Trust Is the Backbone of Business

Sat, 09/02/2013

Bangalore, India 

(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gives a closing address at end of the two day Corporate Culture & Spirituality event)

My dear one on the dais, and in the audience.

For every beginning, there is an end; and every end has a beginning; this is the ancient saying. So this is no end, this is actually a new beginning.

If the driveway to your home is broken or filled with snow, you’ll have to shovel it; clear it. Only then can you bring your car in the driveway. You can't leave it on the road for too long. In the same way, establishing the trust of the common people in the business will give the people confidence, that there are good people out there who care for them.

Now, all of you who have taken part in this conference, I hope you have enjoyed it and have come up with something that would benefit the society at large.
These kind of deliberations from time to time, are useful when we want to take some concrete action and some concrete steps forward.
I am happy that the business community has come together in these last two days, from many different parts of India, and from many parts of the globe.
Time was too short, rather there were many more requests; many more people wanted to come from South America, South Africa and many parts from the African continent as well.
I think you cannot plan that in advance; sometime in the future.

This effort of yours, to bring ethics in society, has given hope to the general population. Trust is the backbone of business. If there is no trust, there can't be business. When trust starts eroding, it becomes our topmost duty to restore it.
If the driveway to your home is broken or filled with snow, you’ll have to shovel it; clear it. Only then can you bring your car in the driveway. You can't leave it on the road for too long. In the same way, establishing the trust of the common people in the business will give the people confidence, that there are good people out there who care for them.

I have travelled extensively in Europe, and in the last couple of years, people there have lost faith in the banks, which has never happened in the past.
People said, ‘We don’t want to keep our money in the bank; we don’t know which bank is going to go bankrupt and when.’
I am talking about poor people, not the rich ones. The ordinary people, or the average middle class and lower middle class people. So this reassurance to people, that there is ethics in the society, there is ethics in business, and there is humanism, is important.
See whether it is capitalism, or communism, or secularism, no ‘ism’ will work if there is no humanism. Communism collapsed, capitalism collapsed, secularism collapsed because they had not given attention to human values; the humanism in the society.

At deliberations like these, taking forward your business with a commitment to a social cause; commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will take our world to a new dimension of hope, and happiness.
In the past, people have only been talking about GDP (Gross Domestic Product). I’m glad that even United Nations today, is talking about GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). That happiness is our goal.
The goal of spirituality is to bring such happiness, which nobody can take away from you.
The goal of spirituality is to bring happiness to the population that doesn’t fade away, to bring the much needed energy to face challenges with a smile, to have a more compassionate heart, and to be more creative rather than destructive in one’s attitude.
In these contexts, we see how relevant spirituality is in today’s world.

In the past, people have been talking about GDP (Gross Domestic Product). I’m glad that even United Nations today, is talking about GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). The goal of spirituality is to bring such happiness, which nobody can take away from you.

In an affluent society, we see kids engaging themselves in violence. A kid just took the gun and shot so many people. This is because the difference between the virtual world and the real world was absent for him.
Kids have been playing violent games on the computer; games where even when they shoot people and they come back again to life. They do not realize that in real life when you shoot somebody, they don’t stand up and walk again.
We need to attend to these issues of growing violence, discontent, mistrust, and depression. Spirituality has the answer for all these. Spirituality can eliminate the root cause of violence. It can bring inner peace to people.
We talk about world peace; but if you don’t have peace in yourself, if you can't have peace with your family, with your community and in your environment, how do you want to have world peace? It is almost impossible!
So we need to see that the individual finds peace, his communication improves and his compassion finds an expression. Everyone has the element of compassion in themselves, but they don’t find an expression in society. Through service activity, one’s compassion can find an expression; and you can put an end to violence.

The corporate sector has an important role to play, to quell the violence in the society. Don’t think what we have to do with it!
Today, Mr. Arondekar had said, ‘What have I got to do with business or spirituality?’
I said, ‘You have a lot to do, because you are a police officer. If there is peace, only then there can be prosperity. If there is law and order in the society, then only business can flourish; otherwise it’s impossible for business to go on.’
So, it’s very apt that Karnataka Chamber of Commerce has invited one of our most reputed police officers to address the gathering here.
We need integrity in every field. In politics, we need politicians with reputations; where people know that they are there to serve them, and are not serving themselves. We have many such politicians today, here on the dais, and here in the audience, who are committed to see a better world. I would say, all this is part of a spiritual component, i.e., happiness. We all have one goal, to see more smiles on as many people on this planet as possible.
With these few words, I once again congratulate you all.

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