Saturday, August 1, 2015

Altruism



Overlooking the Ganga, Arjuna asked Krishna “Who is the biggest giver”? Krishna answered “Karna”. Arjuna seemed offended. And gave a list of selfless acts done by him. Krishna patiently heard him and thought it is better to let Arjuna judge for himself. He took Arjuna to a far-off village. He produced a mountain of gold and asked Arjuna to donate it among the villagers. Accordingly, Arjuna called all villagers and asked them to form a queue so that Arjuna can give each one of them a bag full of gold. The day ended without even an ounce of gold being reduced despite all villagers getting the gold. Similar story occurred the next day. Finally Arjuna gave up. Krishna then called Karna and told him to do the same. Karna called all villagers and told them that this mountain belongs to the village and that they can have it as they want. Moral of the story: If you want something, even blessings, in return for a favour, it isn’t a selfless act.

In the corporate world, largely driven by capitalist philosophy, where we talk of competitive blood bath, guerrilla marketing, carpet bombing, pink-slips, cut-throat competition among others, how difficult it is to maintain altruistic nature. The answer squarely rests on your thought-process. Going beyond the superficial nature of physical things we see in this world, it is about your control over your senses. The need to go into the depth of the whys, whats, hows, whens, wheres is essential. Newton’s third law states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Same hold true in physics or philosophy. The difference is that, in physics, the opposite reaction is logical. In philosophy, the opposite reaction is not necessarily to oppose. All decisions taken by you have a reason and thus always ask the why of it. This decision will have an impact or effect. Whether the timing of the decision is correct. Once all the answers to these questions are in sync with your though-process, you will not need to the worry about the fruits of your labour.


There will always be a dichotomy between the goal and the process. Each will have its place under the sun at different times. The challenge is to be able to understand the difference. You will have reached the stage of self-actualisation when this challenge ceases to exist because fruit of labour isn’t your source of inspiration. 

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