Episode # 109 – “Business leaders should ensure a balance between “enormous profits” & “heavy losses” – Vidura’s key explanation!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed a major explanation by Vidura with regards to how a ruler or an administrator should conduct himself with respect to money and property. In today’s world this has become such an important talking point wherein we’re seeing widespread corruption in any domain pertaining to the government machinery and its officials. We might wonder why is corruption being spoken about with such intensity. The main reason for corrupt practices to take place is the lack of responsibility and accountability on behalf of the administrators and officials involved at various levels starting from the grass-root. As levels cascade, sadly the level of corruption only tends to get higher and higher in developing countries like India. We see this entire happening in our day-to-day life. It is so sad to note that India, which was the only country to preach the “Raaja-Dharma” to the world, is stooping down to such low levels of cheap and petty politics.

As discussed yesterday, the main cause for such corrupt activities taking place in India is the lack of severe punishments meted out to criminals who involve themselves in such heinous and third-rated crime. The weak (or almost inefficient and defunct) judiciary system of India seems to be the one that motivates and encourages criminals to go about their “job”. Only if severe punishment is meted out within a stipulated time frame to the offender for keeping his hands on public money, will India see light at the end of the dark tunnel!

Thus in summary of what Vidura explains here, just because a person is in the position of an administrator today, it doesn’t mean that he/she can misuse the power and authority to amass wealth illegally and illegitimately. Else, there would be a huge punishment waiting for him/her at the end of the tenure of office.

Moreover in the same sloka, Vidura explains one more important aspect – “Sthaane vriddhau tathaakshaye!!” This means that if we foresee a heavy loss coming its way in a business activity, it is better to stop doing that business rather than pumping more and more money into it. A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company should know the limit here – If the level of loss widens beyond a particular amount, he/she should be ready to close down the business without wasting further money into it. Similarly in government-run institutions too, this aspect assumes lot of significance. This is a marked difference between businesses run in India and those run in the Western countries. Businesses in the west do not shy away from closing down overnight if things do not go well with respect to their financial numbers, whereas businesses in the eastern part of the world are the contrary – We tend to think of so many aspects before making the extreme decision to close down. For instance, we think about how many people would lose their jobs and salaries if this company has to be shut down. Of course we need to think of it and is very important. However, this thought should have been there in the beginning of the business. This is why we always insist that before commencing a business, planning is very important. This planning would envisage lot of challenges that would arise in the future course of the business and based on that we shall be able to build up strategies to counter them.

Thus in the planning stage we should think of all the possible potential challenges that would creep through in due course. Once the business is commenced and becomes a running entity we need to put the maximum effort to sustain the entity and make profits from it. Once the entity is running, it should never be stopped at any point, but at the same time, we need to have a target in mind that if there are losses and if the losses aggregate to more than a certain amount of money, we should be prepared to close down without wasting further money into it. This is because, there is no use of pumping in more funds into a loss-making entity as it is going to swallow up all the hard-earned money as well!

For those people who invest money regularly in “Stock-Exchanges” need to be careful because the applicability of the above point is more here. We should always remember that stock markets are sentimental and it can drive beyond the roof on some days, but plunge below the ground on some other days! This is exactly like our human lives, which also witness numerous ups and downs throughout. Thus people who trade in the stock markets regularly should keep a limit or a threshold for the profit or loss that they make. If they breach that upper or lower limit, they would end up in big trouble.

Thus through this important point, Vidura is explaining thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! You’re trying to keep the entire undivided Hasthinaapura kingdom with you to earn more and more wealth and profits! However, you’re committing the mistake of keeping in possession the portion that is due to the Paandavas too, just for the reason for making more money through taxes. This is wrong! Please give away what is due to the Paandavas. You’re trying to enjoy the fruits what the Paandavas are due to enjoy. This is utter selfishness and please refrain from doing this!”

Hence for today let us reflect upon this important point that we should not go behind profits and money too much, in such a way that it would create jealousy and greed (like King Dhirdiraashtra), but at the same time we should also keep a constant check on the losses (if any) and shouldn’t allow it to escalate beyond a particular point. Thus as business leaders, we should ensure a balance between heavy profit and heavy loss in our business activity. Let’s wait till the next episode to continue this discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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