Happy Ganeshotsav to all of you!!! This week is the busiest week for me and my family as we welcome Lord Ganesha to our humble abode. Hence was wondering if I could take a break from this weekly column as I was unable to come up with any interesting topic to discuss. But as I was reflecting on the stories of Ganesha narrated by my dad during my childhood days, I realized the immense learning Ganesha has to offer even to practitioners of our profession.
Mythology is replete with stories of the origin and qualities of Ganesha. Many of these tales, which figure in the Puranas teach the truths, beliefs and values of Hindu religion in the simplest ways possible and leave a lasting image in the minds of adult and child alike.
So this week, I am trying to weave together learning and stories that we have heard about Ganesha that relates to our profession.
His legends offer lessons in duty, righteousness, kindness and forgiveness. I have found inspiration in Ganesha’s wisdom and judgment, his ability to solve problems and remove obstacles, his capability as a communicator, his goal-orientation and his adaptability. These qualities were much needed by our forefathers as they advanced from hunters to agriculturists. More than strength, they needed wisdom and judgment to survive. These qualities are no less at a premium today, especially for us – the PR practitioners.
Ganesha is known as Vigneshwara, one who removes obstacles. Our primary job is to remove obstacles from the path of our clients as we build, enhance and protect their reputation.
It is believed that Ganesha is the scribe of the Mahabharata. The sage Vyasa, under instructions from Brahma, dictated the Mahabharata to Ganesha. Vyasa was to dictate without pause and Ganesha was to understand every word and its implications before writing it down. In the process, Ganesha honed his intellect and became wiser. The ability to write is one of the basic traits of a good PR practitioner. Good writing and good communication is possible only when thinking is clear and understanding deep.
Once Shiva and Parvati acquired a pot containing the nectar of supreme knowledge. Both their sons, Kartikeya and Ganesha contended for it. The hapless parents set up a competition. The rules read that the first one to go around the world seven times would be declared winner. Kartikeya, a man of action, instantly started circumambulating the world on his peacock. With a mouse for a mount, Ganesha needed to do some quick thinking. Using the mental library in his big head, he analyzed the situation, did the SWOT and realized that he was constrained by his bulk and slow mount. For inspiration, he scanned through the Vedas in his mind to arrive at an essential truth: ‘one’s parents are bigger than anything else in the world.’ So, Ganesha went around his parents seven times and claimed the pot of nectar. This teaches quick and correct thinking to come up with logical solutions at times of crises or an opportunity to be grabbed before it is too late.
Symbols have been one of the most effective ways to communicate ideas since the dawn of civilization. Let’s look into the symbols of Ganesha to get some inspirations for us.
He has a big head, so is also called Gajanana, which means “Elephant Faced God” symbolizes to think big, store big, dream big and learn more. We often fail to think outside the already set boundaries, whenever there is an opportunity we present the client the same laundry list of activities, but rarely think of something new and innovative. Though at times there is a little amount of risk involved experimenting with new ideas but there are safe ways in which one can explore their options and start thinking differently.
Small eyes = Greater concentration
When life gets the best of us, with a number of things happening all at once, you are probably at your multitasking best. But have you ever just focused on what you need? Prioritize what needs your immediate attention and focus on it. Whatever your goal may be staying resolute about it is the only way to achieve your aim.
A good listener is as effective as a good talker. With two large ears, Ganesha exemplifies this message. When our clients share their concerns, their objectives and their challenges, we hear but most often fail to listen carefully the finer pain points/opportunities the client has and hence we happen to come up with below average plans and suggestions.
One tusk (ekadanth) = Retain good, throw away bad
Whether it is the appreciation showered on you or severe criticism hurled at you by your client or your boss, remember to throw away the bad and keep only the good. It ensures you carry lesser emotional baggage. For example if you’re ever criticized at work, listen to what the person is saying and take it as positive criticism – something that will help you improve at what you do.
Trunk = Higher efficiency and adaptability
We all have excuses for not being able to complete a particular task, or to miss a deadline – we never run out of excuses for why we didn’t do something. But Lord Ganesha’s trunk teaches us that we must be highly adaptable to change. Life throws us a number of challenges at us every day; it is how we adapt that decides our future course of action.
Modaka = Reward for penance or sadhana
It is often said that hard work never goes unnoticed; you may assume that your work is not given enough credit or you have not been appreciated in a right manner, but remember if you continuously churn out good quality work, you are sure to be rewarded at the right time. Stay consistent and stay focused.
Mouse as a vehicle = Control of desire
The mouse signifies our innate desire that should be controlled. If you don’t, it will take over you. There are many shortcuts available for easy coverage or to climb up the success ladder faster, but wrong desires lead to bad results, and hence it is required to control our desires and lead our journey with righteousness.
Ganesha’s endearing potbelly is equated with space; it is vast enough to hold all wisdom and all life. Gentle and harmless, he uses his great strength only when provoked.
Small mouth = Less talk
The whining that comes for a boss who gives you too much work, or a bad client, whatever the situation might be, learn to talk less and do more. It will not only help you do better it will also help you get rid of aggression in the healthiest manner possible – naturally! So, the next time you are faced with an obstacle, think of what Lord Ganesha teaches us; practice it and you will be well on your way to a happier life.
The above can be simple mythology for many, but even if you remove the myth part, what remain is pure management teachings, applicable to all of us. Take what you think is right and leave the rest. Your feedback will be welcome as always. Comment here or on my blog www.vikypedia.in or tweet @vikramkharvi
P.S.: I am self proclaimed PRO of the lord and as adoration to him; I write a blog dedicated to the lord – www.mylordganesha.com, which I have been sincerely updating on since last 4 years.