The last session of the Business Today MindRush conclave
on Saturday (December 14) had well-known mythologist and Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group Devdutt Pattanaik, explaining the many patterns of doing business using analogies from Indian mythology.
Most people, he said, are like Indra, the king of Swarga or Heaven, who had his share of weaknesses. But they have to be nudged towards "Vishnu-hood", a more idealistic way of doing business where prosperity can be achieved through peace.
: Business Today MindRush 2013
"For Indra, his own hunger matters most. Shiva believes he can outgrow hunger and Vishnu believes your hunger matters most," Pattanaik said.
Pattanaik also referred to the three promised lands in Indian mythology - Swarga, Mount Kailash and Vaikuntha. "Swarga has the Kalpataru tree which gives you what you ask for. There is infinite return without investment. Indra, the king of heaven, is prosperous but Swarga is always under attack. Indra is always worried and insecure," Pattanaik said.
In contrast, Vaikuntha, where Vishnu prevails, is both peaceful and prosperous. It is like a playground. "Vishnu engages with the Other - he is participative," Pattanaik added.
Hunger in management terms could mean the hunger of many: shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, politicians, regulators, the environment, or even the rest of society.
Inevitably, to most people, their own hunger comes first. But such an attitude, Pattanaik contended, would lead to a battleground and ultimately prosperity without peace. The ideal model would therefore be Vaikuntha where someone else's hunger matters first. This belief can lead to a playground as opposed to a battleground and finally to prosperity with peace.