Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 7 – Imperishable

Am not sure if Lord Krishna ever thought that man would create plastic to rival the imperishable soul…. he might have changed verse 17 of Chapter 2 slightly if he knew or maybe he has said something in some other verse to tackle the imperishable plastic !!!

Chapter 2 verse 17 is as follows –

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् |
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति || 17||

avināśhi tu tadviddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
vināśham avyayasyāsya na kaśhchit kartum arhati

avināśhiindestructible; tuindeed; tatthat; viddhiknow; yenaby whom; sarvamentire; idamthis; tatampervaded; vināśhamdestruction; avyayasyaof the imperishable; asyaof it; na kaśhchitno one; kartumto cause; arhatiis able
The translation – That which pervades the entire body, know it to be indestructible. No one can cause the destruction of the imperishable soul.

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/17

My interpretation –

Companies and individuals must focus on positive actions and thoughts that are imperishable – helping someone to realise his or her potential is a “forever” positive action or teaching a skill to a poor community through which they can sustain themselves and lift themselves out of poverty is an imperishable positive action. The world over, rich nations talk of charity and alleviating poverty and all the actions they have taken have ensured the poor become poorer and the rich become richer. Earlier Oxfam’s survey had reported that 89 of the richest people in the world have wealth equal to half of the world’s population. They have recently revised that to say just 9 of the richest people have as much wealth ….. something has seriously gone wrong.

Providing education and developing skills is an imperishable positive action – because once a person knows how to earn money using his skills/education, he/she won’t go hungry.

Organizations have to look at sustainable development – the Earth is not like the imperishable human soul. It can perish and we are helping in its destruction before finding another planet where we can survive. How dumb is that !! While the soul is imperishable, the body it inhabits is and it is completely bio-degradable. Dust unto dust. The destruction of the Earth started the minute plastic was invented. Now they say even Mother’s milk might contain traces of plastic because of what the mother might have eaten or drunk out of plastic containers that leached. That Mother’s milk contains traces of harmful pesticides and antibiotics is problematic, now add plastic to that list and the imperishable soul soon won’t have a body to manifest itself !!!

I think Lord Krishna wanted organizations and individuals to understand that their imperishable souls manifest in perishable bodies that don’t leave a trace behind. Watch your carbon footprint …. are you stuffing the Earth with imperishable plastic and mountains of waste through the use-once-and-discard routine or are you living more consciously and consuming less, recycling more ? Can manufacturing organizations produce quality products that last longer and can be repaired, rather than promote the use-and-throw behaviour ? Think of the triple bottomline – financial, people, environment. Just making money is foolish – remember you can’t eat money, and you cannot take it with you to the grave – the non-plastic notes are bio-degradable and heaven and hell or the other world obviously has a different currency if it exists.

Live sustainably, don’t create mounds of waste, the imperishable soul carries with it the unseen positive emotions, the untouched happiness that you spread and the unspeakable joy you experience when you do good – do more of that than stuffing your face with food and your wallets with money. The body will be returned to the Earth one day however much science advances and the money will be enjoyed by those that still live when you are gone.

Imperishable souls – go do some imperishable good deeds and spread imperishable positivity !

Jai Sri Krishna … smart man. He danced and played the flute and had fun every minute of his time on Earth and can fit into any age because he had no qualms about anything. He never wasted time on stuff that was left behind anyway – money, clothes, houses, vehicles, cellphones, TV, shoes, bags, etc etc. Something for all of us to learn.

4 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 7 – Imperishable”

  1. Bindu,
    I love your opening line, and of course agree with your philosophy about sustainability. Some people claim that money is a symbol for energy. It becomes destructive when it is hoarded, but it shouldn’t be wasted, either. The US seems to lead the world in wasteful over-consumption, but I guess other countries, like India, are catching up.

    By the way, I’ve read there are some microorganisms that eat plastic and thrive. Who knows what mutants will be created out of this new food source?

    • Thanks Katharine. Human beings are supposed to be the most intelligent animals …. but after discovering fire, the wheel and un-peeling the atom, we seem to have forgotten that certain things on Earth are meant to be sustainably consumed. The vaccines have created superbugs, plastic has created deserts out of fertile ground and antibiotics are killing bees. While vaccines, plastic and antibiotics are useful in many ways, mis-use leads to all these damaging side-effects.


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