Dr. JC. Bose, an eminent Indian scientist, has proved to the world that the plants too have life and they too breath and feel like the human beings. All these plants consume ground water through their roots. Just imagine, what will happen if all the plants and trees on the earth start accumulating water like human beings accumulate wealth? The whole ground water will vanish in just few days. The plants have their own inner wisdom. They consume only their daily intake and not more than that. A cow gives plenty of milk for human consumption by keeping her own baby half fed. What will happen if she denies this milk for human consumption? We and our own children will be without any milk. Our own and our children’s survival will be in difficulty. If nature becomes greedy, then what? The whole nature in its own inner wisdom only gives us in some way or the other. It never takes anything from us. And before the nature we always stand out to be beggars. The whole existence has its own inner wisdom except the human beings. The issue of greed, hoarding, and accumulation starts only with one social animal and that is the human being. It sometimes appear to me that the word “Human Being” is a misnomer for this social animal.
And a question comes to our mind of people who have been the greatest wealth creators of the world. A few greatest wealth creators of the world are: JRD Tata, GD Birla, and Dirubhai Ambani in India; and Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett in the West. These are just few names. There are many such visionaries. These are the real wealth creators of the world. A commonsense question that comes to our mind is: Are they not greedy? Are they not hoarders of wealth? No, to me they are not the hoarders of wealth but real and genuine wealth creators. Please let us understand the subtle difference between a need and a greed. The art of creation of wealth and prosperity could be a vision and passion for them without being greedy. It could be a creativity for them. It is not only from the point of self-prosperity alone but also the prosperity of many others along with them. It can be a vision for the health, prosperity, and well-being of the whole nation. And creating wealth could be a religion for them. The creation of wealth could be a sort of immense discipline for them. Otherwise, this achievement could have been possible to everybody. But it isn’t. Money could be a mission for them and wealth could be a vision for them. When we read them and their lives, we come to know the real respect and value they have for the wealth creation. When we look into their lives, we come to know of many challenges that they have overcome to create that kind of wealth. And the creation of wealth could be a passion and vision to them. We need to understand the subtle difference between need, greed, and a vision for creativity. I heard that it was Dhirubhai Ambani who once said, “Creating wealth is a God given gift to me. Please don’t stop me from creating wealth”. This is truly a vision to him. Warren Buffett gives almost half of his wealth without a pause to Bill Gates foundation and still remains one of the richest. Who can be courageous like him? And just imagine the various charities done by Bill Gates Foundation towards removing so many social evils in the society. Also, let us not forget people like Gautama Buddha and Emperor Ashoka in India. Emperor Ashoka gave-up everything after the Kalinga war and was taking care of the people of his kingdom like a father and a guardian, and started professing and inculcating the philosophy of Buddha to his people. Gautama Buddha himself was a prince and the only son of his father to inherit the entire kingdom. And he gives-up everything to be one among his people. He again becomes an ordinary person. These are not small people, they are really the impeccable ones. We all say that God is the greatest creator. And what about the one who participates in His creativity? Osho says, “Creativity is a quality that we give to every activity that we do”. And nobody could give a better definition of creativity than this. This gives a new dimension to all the creativity that is possible through the human beings. He was really a greatest Master that the world has ever seen. He is a twenty first century Buddha. And according to this definition, the quality has to be independent of the activity. The moment we bring in a little awareness and consciousness to any activity that we do, the whole chemistry, beauty, and quality of the activity changes. And the whole quality of the activity undergoes a transformation. The whole activity becomes divine. The doing becomes divine. This way all our work can become a worship, and all our doing can become a divinity. And with this attitude and approach our work becomes a worship, our “Kam” becomes our “Ram”, our action becomes our devotion, and our doing becomes a divinity. And the whole experience is as if we are participating with God in that activity. Our “Karma” becomes our “Dharma” and our “Dharma” becomes our “Karma”.
It reminds me of a great mystic poet in India. His name was Kabir. He was undoubtedly a great poet and a mystic. Poetry and mysticism was his personal and private love affair. But for his livelihood and economics he was a small entrepreneur in himself. He used to weave clothes with his whole heart and soul. His spirit could reflect in all his weaving. He always used to say that he is weaving the clothes for his God, “Ram”. He used to weave all the clothes with his whole heart and soul, always singing and dancing, and go to the market place and wait for his Ram to come and purchase the clothes. He was seeing his Ram in every customer. And such was his deep trust. We all say in the corporate world that the customer is a King. And to Kabir, his customer was not only a King but God himself. He never bothered about marketing his brand and business. He used to simply wait patiently for his Ram to come and purchase the clothes. This is really a greatest lesson delivered on CRM. In the modern business we do so many juggleries to attract and get customers. And we badly fail in all our Customer Relationship Management. Some experiences are like a hell. The issue is that basic trust in the customer and customer service is missing. This “Kabir” is a real “Kuber”. In the Eastern tradition Kuber means God of wealth. And while working in Reliance Retail we have inculcated a similar philosophy as regards the customer. And that philosophy was, “Grahak Devo Bhava”. It means that the customer is a God. The customer being a King is really an old concept. The customer to be a God has to be a new shift. This philosophy is an extension of the verse in Taittiriya Upanishad that says, “Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Atithi Devo Bhava”. This is in Sanskrit and it means that one should worship his Mother, Father, Teacher, and Guest as God.
It also reminds me of an enlightened King who happened in India. The name of this king was Janaka. He was one of the wisest Kings who have happened in India. He was also a spiritual and enlightened being. The unique thing about his spiritual knowledge and wisdom was that all the teachers and sages of the Gurukuls of that time used to keep the last lesson of the Gurukul student in the King’s palace. If the student has to pass in his studies and get certified, he has to pass the last lesson in the King’s palace. This was the tradition. And it happened once. One student was sent to the King’s palace for his final exam. The student was welcomed in the palace. He was given a warm welcome. And necessary instructions were given to look after the student and take care of him as if he was part of the King’s family. The whole palace was shown to him. All the inner workings of the kingdom were explained to him. Every detail as to how the kingdom and its people were being taken care of, was explained to him. He was immensely happy with all this. But one thought was constantly haunting him. He was thinking, how the king must be taking care of the people and his kingdom when he himself is living in all the luxuries and comforts. The whole atmosphere of the palace was like a heaven. This doubt was constantly bothering him. And sometimes he was getting a feeling that all the wisdom and self-knowledge of the king must be just fake. He was pondering all this on his last day. And sometimes the other thought was also coming to his mind as to how the king would then be loved by all the people of his kingdom. King Janaka was the most loved and respected king of his time. All these different thoughts were bothering the student. This was his last night. The student was supposed to stay that night in the palace and meet the king in the morning and take leave. It was night and dinner time. The dinner was served to the student along with the king. After the dinner the student goes to his room to sleep. The student could not sleep the whole night. His whole night was terrible. Because many naked swords were hanging from the roof of his room with a thin thread. The threads with the help of which the swords were hung were alsmost invisible. And just one sword falling down the student is finished forever. So the whole night was like a terrible nightmare and the student could not even take a nap. And somehow he could pass through the whole night awake. In the morning after the breakfast he was called to the court to take leave of the king. Just casually the king inquired of his stay and comfort. The student says that he was very comfortable and happy on all his days in the palace except the last night. He narrates the horrible experience of his last night. The king laughs and says that it was like giving a Zen Koan to him. It was like a puzzle to solve the life’s mystery. It was like a device to change and transform him. It was a test of his entire education. The student humbly and politely asks the king, what this whole thing meant and what lesson he should learn from the episode for his future life. The king says, “I was very much aware that all sorts of thoughts were passing through your mind as to how the king must be managing the affairs of the kingdom when he himself is living in all comforts and conveniences of life. The last night’s test was just to tell you that the one who is responsible for the kingdom and its people, one who is responsible for their living and their prosperity, can still be a wise and prudent king, nevertheless, he may outwardly appear to be enjoying all the comforts of his life. The hanging of the naked swords was a metaphor for the responsibility of the whole kingdom and its people on my head”. King Janaka says again, “The way you were awake the whole night for the fear of falling of the sword, the same way I am awake, aware, and conscious of the huge responsibility of my kingdom and my people. I am living in all comforts and conveniences of life can only be a perception to some in the outside world. But inside me, I know very well for sure that there is a great responsibility on my head and my shoulders. My whole life is like that of the tight rope walker. It is something like a devil and the deep sea. I am constantly aware and conscious of the fine thread of responsibility hanging on my head”. The student was enlightened to receive the last message. He thanked the king for all the teachings and bid farewell. I am all for richness within and without. We can not only be richer on the outer but in the inner too. The outer is only a reflection of our inner. If our inner is rich and beautiful, our outer is bound to be rich and beautiful.
We all work in the corporate world 24/7 (twenty four by seven) but are still not happy. We all promise to our customers that we are available to them 24/7. And still neither the customer is happy nor the owner. All this looks strange, right? We all talk of those buzz words like CRM, CEM, Customer Delight, Total Customer Satisfaction, etc. All that blah, blah, blah. And everyday the same pressure, same tension but nothing incredible happens. What’s the matter? What’s the mystery? I think we need to look at our workings. What am I doing? Why am I doing? Whom am I doing? And unless the real answer to all this is not ‘me and myself’, we can never be happy and never be successful. Let me make this distinctly clear. Unless my work becomes worship to me, unless each activity becomes divine to me, unless I think the same way as my entrepreneur thinks, unless I work out and out for my customer, I can never be happy and successful. One can never be successful without being happy. Have you noticed the above number 24/7 (twenty four by seven)? This looks absolutely mysterious to me. Do you know how? Can we try some numerology here? Let us divide 24 by 7 and see the result. Whatever you do the remainder is 3 (three). That means, in spite of our working 24/7 and round the clock, the remainder is always 3. Can we then guess what this ‘three’ means? To me, it means a lot and stores a lot. We need to decode this. It’s like the ‘Da Vinci Code’, you know. Let me decode and demystify this. To an entrepreneur, the three things that are always left behind are: he himself, his supplier, and his customer. To a businessman, let him do whatever, the three things that are always left behind are: the top line (Revenue), the middle line (Cost), and the bottom line (Profit). To a scientist, let him do whatever, the three things that are always left behind are: the electron, proton, and neutron. To a teacher, the three things that are always left behind are: he himself, his student, and the knowledge. And finally, to a spiritual person, the three things that are always left behind are: he himself, his Guru, and the Divine Knowledge. And when he finally attains to that ultimate self-knowledge (Brahmajnan), he himself embodies with three values: Satyam, Shivam, and Sundaram. The whole creation is made up of these three. And no creation is possible without these three. What a magic of three? What a miracle of three? Let us now think, contemplate, and meditate on the following rules that take us towards Enlightened Leadership:
- Earning is better than begging. Beggars aren’t choosers.
- Borrowing is better than robbing.
- Business is far better than begging, borrowing, and robbing. Mystic Kabir is the most beautiful businessman ever walked on planet earth.
- Business simply means leveraging on one’s own natural skills. Ram Charan calls them God given gifts. Business simply means sharing and exchanging these natural and God given skills and talents.
- Philanthropy and charity is far better than only business. It is a great Social Leadership. (Henry Ford says, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”).
- Spirituality simply means making and transforming these natural and God given skills and talents into an art, science, and philosophy. This is the aim, objective, and goal of Enlightened Leadership.