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Relevance of Vedic Ways of Learning in the Contemporary Management Education System

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Abstract and Figures

Mankind is plagued with various psychological, environmental and social problems. A closer look at the world around us reveals that in the last few hundred years a new species of organizations have evolved namely ‘Corporations’. Corporations are getting stronger day by day, especially with the power to take decisions which impacts one and all. Consequently, Individuals are getting weaker when it comes to wisdom, ability to discern, handling anxiety arising from overload of information and ability to think and solve problems in a holistic manner . Since corporations are run by management talent across the world, this has instigated various debates on understanding the goals and ways of our management education. Management academicians are concerned about the worldview of the students coming out of our contemporary management education system. The quest to find solutions to these problems require us to have interdisciplinary knowledge or integrative skill, a trait becoming extinct due to the highly application oriented, narrow functional expertise and specialized nature of dissemination of knowledge in current system. We would restrict this paper to a constructive discussion on ancient ways of education (particularly Vedic Tradition) with an emphasis on judicious use of latest technologies. This paper is an attempt to suggest how ancient wisdom provides a worldview to meet the challenges our management education system is facing. Due to universal applicability of this tradition, this study also holds the key to understand how modern technology can be best leveraged for, and aligned towards the real purpose of education.
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Relevance of Vedic Ways of Learning in the
Contemporary Management Education
System
Relevance of Vedic Ways of Learning in the Contemporary Management Education System
Short Description
Abstract
Introduction
Management Education in Global Context
Pedagogy
Curriculum
Faculty
Narrow Perspective
Placements
Value and Ethics
Needs of Present Day Management Education
Objective and Methodology
Vedic Tradition and Concepts
Learning and Knowledge
Learning Process
Cognition
Vedic Learning System
Curriculum
Students
Faculty
Learning Environment
Value and Ethics
Evolution of Communication
Holistic Education
Suggested Further Research
References
Short Description
To understand how ancient wisdom can help us develop a worldview to meet the challenges
of our management education system
Abstract
Mankind is plagued with various psychological, environmental and social problems. A closer
look at the world around us reveals that in the last few hundred years a new species of
organizations have evolved namely ‘Corporations’. Corporations are getting stronger day by
day, especially with the power to take decisions which impacts one and all. Consequently,
Individuals are getting weaker when it comes to wisdom, ability to discern, handling anxiety
arising from overload of information and ability to think and solve problems in a holistic
manner . Since corporations are run by management talent across the world, this has
instigated various debates on understanding the goals and ways of our management
education. Management academicians are concerned about the worldview of the students
coming out of our contemporary management education system. The quest to find
solutions to these problems require us to have interdisciplinary knowledge or integrative
skill, a trait becoming extinct due to the highly application oriented, narrow functional
expertise and specialized nature of dissemination of knowledge in current system. We would
restrict this paper to a constructive discussion on ancient ways of education (particularly
Vedic Tradition) with an emphasis on judicious use of latest technologies. This paper is an
attempt to suggest how ancient wisdom provides a worldview to meet the challenges our
management education system is facing. Due to universal applicability of this tradition, this
study also holds the key to understand how modern technology can be best leveraged for,
and aligned towards the real purpose of education.
Keywords: Vedic learning, ancient wisdom, Management Education, Technology
Knowledge Focus: Practice Focus
Presenter Stream Selection: Education Leadership and Management
Introduction
Mankind is facing problems at various levels: individual, family, community, national and
global levels and finding themselves plagued with psychological, physical, environmental
problems, degradation in moral values, terrorism etc.. A closer look at world around reveals
that in last few hundred years, a new species of organizations have evolved namely
‘Corporations’. Corporations are getting bigger and stronger day by day, especially with the
power to take decisions which impacts one and all. Consequently, individuals are getting
weaker when it comes to wisdom, ability to discern,handling anxiety arising from overload of
information, ability to think and solve problems involving multi dimensional interdisciplinary
problems Since corporations are run by management talent across the world, this has
instigated debate on understanding the goals and ways of our management education. There
is increase in demand of management education due to the increasing complexity of the job
of managing enterprise for achievement of specific objectives. The rapidly changing
environment, with increased digitization, commoditization, globalization and socialization
puts significant pressure on educational institutions to respond faster. As Mkaufman, (2010)
puts it, “If business schools and MBA programs could provide a more relevant education it
could save business billions of dollars each year in remedial and basic training costs and
increase the capacity of business to deliver more value to their customers.” Management
academicians and practitioners are concerned about the world view of the students coming
out of our contemporary management education system.
The quest to find solutions to these problems require us to have interdisciplinary knowledge
or integrative skill, a trait becoming extinct due to the highly application oriented, narrow
functional expertise and specialized nature of dissemination of knowledge in current system.
The present paper is an attempt to provide a constructive discussion on ancient ways of
education (with specific reference to Vedic tradition) and how ancient wisdom offers a world
view to meet the challenges our management education is facing. The discussion would
highlight some of the salient features of Vedic tradition like learning as life long process,
experiential learning, work (karma) as an integral part of life, collaboration, decision making
with non-attachment etc. Due to universal applicability of this ancient wisdom, this study
also holds the key to understand how modern technology can be best leveraged for, and
aligned towards the real purpose of education and not creating more barriers.
Management Education in Global Context
Management education as a separate field of study began in North America to create expert
managers for the profit oriented business enterprise. When there was spread of B-schools in
Western Europe and then to ex-colonial countries it was realized that management tools
and techniques could be employed in all sectors. With the rise of commercialism and
liberalism the management education entered the corners of Eastern Europe and China.
However most of these countries including, Japan and Korea and India adopted management
education based on the western concepts and methodologies. With increasing globalization
and differences in perspectives of understanding of business (its objectives and ways), the
management education faced lot of fundamental issues. Few of those issues are mentioned
here:
Pedagogy
It is well known that various countries follow the concepts of western management
education which may not be in harmony with the culture and tradition of those countries.
Since management is a practice oriented domain impacting society directly, management
education has to take an integrated approach to introduce the social, economic and ethnic
realities and root the concepts taught into that context.
Many academicians have debated on how an appropriate pedagogy be devised (French and
Grey, 1997; Burgoyne and Reynolds, 1997). Many have advocated experiential learning
approach, in which, teacher and students acts as observers each interpreting according to
their own learning style. According to Kolb and Kolb (2008) the basic purpose of experiential
learning is to learn the specifics of a particular subject, and the other is to learn about one’s
own learning process. This challenges the adoption and implementation of experiential
learning in the classrooms. The major challenge is to integrate current teaching preferences
and practice with experiential learning methods (Hickcox, 2002). They provide holistic
assessment methods that adequately evaluate all facets of student learning (Mellor, 1991;
Sprau and Keig, 2001). Certo (1977) articulates the value of experiential learning as a
methodology of education that focuses on the whole person and emphasizes the critical role
of the facilitator as an active experiential instructor who blends with a proper balance of
experience, reflection, conceptualization, and action in the classroom activities.
Mintzberg[4] recently wrote “The best managers are very thoughtful people”who are also
“highly action oriented”. “We should be developing real managers, not pretending to create
them in the classroom”. Participants have to develop the capacity to be lifetime learners,
open up to a conscious awareness of meta-learning enabling them to adapt to new
situations and circumstances.
Curriculum
According to Mintzberg and Gosling (2002), 80% of management courses deal with “how of
things, less than 20% of them deal with “why” and “for whom” aspect of management.
Tranfield and Starkey (1998) remarked "MBA curriculum design has been widely criticised as
too focused on analytics, insufficiently integrative, failing to develop wisdom, leadership and
interpersonal skills”. “In the last thirty years, the management profession has changed
significantly, but management education has not,” laments Podolny (2007). Linstone showed
that “management is all about grappling with multiple perspectives” . This requires the
reconstruction of management education which needs to attend to the development of
communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills. According to Mintzberg (1990) a manager
is required to have skills such as developing peer relationships, carrying out negotiations,
motivating sub-ordinates, resolving conflicts, establishing information networks. Very little
attention has been given to the development of these skills .(Porter and McKibbin, 1988).
Current management education is churning out experts with “lopsided brains, icy hearts and
shrunken souls”.
Faculty
Across the world there is a shortage of quality B-School faculty and it is difficult to recruit
people having domestic or global exposure of business. Also the quality of faculty is near to
the ground in terms of incompetence, insufficient qualifications, and lack of experience.
According to Hambrick (1994) there are three kinds of people: those who make things
happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wondered what happened. He
found management scholars to be in the middle position and suggested that both MBA
graduates and management scholars need to be in first group.
Narrow Perspective
One of the major concerns that have been expressed widely about B-Schools has been that
the people coming out have a very narrow perspective. Management education and more
specifically the MBA has little if any discernible positive effect upon career success or
managerial performance. According to Sindhwani (1999) business is in a dynamic mood but
business schools are in static mood. If any industry has to compete globally we need
executives with world class talent. The issue is how to inculcate a global mindset, though
managers may act only locally. (Sokuvitz, 2002) De Velasco et al. (2000) suggested many
reasons for an international dimension in the curricula including the promotion of a global
perspective, questioning of the status quo and reinforcement of individual identity and
cultural tolerance.
Placements
Pfeffer and Fong (2002) question whether graduate business programs are now more about
networking, screening and recruitment services than they are educational institutions. The
education system of today’s era mainly focuses on the placement in the highest paid jobs.
This is considered to be the criteria for all concerned parties -recruiters, applicants and the
media to measure institutional quality which is the substitute for academic content. Thus
completely ignoring the factor of creating those managers, who are not only technically
skilled, have desire to change the world for the better, but also pursue knowledge with the
humanistic impulse.
Value and Ethics
Pfeffer and Fong (2002) question whether graduate business programs are now more about
networking, screening and recruitment services than they are educational institutions. The
education system of today’s era mainly focuses on the placement in the highest paid jobs.
This is considered to be the criteria for all concerned parties -recruiters, applicants and the
media to measure institutional quality. thus completely ignoring the factor of creating those
managers, who are not only technically skilled but have desire to change the world for the
better, and also pursue knowledge with the humanistic impulse.. To succeed in the future,
business schools need to make value creation central to what they do. It is more helpful to
see how creating value might be achieved by distinguishing between three types of value.
First, business schools create academic value through research and its dissemination. Second
they create personal value by producing graduates with strong ethical decision making
capability. However above all, they create public or social value in the form of knowledgeable
and skilled graduates and through the way in which they engage in the societies in which they
are based.
Needs of Present Day Management Education
Enough research has shown that there are problems in the areas as mentioned above. Some
have proposed some good solutions like for instance, Mintzberg(2004) provides his view of
a solution as: MBAs should be for “Right people” i.e. with people with experience;
development of a new program that focuses on the managerial mindset; Elimination of
tenure and functional departments, in order to not let non-relevant academic inertia hamper
the development of practical research and its ability to inculcate contextual decision
processes.
Bhandarker(2008) examined the existing model which puts the qualities of a management
leader in four clusters to set the business context:
a. Intrapersonal: self management and self regulation, emotional self awareness,
optimism, intentionality, resilience, empathy
b. Influencing others: emotional expression, interpersonal connection, constructive
discontent, relationship management and trust
c. Managing complexity: intuition and creativity
d. Managing diversity: tolerance of ambiguity and flexibility
Subsequently, a primary research is done to establish leadership role demand from corporate
sector (executives and alumni of various business schools). An analysis of the gap among
perceived, actual and desired competencies in the management graduates is then reported.
Here are the areas where significant gaps were reported:
1. Team working skills
2. Performance focus
3. Capability to lead
4. Reality orientation
5. Entrepreneurial abilities
6. Ambiguity tolerance
More disturbing result which was reported pertains to erosion of belief and values by the
management education. Values like honesty, integrity, religious orientation and aesthetic
orientation were found to be degraded during the management education process. These
values are considered significant by the corporate sector when asked about desirable
qualities of business leader.
Given all these findings, in the long run, business schools would have to address these and
create a more relevant process of management learning.
Objective and Methodology
The objective is to suggest how ancient wisdom provides a world view to meet the
challenges our management education system is facing. Due to universal applicability of this
tradition, this study also holds the key to understand how modern technology can be best
leveraged for, and aligned towards the real purpose of education.With this in mind, we would
like to present various concepts that we found relevant to understand the learning process
in a holistic way.
As part of the research, Vedic scholars were interviewed and related Vedic literature including
original texts and commentaries were studied. Also considerable time of around one year
was spent in a regular classroom environment as a student to have a first hand experience
of the various concerns mentioned above. Also insights as faculty helped develop the
presented perspective.
Vedic Tradition and Concepts
Giving a brief introduction of Veda (literal meaning: to know and more) would be beneficial to
readers who are not from Indian background. Vedas are part of the ancient Indian literature which
have been traditionally travelled generations through a teacher - student lineage (Guru- Shishya
Parampara) through oral medium (shruti).Vedic literature constitutes primarily of four principal
vedas - RigVeda,YajurVeda, Atharveda, SamVeda. Each Veda has following branched literature
(Samhitas, Brahamnas, Aranayaks, Upanishads) associated with it (Avadhanulu,2007).
Table 1: Available Vedic Literature
RigVeda
YajurVeda
SamVeda
AtharVeda
Samhitas: The
principal verses
categorised in
Mandals, which are
subdivided into
Anuvaks, the
Anuvaks into Suktas,
the Suktas into
Mantras (Verses)
Deals with
Natural
elements,
philosophies
about origin of
universe and
real nature of
human beings.
Includes the
popular
Ayurveda
Deals with
performance of
rituals and sacrifices.
Deals with
subjects like
music, other
art forms.
Deals with the
things here
and now:
trade,
commerce,
diseases’ cure,
propitiatory
rites etc.
Brahamnas: The
collections of
instructions for day to
day during the stages
of learning
(bhramcharya) and
life as married person
(grihastha)
Aitareya
Kaushitaki
Taittiriya
Satapatha
Brhadaranyakas
Tandya
Gopatha
Aranayaks: The
verses (Mantras) that
are with
contemplative adn
spiritual explanations
for later stages and
hermetic life
Aitareya
Kaushitaki
Taittiriya
Satapatha
Brhadaranyakas
Talavakara
Upanishads:
Appendages that give
guidance for those
seeking liberation or
salvation
Aitareya
Kaushitaki
Taittiriya
Kathaponishad
Isavasyopanishad
Brhadaranyakas
Chandogya
Kena
Prasna
Mundaka
Mandukya
Note: Many branches which could not be recovered by contemporary scholars, are not mentioned
here. Other literature constitute Upavedas(Vedas’ branches), Sastras, Puranas and other collections
which are beyond the scope of this paper.
For this paper, we have confined our studied to few relevant verses. These verses, though, have
many translations and interpretations, only appropriate English translation has been given
(immediately after Sanskrit version of the verse). Sanskrit terms are mentioned in italics. Vedic world
view offers comprehensive insights regarding the learning and its process. This
understanding would be useful work out on issues delineated above.
Learning and Knowledge
According to Vedas teaching and learning constitute the process of removing ignorance. A
participant (teacher as well as student) in the process should not only ‘know’ the reality of
himself but he ‘is’ that reality and must aim to get ‘established’ in self knowledge.
As per Rigveda, the important factors (tattva) that determine the well being of a life are
character (Charitra),health (Swasthya), wealth (Ann-dhan) and strength (Bal). And knowledge
is considered to purify character (Charitra) through physical, mental and emotional well
being. Any mental action inspired by right knowledge leads to success and satisfaction. Thus
satisfaction has been highlighted as an important part of the end result of action.
Aa Bharti bhartibhihi sajosha ila devairmanushyebhiragnihi !
Saraswati sarasvatebhirvark tistro devirbahiredam sadantu !!
(Rigveda, Mandal-3, Sukta-4, Mantra-8)
May there be harmony and synchronicity among the speech, knowledge and energy of all
beings; May the goddess of speech, knowledge and energy be benevolent to all of us. This
implies that May a harmonious and unifying world view envelop society.
Jyotivrinarneet tamso vijanannare syam duritadabhike !
(Rigveda, Mandal-3, Sukta-38, Mantra-7, Purvardhra)
The light of true wisdom in a human is sufficient to banish completely the darkness of
ignorance, thereby saving him/her from the consequences of wrong or negative actions and
establishing him/her in complete fearlessness.
These two shlokas put forth the objectives of knowledge/learning. The first one underlines
the importance of goodwill (sadbhaavna), cooperation and symbiosis whereas the second
highlights knowledge as a way to conquer fear and get rid of ignorance and the unethical
behaviour arising from it. If we see in the light of earlier problems, we would see these are
the prime desirable traits in a business leader.
Learning Process
Atharveda describes knowledge as soul of humans, and regarded true knowledge of a human
as his/her identity that doesn’t get affected with change in time and place. It never dies or
diminishes (Yajurveda). These descriptions highlight the importance of inculcating a wisdom
which would be valid and operable in all contexts.
The concept of knowledge involves three factors – Subject/Knower (Pramata), Object
(Visaya) and Means (Pramana) of Knowledge. Before understanding this, lets see what are
the cognition related knowledge in Vedas. Since many desirable abilities are manifestation of
cognition level of a student, let’s understand the concept of Valid Knowledge, means of
knowledge and cognition. Avadhanulu (2007) states the concept of valid knowledge from
Vedas as the knowledge of an unknown real object. “unknown” excludes recollection and
restatement, which have known objects. “Real” excludes false knowledge like delusion,
doubt etc. The contact of senses is made out to be the instrument of valid knowledge,
consisting in the knowledge of an unknown reality.
Tani pramanani sat pratyaksanumanopamanasabdarthapattyyanupalabdhibhedat
Mimansa Sastra describes the means of knowledge to have six parts –Pratyaksha (Direct
knowledge or Perception), Anumana (Inference by association), Upamana (Comparison ),
Agama (Verbal/ scriptures), Arthapatti (Presumption or Inference by removing inconsistency)
and Anupalapdhi (non-apprehension). Vedanta Paribhasha by Dharmaraja Adhavari explains
the shlokas and mentions that consciousness flows and takes the shape of the objects and
this modification is termed as mental state (Vritti). Knowledge consciousness is limited by
our means and hence for us, that knowledge is the limited consciousness which we can
mould by our means.
Maharishi Patanjali mentions in Yog Sutra:-
Yogshchittvrittinirodhah (Ch I, Sutra 2)
Vritayah panchatyayah klishtaklishtah (Ch I, Sutra 5)
Pramanviparyayvikalpnidrasmrityah (Ch I, Sutra 6)
Pratayakshanumanagamah pramanani (Ch I, Sutra 7)
The final end of Yoga is the restraint of mental operations or Vrittis. The operations are five
fold, painful and not-painful - Real cognition, Perversive cognition, Fiction, Sleep and
Memory. Perception, Inference and Verbal cognition are real cognitions. Sleep is the mental
operation having for its grasp the cognition of absence. Memory is the absence of
loss/retention of the experienced objects.
Two contextual observations from here can be useful while planning pedagogy and
evaluation in management education. One that the education system takes due care in
development and broadening of these six means. And second, making students aware of the
Vrittis and create a system to encourage them to work on their mind’s abilities for restraint
of Vrittis.
Abhyasvairagyabhyam taanirodha (Yog Sutra, Ch-I, sutra 12)
Tatra sthito yatnobhyasah (Yog Sutra, Ch-I, sutra 13)
Their restraint comes from practice and non-attachment. There the practice is the effort of
steadiness. That restraint however, being served for a long time without stoppage and with
earnestness, becomes firmly established.
Cognition
Aristotle defines cognition as “to know what is where with the help of senses.” A
contemporary management academic may like to rephrase it as “the power to sense
environment, process information and respond to it”.
Manso hyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante
Manasa jatani jivanti, Manah prayantyabhisamvisantiti
(Taittiriya Upanisad 3.4)
“From mind itself all these beings are born; after birth they live only upon mind; after
departing from the world they enter into the mind”. In other words, the mind of the subject
cannot be dismissed in evaluating the objective scenario and the action that result from
such an evaluation, resulting in success or failure.
The mind with the cognitive make up as described in above concepts would have holistic
mindset about the purpose, actions and the environment it operates. It would help inculcate
some of the values in participants such as fearlessness, purity of mind and hearts, vision,
creativity, empathy, patience, building healthy relationship with all, spirit of sacrifice for the
sake of common good, non violence, firm but fair, harmlessness, gentleness, truthfulness,
loyalty, cheerfulness, simplicity, calmness, control of mind and restraint on senses and
passions.
Vedic Learning System
Curriculum
The purpose of life is seen as a quest to learn about ourself and figure out experientially the
eternal connection between self and the universe. Learning is seen as a life-long process and
the foremost thing in life and therefore, not strictly restricted to any specific age limit.
However, for various phases of life, there are suggested scriptures to facilitate and promote
learning during that phase. Life span was divided into 4 phases by Vedic system and each
phase is characterized by a specific purpose, ways of learning holistically integrated with
environment during that phase:-
1. Bal Aashram : In this aashram, Vedas Samhitas are introduced, which used to set the
framework of life and its purpose.
2. Vidyarthi Aashram : Brahmanas & Puranas are taught, which would be useful to develop
subconscious mind and to lead a sastifying life in Grihastha aashram.
3. Grihastha Aashram: A Householder’s life. Here teachings learned so far are applied.
4. Sanyas Aashram: In this aashram, Aranyaks and Upanishads are studied marking the march
towards the conclusive objective of life.
The Vedic way of dissemination of knowledge was mainly through Shruti or the Oral tradition
of seers and knowledge used to flow through the Teacher-Student Lineage. This can inspire
academicians to plan the curriculum for management education spanning across the
participant’s professional life.
Students
Students were known as seekers (sadhaka). Gita described their role as “Understand that
(which is to be known) by prostrating, by asking proper questions, and by service. Those who
are wise, who have the knowledge of the truth, will teach you this knowledge”. This is known
as tadviddhi. Thus it says that a seeker should prepare i.e. make mind clean and steady of
impurities as personal likes, dislikes, passion, anger and greed before approaching the
teacher for gaining knowledge. He should believe in scriptures as well as teacher and should
keep aside his ego that can be an obstacle in gaining knowledge. Before the formal learning
process, students (Vidyarthi) were prepared on following five qualities (panch lakshanam):
Kak cheshta: Sharpness and perseverance of a crow, Bako dhyanam: Concentration of a
swan/fishing bird , Shwan nidra: Light sleeper like a dog, Alpahari: Light eater/very simply
diet, Grihatyagi: Staying away from home. Rigveda also talks about certain specific
suggestions like Ushakaal / Brahammurt or the early morning hours have been prescribed as
the best times of the day for learning. The learning system considered preparation of a
participant for the learning process as important as the learning itself.
Faculty
Students and Teachers are given equal status in learning process, however putting educators
in special position as they have achieved certain level of learning. According to Vedanta, the
method of teaching given subject matter is an integral part of the content itself, that one
cannot be said to have acquired mastery over the subject matter unless one has also gained
insights into the process by which that subject matter is best unfolded for learning. The need
for researching knowledge is implicit in this requirement and is evident from the Sanskrit
word adbutan in the Rig Veda mantra. An educator can only teach new knowledge if it has
been researched and is considered to be appropriate. Thus Vedic wisdom highlights the
importance of research activity which gives benefits to both the students and the
progressive research. It assumes an educator to be continuously in the learning and
researching process (antarvimukhi). It also specifically alerts educators to the responsible
nature of their positions in society, especially vis-à-vis students, as well as their
responsibilities to society in general. Implicitly, and in some cases explicitly, the following
requirements of a good intelligent educator are regarded: assertiveness, controllability,
management, free of fear of students, teaching of relevant knowledge and capable of
progressing research.
It also encourages educators, especially those closest to students, to set their own personal
standards of morality and educational practice, to continually develop these and not to
relinquish them no matter what their personal predicaments may be. The special status of
influence connected with the role of educating is recognized and the incumbent is made
aware of it. Therefore, educators are required to be diligent in their manner and behaviour, as
young, impressionable students are likely to follow their examples. So, for the benefit of
students, educators were required to develop and maintain good qualities with respect to
themselves and to society. This view is in stark contrast to the prevalent practice of
completely and totally omitting the ethical and moral characteristics and personal integrity of
educators. All that matters is the level of proficiency in the skill that they are peddling.
Learning Environment
A safe environment should be created by the educator so that a student can easily
incorporate taught knowledge without any fear. In Vedas ‘sashasu’ emphasise that teacher
should organise his knowledge to make it relevant which is similar to the modern practice of
designing degree programmes, syllabuses and subsequent schemes of work. All those
obstacles that prevent student from learning should be removed. These obstacles are
categorised as: the socio-political obstacles to learning and the obstacles prevalent in the
teaching and learning situation. It says financial condition being the major barrier could be
overcome by government support.
Value and Ethics
The ancient education was basically aimed at personal growth of individual. The following are
some of the Vedic Ethos relevant to management revealed by the ancient scriptures are:
1. Atmano Mokshartham, Jagat hitaya cha: All work is an opportunity for doing good to
the world and thus gaining materially and spiritually in our lives.
2. Archet dana manabhyam: Worship people not only with material things but also by
showing respect to their enterprising divinity within.
3. Atmana Vindyate Viryam: Strength and inspiration for excelling in work comes from
the Divine, God within, through prayer, spiritual readings and unselfish work.
4. Yogah karmashu Kaushalam, Samatvam yoga uchyate: He who works with calm and
even mind achieves the most.
5. Yadishi bhavana yasya siddhi bhavati tadrishi: As we think, so we succeed, so we
become. Attention to means ensures the end.
6. Parasparam bhavayantah shreyah param bhavapsyathah: By mutual cooperation,
respect and fellow feeling, all of us enjoy the highest good both material and
spiritual.
7. Tesham sukhm tesham shanti shaswati: Infinite happiness and infinite peace come to
them who see the Divine in all beings.
8. Paraspar Devo Bhav: Regard the other person as a divine being. All of us have the
same consciousness though our packages and containers are different.”
In this fast globally changing era skills related to leadership, negotiation, counselling,
communication, public relation and team building etc. will not serve their purpose well unless
they flow from a value based pure mind. A person has to embrace the spiritual dimension
beyond its physical, social and economic dimensions as it purifies the mind of decision maker.
With the purity of mind one is able to concentrate, contemplate and mediate to approach
perfection and divinity. This kind of management offers human welfare, nature welfare, the
quality of life and quality of work helping in bringing the human harmony and happiness in
organizations.
Evolution of Communication
We are often limited by our means of perception. Also our senses, communication and
technologies are related to each other with respect to cognition and are crucial components
of any education model, Its imperative to understand how our ways of communication are
evolving. All the technologies are taking us back to a world of free learning opportunities.
Figure 1: Cyclic evolution of communication
Purpose of knowledge, as defined earlier, is to not to instil fear from this overwhelming
body of knowledge. We may end up with an ocean of free knowledge surrounding us, but
not drinkable wisdom. Therefore, the objective should be to make participants confident in
the art of using knowledge to lead a satisfying life. For the same, the education system has
to complement these technological advances to work on a holistic model which helps
develop all the human senses as a means of cognition. Also make it conducive for them to
inculcate experiential wisdom, in order for them to be able to make this knowledge ocean
usable from them. Role of education system would be like a cloud which takes water from
the ocean and shower drinkable water on us.
Holistic Education
As described in the above section, the various technologies and the ancient concepts of
education. Technology is just one of the fingers pointing to the moon of the real objective of
education, which can never change regardless of the era we are in. Once we are able to
infuse the Vedic paradigm in the very foundation of our education system, these
technologies would seem more purposeful.
Table 2: Confluence of learnings from Vedic wisdom and technologies addressing
contemporary management education issues
Learning from Ancient
Wisdom
Management Education
Issue Addressed
Integration with
Technology
Sense of Larger Purpose:
Ultimate Objective of life
was seen as quest: Profit is
not the god to be
worshipped, but rather,
peace, contentment, truth,
bliss, fearlessness etc.
Shortsighted approach
towards education
Internet has made possible
for everyone to learn during
all phases of life and not
restricted to the formal
education one receives in
first 20-30 years of life.
Stress on Experiential
Learning. Education system
should be aimed to develop
observation and learning
skills
Experiential Learning
Increasing popularity of
Audio Visual Tools and
Virtual Reality as learning
modes in various fields
Focus on Cognition and
Restraint of Vrittis ,
Additionally, Learning
process involving all senses
should be encouraged
Inculcating Integrative
thought pattern
Advent of Cognition Aiding
Integrative technologies
using integrative sensory
approach towards education
like powerful mobile
phones, Touch Tablets,
Sixth Sense Technology
(Developed by MIT)
Shruti or the Oral Learning
should be encouraged for
knowledge to be more
permanent and usable
(Swabhavik Gyan). Mindless
Knowledge recording should
be discouraged, as
knowledge is a commodity
which is available as freely as
ever before with the advent
of Internet search
Pedagogy has to be
integrative in all aspects -
physical, mental and
spiritual.
Less focussed on recording
and reproducing information
or theory dissemination
Digital Public Libraries
(Example: Google Library)
Division of life in Phases of
learning in accordance to
the needs of life taking a
long term view.Learning as
life long process
Management Curriculum
could be devised for whole
length of professional life
than trying to fit everything
in just 1-2 years
Ease of access to
knowledge of diverse
disciplines
Teachers and Students are
both considered participants
in the process of learning
Faculty training programs to
operationalize this
philosophy
Increasingly collaborative
learning environments for
two way learning
Teaching and Evaluation, if
From procedural to more
Procedures could be
any, should be
interdisciplinary and aligned
towards larger purpose.
experiential approach and
focussed on larger purpose
enforced using pervasive
technologies to ensure they
don’t become roadblocks to
achieving a larger goal of
education. Grading and
Evaluation at certain levels
should be downplayed.
Organization of conferences
providing opportunities for
knowledge sharing among
people from diverse fields
Interdisciplinary knowledge
exchange
Internet Tools like Search,
Real Time Collaboration
We also predict that if the identified shortcomings are not addressed, the conventional
management degree system would lose its importance and would give way to self learning
platforms and need based course offerings. Students would not go to these Business
Schools for mere information or data about subjects or network, as these are increasingly
and readily available through alternate means like internet.
Suggested Further Research
Further quantitative investigations can be done on the effect of education on the
participant’s physical, emotional and spiritual well being. We have seen that present
education is mainly concentrated at vocational skill and not holistic development of
participant, therefore a negative impact on them. This would further strengthened the case
of holistic education.
Since this wisdom is universally applicable and not necessarily confined to application in
management education alone, we encourage researchers to do further research to translate
the Vedic system’s learning into operational processes in contemporary education. Under
this philosophical basis, various pervasive technologies can be judiciously developed and
naturally integrated into learning process without being hindrances themselves.
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