Corporate musings

Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita #29 – Will it help?


Chapter 2 Verse 48

योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || 48||

yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga uchyate

yoga-sthaḥbeing steadfast in yog; kuruperform; karmāṇiduties; saṅgamattachment; tyaktvāhaving abandoned; dhanañjayaArjun; siddhi-asiddhyoḥin success and failure; samaḥequipoised; bhūtvābecoming; samatvamequanimity; yogaḥYog; uchyateis called

Translation : Be steadfast in the performance of your duty, O Arjun, abandoning attachment to success and failure. Such equanimity is called Yog.

The link to the above page is – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/48

My interpretation –

Krishnan and I watched the movie “Bridge of spies” in Chennai along with our friend Rajini in 2016. What stood out for us was the character played by Mark Rylance as the Russian spy Rudolf Abel. Whether the real Rudolf Abel was as chilled out and calm is at best a guess, but the way his character is built out in the movie is really cool. When Tom Hanks as the defending lawyer James Donovan asks Rudolf Abel if he isn’t worried or nervous about the outcome of the trial, Rudolf Abel asks “will it help?” … and that’s pretty much the message in this verse from Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.

As we go on doing things at work or at home or in the social arena or even just driving around we lose our cool, get stressed out, and generally get hyper without really asking the question “will it help?”. The answer often is that it will not help the situation. If on the other hand, you are able to stay cool, collected and equanimous, the decisions you take are much better, everything gets done in time and a huge collateral benefit is good health. Stress is the biggest silent killer on the loose in today’s world. Just asking this question “will it help?” as you see yourself getting angry or stressed out may help many of us stay calm and ride through the storm.

Equanimity in the age of stress ! Important learning.

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3 replies »

  1. Bindu,
    Good advice. I’ve taken note of my worrying habit, picked up by osmosis from my mother, who insisted worrying about things prevented them from happening. I take the opposite point of view, but I’m surrounded by people and influences–such as on electronic media–that seem to thrive on worrisome predictions, moaning and groaning.

    Lately, I’ve wondered if it helps for me to know the latest news. My chickens are so unconcerned about anything beyond their immediate environment, and they are so joyful and full of life that they inspire me to adopt more of their attitude. Animals do make great gurus.

    • Oh animals are great gurus, no doubt. We stopped buying newspapers for the past five years. We don’t watch news channels except flicking through once a day to catch the headlines. Mostly we pick the state run news channel because the private news channels peddle “nonsense”. These days News is largely manufactured so I just wait for the whole public discourse to run its course before siding with any issue. Also news in India is all about “outrage” – everything outrages everyone :). Life goes on just fine without knowing the latest news.

      • Sounds like Indian news sensationalizes just as US news does. You seem to keep up with news pretty well, though. Maybe it does some good to keep abreast, but sometimes I wonder.

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