Scholarly article on topic 'Embedding Spirituality for Professionals – A Study Using Movies as Pedagogy'

Embedding Spirituality for Professionals – A Study Using Movies as Pedagogy Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — A. Ramesh, Vinit Dani

Abstract We may face ethical dilemmas in professional and personal lives. Moral depravity has been the cause for financial, ecological crimes etc. Value based decisions demand courage, and conviction. The paper examines conflicts in values and responsibilities. The research paper uses select movies as pedagogy to sensitize the professionals to dimensions of spirituality such as “karma yoga” and “arishadwarga” and discuss the consequent ethical dilemmas. There is complex relationships and conflict between values, responsibilities, at organizational and individual level. We observe certain events trigger act as spiritual anchors and decisions fall into realm of spirituality. We also observe that “what stand to take is as important as when to take a stand.

Academic research paper on topic "Embedding Spirituality for Professionals – A Study Using Movies as Pedagogy"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 133 (2014) 473 - 480

ICTMS-2013

Embedding spirituality for professionals - A study using movies as

pedagogy

A. Ramesh a, Vinit Dani b*

aVJIM, Vignana Jyothi Nagar, Bachupally, Hyderabad, India *bSymbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS) Symbiosis International University (SIU), Khadki, Pune, India

Abstract

We may face ethical dilemmas in professional and personal lives. Moral depravity has been the cause for financial, ecological crimes etc. Value based decisions demand courage, and conviction. The paper examines conflicts in values and responsibilities. The research paper uses select movies as pedagogy to sensitize the professionals to dimensions of spirituality such as "karma yoga" and "arishadwarga" and discuss the consequent ethical dilemmas. There is complex relationships and conflict between values, responsibilities, at organizational and individual level. We observe certain events trigger act as spiritual anchors and decisions fall into realm of spirituality. We also observe that "what stand to take is as important as when to take a stand.

© 2014 The Authors. PublishedbyElsevierLtd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer-reviewunderresponsibilityof theOrganizing CommitteeofICTMS-2013. Keywords: Ethical Dilemmas; Spirituality; Movies and Pedagogy

1. Introduction

Without work, all the life goes rotten- but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies. - Albert Camus

The importance of triple bottom line performance of the organizations puts onus on the people whose values, ethics and decisions have a great impact on the organization and society at large. However, some difficult and ambiguous situations in professional lives may trigger transformation in individuals or groups and call for taking decision which falls into the realm of spirituality.

Spirituality in business encompasses wide range of perspectives embodying their personal values of honesty,

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0-000-000-0000 ; fax: +0-000-000-0000 . E-mail address: vinit.dani@sims.edu

1877-0428 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of ICTMS-2013. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.214

integrity, and good quality work. Others would say it's treating their co-workers and employees in a responsible, caring way. For others, it's participating in spiritual study groups or using prayer, meditation, or intuitive guidance at work. And for some, it's making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps create a better world.

2. Literature review

Andrjez and David Buchanan (2006) explored the pedagogical potentialities of the movies and suggested different applications of films in class room instruction. Nayor etal.,(1996),Neck and Milliman (1994); Kahanweiler and Otte(1997) observed the concept of search for meaning in what we are doing at the workplace is close to the existentialist view of spirituality. Search for meaning is one of the most often quoted for people who quit jobs to lead more spiritually enriching life. Burrack (1999), some of the experiential questions that came up:

Why I am doing this work?

What is the meaning of the work which I am doing?

Where does this lead me to?

Is there a reason for existence and the organization's?

BowenH. Mccoy (1997) encounters a dying pilgrim on a climbing trip in the Himalayas and uses the experience to draw analogy between the individual ethical and corporate ethics. Tisdell (2003) provides a comprehensive definition of spirituality that includes seven assumptions about spirituality as it relates to education. First, it is not the same as religion, but it is connected to religion for many people. Second, spirituality provides a sense of wholeness and connection to all of life through a higher being, power, or spirit. Third, this sense of wholeness and connection to all of life happens by creating meaning from one's experiences. Fourth, spirituality is present in the educational setting, even though it may not be recognized as such. Fifth, it is a movement toward greater authenticity. Sixth, it is the construction of knowledge through primarily symbolic and reflexive processes. Finally, spiritual experiences frequently happen unexpectedly.

McCormick (1994) and Paragment (1999) observed that religion denotes institutional social beliefs and practices; spirituality connotes daily personal applications of values. Tisdell (2000) found that spiritual development was closely connected with their identity and personal development. She describes a "spiritually grounded and culturally relevant" pedagogy for higher education that is potentially transformational in the following suggestions:

• An emphasis on spiritual and cultural authenticity.

• An environment that allows for exploration of the cognitive (through readings and

• discussions of ideas); the affective and relational (through connection with other

• people and connection of ideas to life experiences); and the symbolic (through

• art forms such as poetry, visual art, music, drama).

• Readings that reflect the diversity of the members of the class, and the resulting

• pluralism of the geographical area relevant to the course content.

• Exploration of both individual and communal dimensions of students and other

• relevant points of identity.

• Collaborative work that envisions and presents manifestations of multiple aspects

• of learning and strategies for change.

• Celebration of learning and provision for closure to the course.

• Recognition of the limitations of the higher education classroom, and that transformation is an ongoing process that takes time.

Krishnakumar. S et.al (2002) observed different perspectives of spirituality and benefits of encouraging spirituality in organizations and implementing different perspectives. One view of the spirituality is something originating from inside of the individual. Another views as it tied to one's' religion affiliation. Another perspective it involves existentialist questions such as why I am doing this work. What is the meaning of this work?

Judith A. Neal et.al (1999) explored issues of what matters most in individual, organizational and societal transformation. Authors defined Transformation is defined and presented literature on individual, organizational and societal transformation. The article looks at the standard arguments that economics are the driving force in transformation and then postulates that spirituality may be as much if not more of a driving force. Evidence is provided on the growth of interest in spirituality. Then three theories of transformation are offered, one at the level

of societal transformation. Each of these theories incorporates elements of spirituality in order to understand the prerequisites of transformation.

Karlon P.Harlos (2000) proposed common view of spirituality as sacred values or secular values aimed at transcendence (flight beyond of human spirit beyond material or physical existence which we experience on occasions.) toward our ultimate value. He added three values to the list of Neal (1997), which guide for spiritual pedagogy in management. The values are self knowledge, authenticity respect for others belief practicing one's spirituality (ex-prayer), trust, humility, compassion, simplicity (added by Karlon). He uses case analysis based on the book into the thin air krakauer (1977) which details Mount Everest ascent by two climbing teams from Newzealand and America.

Burgress (1996) religion has established belief rooted in the past and sets forth creeds and doctrine and spirituality is the praxis of faith. There is some definitiveness in religion which spirituality feels right to call to question, there is vulnerability and responsible freedom. Spirituality is more inclusive and indistinct than religion. Former president Dr Abdul Kalam underlined the need for punya atma (virtuous people) punya neta, (virtuous leaders) punya adikari (virtuous offices) for revival of our country great destiny. (http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/2005/11/18/stories/2005111801351000.htm visited on 20/6/11).

Smriti Kak Ramachandran observed that Delhi Metro Corporation has turned to "Bhagavad Gita" to stem corruption, lethargy and negligence. Arvind Sharma (2000), observed "Hinduism" identifies four legitimate goals of human activity: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma refers to human activities directed towards righteousness, Artha refers to those directed towards the acquisition of wealth, power and success, Kama to those directed to the enjoyment of sense pleasures (including their more refined savouring in art and literature, etc.); Moksha consists of activities directed towards what in a Western context is best described as "salvation" and in the Hindu context as emancipation from the cycle of continued conditioned existence called maya.

Zubin R.Mulla and Venkat R.Krishnan (2006) identified two dimensions of karma yoga ,duty orientation and absence of desire for rewards.

Chakraborthy S.K and Debanskhu Chakraborthy (2008) believed that the flowering of human values denotes spiritual unfoldment, paving the way for spiritual organizations where spirituality is the ends not means. They also cautioned that spirituality is not a tool kit or novel means to achieve business objectives.

Joel M. Podolny (2009) observed that society has lost confidence in many economic institutions—investment banks, credit-rating agencies, and central banks, for instance and prominent among them, business schools. New York Times carried several letters in which writers alluded to the fact that by studying the arts, cultural history, literature, philosophy, and religion, people develop their powers of critical thinking and moral reasoning. Business schools don't develop those skills, also MBAs made the shortsighted and self-serving decisions that resulted in the current financial crisis. Palmer (1998 &2001) suggests that service learning pedagogy, in which students participate in community service and critical reflection about the experience related to the subject being studied, can provide a passionate connection for students to the subject matter and greater self-worth and confidence in the classroom.

Dirkx (2001) provides examples of "soul work" in the classroom that can lead to transformational learning. He suggests having students express their emotions and feelings about learning experiences and incorporating drawing and painting of the experience. He states "dramatic opportunities for transformational learning reside in imaginative engagement with the everydayness of our lives...encounters with subject matter in adult learning settings provide a rich source of images and fantasies that enable learners to connect more fully and deeply with the text, the self, and their outer worlds".

Tisdell (2000) found that spiritual development was closely connected with their identity and personal development. She describes a "spiritually grounded and culturally relevant"

Pedagogy for higher education that is potentially transformational in the following suggestions:

• An emphasis on spiritual and cultural authenticity.

• An environment that allows for exploration of the cognitive (through readings and discussions of ideas); the affective and relational (through connection with other

people and connection of ideas to life experiences); and the symbolic (through art forms such as poetry, visual art, music, drama).

• Readings that reflect the diversity of the members of the class, and the resulting pluralism of the geographical area relevant to the course content.

• Exploration of both individual and communal dimensions of students and other relevant points of identity.

• Collaborative work that envisions and presents manifestations of multiple aspects of learning and strategies for change.

• Celebration of learning and provision for closure to the course.

• Recognition of the limitations of the higher education classroom, and that transformation is an ongoing process that takes time. (pp. 212-213).

Samir Rajan Chatterji (2009) presented a broad historical review of critical wisdom literature of ancient Indian tradition and examined how these precepts can complement and enrich the contemporary managerial frames. Critical review of deep religious and secular traditions of India is done and integrated them in a conceptual model. The body of literature presents distinct views of spirituality and different methods have been used such as novel, one's own experience, case study survey etc for pedagogy. However the pedagogy of movie has not been discussed to a wider extent.

3. Objectives of the research

• To examine decision making dilemmas in the light of Indian spirituality

• To sensitize professionals to the spirituality and to develop moral reasoning for holistic personality

4. Need and importance of the study

According to the latest rankings by Transparency International India is still listed with the most corrupt nations of the world. India still ranks low in HDI (Country ranks 119th as per recent ranking (in 2011). India as a country has huge opportunities, complexities which pose challenges to management professionals and others. Value based decisions demand courage, and conviction. B-schools emphasize more on technical, analytical, less on moral reasoning. There is imminent need to:

a. There is need to highlight the need for spirituality and ethical dimensions in management education.

b. Revive forgotten and neglected Indian spiritual treasure trove for benefiting budding management professionals and society at large.

b. Supplement efforts for ethical living at individual level compared to legislations at corporate level.

5. Problem Statement

When does the spiritual transformation or awakening take place? When decisions fall into realm of spirituality? How to integrate and understand Indian spirituality and derive practical wisdom in the context of ethical dilemmas faced in professional lives?

6. Conceptual framework or theory

We propose that certain complex and ambiguous situations in personal and professional life trigger spiritual transformation or awakening, and decisions may have ethical dilemmas.

7. Rationale for using movies as pedagogy

The movie as medium provides means to understand and experience the values involved which otherwise is difficult to experience and also being vicarious source, it is easy to empathize with protagonist and facilitates discussion. The movie as medium explains the "why", "what" and "How" of spirituality. The six movies selected are classic and old in which certain situations (as part of the story) trigger transformations and involve ethical dilemmas; to be faced by protagonists. Movies as pedagogy is not new in Indian Management education, movies such as Ek ruka huva fisala, (Hindi adaption of 12 angry men,) ,Manthan, Other's people money etc. have been used effectively.

8. Indian spirituality dimensions

"Here in India, it is religion that forms the very core of the national heart. It is the backbone, the bed-rock, the foundation upon which the national edifice has been built. Politics, power, and even intellect form a secondary consideration here. Religion, therefore, is the one consideration in India."- Swami Vivekananda Arishadvarga — the six passions of mind or enemies of desire, kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy), the negative characteristics which prevent man from realizing the atman (Reality that is his True Being).

• kama — lust, craze, desire

• krodha — anger, hatred

• lobha — greed, miserliness, narrow minded

• moha — delusory emotional attachment

• mada or ahankara — pride, stubborn mindedness

• matsarya — envy, jealousy, show or vanity, and pride

Kama Krodascha Lobhascha Dehe Thishtanthi Taskarah Jnana Ratno-paharaya Tasmat Jagrata Jagrata. .— Adi Sankaracharya

Desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy—these dacoits are residing within your own body. They are not outside. They are residing as fifth column enemies within you. And, why are they there? To loot you of the Jnana-Ratna, to rob you of the precious gem of spiritual wisdom or atma-jnana, to loot you and deprive you of the precious gem of Self-awareness and make you forget your Self and weep and wail and be in ignorance. In order to deprive you of this jewel of atma-jnana, they are there. Therefore, oh man, oh Sadhak, Jagrata, Jagrata. Beware, beware. In this way, from the submerged level of the chitta or the deep within, various samskaras and vasana are brought into activity .

9. Purusharthas

In order for an individual to realize their supreme Self, they need to identify the reasons and objectives why they came into being on this earth plane, and fulfill them. The ancient seers clearly articulated the objectives of humankind as "Purusharthas" -- 'Purusha' means an individual or person, and 'Artha' means meaning or objective or pursuit. They articulated four Purusharthas as:

• Dharma : Righteousness, Duty

• Artha : Wealth

• Kama : Desire

• Moksha : Liberation

• The four purusharthas are really the objectives of God, of the Supreme Self, the qualities of God. And since an individual person is a reflection of God, is a part of God, it is the rightful pursuit of a person to fulfill these four purusharthas.

10. Movies used for the study 3 Idiots (2009)

The protagonist (Rancho) bravely confronts the realities in education system and continuously fights against the system and he is brave enough to fight it out on his own at the risk of own career. The following are questions and dilemmas he faces: Should he adjust with the system?

Should he remain spectator to the suicide of his classmate? Should he remain silent to the dreams and wishes of his classmates? What is the boundary of responsibility? What was his real call?

What is the perspective of the institute director?

The hero continues to fight against the system and becomes science teacher to kindle scientific temper in students but continues to do research and publish papers in reputed journals. He loves science and its application. The rote system of learning and rather emphasis on learning and his friend's suicide, pressure in learning and social

stigma associated with other professions has led or reinforced his spiritual awakening. The director of institute is more concerned with position of ranking of the institute, rather than learning and innovation; he is victim of pride,(mada) and anger( krodha) and delusory emotional attachment. But he finally he overcomes his negative qualities and acknowledges the ingenuity of Rancho. The movie also shows the bias towards professional courses, and mentality of parents trying to achieve their dreams and personal ambitions through their children. In the end, principal wishes his grand child to become what he wants. We observe that protagonist Rancho displayed karma yoga characteristics ie duty -orientation, (sense of obligation and duty towards others, indifference towards rewards, (actions are not motivated by material gratification) and equanimity.(stick to moral course of action without being carried by troubles and temptations in the path of duty.

Swadesh (2004) Mohan Bhargava (Shahrukh Khan) is an NRI working at NASA as a Project Manager. After twelve years in the US, he decides to return to India to find his nanny, Kaveri Amma, with whom he has completely lost touch. While Mohan soon adapts himself to life in the village and endears himself to its people, he also encounters some of its harsher aspects. Among them are poverty, caste discrimination, child marriage, illiteracy, a general disregard for education and apathy to change. He tries in his own way to bring about some change, even succeeding to the point of dissuading the village elders from moving the local school to smaller and far-away premises. In doing this, he earns the respect of Gita (Gayatri Joshi), a childhood acquaintance who lives with Kaveri Amma and runs the local school.One day Kaveri Amma sends him away to another village called Kodi to collect dues from a farmer named Haridas who has rented their land. Along the journey, Mohan realizes that the problems he had seen in the village mirror those faced by almost all other villages in the country. Haridas, the farmer wouldn't support his attempts at a change of occupation from weaving to farming. Mohan returns empty handed, but is full of a new sensitivity and perspective towards the harsh realities of rural India. This journey to Kodi and back proves to be the turning point in Mohan's life and he comes back with a resolve to take more interest in improving the quality of life of the villagers.

He enlists the support of a few hundred men and guides them through the building of a reservoir beneath a perennial spring on a nearby hill. Buying turbines and other equipment with his own money, he sets up a small hydro-electric power plant that would solve the problem of irregular electricity and make the village self-sufficient. The following are questions and dilemmas he faces: Should he stay and work in the village? Should he go to USA and complete critical project? What he can do in the village in which government has failed to do? Whether it is the responsibility of the government or individual? Can he remain spectator or insensitive to the backwardness in the village as a citizen? Good of many vs good for few

Should he stay and work in the village?

Should he go to USA and complete critical project and contribute?

What he can do in the village in which government has failed to do?

Whether it is the responsibility of the government or individual?

Can he remain spectator or insensitive to the backwardness in the village as a citizen? We observe that protagonist Mohan epitomizes karma yoga ie duty-orientation, (sense of obligation and duty towards others, indifference towards rewards, (actions are not motivated by material gratification) and equanimity. (Stick to moral course of action without being carried by troubles and temptations in the path of duty).

11. Satyam Scam

"It Was Like Riding A Tiger...' '...not knowing how to get off without being eaten," B. Ramalinga Raju B. Ramalinga Raju ,Satyam founder in his resignation letter confessing to fraud amounting to over Rs 8000 crores over the last many years and offering himself to the laws of the land and face the consequences thereof. (http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx/239402/ last visited 1/5/11)

The purushtras (dharama,artha,kama,moksha), dimension of Indian spirituality underlines the need harmony between all these elements, and spirituality and material are not exclusive. The dharma (righteousness) is mentioned first and linked with artha (wealth), which means that wealth has to be earned with righteousness and after enjoying desires , lastly we need to strive for moksha or liberation.

12. Practical wisdom from Indian spirituality and management education

Moral turpitude one of the prime reasons for various scams in our country, and it becomes imperative to produce upright officials at administrative and managerial levels. However the journey of righteousness' is arduous requiring courage, and conviction. Religion and spirituality being edifice of India, the need to reiterate, reinforce and retrieve treasure trove of Indian Spirituality such as karma yoga, arishadwargas, purushastras and derive practical wisdom for management is of immense importance. The need for B-Schools to produce socially conscious and ethical managers is opportune and also for achieving sustainable development. The movies as pedagogy with spiritual dimensions as anchors, hastens up understanding of esoteric subject of spirituality. The effective executive also needs to be karma yoga, ie, duty-orientation, (sense of obligation and duty towards others, indifference towards rewards, actions are not motivated by material gratification) and equanimity (Stick to moral course of action without being carried by troubles and temptations in the path of duty). The individual and executive waging internal battles and not becoming victim to "Arishadwarga" and strives to achieve "Purusharthas". The ends and means adopted businesses should be ethically justifiable and protecting the interests of the stakeholders, which calls for holistic personality comprising reason, will, ambition and conscience.

13. Conclusion

Movies act as powerful means to understand "Why?", "What" and "How" aspects of spirituality? Human shortsightedness is the cause of many dilemmas and crises. There is a need for moral reasoning to help sensitize people to spirituality. If business professionals examine ethical dilemmas from different perspectives and dimensions of Indian spiritual thought, they will be able to develop a holistic personality and will be able to take value based decsions. Protogonists 'Rancho' from 3 Idiots and Mohan Bhargav from Swadesh depict true karmayoga by recognizing spiritual triggers from the problems in their surroundings. Taking lead from these triggers both characters find strength to carry out their responsibilities towards various systems while not succumbing to pressures. They are true karmayogis who exhibit sensitivity, courage and determination and equanimity. The need for recognizing dilemmas and acting on them without allowing any negativity to come in the way is also a key learning.

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