Business and Brahman

paduka

I visited Gangapur with my guru and family. Many aspects of this trip proved hard for me. Hard, not as in climbing Mount Everest, but hard as in opening up steadfast beliefs to critical self-examination. It offered some new ways of looking.

The lotus grows in the muck. One can either wonder about the muck around the lotus . Or one can be drawn to the wonders of the lotus. It is a choice we make. Gangapur, among the holiest of Hindu sites, offers some stark and unsettling contrasts between the temple and the environs.

Business: The choicest opportunity lies in the midst of turbulence. To focus on turbulence is to miss the opportunity. To focus on the opportunity is to see the turbulence as a passing event of no consequence.

Devotees perform sevas or services.

Rudrabhisheka seva: Near the temple of Shri Dattatreya is the temple of Shri Kalleshwara. We polished the lingam of Lord Shiva with bare hands. The priest applied libations of sugar, milk and honey. The stone has become polished with seva performed by generations of devotees.

Business: Business is hard. Many hands polish the business strategy over generations. Don’t expect an immediate outcome. Think generations ahead.

Madhukari seva: We gave and received alms. Going door-door begging for alms from households proved hardest of all.

Business: Don’t accumulate money. Expend it on the greater good when you have it and raise capital when needed. Apply money to research. Donate generously to social causes. Pay out dividends to stock holders.

Palaki seva: I lay prostrate on the temple floor with other supplicants while the palanquin of the Lord passed over us. My baby lay cradled in my arms beneath me. The palanquin bearers treaded nimbly in the spaces between people.

Business: Business must be humble before society and approach government with humility. Society lets business function because of the trust that business generates value for the greater good. When the trust is broken, as in the recent Wells Fargo case, society can curb business freedom to operate.

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