Saturday, 18 June 2016

THE HYM OF MAN - PROMISE OF ETERNAL HUMANITY

I first learnt to recite Rudra Prasnam and Purusha Sukhtam. I do thoroughly enjoy reciting and at some point I realised it will be more
fun understanding the meaning and interpretation of what I recite and how it relates to our life in this universe.
My journey so far has been pleasant. My quest has just been initiated. Once I desired to learn a lot of scholarly
works came my way. I suddenly came upon books and literature left behind by my father. Notable among them is a very informative piece by Shri Vidyapati Joshi.
The first thing I learnt is “the quality of the sanskrit original is not translatable”. What I got to read and re-read
to get a better understanding are paraphrases of scholarly understanding as rendered into other language texts
by the seekers of the past!
The vedic hymns referred form part of the tenth Mandala (part) of the Rigveda. The hymn conveys to us that
human life in a social milieu is partly a product of human ingenuity and instinctive nature that all living beings
including the collective life of insects and animals. Humans adapt and co-exist by subordinating
“individual instinctive behaviour” to societal norms evolved and mutually agreed in the interest of peaceful
co-existence! Clearly Agriculture and “Social segregation” of labour have ben the two most remarkable
inventions of man. While agriculture enabled man to live a settled life instead of roaming around in search of
food the later instilled skill development and manage output suited to deliver benefits of “mutual exchange of
goods and services”. The two inventions have significantly helped the human society to live-on forever (almost!)
independent of the “short-lived individuals constituting it”.
The scholarly work of Shri Vidyapati Joshi proclaims “All that we see is because of society, whatever was and is
to be. The society has gained immortality with its ability to grow its own food. What we see of it now is but a
quarter, and the rest of it extends in spirt into the past and the future”. When we try to understand the prayers to
the lord in conjunction with the above understanding of human life, everything seem to fall in place without any contradiction whatsoever!
Its in this context that I tried to understand the meaning of the third hymn of the Chamaka Prasna which is a
prayer seeking favours from the lord. So what are the favours we seek through this prayer starting
“shan cha me, mayas cha me, priyan cha me....” -
Grant us - “The pleasure of this life, and the pleasures of after life; the desire borne out of such pleasure and love
of life; the experience drawn out of such desire; surrounded by well wishers and friends; a habitat where good
things happen, material richness along with guidance by an accomplished teacher, a provider in a father, a
defender of rights and materials, a source of confidence, above all blessings of everyone in the society; endow the
ability to manage the subjects and competence to get the work done through a fellow human; influence to grow
material wealth; removal of obstacles; the good fortune of conducting “Yagna” and receiving the good fruits of
such good deeds; grant of a long life without debilitating illness; ability to find medicines to counter short term
illness; lead a long life surrounded by friends, fearless mind, good & desirable conduct, peaceful sleep followed
by a dawn reverberating with thoughts of the God and a day filled with practice of good karma (duties)” May I,
the worshipper of Lord Rudra, be granted the above!
In a similar context, Sambandar says, the followers of the lord have no fear, hence they commit so sin and hence
they suffer no evil or ill effects (Achchaam ilar, pavam ilar, kedum ilar adiyar... “1-18-2 Thevaram” ).
The life as we know and as we live, is indeed real. It is important for man to carry on living without fear. Having
said that he fears is enemy. His enemies are not external to him. One of the prayers often emphasised through the chanting is destruction of enemies. Contrary to our popular belief, the enemies are not external to us man “The
most common enemies are Lust, Anger, gluttony, causing harm to others out of personal insecurity” says Gita
(3,37)!
In conclusion, the Hymn of man, proclaim immortality of Humanity will be guaranteed by the societal structure
and man’s ability to co-exist. Man will need to sacrifice his ego and the resultant insecurity in the interest of the
well being of humanity. God willing greed, lust, gluttony, personal insecurity will all be won over and humanity
will rein supreme.
Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti....

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The relative reality of need versus greed...

Corruption, crime, complicity, exploitation, fraud, scam, these are the words that we hear or read when we turn on the television or choose to read any newspaper or magazine. It is sickening, isn't it? And we thought it's one political party, one individual bureaucrat, politician or business man who is doing it. Elders lament erosion of values. Teachers and educationists complain about information explosion and negative influence on young minds. In general, moralists say, society has started accepting bad behaviour and low moral ground as way of life. The most common excuse is "the system is bad, we have to bribe our way through everything".

Philosophically speaking, the most overwhelming aspect of our day-to-day life is day-to-day desire. Buddha taught us that desire is the root cause of evil. In the modern day context it's blasphemy,just think about it, the whole damn economy functions on the base premise of human desire. Manufacturing, marketing and distribution are all created with the assumption that man kind will continue to desire. Such desire would lead to consumption. Such consumption would lead to more manufacturing, more marketing and more distribution.

"More" word is infinite... It's here that the evil starts reiterating itself. For the sake of making existence interesting let's say desire is the need of life. By extension "more" desire is "greed" of life. Greed is good for some, high margin and profitable for businesses...! How else do you turn in a larger balance sheet every year. I hear business leaders say growth is the driver, go for it! So greed is inevitable and it's good... As the popular TV ad proclaims "Daag acche hain" meaning, if it does some good getting stained is good... This defines the time we live in!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Leadership and Cost Management

Every relationship has a basis. The fundamental premise of a Customer-service provider relationship is the "promise-to-deliver". Large corporations were trusted more than the smaller ones because they often provisioned significant resources to deliver the promises they made to their customers. In the last decade or so, business leaders across spectrum chose to focus on cost saving as a means to achieve better financial results. When you start squeezing the resource pool, you not only force efficiency, you start forcing resource manipulation. When it comes to staffing as a resource, the big bosses secretaries are not released out of the head count, its always the "back office" that gets squeezed to make those gains. This is what results in sharp increase in negative costs as compared to positive costs.

The was this corporation which increased the headcount to generate information after cutting the customer service staff by 30%. The same corporation increased allocation to customer retention budget after reducing the loyalty programme budget. Negative costs are quick to grow and the problem with the negative cost is they create a long term damage to your customer franchise.

Recently my relationship manager in the bank very proudly defended his bank by stating that they handle large bars of clearing volumes and hence they cannot provide a certain service. If your volume is consistently high are you not supposed to provide for more people to manage that volume or seek automation to that extent?

It is important to communicate to the leaders that shortchanging the customer is not only unethical, but also bad for the health of the brand....