Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita #27 – Proof of Concept

Chapter 2 Verse 46

यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वत: सम्प्लुतोदके |
तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानत: || 46||

yāvān artha udapāne sarvataḥ samplutodake
tāvānsarveṣhu vedeṣhu brāhmaṇasya vijānataḥ

yāvānwhatever; arthaḥpurpose; uda-pānea well of water; sarvataḥin all respects; sampluta-udakeby a large lake; tāvānthat many; sarveṣhuin all; vedeṣhuVedas; brāhmaṇasyaone who realizes the Absolute Truth; vijānataḥwho is in complete knowledge
Translation – Whatever purpose is served by a small well of water is naturally served in all respects by a large lake. Similarly, one who realizes the Absolute Truth also fulfills the purpose of all the Vedas.
My interpretation – I think Lord Krishna is talking about a pilot project or proof of concept in this shloka. He says a small well of water will quench your thirst and that should let you know that a bigger well can also quench your thirst or a small rivulet has sweet water then the river from which it separates will also have sweet water. Basically a sample tells you if you want to go for the product. Shampoos, soaps, perfumes etc are sampled and customers reactions are used to refine or fine tune the product and finally even after they are launched, you have testers to see if you like the smell, texture etc. Usually perfumeries always let you test the perfume because a perfume smells different on different people.
The well established brands are truths – so no sampling.. when the Unilever advert says “Dove makes my skin glow” we simply accept it and buy the product. The terrible “Fair & Lovely” cream has made many lives miserable – if one is dark skinned, Fair & Lovely by the bucket will not make you fair skinned. Its a nice cream maybe, I also used it for a couple of years till I realised that I love my skin color and don’t want it any lighter. I also realised I was being dumb, well, one learns !! You buy cars after a test drive … whatever the advertisement says, till you get behind the wheel, its still not the truth for you. In the same way, in a buffet, take a little food, taste it and then decide if you want more of it – don’t heap your plate and throw it all away. Food wastage is criminal and I will keep saying it till people stop wasting food.
The learning for all of us is – don’t jump into anything feet first and then figure out that you really don’t want it. Sample, do a pilot project, test the relationship a little, then make up your mind if you want the whole truth. Some truths maybe unpalatable. The young lady in Pune who lost her life after drinking bitter bottle gourd juice, would have lived if only she had stopped at the first bitter sip… the juice was unpalatable. Let go of unpalatable stuff – people, food, experiences, relationships. There is an old Tamil saying that goes “பானை சோத்துக்கு, ஒரு சோறு பதம்” – which means a single grain of rice is enough to test whether the pot of rice is cooked.
Makes a ton of sense…Sample, test and then go the whole hog.

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