International Symposium on ‘Practical Wisdom for Management from the Indian Spiritual Traditions’

by IIM Kohizkode on Tuesday 17 January 2012, 1:54 PM | Category: Press Releases| View: 2011 views

Proceedings of Day 2 – 13 January, 2012

 The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode continued its ongoing symposium on ‘Practical Wisdom for Management from the Indian Spiritual Traditions' on Friday, January 13 2012.

The first keynote address for the day was by Mr. M. K. Chauhan of Mahendra and Young Knowledge Foundation. He started his talk, titled ‘Practical Wisdom from the Indian Traditions for effective Corporate Governance', with a 'prayer chant for co-creating knowledge'. He referred to the society as one having a negative perception on business and emphasized on the shift towards the triple bottom line 'Environment, Finance and Society'. He called the attention of the audience to the sources of Indian spirituality such as the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas and the concept of 'vasudeva kudumbakam'. He shared his belief that good governance involved 'transparency, accountability and equanimity.  Mr. Chauhan mentioned the importance of teamwork and the diversity women bring to a board. He concluded by saying spirituality is for all and is religion agnostic.

The second keynote speech, titled ‘Human Sankalp – A Psycho-Spiritual Ecosystem', was delivered by Mr. Prasad M. Kumar of the GMR Group. Mr. Kumar insisted that, to him, spirituality is a way of life. He referred to the core human energy which, along with associated factors, created the human psychosocial ecosystem. He spoke of the importance of astha (internal energy), pragati (promise) and sankalp (purpose) as decision drivers. He concluded by leaving the audience to ponder upon some spiritual dilemmas.

The keynote speeches were followed be three paper presentations centred on Indian Ethos, Values and Spirituality in the Workplace. 

Dr. Snehal Shah, founder and CEO of i2V solutions and professor at the School of Inspired Leadership, presented her work on ‘Spirituality in the Workplace'. Her presentation was mainly aimed at understanding yogic philosophy through the Panchakosha Framework and applying it to Organizational Layers. She took the audience through the 5 layers of Panchakosha that deal with Body (Annamaya), Energy (Pranamaya), Heart (Manomaya), Brain (Vignamaya) and Soul (Anandamaya). She explained how these layers can be applied to the organization through symbols and spaces, modes of communication, relationships and rituals and practices that ultimately lead to a sense of oneness in the organization. A company's plan and strategy must form a synergy amongst these factors in order to work efficiently. This must begin with attaining Shanti in the body, heart and mind of the individuals.

Dr. Shah was followed by Mr. Krishna Prasad who presented his logical conclusions on how Indian spirituality has succeeded whenever and wherever it has been applied with proper understanding owing to its fully developed state. He explained how the internal spiritual nature of humans interacts with external impulse, leading to good or bad results. An individual who tunes his life with spiritual guidance succeeds to control damages from actions and emotions that are provoked from impulse. Work is essentially energy in action which keeps the world going. Hence, an individual needs to be trained to control mind and body in order to work efficiently.

This presentation was followed by one by Prof. A. Ramesh, titled ‘Embedding Spirituality for Professionals - A study using movies as pedagogy'. Prof. Ramesh believes that human short-sightedness is the cause of many dilemmas and crises. He insists there is a need for moral reasoning to help sensitize people to spirituality. If business professionals examine ethical dilemmas from different perspectives and dimensions of Indian spiritual thought, they will be able to develop a holistic personality. He drew inferences from 4 famous Indian movies. Prof. Ramesh showed the audience how ‘Rancho' from 3 Idiots and Mohan Bhargav from Swades depict true karmayoga by recognizing spiritual triggers from the problems in their surroundings. Taking lead from these triggers both characters find strength to carry out their responsibilities towards various systems while not succumbing to pressures. They are true karmayogis who exhibit sensitivity, courage and spirit. His talk also drew examples from the movies Swathi Kiranam (Telugu) and Jalashagar (Bengali) to indicate the need for recognizing dilemmas and acting on them without allowing any negativity to come in the way.

The post-lunch session commenced with a paper presentation by Dr. Rajendra S. Shirole of Nottingham Trent University & University of Kent, UK. He deftly explained discrimination, closed communities and trust-issues through a simple tale of a long-tailed rat. He, essentially, tried to explain traditional attitudes stemming from various religious beliefs regarding interest and usury. He went on to draw the audience's attention towards the debate on microfinance. Dr. Shirole's talk was interspersed with numerous examples from various religious stories and their influences on the current day attitude towards financial systems.

The day was later slated to have paper presentations by Dr. Murali Nair from University of Applied Sciences, Germany, covering his views on Economics and Ethics in Hindu Traditions, and by Dr. Queralt Prat-i-Pubill from ESADE Business School, Spain, on her studies in applications of Indian Wisdom.

The closing session was chaired by Prof. Theodore Malloch, Research Professor, Yale University followed by concluding remarks on the role of Indian wisdom in Business by Dr. Gilbert Lenssen (EABIS – The Academy of Business in Society), Dr. Rajendra Sisodia (Bentley University and Conscious Capitalism Institute), Dr. Andre Habisch (Associate Academic Director EABIS and Katholische Universitat Eichstatt-Ingolstadt), and Prof. Shubhro Sen of the Conscious Capitalism Institute.

Dr. M.G. Sreekumar

Manager, Media Relations and Corporate Communication, IIM Kozhikode.

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