Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Yogic Manager - Review

The Yogic Manager is a business novel that was written to bridge Yoga-Vedanta and Management. The story is the medium by which several new frameworks, business models and management principles are explained. The author, Avinash Sharma, has incorporated the philosophies and teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras.
The book is a modern retelling of the ancient mythological epic, the Mahabharata, set in today’s world of business. The epic’s war of Kurukshetra has been recreated in the world of business at a consulting firm called Characterra Consulting. The protagonist is Arjun Atmanand who faces a crisis when his conscience clashes with the instructions of his boss and Characterra’s founder, Raja Sahamkar. To help him with his crisis, Arjun receives advice from Yogi, a being with supernatural powers. Arjun learns Yoga and Vedanta from Yogi, which he uses to build a bridge between Yoga-Vedanta and Management. 
Arjun develops a set of Yogic Management frameworks and principles that are the foundations of this bridge:
1. Reality-Consciousness-Bliss Framework
2. Knowledge Work Equation
3. Motive-Mind-Means Framework
4. Purposeful Life Framework
5. Principles of Yogic Management
6. Yogic Management Mantra
By reading and studying this book, you will:
—Start to challenge conventional ways of thinking about business and gain a new, holistic perspective of Management;
—Learn the principles and frameworks of Yogic Management, which you can then apply immediately to your work;
—Become a more productive knowledge worker by learning how to control and channel the power of the instrument of knowledge work, your mind;
—Gain fulfillment through your work and, in the process, contribute toward the betterment of society and all life on Earth;
—Gain practical advice on how to build physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual strength;
—Live a balanced and purposeful life by going through the four phases prescribed in Yoga-Vedanta; and
—Join, should you wish to, the evolution of Management, a movement that will elevate the human condition and restore harmony to an imbalanced planet
The frameworks (as high resolution charts in full color) and other resources have been made available for free on the website.
About the Author
Avinash Sharma is a senior consultant for strategic programs at a large Canadian bank in Toronto. He earned his MBA from the Queen's School of Business (Ontario). From 2008 to 2012, he researched Sanskrit texts, including the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras, to determine how Yoga-Vedanta can be applied to Management. The Yogic Manager is the product of this research.

The principles of management can’t be defined under a single head – they vary from people to people, organization to organization, each following a certain set of rules and procedures that highlight their management policies. Some organizations focus on serving their clients, while many aim to get the maximum financial gain out of a transaction. A number of firms target profit-enhancement in the short run, and a few also look at the benefits that are provided to the employees. However, in most cases, the fundamentals of practical management aren't absolutely flawless, and thus often lack purpose and direction that can be beneficial to the society.

‘The Yogic Manager’ by Avinash B. Sharma talks about applying the philosophy of Yoga-Vedanta into the system of modern management. It differentiates between a normal manager and Yogic Manager, highlighting the shortcomings of the former and how they can be attended to by the latter, using the tools of proper judgement and integrity. The power of human conscience, combined with proper understanding of the environmental factors that affect, and are in turn affected by business decisions, play a big role in shaping the future of the society.

There are four major characters in the book. Arjun Atmanand works as a manager and consultant in Characterra, a consulting firm. He is hardworking and intelligent, but lacks the guidance that’s needed to perform a task keeping in mind the benefit of all. He is lured by materialistic riches offered by Raja Sahamkar, his boss, and thus readily agrees to whatever he has to say. Raja practically rules Characterra and often takes decisions that serve his hunger. He is not concerned about goodness, morals or high values, and believes that these are mere words and can never help you achieve your goals in the real world scenario. Arjun, in a confused state of mind, comes across Yogi Dharmaraja, an advanced spiritual being with supernatural abilities. The Yogi guides Arjun on his path to righteousness and good deeds. Karan Atmanand is Arjun’s brother, a genius with numbers and a financial guru. However, he ignores the betterment of the society and uses his skill to enhance his own richness and fulfill his greed.

An interesting thing to note here is that the characters are derived straight out of the Mahabharata. While Arjun Atmanand resembles Prince Arjuna, his brother Karan Atmanand is a modern day personification of King Karna. Raja Sahamkar has qualities similar to the unrighteous King Duryodhana, and Yogi Dharamraja’s character can be said to be inspired by that of King Yudhisthira.

The narration, comprising of quotes from the Bhagwad Gita, and also sayings of several eminent personalities, like Swami Vivekananda, is insightful and helps us delve deeper into the maze of human emotions, where we always fight a battle between what is lucrative and what is right. Mind is a complex entity, and in business and management, it is the key to ensure success. However, Avinash defines success in a totally different manner, highlighting the actions more than the rewards, and as we read on, we realize how true he, and every word spoken in the book, is.

The cover of the book states – “A Business Novel inspired by the Mahabharata.” However, as a lover of the epic, I was a bit disappointed as I had expected more substantial references to the Mahabharata other than the quotes from Bhagwad Gita. True, the Bhagwat Gita is also a part of the Great Epic, and the teachings imparted through it are really beneficial in every sphere of life. Also, there are some other episodes as well that are referenced straight from the Mahabharata. Yet, presence of more characters, and incidents, similar to the Mahabharata, would have found favor from me on a higher scale. Perhaps, on a second thought, those episodes might not have fitted the basic premise of the book.

All in all, this is a book that provides a relatively new concept of Yogic Management in a simplified form, and serves to be a good learning experience. If you love reading business novels, then 'The Yogic Manager' should surely be your pick.

Title: The Yogic Manager
Author: Avinash B. Sharma
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Business
No. of Pages: 220
Price: Rs 225
My Rating: 3/5

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