[VoxSpace Life] Anatomy Of Shiva : What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From The God Of Destruction

The Chillum Of Ideas And Detachment

Shiva. The God of Death. The Destroyer of Worlds. The Fierce God. The Alpha Divinity. All these synonyms for the enigmatic part of the Holy Trinity of Indian Gods, what knowledge would he possibly have, to impart upon the entrepreneurial journey of the present day businesses? Well, truth be told, to the informed eye, Shiva, the deity is a normal and dare I say a whimsical supra-human figure. You see, a grounded God persona, which has its own quirks and limitations, its own sins and sorrows and its own moods and modifications. Shiva, in layman understanding, is a God, with the most humanness possible. There’s the chillum to start off the proceedings with. Social seclusion, selective action, detachment, patience and temperance, and almost all the characters of a normal thinking human being. When we speak of the word Shiva, we see an image of not just a recluse, minding his own business and tending to his own sanctity, but also an artist, who revels in the exaltation of performing arts. All this is exquisite to hear and read. But where does Shiva figure within the art of business and where does the topic of ‘The Shiva Mentality’ and its influence of innovative thinking and executive strategies come in. Being a decent mortal follower of the mythology and thought process, here is what I think the persona of Shiva means for the modern day enterprises, through the ideological Six Sigma process of quality innovation and strategic management…

Rule One: The Order Of Achintyah – Being The Unthinkable

Predictability is a curse for any enterprise. We know what you’d do in a given situation, we have an unsaid control over the outcome expected from you. It’s as simple as that. The more you form a comfortable mould for your business, the more vulnerable you become. As we’ve come to understand from evolving technologies and start-up circles, we live in a time which strives on unpredictable nature of the socio-economic structure of our society. When does one become totally unpredictable? All said and done, we are humans, and more so social animals, who love to establish a platform of stability within whatever we do. We are, therefore, shackled by the strings of the stable structure we build for ourselves. ‘The Shiva Mentality’ challenges this by adhering to a strict rule of incomprehensible nature. So what’s the basic route map of attaining an incomprehensible nature? Simple, keep doing things which are new and specifically ‘not you’.

By repeatedly doing the ‘not you’ things, you become a ‘new you’ and by continuing with the same procedure you become ‘un-you’. What is ‘un-you’? That in itself is the order, or the way of ‘Achintyah’, the incomprehensible one. Now, I do realize that for a business to sustain and thrive towards a better future, someone at a strategic point, has to stick to the guns. Perhaps adhere to established rules of the game. Having said that, consistent adherence will become a hindrance and will end up questioning your existence. Thus, to maintain a psyche of ‘un-you’ you will need to forget what defines ‘you’. Always think of a magician, who needs to come up with a new trick every time he takes the stage. Never settle for the definition that the world gives ‘you’. You are not what they think you are. And essentially you are not even what you think you are. You are beyond comprehension.

Shiva Artwork By Bhrugen Baleeya

Rule Two: The Battle Of Amitranjit – To Win Over The Inner Demons

Have you wondered? You feel like no entity can vanquish you sometimes, and yet in some other moments, you feel utterly vulnerable. You show immense strength and valour sometimes, and in the same breath get beaten by an ant of a problem. Have you perhaps wondered why? Most of us would attribute it to the circumstance. They’d even say that people around them are fickle and waver, so much so that they start influencing the moods of our minds. You, my reader, must be wondering where am I going with this line of discussion. You know, that I’m going to say that our minds and moods are results of what we think and perceive to be important. You know, that I’ll mention an inspiration to be drawn, and a war to be waged over the inner demons. You know, perhaps what I know about you and me. But no, that is not what I’m going to say. ‘The Shiva Mentality’ shows us a rather interesting take on the Inner Demons. And contrary to popular belief, it does not just say that you need to fight the demons. It rather offers a way of beating the Inner Demons. Becoming a bigger Demon than them. Shiva is the Lord of Death, and Death is a terrifying demon, wouldn’t you say? Hence, nothing can be more grave and be reducing than Death itself. Nothing moves after Death. Any other demon troubling you is not powerful than Death. Hence, never be afraid of losses.

In this context, where does ‘The Shiva Mentality’ wage in within Business propagation. Any CEO or Managing Director starts his business with an unshakeable belief that his efforts will have a future. His company, brand or service will have a demand enough to run it suitably forever. Thus, most of the executives and strategists are blinded to the finite nature of things. What if the business dies tomorrow? Your brand turns to mud tomorrow? You and your fame vanish as a whiff of air, tomorrow? Death of an entity. How does one deal with that? Prudence is a good measure, but that is just a safety hatch, not a parachute. But when under the influence of ‘The Shiva Mentality’ you start questioning finite nature of things, you become braver. Finite status of thought brings you back to the origin point, where you had nothing, and you built the enterprise. Why would you be worried to go back to it? Haven’t you already run the game? As long as you don’t meet death, you can create wonders. That’s the simple logic here. Start all over again, is an Inner Demon which most of us in entrepreneurial journey fear. By letting go of the fear, and reminding yourself of the finite nature of things, and sticking to the fact that death and loss will eventually come, you can start afresh every single day. And my dear reader, you would have not only defeated your demons, trivialized their effect on you, but would have achieved an unmatched strength which will show better and beautiful things to do.

Rule Three: The Unseen Avayayat – The Art Of Shadows

What would it take today to be outside the media’s gaze? How could you be away from social media, web presence, and still make a good business of your products, which are eventually to be promoted and sold through the web and media? Would there ever be a trick which could just help entrepreneurs to become private and detached from the burden of pressurized performance? When I say performance, I shift my focus towards the type of force that the society puts on you to deliver time and again. Imagine this. You are a maker of a product, which is an interesting concept in itself, and your initial data probing gives you a result that people will be immensely interested in it. You bring out the product and it becomes a runaway success. You are successful as well. As the dust settles in, the world, it could be the press and media, or a group of admirers and supporters, or just a large population of fans, would be looking forward to your next deliverance. Can you repeat your success again? This becomes an anticipation for everyone. Now here is the conundrum, you can try to replicate a product, meet with success again, but would end up constructing your own cage. Innovation goes down the drain. You could choose the other option to do something entirely different, and end up making a huge loss. A loss personally and professionally is a highly threatening instant and questions your capability of running the business. That is where the art of shadows, or being invisible, comes to the fore, within ‘The Shiva Mentality’.

The thought process, of course, is to disappear from the product/service/idea that you so dearly manage to build. Most innovators find it really hard to walk away from the product they’ve ideated about. Rather they’d never let go of a chance to flaunt it. The problem arises then, that you become the face of the product. Now, when you become a face of a product or a single idea, chances are that all the credit and the curses of the product are placed on you. Hence, if you want your business to grow, it could be said logically, be invisible. Have someone else handle the promotion, or the marketing, or the trials and tribulations. You are the soul of the entity/business and you cannot be visible all the time. This is where we connect to the first point of this article. You are the mind behind the business, and don’t we all know – A Mind is only beautiful when it is loaded with pure thought and unpredictability. And to preserve the thought by which you started the business, you will need to maintain a safe distance away from the media glare, and then you can look at all the direction and not be blinded by the spotlight that shone over you.

Rule Four: The Half Poisoned Neelkanth – The Focus Of Vengeance

We live in an imperfect world. Rage and Violence are often looked at as frailties and vulnerabilities of mind. Yes, directionless Rage and illogical Violence is disastrous. But wouldn’t you agree when I say that, Rage and Violence have a bigger role to play in shaping up humanity than perhaps Love? Logically, therefore, Rage is a closer element to the human heart than Love. Am I proposing that you need to be violent and go around bashing up people or bring out weapons of mass destruction? Absolutely not. But ‘The Shiva Mentality’ proposes a more directed and focused way of using your rage. Focus it on the ideas of the game. Focus it on the challenging perceptions and on the competitive establishments who will surely be pulling you down. As Shiva gulps a universe full of poison, sucks it into his throat midway through, but never digests it, so is the Rage that should keep you alive. Allow me to explain. Most of our brilliant minds, entrepreneurs, CEO get stuck in their thought once they are successful. On the other hand, an opposite batch of these people, give up before getting successful. Essentially, thus, both of these people are giving up after a certain point. We all do understand that success needs to be a habit, but most of us fail to inculcate that habit because we attach a vision point, and when we get to it, we need relaxation. Then you are perhaps not fit for the game, isn’t it?

Let’s put it this way. The only way you can get ahead of your competitors is by beating them at their perseverance. Hence, the more enemies you have, the more awake and alert you are. One should remember that Shiva had volunteered to gulp down the poison when the mightiest of Gods refused to take a step forward. One wonders why? Was it just because he was saving humanity. Well, to a large extent yes, if one were to look from the point of view of religion and mythology. However, may we ask the question – what if Shiva did this so that he could remind himself of the fragility of Gods? What if day in and day out, he wanted a remembrance of the weakness that existed in him, and one which he had the fight to live every day? Isn’t that a wonderful way of never giving up? Remember the curses and the complaints you receive from the customers, remember the fights and scandals of your competitors, and look at them every single day. Have a certain extent of Rage fill up your mind, and that will drive you to outwork and outthink your competition with a renewed zeal. Always remember your enemies and their attacks. After all, they’ve shown you your weakness and smacked you down, where it hurts most. Turn that hurt into a burning rage, and always look for a chance to beat them at their weakness. Fill up your weakness, and at the same time find theirs as well. The enemy isn’t resting, what makes you think you can?

Rule Five: The Detached Sarvavikhyaatah – The Power Of Renunciation

What will happen will happen because it has to happen? You can brilliantly prepare for all the attributions and possibilities which are to occur, but what if they end up meaning nothing when a small speck of dust ruins the whole planning. What shall you do then? The dice are always loaded to swing the other way. How do you deal with it? Well there are two ways of dealing with it, either anticipate the tragedy and eventuality and prepare for a backup plan or once the event unfolds, accept that it was meant to fail because of a structural limitation, ergo look to the future and pick yourself up. Which option would you say works best for businesses? The principle of prudence or the option of hard learning? What if we could simulate both the scenarios? Therein, comes ‘The Shiva Mentality’. Renunciation of all your works periodically will make you better prepared for the future failures. We need to understand that the business will fail sometime, so hence, we need to create simulated situations which reflect a failure. When you fail and get back every time, you know the failure and the act of getting up becomes a habit.

How does one simulate failure? Well, let’s consider a small business which is being run by a core team of a handful of people. They strive day in and day out, and the business is picking up really good, tasting its first fruits of success. At this point, the entrepreneurs could think of ideas to see how the team performs disjointedly. One way of doing that is asking your colleagues or employees to take a leave of an uncertain number of days in any month they want, and not inform the organization about it. In this week, let the employees not answer any calls. They’d come back when they want to. Now, this is a simulated chaotic situation. The established clockwork is disturbed, and now you need to pull up your sleeves to fill the gap of these set of employees. Can you do that? That is the test of ‘The Shiva Mentality’. Do not be dependent on a single set of individuals forever. By always shuffling people around, involving them in different departments, you are essentially building a team which can face any amount of failures. Another example of simulated chaos is shutting down the offices entirely for a certain amount of time, and working out of some other place. Yes, all of these things may lead to some business loss, but as we discussed earlier, unpreparedness leads to an irrecoverable loss, much greater than these trivial things.

Saatchiart – Shiva & Sati

Rule Six: The Unparalleled Nivrutti – Doing Nothing Is Doing Something

Yup. Doing nothing is also an active thing to do. The tale of Sati and Daksha, the daughter-father duo and their influence on Shiva becomes our topic of derivation here. As the tale goes, Sati is the daughter of Emperor Daksha, and falls for the magnificence of the hermit, Shiva, and goes onto Kailasha to live with him. This angers the Emperor greatly, and thus denounces the Lordship of Shiva over his kingdom. He condemns and accuses the God of having lured his daughter and ruined her life. As years passed by, Emperor Daksha arranges for a welfare yagna to be held in his kingdom, and invites all the Gods and Celestial beings to attend it, except for Sati and her husband Shiva. On knowing about this Yagna, Sati pleads Shiva to accompany to the yagna, although uninvited. As the tale unfolds. Sati without Shiva goes onto attend the Yagna, only to find that her father, Daksha to be cursing her presence and insulting her husband. Realization dawns on her that it was because of her presence there, that her husband is being insulted in the kingdom, and she takes her life grief-stricken. The tale continues to show how Shiva’s rage knows no bounds on losing his wife, and he takes up the form of Nataraja, to unleash destruction upon the universe through Tandava (destructive dance).

Where does this story help us, as people involved with businesses and innovative journey? When one acutely understands the tale, one can see that Shiva, although having the power to avoid the mis-happenings all through, did not act out of impulsion. You see, he could have avoided his wife’s death, he could come down to the earth, and made peace with the mortal being, should there be a need for it. But he let things happen because that is what it is. That becomes a trait of ‘The Shiva Mentality’. The idea is not to care too much about what will happen? You cannot stop things from happening, and therefore don’t resist their occurrence. Time will always circle around. You will get your chance, and then perhaps you can make it count. Understand that you know only this moment, or this moment, but not more than that. The strategies are thereby just rough ideas that can be done, but there will come a point where you may have to just let them be. Have ideas grow organically, let them take their own shape, and maybe those will have a better and beautiful shape than what you imagined. The universe would never be privy to the awestriking Tandava of Shiva if Sati hadn’t taken her life. Sometimes when an idea is working, detach yourself from it, and work on something else. If you keep on fidgeting with the idea to make it more brilliant, you might be ending it up altogether. The same goes for the employees or the workmen. As a strategist for the company, give them the idea and have them come up with what they want to do with it.

‘The Shiva Mentality’ therefore stresses much on the act of letting things be and letting go. You got an idea, but it is not necessarily the most brilliant idea ever to be thought of. You may be wrong, and as long as you don’t give the room for others to put their ideas out, you will never know. Not knowing is always a curse my friend.