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Business Sustainability: The Vedic Guidance

Business Environment


The business world is a dynamic world. The business environment is not static. It changes.


There may be Happy Times, with smiles on all faces; Or Businesses may encounter Stormy seas.


Business interests may get highjacked by pirates. The business may get tangled in a legal battle, and then suddenly the sun may peep out from the clouds. Only a disciplined army and not a motley mob can steer the business sustainably through changing environments, and only Business excellence leads way to Business sustainability.


Management Gurus profess and propagate many tools to achieve Business excellence. But, can you blindly experiment with Systems and Tools all the time and expect to sustain in business?


Foundation of Sustainable Business


An excellently run business is built on a solid multi reinforced foundation of its accepted system of “Values” and Inculcated set of “Virtues”. Its Management has an open mind to apply/change the front-line tools and processes for making course corrections as required from time to time. Conviction of the employees in the set of Values and Virtues and engagement in duty is ensured through well-set channels of Communication. It has a closely-knit Operating system where all elements are aligned together and Front-line tools, gadgets, implements are used for course correction, ease of operation. It is ensured that the Management, the army of specialists, the supervisory staff, Administration, and the workforce are all aligned together in engagement to duty.


The foremost thought that comes to mind is that this is easier said than done! What precisely are the ways and means to achieve this, that we are talking about?


The Vedic Guidance


Most of us are not aware that valuable advice and guidance is available to us through the Vedic Literature, Vedanta, Upanishads, the Bhagwad Geeta, and the subsequent works like Viveka Chudamani by Adi Shankaracharya. These works vividly describe the details regarding the Value system and the Virtue system to steer a clear course through life. The said advice can be well adapted to run an Excellent and Sustainable Business.


Let it be understood first that Value System makes the structure of the Organisation and the Virtue System makes the inner brickwork of the Organisation.


Value system: The cultural identity


  • As per the Vedic scriptures (Vedas, Upanishads, Geeta), the three Gunas (triguna) have emanated from the Creator himself. Every individual’s identity is formed through the combination of the three Gunas in varied proportions.

  • Satvik: The saintly Characteristics

  • Tamas: The Demonic characteristics

  • Rajas: The Drive Force to Acquire, Achieve, Own, Enjoy


  • Business Organisations are no exceptions. Specific Organisational culture, distinct from each other, is adopted by the Business Organisations, in the combination with the Trigunas.


  • In the competitive environment, a business organization cannot run on a purely saintly value system. At the management level as well as at the Employee level, the Value systems exist in grossed-up form, in every element of the organization.


  • The combination of the three Gunas may form the individually distinct cultural identity of the organization. For a business organization to be sustainable over a long period, it is important that the right proportion of the grossed-up Value system is in place at all levels.


Organisational Value System for Sustainable Business:


What is the winning combination of the three Gunas?

The grossed-up value system of a sustainable business organization is built up articulately with a winning combination of “Satvik” and “Rajasic” Values.


a) The Satvic Values: (Ref Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta 13.7)

1. Humility - Absence of self-esteem false ego

2. Modesty- Un-pretentiousness, not proclaiming one's own greatness

3. Non-injury - not causing suffering to anyone intentionally

4. Forgiveness - forbearance and patience

5. Uprightness - straightforwardness in behaviour

6. Respect to the Elders and Teachers

7. Purity of self and environment

8. Steadfastness - firmness and consistency of purpose, concentration

9. Self-control - self-restraint, in dealing with others.


For these basic Satvik values the implementation force is to be obtained from Rajasic Values


b) The Rajasic Values: (General Reference Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta 14.7)

1. Passion

2. Desire

3. Inexhaustible Actions

4. Drive


c) The Tamasic Values (General Reference Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta 14.8)

Jealousy, Indolence, Miscomprehension, Ignorance, are the “Tamasic” Values and these have no place in the grossed-up Value system of a sustainable Business Organisation.


Inculcation, Strengthening, and Alignment of Virtue system for a Sustainable Business


The sustainability of Business through stormy seas cannot be accidental, cannot be based on providential miracles.


Impeccable Value System is adopted by the Business as the framework. This needs to be populated with an equally impeccable system of Virtues.


Guidance can be drawn from Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta and the work “Viveka Chudamani” of the sage Adi Shankaracharya, where he talks about Shat Sampatti (The Six Virtues) which can give inner strength to a person (or a Business house) to carry on in this world, to sustain through difficult times.


Virtue System: The Six Virtues (Shat Sampatti)


What are the six virtues, referred to, by the sage, Adi Shankaracharya, on strength of which, the business can be made sustainable?


A quick look at each one and their importance together in managing a sustainable business follows:


1. Sham– शम means Balance of mind. It refers to a state of unwavering inner calmness and the ability to stay undisturbed by external experiences.

2. Dam – दम refers to the ability for self-control – more specifically, the ability to stay aligned, keep control of the senses, thoughts, and emotions when making decisions.

3. Uparati – उपरति relates to cultivating dispassion in the face of challenging experiences and finding ways to rise above the situation rather than being swamped by it.

4. Titiksha - तितिक्षा is equanimity and inner strength. Use of life experiences and life lessons as opportunities to build inner resilience, strength, and courage.

5. Shraddha - श्रद्धा means is primal, unwavering trust in the self and in the adopted principles.

6. Samadhaan – समाधान means inner composure and the ability to remain committed focussed on one’s goal in the face of distractions.


Organisational Values (grossed up the combination of trigunas) and the Inculcated Virtue system (Shat Sampatti) go to form the Basic organizational Culture to which, all elements need to align.


Building internal strength


The internal strength of the Organisation, based on the path shown by our rich heritage is required to be built first, throughout the organisation, which helps to apply the finishing tools of Behavioural and Attitudinal corrections effectively.


· Every business is unique, its circumstances, its playing field, its environment, its set of stake-holders, all are unique.

· No business school teaches one how to run a sustainable business, wrapped with his own unique parameters. Seminars are attended, books are read and still, there are questions that remain unanswered.

· The Inner Strength gives you a lead in the race to sustainability. You get well equipped to draw the right strategies and the ancient Value and Virtue systems guide you to victory.

· Alignment is the keyword.

· Motivational tools, Behavioural changes, all can be effectively used only when the entire organisation stands on the solid foundation of a uniform set of Values and Virtues.

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