Management Lessons from Mahabharata

Mahabharata, an epic saga of Indian Mythology has a lot to tell and teach us. They say everything that exist in the world is present in this saga and something that is not present here that does not exist at all. Mahabharata guides us to spiritual development as well as self realization. The book offers multifarious things which can be adaptable to our contemporary world. Its multidimensional nature helps us to think practically as well as spiritually. Bhagwat Geeta or Mahabharata are the narrations from Pandava Prince Arjuna and his mentor and guide Lord Shri Krishna. The teaching from Lord Shri Krishna can be contemplated in to modern day rules of management and would prove useful even in this contemporary world.  So let’s have a look on some of the teachings from Mahabharata which helps us in effective management.



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  1. Difference between Effectiveness and Efficiency.                                                                     Effectiveness is doing the right things where as doing the things right is called efficiency. Lord Shri Krishna says there is no state as such inaction or no-action. He says that this is the period when we get inspired to do work correctly. This surely puts us in to question of how should we go about if working is concerned.  Lord Krishna says we should enjoy thorough freedom and engagement with our work. But then again a question comes in is how we can enjoy work. To this he answers that ‘Observe a mother caring for her child’. She enjoys it thoroughly and never gets tired of it ever. The freedom to enjoy our work can only be possible if we choose a job in which we are happy and satisfied and we are willing to pursue.


2.Focus and go on!!!
We all remember the incidence from Mahabharata when Guru Dronacharya asked everyone to aim at birds eye. One by one he asked everyone to tell what they can see and listening to the answer he permitted no one except Arjuna to aim at the target. Why so? Because,  Arjuna answered that he can see only the  eye of the bird unlike others who could see  the branch, leaves moving and even more birds sitting on the same tree.  and when Guru Dronacharya said ‘Shoot my Boy’,there went the arrow straight into bird’s eye. If you want to achieve your desired goal.Yes… FOCUS is very important. If your goal is to loose weight then your  ultimate focus should be on your regular exercises, healthy food habits, daily regime and then after some days you see yourself slim, trim.


3.To have a clear and uniform vision
Lord Krishna had this vision of fighting on the side of ‘Dharma’ that is righteous and true which in turn helped him to form a more firm, strong and just administration for people in future.  So when Krishna was asked by Arjuna whether was it right to fight against his own brothers and Lord Krishna had a clear vision that Arjuna was destroying evil which is right. So have a futuristic vision. Invest in those who would prove better and truthful in the longer run.


4.Plan your strategy to form a clear vision
Dream for the success, imagine what success will look like, realize its benefits and most importantly see things that not only are self beneficial but also for the whole community.


5.Cultivate the art of Leadership in others
Lord Shri Krishna being savvy of everything took a back seat in Mahabharata and allowed Yudhishthir to be the leader. Allow others to come forward. Utilize your resources and make correct use of them.


6.Inculcate excellence anyhow
Eklavya, when did not get the chance to learn under the guidance of Dronacharya, made statue of Dronacharya and learned the art of archery better than Arjuna. Arjuna was the finest student of Guru Dronacharya but the obstacle of being admitted to the gurukul did not hinder Eklavya’s determination to learn the art better than Arjuna. Lack of resources should not hinder your goal of achieving excellence.


7.Build a creative organization
A creative organization can be tricky because of its multifaceted nature. There are many innovations to consider, lot of people to put in effect and different environment to consider. But this should not be a hurdle in your goal. A unique and pristine idea is always beneficial. Just like when queen Gandhari gave birth to 100 seed, Rishi Ved Vyas found the way of developing them and make them grow into human babies.


8.Develop Human Resources
Just like Abhimanyu’s first lesson started from his mother’s womb, developing and training human resources in the organization since their inception of joining is important.  A well trained employee proves beneficial to the organization.


9.Building teams and team-works
Before the epic fight of Mahabharata even Pandava’s seek help from nearby kingdom and developed their team of experts and excellent warriors. You cannot win any battle alone. A work is always done better with a good team.


10.Delegate, motivate and communicate
Lord Shri Krishna motivated and communicated every time with Arjuna when Arjuna was low less motivated and felt discouraged. This helped him to start over again and with better chance of winning.


11.Reviewing your weak area and learn                                                               

Pandavas during exile after losing their kingdom utilized their energies to learn and develop themselves.  It was because of their constant learning and reviewing their timely performances helped them to achieve a top pinnacle. That is how things go into the organization. Self Learning plays a very important role along with a powerful training.


12. Think with clarity and with calm mind                                                               

When Arjuna got restless with the behavior of his relatives and how he can shed blood of his own brothers at that very pressure   time  Lord Shri Krishna guided him to stay calm and look up on the future results and  not only to immediate loss. It is   important to relax yourself even at times when you are under extreme pressure for an easy power from God.


13.Treat everyone as equal                                                                                                        

Karna was someone who possessed all the qualities of other four pandavas and if would not have been treated unequally he would not have been on to the side of injustice. Biased attitude can lose great assets as well as can create toughest competitors for life.


14.Be Committed to your words                                                                                            

Lord Krishna promised he would not fight in the battle and he retained it even when he got furious on the death of his dear nephew Abhimanyu. Commit to your promises no matter what.


15.Correct Utilization of available resources                                           

Before the battle of Mahabharata started, Dronacharya asked Lord Krishna for his powerful army and prince Arjuna chose Lord Krishna and his wisdom for support. One must choose and use resources wisely.


16.Your attitude determines your altitude                                                                                         Our attitude towards our work defines our larger vision and broad prospective. A story of three stone cutter building a temple can justify this. First one said I need to support my family, the second said I want to prove the world my expertise in stone cutting and the third one said I want to build the most beautiful temple. Their jobs were same but their prospective were different. Their prospective defined their attitude and their attitude signifies their vision.


17.Fair Work culture                                                                                                                            

The Mahabharata introduced us to two kind of work culture ‘Daivi sampat’ which means divine work culture and ‘Asure sampat’ which means Demonic work culture. Daivik Sampat symbolizes fearlessness, sacrifice, purity, hard work, self control, straightforwardness, calmness, gentleness etc. whereas the later Asure sampat signifies egoism, delusion, personal desire improper performance, etc.

Mere work ethic is not enough but a sense of fairness is also important.



18.Team Work and Team Results                                                                                                        If the work has turned into success the entire credit    should not be given to a single person. The entire team is worthy of the credit.

And so if the result is failure, the entire blame does not come on just one person.


19.Manager’s mental state                                                                                                                   In Mahabharata, Manager’s role was played by Shri Krishna. A manager should avoid greed, envy, egotism, suspicion, anger, frustration, and anguish resulting through comparison Shri Krishna was involved throughout in this process via his ideas. He was a perfect coach who kept his peace and had a clear vision and strategy to be successful.


20.Act with conviction                                                                                                                            When some villagers went to Yuddishthir for donation of sandal wood, he answered it not the season of cutting the wood and     promised them to deliver the donation as soon as the season begins. Whereas when they went to prince Karna he immediately gave the wood from his furniture to the villagers. This incident tells us about showing your conviction in whatever you do.

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