A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Lately, I have been working on relationships. No, don’t take that literally, I mean, I have been working on relationships as a subject! (Phew, I guess I just saved a few relationships!).

Relationships are probably the most important possession that we start with and probably end up with (and often without) in life, without quite realising it. And we don’t realise it, because we are busy acquiring other more ‘profitable’ possessions.

The problem with relationships is that every relationship tends to become unimportant or less important as we proceed to the next one. We start our relationships with our parents. We anchor everything with this one from the time we recognise a smile or a frown, without even understanding the meaning of them. All our initial fears, insecurities and troubles are resolved by this single relationship. Then comes a time when we start moving out of home and often far, to schools and colleges. Then we start working on new relationships, with friends, peers. Soon the previous one with parents is relegated to the back-burner as it is meant to be there when we need and thus is out of one’s radar. During this new phase, friends at everyplace seem to matter and soon we have many of them and with each we seem to be working at different levels. We work on relationships at schools, then colleges. By the time we reach colleges, the school relationships have become less important and a lot of energies are spent on working on the ones that we have acquired or are trying to acquire.

By the time we have settled down on the new ones and sort of relegated the school relationships in the back-burner the ones at home have been totally taken for granted. They exist as where else do they go, and of course they don’t go anywhere, they just stay back and understand.

Soon we have left colleges and are moving towards a career. Now relationships become very important as they are will be supporting us in our career. Who do we get seen with and whose understandings are to be borne with a smile, are all a matter of ‘profit for life’. Needless to say that we have also become more mature, so words which were earlier uttered without a thought are now more measured, at least with relationships which matter in the new circumstances.

Soon we acquire partners, or would-be spouses, who become the cynosure of our very existence. No other relationships seem to matter in comparison to this, (except the ones at the workplace of course)! Friends,
folks they are totally absent at this stage. The honeymoon with this relationship lasts for some time, at times, but we realise quite late that even this one has become trifle boring, what with endless hours of work pressure, competition at workplace, inflationary pressures, children (oh yes, we have forged some new relationships without realising) – just why can’t the old relationships try to understand! By the way, this old relationships are the ones with our spouses – the parents and the old friends have been forgotten, at least in terms of having to work on them!

It is our relationships that make us what we are and an entire life is spent in getting in and out of relationships without realising that these are the ones that give us maximum joys and an occasional sorrow. A time comes when we realise that it is these relationships that we have neglected which mattered the most.

While, pressures of modern day life is quite stressful, meeting two ends meet while climbing the corporate latter or fighting the materialistic peer-pressure can be quite unnerving, an acknowledgement of a relationship is not asking for too much. Life is short and when people will leave us physically or mentally, one never knows. Parents leave physically and we realise it too late. Some friends leave us mentally, and often we don’t even realise it. But tragedy is when close family members leave us mentally while physically living with us.

Relationships need to be worked on, and they need pretty hard work! Not all are able to accept just being on the list of someone’s priorities rather than being somewhere on top of his/her priority of relationships. Many a relationship is a cherished one and many we
realise was a cherished one after the person is gone. The tragedy would be when we don’t realise even after that!

Relationships need to be nurtured, and all they need is a touch, a smile, a call and a few minutes of your time.

Check it out!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Knowledge Transfer – Lessons from Mythology

Many organisations that I come across seem to have one problem (amongst many) in common and that is Knowledge Transfer (KT). People don’t want to share knowledge and at times people don’t find the existing knowledge worth taking (typical of the Gen X, who have just passed out of elitist colleges), or people not being able to collate and ‘hand-over’ a clearly articulated body of knowledge.

KT is the transfer of knowledge, expertise, skills and capabilities. Is KT a new subject on the horizon or is it just a new phenomenon due to insecurity of the modern day workplaces? KT in its basic form has existed from time immemorial in the form of Gurukuls, and then schools and colleges of present day. Teachers have taught and passed their knowledge to students, some of who have added to the body of work and passed it down to others in the subsequent generations.

Organisations too have seen such transfers earlier. Be they in the form of an Associate, an Apprentice, or just a junior who goes on to learn the tricks of the trade and take on the mantle one fine morning. Sons have been natural heirs, but others too have been honoured with the knowledge and have moved on to start on their own.

But transferring knowledge in an organisation is not as easy as it is in schools and colleges or small set-ups. In a modern-day knowledge based organisations, knowledge is critical. Besides managing knowledge which is in the minds of its employees, transferring the same on their leaving is a critical aspect where many seen to fail, and in many cases, the organisations are not even aware of the failure.

So how does KT become effective and a viable practise for organisations? How do they ensure that nothing is lost or at least substantial is retained before an employee leaves or retires?

KT is effective when the receiver is aware that there is knowledge worth accepting. When the leader is held in awe because of the knowledge, then the transfer is effective. In the epic Ramayan, Ravan was an able administrator. His rule was a golden period for his kingdom (which figuratively was referred to as sone-ki-Lanka, or the land of the gold). When Ravan was on his death-bed, he passed his knowledge of able administration to Ram, which in future came to be referred as Ramrajya. Ram who had dealt the deadly blow to his enemy, accorded Ravan the position of a Guru, and sat down to hear the words of wisdom from the dying asura-King. Knowledge should never die with the person who either created it or mastered it.

In the epic Mahabharat, Vidur has been shown sharing his knowledge of administration frequently with the Pandavs, which is also known as Vidur-niti. This is never done with the Kauravas, since they were never found receptive. Bhishma too promises not to die till he has imparted his knowledge of ethics, morals and values to Yudhishtir and the same was meticulously done from his bed of arrows after the tenth day of the war of Kurukshetra.

Knowledge Transfer is effective, when it is done by the person who is acknowledged to be in a superior position because of the knowledge. His elevated position is because he has some skill, knowledge in his possession. This is akin to the typical guru-shishya parampara where people have gone to acquire the said art or skill. It could be similar to Dronacharya, as a teacher who is willing to pass his skills to all the students in return of some favour, or Parashuram who is willing to pass down his knowledge to Karna in return of no favour.

Knowledge transfer is very effective when it comes in the form of need-of-the-hour. Krishna in his epochal Gita had transferred a huge body of knowledge at the right time to Arjun, which enabled him to fight the war of Kurukshetra. This knowledge till date is translated, interpreted and taught in different ways and the relevance of which seems to be reinvented with changing times.

Knowledge transfer is meaningful, when we know that the said knowledge emanates from reliable sources. The Vedas, Upanishads, etc. are all troves of knowledge which have been recorded for use. Some say, they were passed on by gods through seers for future use, while some say these are learning of the past recorded for generations to come. Even the epic Mahabharat is supposed to have been dictated by Vyas, but written by Ganesha – where is the reason to doubt such an epic which has been written by a god with his own piece of tooth?

Finally what makes KT most effective is the method of the transfer. Many a times, if it is passed down as tomes of knowledge, it is ineffective. Let me tell you a story here. Once upon a time there lived a king who had three sons and according to the king all his sons were idiots and he wondered how could he ever leave the throne to any one of them, when none of them were worth anything? His worry was solved by a person, who promised to educate his sons and make them worthy of the throne. This man focused on the wisdom of the scriptures rather than the scriptures itself. He created stories which would teach a lesson or a moral and make the learning more interesting, instead of didactic or moralistic. Soon the Princes were a Kings delight and each one of them was eligible to occupy the throne! This man was none other than the famous Vishnu Sharma and what he wrote for the princes is known to all of us Panchatantra! The Panchatantra or the five treatise cover all aspects of management, personal life and the cunning that one needs to have to face life.

Just as lessons are easy to impart, but not-so-easy to understand, so is the case with Knowledge Transfer. It is easy to speak about it, even easier to lay down
Courtesy Dilbert.com
the processes that govern the transfer, but very complex to execute. The biggest impediment to the process is the fear of redundancy. In an ever increasing competitive environment, ones knowledge is perceived as ones asset acquired over a long period of time and to pass it down as a process does not settle well with an individual who is feeling insecure in the first place. Needless to say, that the same cannot be done overnight too, after all KT is not a case of divine revelation!

KT needs to be part of an organisational process from day one. Every process or step in an organisation should aid the Knowledge accumulation leading to its dissemination. It has to be a top-down approach. A Bhishma needs to be visible to the system who is willing to share his knowledge or a leader like Ram needs to be seen in all humility willing to accept knowledge from even his enemy.

The day, sharing knowledge becomes a part of an organisations DNA, Knowledge Transfer will be seamless and as normal as any other regular process of the organisation!