Archive for January, 2007


Does god need a guru?

January 13, 2007

The original title of this article was going to be “If I were God..”. That would obviously sound quite pompous and so I first thought of “Does God need a consultant”? . However since the film Guru has been released recently and resurrected certain stray thoughts in my mind, I substituted consultant with Guru. This article is a “thinking out of the box” exercise on god’s performance on several issues(because of which there seems a lack of focus which is deliberate):-

I read somewhere that the film Guru is based on the life of India’s most successful post independent industrialist, the late Dhirubhai Ambani.. His success mostly was because of lateral thinking – The world’s best known authority on lateral thinking, Edward De Bono has always advocated that both linear and lateral thinking should be introduced in schools because intellectuals or other bright people do not necessarily make good thinkers. Just focusing on the romance of “Rags to Riches” story while missing the essence is like missing the wood for the trees. Assuming that god is running this world, he is not doing a very good job on this issue; high time he influences the teachers. . Teacher is also synonymous with the word Guru the literal meaning of which is “One who removes darkness.” A lot of darkness can be dispelled if lateral thinking is taught. Wonder why it does not happen.? The govt may or may not do anything but the people of India gave Dhirubhai a farewell that speaks for itself- he was the Guru of Gurus and who better than Hirubhai(My name is Hiren Shah) to extol the virtues of Dhirubhai.

Talking of Dhirubhai reminds me of my father who though not an entrepreneur, had turned around a sick company and won a partnership on the strength of his management skills alone. Being a chartered accountant by profession, he prevailed upon me the importance of cash flow management and how any business could collapse without continuous liquidity. So much so that I ended up writing a poem on it . God really takes the cake where cash flow is concerned. He has to ensure that sufficient accidents happen every month to ensure that the kitchen fires burn in several homes(mechanics, doctors, insurance etc); he has to ensure that people fight and there are disputes so that lawyers, police etc earn a living etc etc. Basically, he has to operate on the principle of “One man’s problem is another man’s opportunity”. That’s quite a naughty way to run the world even accounting for the law of Karma. Liquidity apart, God has to ensure that overall the world is good(profitable) and considering the fall of people like Hitler and Stalin, he has done a good job of it. He is a pretty good money manager.

The law of Karma reminds me of the horrifying sexual exploitation and serial killings of innocent children at Nithari Village in Noida recently. One cannot but wonder about the law and what the innocent children must have done in their previous lives to deserve such a cruel fate. Talking in the management context of “ One should not make the same mistake twice”, unless god makes the law of Karma transparent( one should be able to see what one did in one’s previous lives for reward/punishment) how can one know one’s mistake and ensure that it is not repeated again. This is assuming that the law is correct( going by Hinduism, Jainism and to the best of my knowledge, Budhdhism). On mooting this question, I got a new reply this time- the first four years, the child has to pay for the father’s sins, the next four the mother’s sins, the next four his own sins before the actions of the current birth starts. Interesting, if true.

Otherwise the answers one tends to get are- if god makes the law transparent and nobody does any bad deed , how will he run the world- if there is no villain, where will the heros come from and what about the famous maya jaal ?. Another explanation in the context of “Necessity is the mother of invention” is that if no or very little trouble happens, who the hell will remember good(poor), old God?. As it is, one gets to hear that most people worship god out of fear and greed but very few out of love. Man, by his very nature is selfish but for God to create so much trouble in the world just to be remembered? God would not be spiritual if god were like that and if that is so, existence has no meaning. The way tides happen, seasons change, the distance between the earth, moon and sun and similar other things that happen in the Universe which indicates that the universe is in order- why not this(transparency in law of karma)? God alone knows the answer and I do hope the old boy gives it a thought or two.

Talking of transparency reminds me of the redoubtable Bill Gates, the richest and one of the most successful men in the world. I have read in books on how at Microsoft, anybody can write to Mr Bill Gates directly and be redirected by him. In my humble opinion, that must be one of the major reasons of his success because with that kind of transparency, Mr Gates probably knows what the potential of each individual is and people are not likely to be scared of their immediate bosses. Today it has come in the papers “Lost your appetite for work? Blame your toxic boss” where it is given how autocratic bosses can harm both the individuals and the organization. I have read other books on the subject and also suffered practically and feel that the situation can be redressed only if the top boss( boss of bosses) ensures that there is enough transparency without fear which can only be good in the long run. This can only happen if the boss of boss of the bosses( god himself) instills this sense in the heads of organizations. Wonder what god’s views on this are.

Talking of Mr Gates cannot but remind of the initiative that he has taken with his foundation. One gets to hear of a “Capitalists mind with a socialist heart” but perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind, the world’s two richest men have come together for philanthropic activities with a $60billion fund. This is a very handsome step considering the fact that civilizations have perished when there have been extreme disparities of income and wealth. Mr Gates also said that he wanted to give back to society not only in terms of money but whatever he had learnt in the business world. One gets to read in spiritual books that many times severe adversity causes an about turn in people’s attitudes and make them graduate towards spirituality/philanthropy. It happened to one great industrialist. If true, it would be prudent of God to hasten adversity and bring it a little early in their lives- preposterous though it may seem, one has to look from an overall perspective and the lead given by these two gentlemen can remove whatever is left of the rift between capitalism/ Socialism forever. As we say in Hindi, shubh(read ashubh) kaam me deri kya?

Transparency cannot but help you remind of the political system. Yesterday, there was a report on how cricketers were going to be paid on performance alone. I find it a little strange that people playing a sport have to be so accountable and elected representatives of people have no accountability. In every second management book, it is given that goals are so important that the habit of forming them should be inculcated from early childhood. It is strange that for sports and children and companies, goals and performance is important but for those running the country, it does not matter. Strange are the ways of God- somewhat like putting the cart before the horse.

Now that reminds me of something else. Getting their due always reminds me of women- one wonders when they will get their due? I read a couple of books on their exploitation at work. One keeps reading on how considering their population, women are grossly misrepresented in parliament. There has been some headway in the right direction after liberalization but by and far, it remains a man’s world. One would like to believe that God wanted men and women to be equal and since women gives birth to a man, this is the cart before the horse all over again. I am not saying that god does not have horse sense but one wonders why such injustice? The 21st century may turn out to be one of servant and mother leadership and one hopes that god makes amends for past mistakes.

Getting their due and cash flow reminds one of something else- one journalist had told me that the goddess of Laxmi( Money) and Saraswati( Goddess of knowledge) do not always go hand in hand. Someone with a mass appeal like actor Govinda can give a brilliant actor like Naseeruddin shah a run for his money where commercial appeal is concerned. Good art films flop where substandard commercial films may do well. There are examples of artists struggling for subsistence and people with very humble businesses being millionaires. Everything that is good does not necessarily succeed commercially and vice-versa. God alone knows the reasons for this but at least he can do a more balancing act that befits his stature.

The balancing act again reminds you of the wide gap between applied spirituality and applied science. Intellectuals like Krishnamurthy have clearly stated that man has progressed technologically but regressed psychologically. Events like the Iraq war, 9/11 or even the recent bomb blasts prove statements like “Man. God’s greatest mistake” or “Religions are many but religion is one”. Spirituality and “religious mind” is more talked about than actually followed . Being selfish is not always a bad thing.. God could do with a bit of selfishness here- why not promote one’s own subject( applied spirituality). We have made enough headway in Science anyway.

From an individual’s perspective, being spiritual is being happy and peaceful throughout the day. This is simply not possible if a person is in the wrong profession which is brought out properly in my other blog –Make your passion your profession. The Russian comunists did it , the chinese also misplaced people in the cultural revolution but how can god do such a thing. I am surprised that a superpower like the United states has so many people writing on the subject. I don’t like to critciize god but he is not much of a critical thinker- how can welfare of mankind be brought about if a majority of people are miserable for a majority of working hours. You need to something about that, Godji.

I can go on and on as one stray thought leads to another. Just a word guru started a whole chain of thought which goes on to show that thought itself is the biggest guru. ( Thoughts have infinite power). At the same time, all this gives food for thought what god is really upto and with due apologies for insubordination, can he do with some help on certain issues. ?