Bhagavad Gita and Business Ethics


The English word ‘ethics’ has its origins in ‘ethikos’, a Greek word. Ethikos denotes a person’s moral behavior and social expectations of etiquette and principled action. Business ethics is the code of moral conduct which a business should adhere to during its daily dealings.

Ethical Virtues

Ethical failure happens when one is bereft of good character. Virtuous people have no problem in living ethically. Therefore, one should develop desirable virtues to lead an ethical life. Aristotle advocated the virtues of self-restraint, courage, justice and prudence. Christian virtues include love, hope and faith. Other desirable virtues include civility, modesty, hospitality, empathy, generosity and compassion.

The Bhagavad Gita

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna advises Arjuna about an ethical system that is applicable even now. Krishna elaborates on character-building virtues and how to avoid ethical failure.

Virtues in the Bhagavad Gita

Krishan mentions 26 virtuous qualities, which are: to be peaceful, charitable, simple, clean, mild-mannered, magnanimous, saintly, equitable, truthful, obedient and merciful. One should surrender the fruits of one’s actions to God and avoid greediness. More ideal qualities include: to be determined, steady, concise, expert, eloquent, friendly, compassionate, grave, humble, respectful and sober.

Lust is the Culprit

Many trainers try to teach people how to live ethically with good character. But, still many people even in the corporate world, fail when it matters. This give rise to business scams and frauds, that undermine the public’s faith. Why does this happen? Krishna says it is due to lust. Lust does not just mean sexual craving, it also refers to a selfish desire for power or money. Lust leads to corruption, dishonesty and greed. Therefore, to live happily and attain success, we should learn to control lust.

Gita’s Solution

To overcome lust and avoid ethical failure, one needs to control one’s unruly senses with the help of spiritual strength. But, businesses generally separate spirituality and work. We all fight our own personal Kurukshetra, as an employee or manager. To guide us, the Gita elaborates ways to get spiritual strength, and control our monkey mind and senses.

Gita is Fresh Even Today

The Gita’s insight into the human psyche is still relevant and fresh. Every worker, employee, politician, administrator and manager should read the Gita and reflect on its essential messages to experience positive changes. The Gita shows the path to a more disciplined, harmonious, peaceful, balanced and secular life.

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