INDIAN ETHICS FOR BUSINESS
Indian culture is a diversified culture because of the varieties of customs, beliefs, festivals and traditions. Indian has a host of cultures: Vedantic, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islamic, Zoroastrianism and a host sub cultures. It is a veritable unity in diversity.
The important Vedic values in Indian society which is valid even today are:
1. Showing respect to elders
2. Not showing emotions outwardly
3. God fearing in all walks of life.
4. Marriages are made in heaven and are considered a lifelong bond. Some consider it a bond even after death.
5. Despite being under the rules of various foreign rulers, India has still maintained its Vedantic traditions.
6. Indian ethos was built and perfected long before others evolved them. The ethical thought process in Vedantic ethos starts with the Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis and the Puranas. These were told in many ways reflecting the day to day life in epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata immortalized in the Gita. The ethical values were also told in story form in the Panchatantra, Hitopdesha, Katha Saritsagar, Bhojaprabhand, Chanakyo Neeti, Bhagvata, Sooktimuktavalli, Neeti Shastra, Neeti Shataka Manusmruti and the like.
7. According to the Puranas, the four goals of human life are:
8. The ethos in work life are:
· Man’s inner strength
· Holistic relationship between man and nature
· Cooperation with each other
· Yoga and meditation. That is excellence and concentration
· Spirit of sacrifice.
9. Internal orientation towards work as worship
10. A holistic grasp of Indian values or the Triumvirate as stated by the poet Kalidas:
· Satyam: Truth (Ethics)
· Shivam: Welfare (Economics)
· Sunderam: Beauty (Aesthetics)
11. The Indian Vedantic system has suggested four personality types based on a set of attributes. The classifications are:
· Daiva: Good attributes give Sattwa type of personality
· Rajas: Shows an angry and busy type
· Tamas: Thinking and doing destructive work.
12. The classifications of the three types of personality are shown below:
Sattwa Rajas Tamas
Truthfulness Jealousy Lust
Purity Dynamism Laziness
Forgiving Envious Drowsy
Compassion Crooked Enjoyment
Cooperation Back biting Procrastinating
Honesty Anger Action less dreaming
Sacrifice Cruelty Postponing
Renunciation Greed Indolence
Patience Covetousness Thinking ill of others
Poise Vanity Action less Raja
Means to Achieve Ethical Ends Kautilyan Ethics
Kautilya’s Arthashastra discusses branches of internal and foreign administration, civil and criminal laws well as art of warfare. As regards the term Neeti Shastra, it is used in the narrow sense of the science of polity as well as in the wider significance of the science of general morals.
Book 2 of Arthashastra is a veritable mine of information about the running of the bureaucratic system of government in an ancient Indian State. A few of some of the writings are:
No chief officer should be allowed to hold the office permanently, because it is hardly possible for officers for officers directly dealing with government finance and revenue not to enjoy even slightly the taste of money
He also prescribes measures against corruption.
He discusses various issues of practical importance which are valid even today. Some of the points are:
· Consider always long term view and objectives when there is a problem.
· On all occasions of conflict the king should support the weaker party with army and funds.
· Make a large organization with discipline and cooperation.
· In case of dilemma in decision making between the principles and religion, follow the eternal principles strongly.
· Follow sacred law and not the precedents. When here is a dilemma between a sacred law and rational law, follow the rational law of reasoning.
· Kautilya advocated a strong bureaucracy who is well trained and who are righteous in their thinking and working.
· Kautilya also recommended strong penalties and punishments for unethical work and immoral behavior for officers holding responsible positions.
Ethical Values in Gita
It is significant that the Bhagvat Gita calls itself Yoga-shastra and not Dharma-shastra though the scripture arises out of a moral problem. The question that is posed at the outset is whether, in the given circumstances, Arjun’s refusing to fight is an act of dharma or adharma.
In Hinduism, ethics is a science of human conduct and character. It is a study of what a man ought to do and what not to do. However what a man ought to do depends upon the end results and the aim of human life, which again depends upon the nature and purpose of the universe of which he is a part of.
Moksha is a negative expression as it signifies freedom from the bonds of the world. But Yoga as it is used in Gita is a positive expression for the same experience. The path of light begins with discrimination, goes through obedience to the law and moral action and thence through self forgetting love and service and ends in spiritual freedom where the individual realizes that he is a part and parcel of the all embracing spirit.
The Ethical values of Gita are:
· The ethos of work is worship is stressed as the driving force of life. to live and be happy one has to do his work in a ethical way. Those who do not work have no present or future. Work should be done for the larger good and not for short term gains.
· Be upright and moral. It is the only path to heaven.
· Conduct all activities ethically in spite of obstacles and constraints or whatever the end results, be.
· Do well to society
· Man is born in this life to play his role. One must perform prescribed duties with devotion, sincerity and humility.
· God comes wherever there is perfection and excellence. Manager, hence should be a total quality manager.
· Ethics is concerned with ends as well as means.
· Quality work of a man, say an employee in an organization is more on his mental attitude and inner satisfaction of having done his duty to the best of his ability.
· Proper knowledge, attitudes and skills are essential for an efficient management.
· Manager should be free from anger and all material desires.
· The personal life should be regulated in habits of eating, sleeping and recreation. Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance is performed without attachment or any expectations in return.
· Work should be done with devotion, pure soul and controlled mind.
Ethical Dimensions of Gandhi
Gandhiji’s life’s corner stone was of non-violence, of morality and of ethics. He has inspired not only the Indians but also people from other nations with his philosophy in every sphere of social and commercial life. Gandhiji not only spoke and wrote about his philosophies, but also followed them to the last alphabet. Some of the philosophical concepts of Gandhiji are:
I. Moral conscience – the moral conscience should be the inner guide to any actions of man.
II. Non-violence -
III. Greatest good for all – Whatever action is taken should be aimed at the greatest good for all.
IV. Sarvodaya Principle – Capital and labour should supplement each other. There should be a family atmosphere and harmony at work place.
V. Philosophy of trusteeship – Each businessmen, industrialist should consider himself as a trustee of the wealth that he possess, which he has taken from the society and it should be used for the greatest good of all.
VI. Labour as partners- Labour should be trained to develop moral and spiritual values and should be a partner to the success of the industry/ business.
VII. Ethical principles to be followed by labour –
· Workers should seek redressel of their problems only through collective action.
· Ballot authority should be taken for organizing a strike and it should be peaceful.
· Workers should avoid strikes in industries of essential services.
· Workers should avoid formation of unions in philanthropic organizations.
· Strikes should be resorted to only as a last resort, if all else fails.
VIII. Ends and Means – Goals and the means to those goals should be ethical.
Seven Sins advocated by Gandhiji
· Commerce without morality
· Wealth without work
· Education without character
· Science without humility
· Pleasure without conscience
· Politics without principles
· Worship without sacrifice