Hinduism and Entrepreneurship

Contrary to what spiritual leaders in India propagate, that Hinduism is a religion of Gods, Hinduism evolved over a period of time with periods of rapid growth, much twists and turns and created by humans.

The post Adi Sankaracharya period of 7th Century saw rapid growth of Hinduism. Adi Sankaracharya who drank the ocean of Gnana, as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari put it, was himself a social entrepreneur of sorts.

But, let us go back in time, quite a number of centuries, not sure how many but many, before we come back to 7th Century – the period of Adi Sankara.

As humans in the Indian sub-continent started settling on the river beds, making clay figures was probably the first of many creative works done. This happened as clay was available on river beds, and also people stayed in one place for longer periods which is essential for such activities.

Remember, during those times, barter was the backbone of economic activity.

And, as people started expressing a liking to watch beautifully done clay figures, sculptors realized there is commercial and entrepreneurial value in the clay figures. And, they started using these figures for barter in exchange for food or whatever.

As more and more people lined up for these figures, demand supply principle took over and sculptors became in demand. Sculptors were probably the first Box office draw. The better ones were in demand.

Seeing the growing demand for beautifully done sculptures, the cleverer ones started enclosing the better and attractive sculptures (later day temples) and charged a barter for views. The first Subscription model started.

But, there were periods of low of views and visits to the enclosed places of figures. Later a smart entrepreneur of those times, realized the need to do something more to increase viewership.

Not just one innovation, but a series of innovations to boost viewership.

So, these enclosed places doubled up as places for travelers to rest and be refreshed to resume travel. To increase visibility, and promote travel these enclosed places were setup on hilltops, another entrepreneurial insight.

But, this was not enough. A systematic daily set of procedures were needed to encourage people to visit these enclosed places in designated times and days, repeatedly. So, perpetual income model started.

Simultaneously, something else was happening.

Clay figures had become stone, or limestone, or granite figures as they were long lasting, easier to maintain, harder to sculpt but more malleable to fine detail work, which resulted in more subscriptions (or viewership).

Earlier to all this, something great had happened in this part of the world. Vedas had already taken birth where there were no figures or idol worship. Vedas was recited and created using Sanskrit (Vedic Sanskrit).

The knowledgeable people started adopting from Vedas, and original Goddesses and Male Gods got names and identities.

In my estimate, the Original Goddess was Kali and the river beds were Ganges.

While some entrepreneurs used fear as the key to drive viewership, others used more evolved motivations such as knowledge, valor, loyalty and sacrifice, as identities for idols. So, different idols evolved and flourished depending on the times and social dynamics.

But, there was one consistency in all this randomness of entrepreneurship. Practises, naming, and rituals.

There were two reasons. Vedas and Sanskrit language.

Vedas were the fountainhead of all names, concepts and practices used in the evolution of Gods and Goddesses. It was natural that Vedas being highly structured, and vibrant recitations, infinite thoughts and concepts, were a ready source and tool for creating a homogenous narrative for the story of gods.

Seeing the demand for these temples grow in rapid progression, chieftains started using the physical infrastructure and the knowledge infrastructure for managing the society.

Simultaneously, new Languages were born, but, they had no other go but to adopt from other languages to hasten their evolution. And, they could not escape the inherent strength of Sanskrit and borrowed from it liberally.

So, a loosely strung together religion, essentially set of beliefs and a set of practices and rituals, evolved over a period.

Importantly, it brought an identity to people, made it easy and a common base structure for a constantly evolving religious practices, and a security dimension. What I mean is something higher for people to defend and die for. Armies were born and created rulers.

However, the Individual Spiritual side of Religion is sacred for me and sacrosanct, and maybe the same for most Indians.

This is probably because, I saw my father, derive spiritual strength, and navigate through all his troubles and successes with daily Siva Abhisheka for 45 + Yrs. This gave him the spiritual strength and focus on his work, with remarkable achievements, and importantly with honesty, look after his family, and finally guide his grandson.

I also believe, when I see Modiji, Amit Shahji perform pujas, they draw their strength from the systems and practices of Hinduism, which is driving them to success.

If you look around, the number of people who practice Hinduism shows that there is divinity in all this.

As my late uncle Dr. N. A. Sarma once told us, sometime in 1987-88, BJP is beginning to get traction as its roots connect Indians with pre occupation period, the old India, a flourishing entrepreneur rich India, an Aspirational India. The fact that India is Entrepreneur rich India is articulated by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy in his book – Reset – Regaining India’s Economy.

Is entrepreneurial India finally waking up, in the true sense of the word?

All this would not have happened if Adi Sankaracharya was not born. According to records, he was the one who forced the warring Shivaites and Vaishnavites to arrive at a settlement.

Why is this significant?

From 6th Century onwards till today, there have been no wars or disputes between Shivaites and Vaishnavites or for that matter there are no warring factions based on gods. 14 centuries have passed. The solution is in force.

As Invasions began in fully intensity, from 11th century onwards the entrepreneurial Indians, were diverted to protect their families and religion from the invaders, channeling all their energies to survive and avoid the invaders eyes. Smart Indians, used Religion as a tool and shield to protect themselves. Innovation to boost standard of living took a backseat.

Many centuries later, as Britishers left, India’s economy was good, but infrastructure was poor.

Post independence, the new Govt. took charge and focused on infrastructure, but never believed in India’s entrepreneurial talent.

But, entrepreneurs from were not idle.

Movie entrepreneurs, food entrepreneurs, spiritual, classical singers, transport, education, medicine all thrived striving to keep pace with the world.

Engineering which is the backbone of all modern entrepreneurship took a backseat as bright Engineers from premier institution left to USA for opportunities to showcase their talent, nurtured and created in India, by Indian parents and Institutions.

This cost India dearly.

It took a staunch Hindu, Shri. P V Narasimha Rao as the PM of India, in a period of economic crises, no Gandhi to oppose him, and a divided opposition, to quietly seize the opportunity and dismantle the license raj.

Roll forward, and the next 15 yrs were wasted years as hesitant steps were taken. A liberal Hindu ruled for 5 yrs and a Gandhi rose to power. Things slowed down quite a bit.

Return of the Staunch Hindu Shri. Modiji, and things are being done at hectic speed, and what has been done in the last 7 yrs is unprecedented.

Everyday a new announcement comes up. Each step is aimed at boosting India’s economy towards 5 Trillion Dollar Economy.

If there was Nobel Prize for Entrepreneur Political Leadership India would beat the world in the race to the top.

The point I am stressing is very simple – Staunch Hindus, have faith in India’s Entrepreneurship, while so called liberals have little or no faith in India’s entrepreneurs.

Luckily, security threats have forced India’s liberal Leadership to nurture development of weapons of mass destruction and Missiles as a deterrent for enemies to not engage India in a outright medium intensity or full scale war.

This has given birth to India’s superiority in Missile systems, with entrepreneurial innovation happening at a rapid pace in the last few years. From Tippu Sultan’s rockets to the present day Missile capabilities we have come a long way. Proof India’s superiority is 6 countries have shown interest to buy India’s missiles.

All this points one simple truth. India can be a OEM country and not just Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturing hub, if given the right environment and nurturing.

Even without much Govt. support, Communists ruling two major entrepreneurial states of Kerala and West Bengal, having major say in different parts of the country, no opportunity to ride technology waves in full steam, Indian entrepreneurs have done pretty well.

Take Patanjali a fully Hinduism driven enterprise, Chairman being a yoga guru, products having Ayurvedic character, branding and projecting Hinduism in a subtle manner. This Corporate has crossed Re.10,000 Crore turnover, forcing Foreign Corporates to relook at their strategy.

Reliance, Infosys, Wipro, Cyient, Ashok Leyland, and scores of others have seized every opportunity to compete with the best in the world.

Contrary, to what some people say, such as Hindu rate of growth, Hinduism is a conservative religion, and so on, facts prove otherwise.

With the BJP Govt. going into micro management mode of removing anomalies such as Cement and Steel Cartels, Nudging Car companies to adopt electric cars more aggressively, getting Vaccines ready in record time, in tandem with USA, we are seeing India move into 2021, as a the entrepreneurial country to watch out.

Krishna Karedla
Author: Krishna Karedla

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