I am pleased to tell you all, that my next book, which applies the wisdom of Kabir to the toughest corporate challenges and redefines the way how companies work today, will be in the stores within couple of months. We are still working on the title of the book, though some options have been short-listed.
There are tons of books out there on themes such as Chanakya, Buddha or Bhishma for corporates. Why do we need another book which links Kabir and his insights with business management and corporate affairs? Well, this is what came to me:
Kabir’s life itself is his message. He lived his message. In fact, he was one of the rarest of human beings who lived as per what he said. To begin with, Kabir was a simple man and that’s why, we need him today. Kabir did not complicate things. On the other hand, he simplified the things which were pretended to be complex for ages. Kabir de-mystified the wisdom. His simplicity was what connected him with people, irrespective of their religion,race and castes. His message which spread in those days, is vibrant even today, simply because of the truth and the simplicity it has.
It is interesting to understand that the religious scenario when Kabir lived and preached is quite similar to the business scenario today. Those days, religion was trapped in scriptures, under the names of gods and priests. Religion was more of law and less of exploration and experimentation. People had started losing their faith in religion. They were practising what they were told by priests and it was not working; yet, there was no scope to complain. Rules of a religious life were defined and were to be followed strictly. Lives were becoming hollow; with a lot of investment, without any outcomes.
Compare this to the corporate scenario today. Business management is rigid. What you learn in marketing books, hardly works. It will totally stop working after a few years. Young talent is fed up of rules and regulations in large companies. They understand that their lives are as hollow as people practising spiritual practices. The way in which society works is changing rapidly. We need new business values and new business models. We need to cater to needs that we have not yet identified. In the world of jargons, we need a breeze of simplicity. We need to pause for a minute and question the way companies and humans therein work. We need to acknowledge the fact that we have been avoiding for years- mass manufacturing no more works. Everything needs a human touch, though it is managed by a technology at the back of it.
Kabir de-centralized the wisdom and he made people in-charge of their own progress. His message was easy and actionable. The values and culture which Kabir spoke about, is what is needed in today’s scenario. Organizations need a culture where people are responsible for and are empowered to progress on their own. Where knowledge is not given, but is obtained as required.
Throughout his life, Kabir asked individuals to be aware and shed away laziness. He asked them to work hard; on themselves. This is the key to the success of any organization today.
Another thing worth noting is, unlike other saints, Kabir was a businessman. Not only that, he continued doing business even after gaining numerous followers and recognition. This does not mean that he expanded his business and hired people to capture a bigger market share. It simply means that he looked at professional work as a part of human existence and day to day human life. He considered work higher than the so called worship of God.
Duniyaa aisi bavari, pathar poojan jahi
Ghar ki chaakiya kou na pooje, jee ko piso khahi
For Kabir, work was higher than sheer worship. Kabir was a weaver. He weaved cloth and sold it in the market. As a result, whatever Kabir says, is practical. Whatever he says, is actionable.
Kabir understood one of the most profound secrets about the communication. He knew very well that the only way of changing society is changing individuals. To remain relevant in the society, one has to stay relevant to the individuals. In the digital age, where personalisation has become a necessity, Kabir certainly has many things to teach us.
It would be wrong to say that love was the integral part of Kabir’s life. Kabir’s life had nothing else apart from love. Kabir was in a state of love and that state drove him and his actions. He loved his work, he loved the people amongst whom he lived. The way Kabir loved can certainly teach a thing or two to today’s marketers, leaders and product developers. Corporate word has realised the significance of empathy as a corporate value. Kabir takes us beyond that.
Chanakya was shrewd whereas Buddha was full of love and compassion, yet aloof of business. Kabir is the middle ground between two of them. In his words, one will find Buddha’s grace and compassion and also the practical wisdom of Chanakya.
In a world, where economies are evolving and collapsing fast, and where no one knows the right thing to do, opening our hearts to Kabir and his message of love and awareness will certainly help.
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