Corporate Spirituality

Do You Hire the Narayana or the Narayani Sena?

LP Bhanu Sharma

There is a famous story in the epic Mahabharata. Despite Krishna’s numerous attempts to avoid the impending war and save humanity from the unimaginable loss of life, property, and culture, the Kuru clan finally decided to go to war that would be known as the great ‘Mahabharata War’. Both Arjuna and Duryodhana went to Krishna seeking his help to win the war because they knew him as the deciding factor. As Krishna was taking a nap when they approached, Arjuna with his devotion sat towards his feet, and Duryodhana in his arrogance sub-consciously sat beside the Lord’s head. After Krishna woke up, he said, “Since both of you have come to me and since I love both of you equally, let me divide myself into two halves – one side is just me individually without any army and arms (the Narayana) and on the other side is my entire Narayani Sena which is the most powerful army in the entire world. You can choose whichever you want”.

Arjuna was given the chance to choose first because Krishna saw him first when he awoke from the nap. Without a second thought, Arjuna chose Krishna, the Narayana. Duryodhana was very happy because he was left with the mighty Narayani Sena to fight the war. Arjuna chose the Narayana or the limitless potentials of an individual, whereas Duryodhana chose what is immediately visible to the human eyes – the physical resources. In other words, Arjuna chose a human being and Duryodhana chose quantifiable resources. This decision was not easy for Arjuna, but his subconscious choice made it very clear that the victory will be on Pandava’s side. It is Narayana who finally wins, and Arjuna saw the supreme deity in Krishna. Although the formless Narayana was there, Duryodhana did not have the mind to see that and so ended up choosing something very tangible and this clearly signaled his impending defeat.

The big question to human resources (HR) managers and organizational leaders is: what do you see in a human being – a long list of his experience and achievements or the latent potentials? Do you just see the cleanly drafted résumé full of all adjectives, or do you also have the eyes to see through the un-manifest abilities, wild and untamed enthusiasm, and the invisible fire within? The Narayani Sena is tangible and measurable. The university degree, last drawn salary, dresses, car, club membership, and the like all fall in this category. Everyone is aware that in the world of business what matters is only measurable.

The hidden qualities are all the Narayana and they are way beyond the scope of measurement. Neither natural sciences like Physics nor social sciences like Management can measure an individual’s inner worth. How do you measure and put a price tag on confidence, truthfulness, team spirit, organizational belongingness and dedication to service? These qualities lie beyond the purview of traditional management thinking and are almost completely ignored in dealing with human resources. You can test people for skills, but can you similarly test them for courage?

This way, being unable to identify, measure and quantify the Narayan, we end up filling organizations with Narayani Sena. And Narayani Sena rightly attracts the Kauravas; only Narayana can attract the Pandavas. If you see the files, the notes, and the performance measurement documents in an HR department, you will see only the Narayani Sena there. The Narayan is sadly missing from the whole human resource management concept and process. This has been the case to date. No research or study can calculate the immeasurable loss organizations have suffered for centuries because of this ignorance or incomplete understanding. And nobody knows for how long this great loss with continue to bog organizations.

Organizations of today need a different perspective on hiring, performance measurement, and talent management of their human resources. To make this happen, the focus has to shift from a ‘measurement-based’ or a ‘physical resources-based approach to a ‘spirituality-based’ approach for managing people. Whatever the degree, experience, unending list of targets achieved, and skills may be, organizations hire people to execute their future tasks. Past performance may be one of the indicators but cannot be the only indicator.

The real human resource is not just the sum of the tangible possessions; it is rather the latent power lying within an individual that can be awakened to fulfill organizational and other significant purposes. The real human resource is the ‘spiritual’ dimension of an individual because only spirituality can truly map and awaken the hidden and un-manifest qualities. Truly innate traits such as courage, confidence, truthfulness, helpfulness, resilience, integrity, team spirit, and decisiveness find a place neither in bio-data nor performance appraisal because these are spiritual or ‘Narayana’ qualities of human beings.
Futurist and author Jim Collins has stated in his popular book ‘Good to Great’ that organizations that have inculcated spirituality in their workplace far outlive other organizations of the same industry. He also concludes that the profitability of organizations with the spiritual workplace is anywhere between four and 16 times the figure of other organizations.

Does this not point out the need for a new spiritual dimension to managing the most important resource – human beings?

Sharma is a spiritual leader and educator. 

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