Management gems from the past
Krishna’s take on Crisis Management
While doing our jobs and indulging in day-to-day activities, we often come across crisis situations; don’t we? They could sometimes be tense, or even hostile. This is something we keep battling day in and day out! Well, Krishna has a solution!
sukha-duukhe same katva
tato yuddhaya yujyasva
He says, “Fight for the sake of fighting , not perturbed by happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat – by doing so you will never incur sin.”
We might think, ‘Fighting for the sake of fighting?Are we waging a war here? What is this sin business?’ Well, he said this to Arjun on a battlefield, when he was facing the agony of his mind succumbing to the weakness, of giving up his fight against eternal justice. Here, the cause was supposed to be not personal but of a higher nature.
We as human beings definitely face strife in our daily life, don’t we? Be it personally or professionally, there are always challenges and dilemma in terms of decision making and management. How do we handle them?
Translating “Fighting for the sake of fighting,” to our life situation, this verse appears to suggest performing action for the sake of the action itself. How do we do this? An action is always driven by a motive. It is perhaps guided by the constraints and forces influencing the actor, i.e., us. So, does Krishna intend to suggest considering the action itself as one’s motive?
Suppose, someone we know asks us for a suggestion on something that’s bothering them, we may offer some solution, or perhaps not, if it is beyond our perceptional acumen. It might work well or otherwise, if offered and in turn considered. Does the outcome affect us, apart from making us feel a bit proud if our suggestion clicked success? It doesn’t, because the problem is not ours! It is not ours because we don’t identify or accept the problem as belonging to us.
Therefore, when Krishna says perform action for the sake of the action itself, he appears to command us to dis-identify ourselves as the doer of action and contribute to the action with the best of our ability, appropriate to the given situation. When an action is performed with an attitude of offering, we may not become affected by the outcome of the action. Having said that, how do we inculcate the attitude of contributing?
We shall be able to contribute towards something only by realizing that we are just a part of it, making it a whole. We are not be all and end all of it. There are several factors involved in managing a situation apart from ourselves. These can be either situation relevant or external. External factors could be something which is not in our control, like, say, Earth spinning at a certain angle around the Sun, the Sun rising and setting, seasons changing, the wind blowing and so on; If any of these failed even once, we could simply vanish in no time. These are absolutely beyond our control. We can only handle those factors which are within our hands’ reach.
By realizing our small role, thus, in this large cosmos, we shall position ourselves as a contributor, rather than actor. Thus, as a contributor, we shall be better equipped to take decisions, appropriate to the need of the situation. We shall manage everything highly efficiently, without being affected by victory or defeat, happiness or distress and loss or gain! We shall hence not become sinners who associate themselves with the guilt of not acting appropriately as per the demands of the situation.