The Vedic model of excellence (utkrishtata) highlights that excellence, when pursued in a holistic manner, leads in the ultimate analysis to the three-fold dimensions of Universal well-being encompassing Visva Vikasah (Universal Development), Visva Santi (Universal Peace) and Visva Kausalam (Universal Welfare). This model aims at maximizing the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness at all levels both horizontally and vertically. With the individual as the key foundation, this model projects a comprehensive picture at the universal level.
Excellence is an intrinsic art and an inherent attitude. Excellence is not about winning every time in one’s tasks and missions. It is not driven by the sole objective of achieving success at any cost. It is not a constricted approach to finish the task on hand either by hook or crook with an eye on the fruit of such action. Excellence is a holistic way of life of fulfillment and not a temporary strategy to win something somehow every time. Excellence is driven by enthusiasm and zest to perform to the fullest capacity and potentials of a person without an eye on what he may get out of it. The means are more important and sacrosanct than the end itself. The concept of excellence rests on the premise that one should give his best possible attention and efforts in doing anything that is chosen to be done. The end objective does not drive the process as the pursuit of excellence is based on inspiration, involvement, dedication, commitment, collaboration and completeness so as to bring the best out of all resources deployed in any given environment.
Excellence is joyous celebration and a way of life. It becomes deep-rooted within the persona. It constitutes the springboard of happiness. Like absolute bliss it is the ultimate pursuit: If only you know how to tap it and reach it.
Excellence is a fragrant flower with eight petals constituting physical, emotional, intellectual, behavioral, ethical, relationship, cosmic and spiritual dimensions.
Excellence is not an end by itself. It represents a continuous journey forward to scale greater heights of efficiency and performance. When duly followed in letter and spirit, the Vedic model leads to individual excellence, organizational excellence, national excellence and universal excellence.
1.1 3-S Methodology
For the purpose of achieving all round excellence, the Vedas advocate the 3-S methodology comprising of Sadhana, Sausilyam and Sakti. These three aspects denote means, values and power respectively. Each of these is in turn three-fold.
Sadhana deals with the three-fold path representing the entire gamut of human endeavor using then body-mind-intellect framework.
The three-fold Sadhana (means) include Manasam (mental), Vacikam (oral) and Kayikam (physical). The mind is the fountainhead and source of any action that a person would like to attempt at. This is followed by what he speaks and communicates. The culmination is the physical action that one does thereafter. Thus the mind, the organ of speech and bodily action has to be closely aligned and integrated. This harmony has to manifest in the form of transparency. If each one contradicts the other, it can lead to a disjointed and untrue state of affairs.
Sausilyam covers the code of conduct encompassing the three-fold dimensions of the eternal value system, which is blemish less, and worth emulating.
The three-fold Sausilyam (values) represent ethical, moral and spiritual values. In the Vedic scheme of things, end alone does not justify the means. Thus there has to be proper value system built-in the thought, speech and action of any person. The Vedic code of conduct is based on the following postulates:
(a) One should be blemish less and pure
(b) Human body is given for serving others
(c) One’s conduct shall be auspicious and acceptable to all
(d) In case a person goes astray unknowingly due to ignorance, yet there is scope for his redemption provided he realizes whole-heartedly of his mistakes and deficiencies and resolves to address them
Sakti denotes the inherent power in an individual in terms of Will power, Knowledge power and Action power. This aspect is crucial in the pursuit of excellence.
The three-fold Sakti (power) covers Iccha Sakti, Jñana Sakti and Kriya Sakti. These are Will, Wisdom and Work representing the 3-Ws of power. One has the power to desire about a thing. He has the power of knowledge to explore, understand, comprehend and reflect upon it. He has the power of execution so as to put into action his desires based upon his knowledge level. In order to excel, one has to be resolute, wise and active. A combination of these in tandem with a righteous objective leads to excellence. A proper desire coupled with the requisite intellect and action-orientation brings the best out of a person.
1.2 4-M edifice
The 3-S methodology rests upon the 4-M edifice constituting self management, relationship management, cosmic management and spiritual management.
The management of the individual in terms of human body, Prana (vital air), mind, and intellect represents Self management.
Relationship management denotes the management of the social order and the spiritual order as well as relationships and interactions in a wide variety of circumstances and situations.
Management of the environment without any type of pollution and the positive invoking of cosmic forces constitute Cosmic management. The Vedas are deeply concerned not only with human welfare but also about the well-being of the entire Universe including the animals, birds, trees, plant life and the environment.
Spiritual management focuses on an inquiry into the Self and the bliss of self-realization.
Each one of the above can never be viewed in isolation but are closely inter-connected and inter-dependent. A person who aims at excellence need to master these four aspects of management with faith and determination.
The four-fold Purusarthas impel one to action. Accordingly, adhering to righteousness is Dharma; object of achievement may be termed as Artha, satisfaction in task accomplishment as Kama and flawless action done without any attachment to the fruits of action as Moksha. By this understanding one can achieve excellence in action.
1.3 Vedic Structure
The 4-M edifice is built on the Vedic structure which again has four parts. These are Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. These four aspects of the Vedas are complimentary and supportive. Though they have different connotations, the underlying truth and reality among them is one and the same.
The Vedas are in turn four in number comprising the Rg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. These deal, inter alia, with the holistic art of management, which are significantly relevant even in the modern times. They are stunningly applicable to complex business environment as well. A wide range of management concepts, principles and practices are brought to light by the Vedas, which benefit the entire humanity without any barriers of time, religion, race or frontier.
1.4 Three-fold excellence
The three-fold excellence comprises of Karma yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga.
Excellence in action is known as Karma yoga, which represents action-orientation in terms of Physical pursuits.
Excellence in knowledge is called Jnana yoga, which deals with Knowledge management in terms of intellectual pursuits.
Excellence in devotion is referred to as Bhakti yoga, which is devoted to the cause that one is working for in terms of emotional pursuits.
When the three are properly aligned and assimilated, best results are produced. Any isolated approach may be partial and not effective.
1.5 Excellence in Action
Activity is the substratum of life. It is the soul of human existence. No human being remains separated from activity. From birth to death, one performs multifarious acts and deeds. These are sometimes done consciously with knowledge and at other times without knowledge. Each action (Karma) produces results. Positive actions lead to positive results and negative actions beget negative results.
A human being does an action normally based on doership and he has a choice while performing any action. In a general scenario, he has three options. He can either do (kartum sakyam) or need not do (akartum sakyam) or can do otherwise (anyatha va kartum sakyam).
When an action is done with a sense of doership, the Karta (Doer) becomes the Bhokta
(Enjoyer). As long as there is attachment towards the result of the action, the doer is bound by any such action.
One must understand Karma (activity) and strictly follow the path of righteousness. Karma can be distinguished from destiny in the sense that while destiny is primarily concerned with past and present, Karma includes besides past and present, future also. Karma drives one towards the pursuit of Purusharrtha, the throb of human existence.
Only doing Karma here, one shall wish to live a hundred years.
One should act with one mind and one thought.[ii]
Deeds shall be pure.[iii]
One who does not work is a social evil.[iv]
It has to be understood that the eternal law of Karma is based on Dharma.
[i] Vaj Sam lx-2
[ii] RgV Sam x-64-7
[iii] RgV Sam x-18-2
[iv] RgV Sam x-22-8