Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Organizations and Marketing
By Dr. David Goodman
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explained that there are considered to be 40 aspects of the Vedic literature of India. One of them is itself called Ayur-Veda, which is the science of creating balance in the mind/body, i.e. – the science of health. This ancient wisdom has since been re-introduced and purified by Maharishi, in consultation with highly accomplished Ayur-Vedic practitioners, called Vaidyas, and is presented now in its refined form as Maharishi Ayur-Veda.
I myself am not an Ayur-Vedic practitioner, but a marketing and management professor. Even so, the concepts of creating balance and wholeness in human physiology, as described in Maharishi Ayurveda, can illuminate aspects of organizational development and marketing. Moreover, these correlations to Vedic Science can provide insight into how a firm can restore balance and thus increase its success.
To understand these correlations, there are a few Sanskrit words to learn, which are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When in balance, these three deep principles of human physiology, which are called Doshas, support growth and evolution. When they are out of balance they cause all sorts of ailments and problems.
Very briefly, Vata is motion and expresses itself as enthusiasm and innovation when in balance, and worry and lack of focus when out of balance. Pitta is dynamism and energy, digestive fire and power when in balance, and anger and cutting criticism when out of balance. Kapha is normally structure and stability and evenness when in balance, and depression and hoarding when abnormal.
For example, a Kapha imbalance in an individual can cause an increase in weight. A vaidya can detect this imbalance by taking the radial pulse and then can prescribe remedies to restore balance.
So what are the business implications?
From a marketing perspective, social media represents Vata. Social media initiatives are highly disruptive, innovative, and enthusiastic, with the potential to make one feel frazzled. The motion element here is the speed of the Internet, global and mercurial.
Pitta is combative and precise, a little angry and represents digestion and fire of competition. What could represent these tendencies on the business side? The promotional aspect of the marketing mix is represented in terms of strategic and tactical positioning in the competitive space. This represents analysis and synthesis, energetic execution of a marketing plan, and considerations of core competence, customers and competitors.
Both the precision and dynamic execution of these elements expresses the Pitta aspect of marketing. Advertising, public relations, personal sales, promotion activities and direct marketing are all Pitta activities.
Kapha is structure and when in balance is slow to act and even tempered. Kapha is represented by sustainable advantage and overall strategy, which moves slowly, though it can be disrupted by turbulence in the environment. Kapha is also exemplified by the organizational chart, providing stability and insight into the way the firm is organized.
Leading is Vata and Pitta dominated, requiring insight and dynamism. Planning and organizing are also Pitta and Vata activities, with a little more emphasis on execution, which is a Pitta function.
Controlling is a Kapha function of maintaining stability. An organization can itself exhibit these traits in balance or not.
An example of a Vata company could be an advertising agency, always changing and dealing with new campaigns. An out-of-balance Vata organization will be chasing new ideas, without any sense of real direction and will likely fail.
A Pitta company could be a law firm, precise, highly intelligent and learned and yet in the business of litigation and conflict. It could be involved in conflict resolution or in advocating for defendants or as prosecutors. Nevertheless, the precision and legal knowledge and impeccable logic are the tools for the battle.
A Kapha firm could be a company in an established industry, defending its market space, and providing tough barriers to entry.
Organizational theorists have their own typology of firms, most notably Raymond Miles and Charles Snow, who identified four types of organizations, which they termed Defenders, Prospectors, Analyzers, and Reactors (Source: Miles, Raymond E. and Snow, Charles C. (1978). Organizational strategy, structure, and process. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.).
Even so, we can still gain business insights from ancient Vedic typologies of health, development of consciousness and enlightenment, in the updated and clarified form of Maharishi Ayur-veda.
Dr. Goodman is a consultant in the field of statistical process control, strategic planning, and business plan development. Dr. Goodman has taught Operations Management, Total Quality Management, Statistical Process Control, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management, and Marketing Management. He views business as a way to express creative intelligence and provide wealth for oneself and one’s community and is convinced that meditating managers have an important contribution to make in every country.