Narada had the power to travel through space and time. One day, he decided to pay a visit to Ayodhya , the city of the rule-following Ram and to Vrindavan, the village of the rule-breaking Krishna. At Ayodhya, he told the story of Krishna; the residents did not appreciate the rakish, mischievous cowherd at all.
He is not serious at all, they said. At Vrindavan, he told the story of Ram; the residents did not appreciate the upright and rather serious king at all. He is no fun, they said. Narada then went to Hanuman, the mighty monkey, and asked him who he preferred : Ram or Krishna? And Hanuman said, "What is the difference? Both are Vishnu to me; Lakshmi follows him, whether he is Ram or Krishna."
So what is the difference between Ram and Krishna? Both belong to two different contexts: Ram lives in Treta yuga and Krishna in Dvapara yuga. One context demands Vishnu to be the upright rule-following Ram and the other context demands Vishnu to be the lovable rule-breaking Krishna. Both are same, but different. Both are upholding social order, dharma; one by keeping the rules and the other by breaking them!
In corporations, we seek people who comply and frown upon people who do not. But people love breaking rules. Often being in a senior position is an excuse to break rules. Being in the creative profession is seen as a chance to be undisciplined. But being Ram or Krishna is not about whether rules are upheld or broken; it is about the reason why rules are upheld or broken. Few pay attention to that.
Ankita is the chief operating officer of a large design studio. She has a staff of designers , colourists, architects and painters. It annoys her a great deal that they never come to office on time, never keep deadlines , never stick to timelines, and plan things only when compelled to. How can she run the company like this? The staff argued , they are all creative artists who cannot function with rigid rules. It hampers their innovative spirit.
One day, the following month, salaries did not reach people on time. Ankita took a vacation that day and was not reachable on phone. When she returned to office on the following Monday, after a long weekend, she saw an angry mob of employees demanding an explanation . "Surely , I have the right to be creative too and not keep deadlines and commitments," she said. The staff was not amused, but the message was passed loud and clear. It was a risk Ankita took and it paid off.
We all want to be Krishnas and want others to be like Ram, without really understanding what it means to be either. To be Ram or Krishna, we have to be Vishnu and to be Vishnu, we have to ensure there is social order that brings Lakshmi our way.
( By Sh. Devdutt Pattanaik in Economic Times /23 March 12)