Dharma and Karma
(Religion and Work)


Lalit Kumar Agarwal
Icfai National College

Since yesteryears human believe in supernatural power. People from all different class, religion, and region take first steps to start auspicious venture with sacred name of God. It is very difficult to compute that many incarnations and personification in all religion had taken birth and gave invaluable belief, thought and answer of queries of mass. It is said human ought to believe in God and move toward on given holy path, with this genus of approach an individual can expend calm and peaceful life. In series of epics, preaches, religious book and quotes one name is well known by people i.e. Bhagavad-Gita. Its magical and magnetic words and verses suggest to human the power of confidence and devices transformation of painful life to blissful life.

When I read the Bhagvad -Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous                                                                                                         - Albert Einstein

Bhagavad-Gita is one of the greatest contributions of India to the world, it is considered as eye- opener. Many scholars and religious guru had studied on Bhagavad-Gita. Gita has always been obliging people for years, of all class. It provides "all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level". The Bhagavad-Gita can be detailed as strong ammunition for transformation of an individual from dejection, despondency to edifice of wisdom, visionary perspective and self-transcendence.

In the battlefield of kurushetra (Hariyana, India) when Arjuna got mentally depressed, and saw his relatives with whom he has to fight. To motivate him the Bhagavad-Gita is preached by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as counseling to do his duty.

In modern time this is seen by a news which has been published in times of India April 7, 2008 Britain armed forces have 300 regular commissioned Christians chaplains serving 1,83,000 Christian personnel, there are 470 Hindus in Britain's armed forces. Krishan Attari, the British army's first Hindu priest, uses extract from the Bhagavad-Gita Gita to counsel its soldiers (soldiers are in deep anguish because having same profile and are needed to stay far away from their family and acquaintances) going to war in Iraq and Afganistan. This divine and charismatic book contributes to self reflection, self confidence, and dissipation in performing duties.

The holy Gita is a universal scripture applicable to people of all class. It is deep in thought. This divine book open new ways for living peaceful and calm life it rescues from utter dejection, sorrow, hopelessness and offers techniques of perfect understanding of grief, clarity, renewed strength and achievement. In other words it can intend to be panacea for life diseases.


Management is managing the things or getting the things done by others. Management has become a part of everyone life, be it at office, home in Government. In present milieu, managing has become one of the most important areas of human activity because of increasing role of large and complex organizations in the society. Wherever a group of human beings assembled for a common purpose, management principles come into existence.

The Modern management concepts of vision, excellence in work, perseverance, achieving goals, decision making techniques, planning are all discussed in Bhagavad-Gita. There is one major problem, while modern management is becoming materialistic,

Working in 24*7 (availability of employee for all time and no constraint of working schedule of employees) time slots, Big MNC's work on 1*2*3 hypothesis (One employee is offered compensation of two persons and asked to do work/responsibility of three persons). This idea of management centers more to work more, produce more, sell more and stick to the organization without looking for alternatives.

Management philosophy may have created prosperity for some people but it has failed in the aim of ensuring betterment of individual life and social welfare. In concern of this, huge funds have been invested in building institute of modern management education, but no remarkable changes are visible in the improvement of general quality of life. People are given thought by a general tendency that class or standard of living defines quality of life.

We Indian are known for our culture, customs, rituals, languages, unity and for our epics, which are strengthened day by day and we are honored by whole world. Bhagavad-Gita, A divine book is invaluable gift of God and it is to be assimilated in our life, few renowned universities across the world have come up with new syllabi and courses inspired by Gita. This charismatic book explains to young managers how incorporate principles of its in life to be successful.  

Metro turns to Bhagavad-Gita for management lesson news in THE HINDU on 20/02/08. It states about DMRC (Delhi metro rail corporation), the managing director, E. Sreedharan, is a fervent believer of the value that the Bhagavad-Gita preaches, he often talks about the importance of taking pride in their profession and organization, detachment from the fruits of action and the need to perform their duties diligently and with perfection. Today in this highly cut throat competition environment everyone is running behind unsought ambition and even giant corporate houses are fighting for their existence, this is actually a blind competition where everyone wishes to reach at top destination while this destination is not visible, In this concern this would be better to say even people are not aware about what path has to be followed to reach at destination or to achieving targets.

The Bhagavad-Gita was written thousands of years ago, enlightens us on all managerial techniques, culture and lead us towards a peaceful life, calm, sacred and loyal state of mind instead of the frustration, envy, conflict and so on. . It is an endeavor to correlate it with concept of management. Further the principles of Bhagavad-Gita can be incorporated to flourish life. 

In the present context, the term management is used in three alternative ways,

1) Management as a discipline

2) Management as a group of people, and

3) Management as a process

1) Management as a Discipline:

From this point of view, management can be treated either as an art or science, the two basic and broad principles. It is to be noted that the learning process in science differs from that of art. Learning of science basically involves the assimilation of principles while learning of art involves its continuous practice.

Comparison between science and art as used in management



Advance by knowledge

Advance by practice











It can be seen that management uses both scientific knowledge and art in managing organization. Further it can be added that Bhagavad-Gita provides knowledge in advance it is done because of managers can predicts the circumstances instead of guesses. The result is already in gita hence management can anticipate of situations based on principles of Gita. Gita strengthened to principles because conscious allows inculcating felling about righteousness of anticipation to achieve organizational targets. The old saying "Knowledge is Power" is quite correct. Bhagavad-Gita supports to knowledge, it explains how to perform duty and adaptation of knowledge. Lord Krishna preaches duty is duty; you are rendered for your relations but you are concerned for your duty too and you are standing in battlefield to performing your duty. O Arjuna your birth is witnessed of this battle. Discipline is required for successful life and discipline also counted when employees are performing their duty genuinely and seriously. People should take pride in their profession. No task brings  employees to defamation.

2) Management as a group of people:

Management is a group of people in which we include all those personnel who perform managerial functions in organizations. For e.g. when we talk about relationship between management and labour in an  organization, we refer to two distinct classes or groups of personnel in the organization, In the first category, we include all those persons who are responsible for managerial functions and in second category, we include non-managerial personnel. This approach of using management is quite popular.

Today we have no amiable relation between managers and labours, it can not be that labours are not paid good remuneration or do not have comfortable environment to work. Two different pictures are exhibited by managers and labours one side they (management and labours) show pleasant relation among them the other side they behave like opposite facet of a coin. The source of problem comes from temperament of workers and managers. Managers and labour do not work for their organization while work for their personal attainment and benefits. In views of managers workers have become a hire able commodity which can be used, replaced and discarded at will, it reflects from body language, gestures, and postures of managers when they have interaction with their workers. Workers have observed this changes in temperament of managers and it is in cognizant of workers and felling unhappy from temperament of managers, it detach workers from their task. Strikes sit-ins, go slow called off by workers which critical for growth and lives of an organization.  Now question arises how to rescue from such kind of circumstances, this situation was explained by the theory of self transcendence propounded in the Gita. It involves, leave egoism, putting others before oneself emphasizing team work, dignity, co-operation and trust.

A popular verse of Gita advices "detachment from the results of actions performed in the courses of one's duty. If we are always worried the date of promotion or the rate of increment before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. Working only with an eye quality of performance of the current job or duty suffers. Some people might argue that not seeking the result of work makes one unaccountable. Gita explains at the time of performing duties, the state of mind should be "nishkama karma" nishkama karma prevents ego whereby an individual (either manager or labour) feels uncomfortable and unhappy if expectation are remain unsolved (one's promotions, increment in salary) nishkama karma makes strengthened to an individual and offers attempts and venture to meet the desires.  

The relation between managers and workers are being spoiled day by day while in Mahabharata, it is mentioned on everyday after sunset or at close of the day soldiers from both armies (Pandavs and Kauravs) could have see with each other and helps could be offered to soldiers of rival army for alleviating sorrows and grief. This incidence tells how healthy rivalry works, the healthy rivalry motivate to workers to perform their job with unruffled mind. Some people argue that not seeking the result of work transport stress and dissatisfaction. In this given situation a look can have to understand how big organization are now considering and compassionate for their personnel's. Anuj Dayal, chief public Relations officer of DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) says "we do organize yoga a lesson for the employees in the organization to help them deal with stress and it's after, affect. To motivate employees and to encourage a positive outlook we take quotes from the 'Gita Makaranda' and publish them in the monthly newsletter and safely bulletins of DMRC so that messages reach everyone from the seniors management to the workers and contractors. www.thehindu.com/2008/02/20 stories/2008022056430800.ntm.   The holy book Gita explains how to rescue from stress and dissatisfaction.

3) Management as a process:

In managerial discipline, we generally refer to management as a process. A process can simply be defined as systematic method of handling activities. In Gita it is explained, the systematic method of handling activities from daivi work (divine service), Sri Krishna elaborates "davi sampat" means divine work and "Asuri sampat" means demonic work culture, Daiv i work (divine service) involves fearlessness purity, self control calmness, absence of geed, modesty absence of envy. Whenever, wherever question comes for systematic method of handling activities it should be seen in context of Daivi work and Asuri Sampat (demonic service) should not be originated in either of management or workers behaviour. Asuri sampat involves in egoism, despoiled approach, personal desires, and wrong feelings for others. Management is invariably defined as the process of getting things done through the efforts of others. When things are being done by others there is "Bhaktiyoga" for workers, because actually they are performing their duties and for this workers should be obliged because they are given clout to perform their tasks, this course of action is known as karmayoga of workers, when workers are sincere, performing their duties and are expected to stand with organization. Management should look and observe its in admiration of "sevayoga ". Sevayoga is service for its own sake. Workers are involved in their job but only involvement is not expected, while their propensity to karmayoga (service) and bhaktiyoga (devotion). Karmayoga and bhaktiyoga not only meant for workers rather worker and management must be stood on similar platform to perform their duty and to achieve organizational targets.


The despondency of Arjuna in the battlefield of kurushetra is over from magical and inspiring words of Sri Krishna and changes Arjuna's to the righteous actions. When Arjuna's got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri Krishna reminded him of the purpose of his new action not for his own greed and desire, but for the welfare of many with inimitable victory of ethics over unethical actions. This is trump of truth over untruth.

In this article it does not suggest not to have faith in management but use of holistic attitude and norms of Bhagavad-Gita in our lives for the wellbeing of many and to reach on our Destination. Not only alluring words of Bhagavad-Gita is leading to Indians but also it is praiseworthy by people of throughout the world. (In Nov.02, 2006.in.rediff.com/money/2006/nov/02bspec.htm - 30k How Bhagavad-Gita has charmed US Corporate)  As it has been mentioned, Bhagavad-Gita can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation from dejection, despondency to wisdom, correct attitude and being sincere for our accepted jobs, in support to the statement

"When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse of comfort me and immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who mediate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it everyday".                                                                                                     - Mahatma Gandhi

"The Bhagavad-Gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of universe".                                                                                                       - Jawahar lal Nehru

'No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the west, than the Bhagavad-Gita. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things…. The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has lead to this illuminating work."
  - Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of philosophy University of Southern California.


Prasad L.M. (2005) Principal and Practice of Management: Sultan Chand & Sons – 2005

M.P. Bhattathiri Bhagvad Gita and Management www.indastro.com

http://www.the hindu.com/2008/02/20stroies2008022056430800.htm

Times of India, april7, 2008

Massie L. Joseph (2004) Essentials of management printce-Hall of India private Limited New Delhi



Lalit Kumar Agarwal
Icfai National College

Source: E-mail May 12, 2008


Articles No. 1-99 / Articles No. 100-199 / Articles No. 200-299 / Articles No. 300-399
Articles No. 400-499 / Articles No. 500-599 / Articles No. 600-699 / Articles No. 700-799
Back to Articles 800 Onward / Faculty Column Main Page