The Bhagvad Gita is a conversation and this is verse 12 from Chapter 2 and a continuation of Krishna’s conversation with Arjuna. For background to this please refer to my post on Jan 1st – BMK Gita-Gyan -1 c2v11.
This is verse 12 from Chapter 2 –
न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपा |
न चैव न भविष्याम: सर्वे वयमत: परम् || 12||
na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na chaiva na bhaviṣhyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ param
The translation for this verse is – “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”
My interpretation is as follows –
Corporations continue to exist, bosses continue to exist, managers and executives continue to exist – only the form changes. Nothing lasts in the same form forever. Its important for us to remain aware and alert to the changes in the marketplace (battlefield) and take action accordingly. Take the example of Kodak film company. They missed the bus that brought digital photography to the world and hence ceased to exist. The need to store memories in the form of photographs did not change – the way of capturing and storing the memories changed. So the need to store memories remains eternal, but the form changes.
While Krishna refers to the immortality of the soul in this verse to help Arjuna understand that he is really killing the form and not the soul, we can also draw the inference that basic needs remain immortal. The form in which those needs are fulfilled keep changing. So for a business house to survive and succeed, you need to change and adapt.
The basic need of transportation will remain, but the form will have to change from using fossil fuels to maybe solar powered or hydrogen powered. The basic need to eat fresh vegetables will remain, but instead of fields, you may have to grow your vegetables in pots on your balcony. The basic need to clothe yourself will remain, but fashion and climate will dictate the form.
The most important inference am drawing is – like the immortal soul, human beings have immortal needs and businesses that focus on solving the “needs” related problems thrive. The inequality in having the resources to fulfil basic needs is what leads to conflict. If one set of human beings have more resources to fulfil their need for food and they hoard food, it deprives another set of human beings from fulfilling their need for food and there is hunger, violence and conflict. You cannot start a revolution with a full stomach !! All the revolutions in the world are sparked off by hunger – hunger for food, hunger for power, hunger for position, hunger for recognition etc.
The soul is eternal as are basic human needs of food, shelter and security. Thoughts ?
References – Bhagavad Gita as it is, ISKCON’s book; Bhagavad Gita by Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 1959 edition, my father’s copy.