Distinguishing Revelation Politics from Salvation Theology in The Bhagavad Gita’s Message for Leaders and Managers

  • Ajeet N. MathurEmail author
Part of the Management, Change, Strategy and Positive Leadership book series (MACHSTPOLE)


Numerous people including scholars, professional practitioners, and policymakers turn to the Bhagavad Gita, a timeless reservoir of abundant plurality and diversity of prescriptions. Shlokas (verses) from the Bhagavad Gita cited in support of prescriptive insights, judgement calls and tough decisions in the course of encountering seven eternal dualties of human living are discussed in this Chapter. The Bhagavad Gita’s pull is strongest when existential ambiguity is rooted in phenomenal complexity, surrounded by normative uncertainty and hermeneutic vulnerability. This is precisely the canvas of wicked problems in strategy where boundary confusions arising from incompleteness of knowing and undecideability of actions lie at the heart of the problem. The latent dynamic in the Bhagavad Gita concerns tensions between overt forces of salvation theology and covert forces of revelation politics when beliefs, values, norms, and attitudes are reinforcable by either of these. The same dynamic is present in management of organizations when setting limits, partitions, demarcations for porosity of boundaries that enable and regulate flows. The meta-learning from the Bhagavad Gita is that normative, existential, phenomenal and hermeneutic endeavours are simultaneously required and cannot be rank-ordered. This simultaneity requires attention to processes that enable or disable, and reflect or distort actionable revelations. As the celestial song of non-attachment, the Bhagavad Gita invites us to go beyond religion to touch spirituality and continue that journey beyond spirituality to traverse thresholds into unbounded realities. Functions of boundaries for management of organizations are thereby clarifiable so that structures provide reliability, systems produce certainty, and processes ensure aesthetics and harmony.


Business strategy Management planning Authority and motivation Transformative leadership Process consultations Systemic interventions Structural innovations 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management AhmedabadAhmedabadIndia

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