Business turns to reluctant gurus

Oct 30 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

US business schools and corporations are turning to the teachings of Hindu gurus and the wisdom of Lord Krishna for guidance, reports Dean Nelson in the Sunday Times.

So-called "karma capitalism", Nelson says, is now being seen as illuminating the way to long-term business success.

"Companies are turning to gurus and swamis to transform stressed-out, one- dimensional executives into well-balanced bosses whose inner peace will keep them focused, productive and profitable."

But one of the most high-profile of the 'guru-turned-gurus', Swami Parthasarathy, seems pretty sceptical about his new role:

"The business community has appreciated my line of approach. But nobody knows what I'm talking about, just bits and pieces. I'm saying they need to develop their intellect, not simply their intelligence, which is just knowledge from external sources, to help earn a living.

"Your intellect is your capacity to deal with the world, which is dormant in you. I ask people to think. People are doing business, but they don't know why," he said.

"You've got to set targets for yourself. They could be material or spiritual. I'm not interested in business. I'm interested in teaching people what life is about. We have to add self-realisation as a target, to know yourself. We have a spiritual target and all these business jokers have a material target."

He is sceptical of the prospects of many of his business students benefiting from his teaching. "Not a single soul has understood. At Kellogg, nobody understood. They said it was inspiring. They think I will help them make more money. It's hype," he said.

Sunday Times | Students of karma capitalism