupor of nine hundred years of foreign rule, the glory of its ancient past is increasingly coming to light. Western scholars have often acknowledged that the Vedic texts contain the loftiest philosophic concepts known to humankind. The German philosopher Paul Deussen expressed this vividly: “Eternal philosophic truth has seldom found a more striking and decisive expression than in the emancipating knowledge of the Upanishads.” However, it is now Indian scholars who are emerging to reveal the awesome secular wisdom that is also embedded in the ancient Vedic literature.
After the redemption and popularization of Vedic Mathematics, it is now the turn of Vedic Management. On reading Management Mantras. I was immediately reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s words: “I daily bathe my intellect in the timeless wisdom of the Gitä. It is as if an empire speaks to me.” This book is like a treasure house of centuries of wisdom from the ancient Indian civilization speaking to us on the theme of Management Science. Whether one is questing for tips to hone one’s managerial acumen, or searching for gems of practical wisdom in life, or merely an admirer of the Vedic culture, there is enough material in it to satisfy everyone.
The book has been perfectly structured to handle this complex topic. First, the different aspects of Management Science are outlined. Then in each aspect, the modern perspective of management is described. Then, the existence and utilization of these concepts by the ancients is revealed. And finally, by diving deep into the Sanskrit literature and coming up with invaluable pearls, our understanding of these concepts is augmented with ancient wisdom. All this is done with hundreds of Sanskrit quotations, and their English translations, leaving no doubt in the minds of the reader about the brilliance of the Saints and Masters of ancient India, who packed such knowledge into their books.
This groundbreaking research could only have been accomplished by someone with both profound theoretical knowledge of Sanskrit literature and also practical appreciation of the Management process. The mantle fitted perfectly on Dr Ramaratnam, who excelled in his early academic career as a teacher of Sanskrit literature, and later branched into Management Science, to become a professor of the same. His experience in the administration of educational institutions also lent him the practical insight to do justice to this multifaceted and byzantine topic. Vidya dadãti vinayam — “The symptom of true knowledge is that it fosters humility. “An epitome of humility and modesty, Dr Ramaratnam is truly a remarkable scholar of present times, with full appreciation of the modern thought processes, and a deep pride in the heritage of the culture he was born in.
IN the academic world, the dictum that remains relevant for all times is “Publish or Perish.” But the magnitude of the problems of writing a book looms large only when one starts attempting the project. The limitation of time is a big constraint, especially, for the Vice-Chancellor of a university. In spite of all these problems, if I could complete the project, it was only due to the grace of the God Almighty to whom I bow down my head will all reverence.
Having concentrated upon teaching and research only for the first 20 years in my career it dawned on me later that an academician also becomes an administrator during some part of his/her life. I had the opportunity to teach several subjects but a study of Arthaastra was a kind of revelation for me. The text is quite relevant to the modern times in terms of administration and management. A few years back I got emboldened to do MBA (Part-time) as a regular candidate of the University of Madras. The subjects and the books that I studied during the course revealed that there are several parallels in Sanskrit literature on many important concepts of management. I started presenting papers on the principles of management like communication as seen from Sanskrit sources and other related themes at several conferences and seminars. A considerable part of the present work is the revised version of the papers presented in seminars and conferences.
In 12 chapters, the work touches upon the main concepts of management and their parallels from Sanskrit sources. A word of caution is necessary here. This is not a textbook on management and so some of the topics discussed in the management books may not find a place here. Only such topics that have a bearing on Sanskrit literature alone are highlighted. The book is written with the general reader in mind and so the Sanskrit content is kept at a minimum level as is necessary for the topic on hand. A general account of the topics is given in Introduction (Chapter 1).
The book is entitled as Management Mantras quite appropriately since the field of management today, beset with scams and corruptions needs a new direction. The word mantra has become quite popular of late and it is used in the sense of ‘concept’ or ‘motto.’ The word is actually a synthesis of two roots, man to ‘think deeply’ and tra, ‘to protect.’ The management in every sphere of activity needs a plunge into the thoughts on the right path and they have to be guarded against temptations of quick money or quick results even by resorting to unjustified means.
The most important management mantra that needs to be cultivated by all the stakeholders of business is: “the means have to be as noble as the end.” Such lofty ideals were the hallmark of Indian society even till the end of the 19th century when people respected the tradition and culture drawn from the scriptures and literature. The present book is a small step towards bringing back the noble ideals of the past for the benefit of the society.
A comparative study like this requires constant updating. The author invites suggestions from management experts as well as from Sanskrit scholars for further improvement of the work. If the work kindles some interest among younger scholars to take to comparative studies for their research, the efforts of the present writer will be adequately rewarded.
Dr Ramaratnam brought to us the manuscript of his book on management principles in ancient literature coincidentally at a time when the Copenhagen talks about climate change were the topic of the day. As the discussions, covered in the book, on every aspect of management like decision making, human resource development and social responsibility had relevance to climate and environment; we decided to take up the publication of the work immediately.
When we wanted to select a suitable title for the work, Dr Ramaratnam came up with as many as 80 titles and after a thorough discussion it was decided to select the title ‘Management Mantras’.
Science and Technology have made rapid progress in the last 100 years but they have also brought multifarious problems for which there seems to be no solution. The world is grappling with the problems of energy crisis, depletion of resources, ecological imbalance and environmental hazards. Over- exploitation of nature will cause nature’s fury for which man will not be able to find a solution. As suggested by the author in various places in the book man will have to go back to the ancient wisdom for a solution. The principles of dharma and karma have strong basis and are relevant for all times. Man must learn to reduce his wants and desires and respect nature. Materialism and consumerism carried to extremes will only lead to chaos and catastrophe. As stated in the Mahabharata all accumulations will only end in depletion and all those that rise will have to have a fall. One should transcend selfish tendencies and offer something to the society at large with a spirit of service and sacrifice. Human values are more important than the lopsided economic progress. Man should “live and let (others) live” (with decency) and should imbibe the spirit of seeing the whole world as one family — Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
Ancient Indian philosophy has made giant strides in studying human psychology and the book discusses many of them under different headings. It is hoped that this will serve as a guide book for all those who are looking for value-orientedmanagement which is the need of the hour.
AT the outset I would like to submit my humble pranams at the lotus feet of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj whom I consider as my spiritual guru. Just after a darsan of Maharajji all things started moving in the right direction and the publication of the book also became a reality.
I am beholden to Swami Mukundanandaji Maharaj who is showering all his grace on me and has made me what I am today. The Foreword he has written for the book adds a special value to it.
I place on record my grateful thanks to the former Vice- Chancellor of Madras University, Dr S.F. Thyagarajan, who initiated the scheme of publishing 150 books to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Madras University. The scheme actually motivated me to write this book and it was also accepted for publication but for various reasons, it could not come out through the Press.
I am, therefore, doubly grateful to D.K. Printworld and particularly to its Director, Sri Susheel K. Mittal who came forward to publish the work. Our friendship goes beyond the Publisher—Author relationship as we have mutual respect for each other. He is doing a great service to Indian culture by bringing out useful volumes that bear the stamp of his class.
I express my heartfelt thanks to my former colleague Prof. Padmini Mohan of T.S. Narayanaswami College, Chennai who not only helped me in proof-reading the entire work but also suggested better readings at several places in the work. I thank the members of my family for their encouragement throughout the preparation of this volume.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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