Women in my life, the women of substance

Covering a span of three generations, the women in my life interchangeably played different roles; my mother, my wife and my daughter portray this case.

Wish I be a newborn again and feel the warmth of my mother. Wish it rains now and Shweta in that pink sari holds me again from the back seat of my bike, and I drive. Wish when I enter the house, I feel again the excitement of Prisha reaching me, crawling with a smile.

But time flies. The roles are changed, the mother is now a grandmother; wife is now a mother and daughter now enjoying our attention. The one thing that is not changed is the unconditional love they own and give.

Saluting the women in my life, the women of substance and wishing a Happy Women’s day.

I deserve a place on this earth. Where is my Kurukshetra? (Bhagavad Gita from a different lens- Part 1)


The whole Bhagavad Gita can be explained in just two shlokas, the first one of the first chapter and the last one of the last chapter. The beauty of Vedic communication is that both of these shlokas are not narrated by Krishna. The first one is a question asked by Dhritarashtra and the last one is a closing statement by Sanjaya, the advisor and charioteer of Dhritarashtra. To infer the hidden premise and conclusions that are inbuilt purposefully in these verses, we need a different lens. Let’s look at these, one by one.

V1.1 9 (first verse of the Bhagavadgita)

धर्मक्षेत्रे करुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः I मामका: पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय  II


Dhritarashtra said: On the field of dharma at Kurukshetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do when they assembled there seeking battle, O Sanjaya? (Sutton, Nicholas. Bhagavad Gita: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Guide)

In this verse, Dhritarashtra defines the battle field Kurukshetra as Field of Dharma (Dharmakshetra). In what context one can define a battlefield as a field of ultimate duty?

For all the warriors the battlefield of Kurukshetra was the ultimate field of their destined karma and duty. For Pandavas it was for their rights, for Kauravas it was for their kingdom and for Krishna it was for the ultimate purpose of righteousness. None of the positions was wrong, none was right either, yet everyone fought for their duty, the righteousness in a context.

We deserve a place on this earth. Do we know the Kurukshetra of our karma and ultimate duty?

In the same verse, Dhritarashtra differentiates Pandava and Kaurava by saying Kauravas as ‘mine (my sons)’ (मामका:). The war was between two successors of the kingdom, one defending his position, the other claiming the eligibility. Dhritarashtra’s biased favour to his own sons made the Kauravas to perceive the kingdom their private property. Dhritarashtra’s blindness symbolically asks this question to all of us; are we blind too when dealing our own prejudices and biases?


V 18.78 (last verse of Bhagavadgita)

यत्र योगेश्वर: कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धर: I तत्र श्रीविर्जयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा  नीतीर्मतिमर्म II


Wherever there is Krishna, the master of yoga, and wherever there is Partha who bears the bow, there will also be good fortune, victory, success, and good judgement. That is my opinion. (Sutton, Nicholas. Bhagavad Gita: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Guide)

We manage complexities of life through decisions at various points without knowing what will work. For a right judgement, a success, a victory or even a fortune we need to embed three elements within the self:

  1. Partha, the bearer of the bow (धनुर्धर:) represents eligibility and competence. Whatever place we choose on the earth, we would only deserve it with an eligibility and required competency to hold it. Sanjaya concludes that Arjun qualifies the requirements to win the righteous war (dhramayudh)
  2. Krishna is also known as Parthasarathi, the friend and guide of Partha, the Arjuna. If we have the required competencies, even the master of all yoga will help us being a guide.
  3. People who seek guidance from the master of yoga, actually seek the intricacies of yoga. From knowing the self and the purpose of life through yoga of knowledge to persistently work on it through yoga of karma and yoga of unconditional devotion summarise the purpose of any divine guidance. That’s why Krishna is adjectively referred here as yogeshwar (योगेश्वर:, the god of all yoga). To seek a guidance from the teacher or guide, we need to become a disciple first, the disciple of yoga in the real sense.
These two verses guide us explicitly that to deserve a winning place on this earth, the individual Kurukshetra, we need to develop an eligibility, be a disciple of knowledge, karma and devotion. On such pursuit, even the master of all yoga, the divine power will come and guide us. Isn’t it the summary of the whole philosophy of Bhagavad Gita?
Copyright: Santosh Srivastava, Author of the book: The Gita Way.

How to access TACIT Knowledge available around?

The knowledge that is never written, never taught, but still exist around us as if it was already there for ages. Is there any method to discover such knowledge? How can we make tacit knowledge work for us?

Let me elaborate a little bit on tacit knowledge first.

There are known examples seen in animals, birds and insects where they sense the change of season and alter their behaviour or act. For instance, migrating birds change locations to manage variation in temperatures and ants collect food just before the start of rainy season. They follow some rules already known to them without having any efforts to get such knowledge. From one generation to other the pattern remains intact. How such knowledge comes to them? Do we as a human carry such knowledge?

Philosophers and mathematicians discovered ephemerides ahead of time during ancient civilisations such as Mesopotamian or Mohenjo-Daro’s itself. Isn’t it surprising that they could reveal the complexities of solar system just by observing patterns and using mathematics? They were not as scientifically equipped as we are today, still their findings were quite accurate. How did they do that, is there something we do not know about their methodologies or research?

Another example is of Acharya Charaka who is known as the father of Ayurveda. He discovered remedies for almost all types of illness known in his time and also, those came in future. He never read any literature, he never wrote any. All we know is the compilation of his teachings and applications as observed by his pupils and followers. Does not it surprise us that without any reference and without any scientific laboratory to test, he could discover properties of millions of elements available in nature with their impact on humans? If I assume that it could be based on practice, trust me it’s not possible to discover such a range in one’s lifetime. How such knowledge came to him?

This knowledge is difficult to write or define, this is tacit knowledge which is already there and transferred from one generation to other without any writings or exclusive teachings. How is it possible?

Here is the theory of tacit knowledge, in fact the theory of all the knowledge. The knowledge discovered or yet to discover is already there and we have a capability to directly assimilate with that. Something similar to direct download from the cloud. But we need to learn that art of downloading.

There are two possibilities in the context of such knowledge-

  • Using existing knowledge, we connect the next unknown. It becomes easier and faster when we develop a capability to apply all the knowledge we have accumulated to know the next. In my book- The Gita Way, I have presented a process of yoga known as Centring. Centring is a process to apply all the knowledge and wisdom together to apply them on a situation.
  • The second possibility is a belief or a faith that all the knowledge is already there around us. We need to learn how to decode it. To know that we need to discover our inner selves first. Example of Acharya Charaka endorses this possibility.

The first possibility given above is easy to decipher from logic, the second one is not. Let us argue the examples given above, let’s say the example of ants and birds, we may attribute their behaviours on extra sensory organs or pheromones nature has given to them. However, we also know that these organs or pheromones evolved over a period of time. Isn’t it such evolutions are the knowledge downloaded in due course? The whole theory of evolution itself can be attributed to discovery and assimilation of new knowledge by various species. It’s difficult to explain this by logic. However, we can infer that such evolutions are the result of both the possibilities mentioned above working together.

How can we make tacit knowledge work for us? Will it surprise you if I say that it is already there with us helping in our various day to day decisions? We can experience this with ‘INTUITION’ along with knowing our real-self and using centring as a tool to apply all the knowledge together.

Steve jobs once said this – “I began to realise that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis”

Malcolm Gladwell advocates similar theory in his book – Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.

Is there a science working in the background and we are unaware? Possibly yes.

Let’s believe we know everything and trust me the solution to all the problems in the world are within our reach. We need to apply the knowledge already around…

-Santosh Srivastava (co-author, The Gita Way)

(This post is based on the concepts on power of real-self and centring from the book- The Gita Way. Know more about the book athttp://www.amazon.in/dp/9380914873)

The post was first published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-access-tacit-knowledge-available-around-santosh-srivastava?trk=mp-author-card


Releasing Soon ‘The Gita Way’

Feeling proud to announce that my book The Gita Way is due for release by end of this month. Soon it will be available on Amazon for pre-order. Will update again the relevant link once it is released.


The Gita Way is an irreligious take on the tenets of the Bhagavad Gita. Without delving into either mythological or God-centric discourse, the book attempts to understand and explain various insights from the Gita through, in the author’s words, derived theory and application. The Gita Way attempts to shed light on matters of self-realisation, and identifying and following the path to achieve the purpose of life.

Within the framework of Vedic philosophy represented by Gita, this book explores:

  • How to discover the swa-bhava, the inherent natural strength of our real-self?
  • Is my profession aligned with my swa-bhava? What is my purpose of life?
  • What is the real meaning of moksha, the liberation? How the realization of individual purpose leads us to attain supreme purpose we are born to achieve?

Using the principles of Gita, this book presents innovative findings on theory of prarabdha, the luck or destiny, role of knowledge and karma, continuous improvement, yoga of universal harmony and yoga of devotion. To highlight few, in chapter combined discipline of knowledge and karma, we introduce most important part of their research -centring. Centring summarizes power of combined application of yoga of knowledge and karma along with simplified theory of spirit and supreme spirit. Chapter Vision of Universal Form and Yoga of Liberation simplifies the meaning of moksha, the state of liberation by linking it to the attainment of the supreme purpose of life. Chapters on Yoga of Devotion and Continuous improvement focus on recipe of staying on the unique path of achieving individual goal.

Unlike other books on Bhagavad Gita, The Gita Way is not a chapter wise discourse. Instead it presents deduced concepts in first place supported with relevant reference from the whole Gita. For example, in the first chapter of the Gita Way, you may get a reference of last chapter of Gita relevant to the topic of discussion.

To know more please visit facebook page at following link:  The Gita Way

at the end of the great war

Barbarika was woefully shocked to see the impact war has created. Perhaps he regretted why he wished to participate in such duel between two of the biggest armies of the ancient civilisation. Battlefield becomes the biggest loser in any war and it was evident there. The head of Barbarika with its flesh and cells was still active and witnessing the war nearing its conclusion.

Sage Vyasa was on the rescue operation, saving spirits still intact and ensuring a smooth departure of those who could not hold the body of soldiers died fighting heroically. The majority of soldiers who died would be forgotten. Those who survived would take years to heal. They, from both sides, unconditionally fought for their leaders, for the crown of Hastinapur, ignorant to the gain from victoriousness. Barbarika’s peculiar wish was about to end. He had witnessed enough of the war with his living head, without the body, remained after his own sacrifice. He might be appraising sage’s effort post-war, but would probably regret watching these all.

Before Barbarika’s liberation, sage Vyasa approached him and asked “your special boon granted by Krishna is about to over now. We thank you for keeping your pain intact and being alive in last eighteen days. However, before your salvation, we would like to hear from you about the war, about the hero of the war, about all you witnessed”

“I am grateful that lord Krishna granted me such a wish” Barbarika replied ” however, had I know the damage this war created, I would have wished otherwise” Barbarika took a deep breath, slowly blinking his eyes and continued “In the beginning I was thrilled to be part of this war, I wanted to show my strength and the art I learned in so many years. I never thought of the cause of war, or even the outcome, the gains and the pains. The only thing was there in my mind was the duty of a warrior. However, after witnessing the great war, I am thankful that Krishna had given me an opportunity to sacrifice myself and not being part of this loathful conflict”

Barbarika looked into the eyes of Sage Vyasa, who seemed not surprised by Barbarika’s comments as if he knew the inevitable pains of post-war damages. “Just before the war I saw humans standing on the battlefield, some of them are with purpose, ready to fight for a cause. Some of them were just following their respective leaders ignorant to both cause and gain of winning the war. Some were warriors, well prepared, looked like they are born for this day. Some looked like they know everything, the cause, righteousness and amiss, still taken one side” Barabarika said with a satirical smile and continued.

“Just as the war began I saw an illumination equivalent to thousand suns in the center. I felt the unbearable heat of that energy, and it was difficult to glaze over it. I noticed thousands of arms emerging out of that energy releasing Sudarshan Chakra in all directions. Then I witnessed ‘Kali’ roaming around collecting beheaded heads all over the field”

Barkarika took a pause and concluded “I saw only two persons in the field- Krishna with Sudarshana Chakra and Kali with hunger to decimate everything”

” Now I am ready to leave for salvation” said Barbarika ” But before that can I ask you a question Maharishi?”

Sage Vyasa nodded the permission. Barbarika asked, “Would Pandavas be happy after winning this war?”

Vyasa smiled and replied ” You know the answer my dear invincible Barbarika. You saw Krishna and Kali everywhere, that is the destiny. Pandavas followed Krishna in the war not for happiness. They fought to establish Dharma for righteousness”

Barbarika was now ready to depart from his deteriorating remains of the body, he took a deep breath probably the last one.

Share of Wallet

I came across an interesting article in HBR where authors define wallet allocation rule. I always felt that understanding real share of wallet is a complex phenomenon as each product fights not only with various brands within its segment but also with various other product categories, which share the money available in a consumer wallet. Authors in the article “Customer Loyalty Isn’t Enough Grow Your Share of Wallet” simplify share of wallet in following formula:

Share of Wallet= (1-Rank/ (Number of Brands+1)) x (2/Number of Brands)

This formula is a simple allocation of wallet based on perceived ranking of various brands in consideration. This also shows a significant variation in share of wallet among brands with different rankings. For example, suppose we are interested to know share of wallet in a category where there are only two brands. In such a case brand with high ranking will have 67% of share of wallet. Another intriguing point is that the perceived rankings may or may not be in-line with the actual market share.

To make real use of share of wallet rule, let us try to understand the allocation of consumer money at every stage of decision making before final selection. Share of wallet is a zero sum game. And hence competition starts at product category itself. To understand this let us take one example from building material industry. Suppose a customer in interested in renovating his home with fixed budget and suppose this budget is to be utilised between renovating and decorating wall and floor only. Though share of wallet is a zero sum game, here the customer would choose both but may allocate different share of her budget. Let us also assume that a ceramic tile brand A is interested to define its strategy based on share of wallet analysis.

Level 1: The first fight is at much broader level i.e between wall and floor. Based on the perceived ranking of consumer between two, her initial budget would be allocated. Customer’s actual preference would define actual perceived ranking of wall and floor. For example a customer focusing on beautification would rank wall high. In such case various brands of decorative paints, wall paper etc would have an opportunity to sell their premium products. For ceramic tile brand A, this level is less in control. However, with established innovative products focusing both functionality and beauty, brand A would stand a chance. Still this level is more driven by whole category. Let’s take perceived ranking of floor as a broad category is 2nd. For floor Share of wallet of customer’s initial budget would be 33%.

Level 2: Now the budget of floor can be shared between various flooring options, again at category level. Let’s assume only three flooring options are available, say wooden floors, marbles and ceramic tiles. Once again the perceived ranking would depend on consumer preferences on functionality, look feel and other recommendations available to her. Let’s assume that the perceived ranking for ceramic tile in this case in 1st. Share of ceramic tile as a category at this level would be 50%. This is 16.5% (33% of level 1 x 50% of level 2) of customer’s initial budget.

Level 3: Once the flooring option is zeroed down to ceramic, the fight would start between various ceramic brands. Let us assume there are 7 brands available in this example and perceived ranking of brand A is 2nd. Share of wallet of brand A at this level would be 21%. This is 3.5% of customer’s initial budget defined in level 3 (33% in level 1 x 50% in level 2 x 21% in level 3). Perceived ranking at this level would be primarily based on overall brand performance, quality perceptions, customer experiences, overall word of mouth etc.

There are interesting inferences of above analysis:

1. Let us take if brand A improves its perceived ranking in level 3, its share of wallet would increase from 21% to 25% only (a typical case where number of brands in a particular industry segment are significant). However for other brand in lower rankings this would be significant.

2. To get a bigger pie of the initial budget ranking must improve in level 1 and level 2. Since this is in the interest of whole industry, all players jointly must build perception for the category itself. We see example like promotion of milk, gold etc by common associations focusing on bigger pie; milk positioning for health drink and gold for investment.

3. Investment in creating no. 1 brand choice will pay off in all future share of wallet. This incentive is much high for brands with lower ranks.

The above example is simulated for limited categories and limited brands. In real terms fighting for share is with all products consumer is willing to invest. It would be a wise decision to decide the level and make strategy accordingly. To address a fair future share of wallet, companies must devise product and brand strategies at least to a level where threat of substitute exists.

Strategy of Making ‘Transparent Strategy’

In the context of communicating strategy to employees and other stake holders, I believe that the best method is to make organisation strategy absolutely transparent to all employees and stake holders. Some people may argue that a select group should drive strategy and transfer same in the form of activities down the line. Though advantages and disadvantages of both of these methods can be debated for long, I would like to present my point of view in favor of making strategy transparent. In fact in my views making strategy transparent is a kind of strategy in itself.

To make a strategy transparent needs a lot of courage and conviction. And this starts from conviction in the strategy itself. Is my strategy a real differentiator? Are our products, services or offerings differentiated enough to attract target audience? Is my workforce capable enough to implement and deliver the outcome of my strategy? If I have to make my strategy known to everyone, I would have to compel myself first to answer above questions. The advantage is the outcome; my strategy would address real capability of organisation to deliver, my strategy would address the desired solution my product or service going to deliver to the target audience, my strategy would be guiding principle for HR managers and functional heads to build capabilities of work force exactly in line with the strategy. Most important the outcome this method results in is ‘a single focused strategy’ for the organisation

However, it would not be a secret for the world outside organisation to know about such transparent plans. Very soon competitors would discover this and could react in advance. My argument is; is it a real risk? In fact this could work in our favor  The competitions, if react, along with addressing their capabilities, have to alter their original strategy. Finally it would result in modification or change in organisational strengths, products, services etc. In most of the cases it would end up in multiple strategies focusing excessively on competition which is a definite recipe for disaster. A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin mention six common strategic errors in “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, Harvard Business Review Press

1. There is the Do-It-All strategy, shorthand for failing to make real choices about priorities.

2. The Don Quixote strategy unwisely attacks the company’s strongest competitor first.

3. The Waterloo strategy pursues war on too many fronts at once.

4. The Something-For-Everyone tries to capture every sort of customer at once, rather than prioritizing.

5. The Programme-Of-The-Month eschews distinctiveness for whatever strategy is currently fashionable in an industry.

6. The Dreams-That-Never-Come-True strategy never translates ambitious mission statements into clear choices about which markets to compete in and how to win in them.

In one of the survey by Booz and Company more than two third of executives who responded to the survey from various companies agreed that their biggest frustration is ‘having too many conflicting priorities’ (As published in HBR blog “Making your strategy more relevant” by by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi). It seems more relevant to have focused transparent strategy, but it is not easy. In a competitive environment the easiest strategy is to play safe and in such situation most of the companies end up working on multiple strategies.

Michael Porter explaining his five forces model in one of the interviews says competitive rivalry is not a zero sum game. Everyone in an industry can work on product and services to create a differentiated value and collectively can increase the pie in the first place. Still there would be a fair competition. However, customers would have an option to choose between products based on their merits and not merely based on competitive pricing. This would uplift industry profitability. And that is the biggest incentive for investment in research and development. A win- win recipe for both the consumer and company.