Dr. M L Shrikant, who led SPJIMR for 28 years, successfully devised and taught under his stewardship a course called ‘Gita Shibir’ and then the ‘Science of Spirituality’. This was delivered to hundreds of students across several batches and programmes for over 15 years.
Well ahead of his time, Dr. Shrikant was aware about the necessity of a paradigm shift in the dominant story about business and the current models of individual success, through bringing insights from Indian spirituality in management schools.
The current 'Science of Spirituality' course offered at SPJIMR is in line with the spirit and vision of its creator but also experiments with innovative ways of delivering this knowledge. The content of the sessions is based upon insights and practices from Eastern Wisdom Traditions (Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, etc.) and the growing field of Mindfulness, supplemented by frameworks from Cognitive and Developmental Psychology and research findings from Neurosciences and the discipline of Management.
The two key foundational leadership skills described by both researchers and top corporate executives are awareness and mastery over one’s inner landscape – mental models, thoughts, emotions, sources of meaning. Why? Simply because it is their interplay which significantly determines one’s way of engaging effectively in the world.
When developed adequately, these two inner meta competencies enable the leader to assess the complex and changing situations with minimum coloring and distortion. The leader’s vision, short and long term goals are also rooted in a calm, lucid appreciation of what is. Decisions and actions can become more flexible, pertinent and inclusive, and relating to people more open, authentic and nourishing.
This course is a reflective and experiential course as an initiation on this path of development. Its intention is to provide management students insights and practical tools to navigate with wisdom, live with more engagement, meaning and fulfilment, and in the process accomplish their quest for performance and success. It is thus an attempt to address the innate human quest for purpose and inner fulfillment and at the same time provides practical tools to build leadership capacities.
It is conducted across various programs, for young to experienced MBA students (PGDM, PGPM) to senior executives (EMP) with a different content and emphasis, and is titled respectively Journey towards Self Mastery, Leading with Wisdom, Finding the Space to Lead.
It is also offered as an elective course which focuses on Vedanta based wisdom and leadership. The content is a nuanced amalgam of study of selected essential verses of the Bhagavad Gita and meditative practices drawn from Vedanta. In this elective, the students choose to commit 30-40 minutes of their time to daily practice and reflection during two months, to develop the different dimensions of the wisdom of Vedanta and integrate their learnings in their life.