Meaning of work in life: A Comprehensive Perspective from Ancient Indian Spiritual Tradition

A very nice paper by Prof. Nisigandha Bhuyan of IIMC. It is really nice to read such papers from Management Institutes in India where we usually look at western approach towards solving our problems.

She looks at meaning of work from Indian spiritual perspective:

Work is part of our very existence. However,most people only understand material, empirical and social aspects of work while ignoring its spiritual and transcendental aspects. The result is the trap of ‘work for incentive’. This work‐incentive trap eventually corrupts not only the nature of work (work which yields more monetary incentives is sought after than work that fulfils or satisfies the soul) but also character of individuals who fall into that trap. A broader and comprehensive understanding of work can salvage mankind from the follies of material existence.

In this paper, we examine the evolution of work ethic in India, embedded in its spiritual tradition, and provide a framework for managers to understand how people need to relate themselves to their work either as an employee of the organization or as a responsible citizen or as part of the role they play as member of a family. Such holistic understanding of work results in less occupational stress, improved personal well‐being, and other positive work and societal outcomes.

There are three rich concepts:

The ancient Indian spiritual thinkers have not only taken pains to detail minute problems of human dignity and rights, social justice and equality, but also macro social issues of economics, politics, environment and society. They have proposed comprehensive outlook of life. Spiritualism assertsthe interconnectedness of the individual with the universal. Resort to spiritualism is probably the only option which can bring a holistic understanding of all existential questions about creation, life and work. A deeper and careful interpretation of the concepts can shed more light on not only the importance of the temporal nature of the world and human life but also the inseparable integration of both the temporal and the transcendental and subjective and objective. We will make a sincere attemptto understand the meaning of work intertwined in three highly rich spiritual concepts of ‘Purusharthas’ ‘Niskama Karma’ and ‘Lokasangraha’ and try find its relevance to our work and occupation..

Superb read…

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