Seven hundred business heads from all across the globe, who converged in Bangalore to be a part of the 10th edition of the Corporate Culture and Spirituality Conference (CCS) on the 8th and 9th of February, 2013, had one question in mind: “How do business and spirituality go hand-in-hand?”
Speaking at the inaugural session, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader, humanitarian, and founder of The Art of Living, explained that in today’s world—where boundaries of economics, politics, and religion are slowly disappearing—everyone in the society will have to work towards building a holistic society that simultaneously addresses individual growth and challenge.
He further explained that while business is associated with power and greed, spirituality is about the ability to let things go. Businesses or individuals can prosper only when these two come together. “We all breathe. But it’s only for a certain time that you can hold it inside. At one point you have to let go,” he said.
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The conference saw a distinguished panel of speakers debate and share their views on topics ranging from spirituality to sustained growth, lending a human touch to the economic crisis and innovation within the enterprise. Some of the prominent speakers included K. V. Kamath, chairman, Infosys; Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group; Harish Bhat, MD, Tata Global Beverages; Namal Rajapakse, MP, the Govt. of Sri Lanka; and Günter Conrad, chairman, CON_First GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany among others.
Speaking on the occasion, Anil Singhvi, founder director and chairman, IIAS & ICAN Investments, said that there are two factors that impact anyone within a business: Fear and greed. “People react very differently under these two circumstances. Spirituality inculcates the powers to control your mind till it is ready for meaningful action,” he says.
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Most speakers in the conference emphasized that spirituality must not be confused with a certain religion or practice of one. Harish Bhat took an example from the Tata Group’s CSR activities, and explained that many programmers within the Tata Group originate with the idea of engaging the society and somewhere in between the group also manages to find business benefits out of it. “When corporations engage and motivate their employees to passionately follow social responsibility, everyone reaps the benefits,” he said.
The CCS Conference is an annual event, where leaders from various fields (corporate, governments and academia) come together to share their experiences and expertise on the value of an ethics-based approach, the impact of this approach on the bottom lines, and the general well-being and satisfaction among the human element within any organization. The conference was hosted at the Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore, and was jointly held by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).