When you skim through his profile, he appears to be one of those typically successful businessmen. But the image gets sharpened when one realises that Vijay Eswaran, the group MD of the Hong Kong-based QI Ltd, has built the $700 million empire spread across 20 nations and cutting across eight businesses in only seven years. He’s clearly someone in a hurry. After talking to him, the impression changes – minute by minute. Throughout the 60-minute interview, he switched from Plato and Socrates, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the Bhagwad Gita, Budhism to Zen philosophy. No, Eswaran is not a philosopher or a sage. He’s just someone who knows how to use ancient philosophical teachings to improve his group’s financial performance.
Ask him any questions on business strategies, and he would come out with an unusual insight from his repertoire of traditional wisdom. Sun Tzu’s sayings, he argues, can be easily applied in the current era of cut-throat corporate competition. The knowledge can be useful in board-room battles, marketing street wars, takeover tussles, and evolving tactics to steal a march over competitors. The Bhagwad Gita, he has me convinced, provides a perspective on why one shouldn’t shy away from fighting relatives (as in a business family struggle), taking tough decisions against employees, or resorting to unfair business moves as long as the motive is noble. And a form of mauna yoga – or, the sphere of silence, in Eswaran ’s lingo – can help you become a smart manager or a visionary entrepreneur.
In fact, Eswaran’s new book, In The Sphere of Silence, is about the manner in which his family has practiced mauna yoga to become better people and efficient workers. He credits his business successes to it. And now he wishes to teach others, to propagate his very own self-help book which, according to him, can transform personalities and yield effective and measurable results within a short span of time. "You can see the change in you within months," he claims, and quickly adds that the best benefit is a drastic improvement in short-term memory.
Listen to a few extracts that are aimed at wooing managers to read the book. "… the sphere of silence is a guarantee of change. And change is ultimately one of the guarantees of success." Or that "Wealth is a state of mind. The sphere of silence helps you understand this state of mind." Or even better, the sphere of silence "affects you. If you become better, the business that you do becomes better." And while talking, he made it a point to repeat again and again that the book can be used by managers and businessmen to improve themselves in their work environment.
The principle involved in Eswaran’s method is simple. Human beings in the fast-changing nanosecond world are inundated with noise. As Eswaran puts it: "There’s too much noise outside and there’s too much noise within." In the sphere of silence, you block out all that noise through simple exercises to get a sense of detachment "which helps us to know that who we really are." Eswaran concludes that "to be in the highest plane of the sphere of silence is to be in complete harmony with the universe. When you achieve that, you walk it, you live it, you talk it, and you breathe it." And since it’ll improve your short term memory, you will have access to the "biggest, most versatile, most powerful, most flexible tool that you can use in your day to day life." Be it as a common worker, a senior manager, or a successful entrepreneur.
I come out hearing the sound of one hand clapping.