Question: What is the relationship between business and spirituality?
Sri Sri: Many think spirituality is against economic prosperity. Look at the benefits of spirituality. It brings enthusiasm. There is more time in your life, as you can do with only 5-6 hours of sleep. It will increase your energy levels. It will enhance your creativity. All these lead to prosperity. Is this any different from business? Creativity needs alertness and awareness of the present moment. You get both of these through spiritual practices.
Question: On the issue of corporate governance, what is your advice to the management?
Sri Sri: People have lost faith in the corporate sector after all the scams. Trust is lost. Business runs on trust, and that trust needs to be reinstated. There are a few things that you should bear in mind: Are you doing service projects? You cannot forget the aspect of welfare, especially with regard to your employees. You cannot just think about the physical aspect, give workers a raise and that’s it. Such motivation dies very soon. You have to instill a sense of belongingness and caring. Greed first kills the customer and then oneself. Be ambitious, but not overambitious. Competition is fine, but there should not be any unethical practices. There should be clear guidelines for workers and management. Top management should be concerned with the ‘what’ (goals for the organization). Middle management should be concerned with the ‘how’, and lower management should be concerned with the quality. Then there is integrity in the whole management team. And that will bring out commitment in the strata of management. This is what we at Art of Living focus on. Ask the worker, “How do you see the problem?” The Vedas say to put yourself in different shoes and places; then your awareness will expand. Whenever you can find time, get together to sing and meditate. All this will enhance team spirit.
Question: How does one deal with corruption? One faces it in the office everyday.
Sri Sri: This is another area where meditation helps. There are deadlines, pressures, etc. But then, there should also be relaxation, which builds confidence and enthusiasm. It is the most vital ingredient during pressure. Dealing with corruption requires spiritual awareness. There was Kumbh Mela (a mass Hindu pilgrimage) 3 years ago. Approximately 30 million people came there. But there was not a single crime, and no theft. I wish the whole country could be a Kumbh Mela. Lack of belongingness is the cause for corruption, and we all have to combat it together Weigh situations, and consider individual circumstances. Exercise the skill of discrimination.
Question: Business problems relate to production, personnel, and finance. To some we find solutions, to some we don’t. How will love, compassion, and a smile help?
Sri Sri: What type of boss would you prefer? One who frowns all the time and is frustrated? Anger is essential. But use your anger judiciously. Work then happens better. If all the while you keep using anger, it loses its essence. Be with people. Create a sense of belongingness, and make them comfortable rather than creating fear. Anger should be used as an emergency button only.
Question: Guruji, how does one smile all the time when there are problems from the time one wakes up until bedtime?
Sri Sri: If you only look at the problem, then there can be no smile. But if you see the solver, and see that he is more powerful than the problem itself, then you will smile. You don’t need to meditate the whole day. The same way, just see the problem, and see that it is being solved at the same time also. Problems bother you when you feel that they can’t be solved. But just look back at history: so many problems in the world came and went, including the Second World War – one of the biggest problems the world has ever seen. Just like that we will overcome other problems too. Your spiritual strength will lift you from problems. Today, most suicides occur amongst the educated masses. That’s because they don’t know how to nurture their souls. That nurturing comes not just from food and water, but from support within. Spirituality is for the rich as well as for the poor. For the rich, it opens their hearts. For the poor, it gives them self-confidence.