Corporate musings

Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 8 – Lifecycle


Life is a cycle and Chapter 2 Verse 18 seems to talk about this .. well, everything is cyclical and ever changing.

अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ता: शरीरिण: |
अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत || 18||

antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śharīriṇaḥ
anāśhino ’prameyasya tasmād yudhyasva bhārata

anta-vantaḥhaving an end; imethese; dehāḥmaterial bodies; nityasyaeternally; uktāḥare said; śharīriṇaḥof the embodied soul; anāśhinaḥindestructible; aprameyasyaimmeasurable; tasmāttherefore; yudhyasvafight; bhāratadescendant of Bharat, Arjun

The translation is – Only the material body is perishable; the embodied soul within is indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal. Therefore, fight, O descendent of Bharat.

The link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/18

My interpretation is as follows –

Whether one believes in re-incarnation and the karmic cycle, what’s obvious is businesses and life have a lifecycle. Just like the waves in the ocean come forward and recede, so does life ebb and flow. Our behaviour has to be in tune with the stage of the lifecycle that we find ourselves in. When little children spout off something “adult”, we call them precocious. In the same way, when some idea is ahead of its time, we call it pre-mature. Businesses have to adapt to the changing stages of their lifecycle. Behaviours are different when its an early stage startup and when its a mature business. Steady state will give way to turbulence and a new steady state will emerge and the cycle will continue.

Re-invention of oneself and the business is critical to remain relevant. I love the way our Superstar Amitabh Bachchan remains relevant and in the thick of things at all times. He has reinvented himself all along. He has adapted to every life stage and so he appears to be fresh. Long back, I had written a blog about remaining relevant – Social animal, social media; And then have explored this topic in several other blogs of mine. People do all sorts of things to remain relevant but forget to recognise and adapt to the changed context.

While this verse speaks directly about the imperishable immortal soul and that Arjuna shouldn’t feel bad about killing the “body”, it also speaks of re-incarnation or the Karmic cycle. As I am reading the Bhagavad Gita and interpreting it in my own way, my fascination is deepening. Just re-interpreting 7 verses has made me think deeply about these aspects of life. Imagine re-interpreting the remaining 636 verses !!! Am excited.

Jai Sri Krishna.

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4 replies »

  1. Your message was very interesting, everyone who reads and understand the Geetha feels himself or herself as Arjuna and the dialogue becomes so relavant.   Thank you and bless you. Regards Seshu

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  2. Bindu,
    I’m enjoying the Bhagavad Gita through your interpretations. It occurs to me that this age-old text remains relevant, not because it changes, but because people continue to interpret it in new contexts.

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