To deeply understand Western literature, you need to know the Bible. Likewise, to understand the allusions and images used in Indian literature, it is critical to be familiar with their most popular religious texts: The Ramayana & The Mahabharata. However, from my poll we see that only about 40% of my readers read fiction to any extent. But you illiterate folks (smile) may find it surprising that it is only only Literature that is highly informed by Religion, but also much the business world. Both Christianity and Hinduism flood the business world.
Christian websites abound the tell believers how the Bible is packed with business guidelines to guarantee God’s blessings on their capital ventures. Examples:
- What principles should distinguish a Christian business?
- Practice God’s principles in their workplace?
- Biblical Stewardship for Your Small Business
- Christian Business directories: here, here
Not surprisingly, many Hindus also believe their faith is the key to success. From this recent NYDailyNews article we learn of several examples:
- Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, “talks about spirituality as a “tool to enhance productivity”. And relies of astrologers for dates to launch new businesses. [Memories of Nancy Reagan]
- Kishore Biyani, a retail giant, “believes that traditional Hindu mythology holds a number of management lessons for India Inc. He has appointed a mythologist as his “Chief Belief Officer”.
- Vijay Mallya, a jet-setting billionaire, is verging on bankruptcy and so hired a psychic guru to invoke ritual assistance from the gods for his failing Kingfisher Airlines. Indian Atheists rightly point out that he is using religion to signal his investors and clients that he is trustworth in these insecure times. Signaling is a major function of religion.
- Like many Christians, many Hindus try to base their shopping on their religion. This is exclusive religion at its worse. See here,
Both Hindu and Christian religious principles state that wealth alone does not make us happy but instead, that deeper spiritual principles must be followed. Both Hindus and Christians expect magic favor from their gods. Religion is a mixed bag.
So you see, religious literacy may be more helpful than you imagine. In our international business world, knowing a bit about Hinduism (the belief of 14% of the planet) may be financially enlightening. 😉
Note: This post is from my Ramayana series.