What made you think of linking business management to Indian philosophy?
Earlier, the management syllabus was based on American concepts. It was in the late 70s that some Japanese books on management were published and it made us realise that Indian thought is as rich. That was the external inspiration. I had also been intensively studying Indian classical literature, including the works of Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Their writings were my domestic source of inspiration.
How is the Indian ethos different from the western way of thinking?
The difference is that in Indian philosophy, the inner is the prototype of the outer. The inner should be given priority in human development. As long as the inner world is not coherent, things will remain complicated. In the West, the outer is in conflict with the inner. There one has to conquer the outer or Nature for development.
Can you give a specific example?
In the West the hierarchical setup does not prevent a junior executive from calling his boss by his first name. In the Indian context the head of an organisation will resist it. Here hierarchy is linked to age. The West might consider this feudalistic but if one demolishes the Indian tradition and blindly follows the West, there will be chaos.
And how do you link religion with management?
Religion is a constitutional necessity. The source of true value is religion.