Business Principles: Hindu & Christian

Dancing Lord Shiva

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:


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.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

15 responses to “Business Principles: Hindu & Christian

  1. jim lockey

    Nice little post. ‘Magic favors’ is a chucklesome term.

  2. Thanx Jim. “chucklesome” is a chucklesome term too 😉 — well at least to these American ears. Your site is a Christian site — do you see Christians in Great Britain overextending the magic in their religion? or overextending their exclusiveness?

  3. jim lockey

    Umm, well you’d have define ‘overextending the magic’ for me to give you a satisfactory answer… but I can tell you that there are no shortage of prosperity preachers over here, those who tell you that that you can leverage your religious observance and then God will magically materialise success in your life or business. This is true in the muslim community here too, as for other religions I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

    I should note however that I think that its culturally much more difficult to bring a discussion God into the workplace over here, unless you are providing products and services that are in themselves religious.

  4. Thanx, Jim, that is interesting. Yeah, I felt bad not including the other top two religions (Islam, Buddhism) into my post illustrating the silly things that some religions do. The prosperity Gospels, be they Hindu, Christian, Buddhist or Muslim will probably never go away, eh?

    Yes, apparently for British Christians to speak fondly of their Christianity is as awkward as it is for American Atheists to voice their disbeliefs in the workplace. Here, however, voicing your disbelief can cost you your job — how about in Britain. And I am just talking about coming out as an Atheist, not pushing it.

  5. jim lockey

    Wow! its the opposite here. In the UK people have lost their jobs for wearing a cross on their necklace. And just a couple of weeks back someone was slapped with a tribunal because he asked people to pray in an internal email.

  6. There seems to be an important difference:
    (1) It would be considered inappropriate for an atheist to wear a blatant symbol of their atheism here too.
    (2) Using company e-mail to ask others to join your religious (or anti-religious) activities, no matter how benign you feel they are, should probably be looked down on.

    We should probably keep our religious pronouncements and aspirations for our private life — unless it is your own company.

    If people break established work-place rules, losing a job is not so bad. But no rules say that you can’t let people know you are an atheist. Just doing that can cost you your job here.

    I agree that it can get terrible in either direction but these differentiations are important.

  7. jim lockey

    Yeah, I agree on the whole.
    Although, with the wearing a cross thing… this is people being dismissed if they are known to wear a cross at all, if it is seen or not. Usually in these cases (they get splashed over the papers) the victims get their job back but are often poorly treated afterward.

    As for the email… I haven’t seen the thing itself so I couldn’t say whether it was overstepping any mark… I know I wouldn’t have done it in any context!!! However reports suggest it was said in platitudinal way.

    I think whether religious or not, both parties need some education about whats appropriate, but more so they need a big dose of get over it… i.e. some people don’t agree with you, get over it.

  8. Well said. I totally agree.

  9. sgl

    my understanding is that quakers in britain took their religious ‘testimonies’ of equality and telling the truth, and turned it into the business practice of selling their goods at the same price to everyone (rather than the then common practice of dickering, ie, negotiating a separate price for each customer.) that ‘same price’ policy was apparently quite successful, and lead to a number of rather wealthy quaker businessmen, and the adoption of ‘same price’ policies by non-quakers as well. i think somewhere there are some books or articles about this, but i don’t have any specific link of where i read this.

    unrelated to the above, a story of biz and religion in conflict:
    Lawsuit: Man fired for not wearing “666” sticker

    “… refused to wear a sticker proclaiming that his factory had been accident-free for 666 days. That number is considered the “mark of the beast” in the Bible’s Book of Revelation describing the apocalypse.”
    i find it amazing that someone would obstinate about wearing a sticker for one day.

    at the same time, i find it amazing that a company would be so obstinate that they’d fire someone over not wearing a sticker for one day. is their business going to collapse if one employee doesn’t wear his “rah-rah look how safe we are” sticker for one day? could they not let him wear the prior days sticker and add a “+1” to it for the day? ie, 665 “+1” days with no accident! so perhaps he was a bad employee anyway, and this was just a convenient excuse to dump him. still, i wonder about how stupid management is to make an issue out of this.


  10. @sgl: In my experience (agreeing with you), people fired for such small things usually have a list of reasons behind them that the company wanted to get rid of them. I’d bet this guy did.
    BTW: have you ever considered learning the HTML tag for links:
    <a href="address here">describe here</a>

  11. I see that magical thinking transcends culture. Many Christians would be amazed at the parallels that exist between their own religious culture and those of others.

  12. @ Ahab,
    Indeed, that is the focus of many of my Hinduism posts — to show how similar religious thinking can be. Sort of takes the focus off Christianity per se.

  13. Curt

    The story of the Quakers establishing a standard pricing policy was fasinating. That is a story that I will repeat and never forget.

  14. Curt

    When it comes to magic keep an open mind.
    Of course one could also say keep a sceptical mind.
    I chose to say open now though becasue I suspect that
    most people who read here do not believe in miracles.

  15. @ Curt,
    “Miracles” — hmmm, depends on what it means and how it is held. I see people making irresponsible decisions for their families when they have sickness and they are just waiting for miracles. So it all depends.
    If “miracle” means unexpected outcomes, surprises of meaning and such, I am all for it. A real skeptics deepest joy should be to have his cherished views proven overthrown with better views — that is a miracle worth expecting!

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