Ode to the enterpreneur

Business 18 Comments

Published in Corporate Dossier, ET, Oct. 28, 2011

One day, Brahma, father of all living creatures, found a grain of rice at his feet. “Who is responsible for you?” he asked. The farmer claimed responsibility, as he had sown the seed and harvested the grain. The seed claimed responsibility, as without seed no grain can be created. The soil claimed responsibility, as without soil a seed cannot germinate. The sun claimed responsibility, as without sunlight plants cannot grow. Finally the rain claimed responsibility as unless there is timely rain, and adequate rain, nothing can grow. “Everyone is essential for the creation of the grain,” said Brahma, “But only one is critical: the farmer. For it is the farmer, who makes a plant a valued crop. Without him, rice would have been just another weed in the wild forest.”

So it is with business. Who claims responsibility for success? At the time of investment, no one really knows if the business will be successful. Success is always realized in hindsight. Who takes the credit for the business: the entrepreneur, his employees, the banker, the market conditions? It is very difficult to pinpoint a single factor to success. But ultimately, everything depends on the entrepreneur, who took the initiative to transform an idea into reality. Had he not had the desire, had he not overcome his doubt, the enterprise would never take shape.

In the Rig Veda, the poet wonders what existed before everything else. And after much pondering he concludes, the first to exist, even before breath, is desire – Kama. Without kama, there would no movement from formlessness (asat) to form (sat), from darkness (tamas) to light (jyoti), from hopelessness (mrityu) to hope (amrita). The entrepreneur is the seat of Kama, without whom culture would not exist.

Parakh once asked his father to what did the family owe its fortune. His father said, “To the consumers who buy the metal we produce, to the workers who work in our mines, to the government who regulates us fairly, to the market that has been favorable, to the earth which provides us the minerals that we mine, but most importantly to my grandfather who invested all his wealth in the mining business. They were traders then, but he wanted to be involved in a primary industry, something close to earth, that would support all other industries. His family did not support him. So he raised capital on his own. That desire, and ability to cope with risk, of your great grandfather is the critical factor without which we would not be where we are.”

  • VB

    Must say what a great way of giving credit to the deserving factor…!!! Really really impressed with Mr. Pattanaik’s analogies drawn on various subjects.

  • aarthi raghavan

    Hi Devduttji,
    Wow! A new perspective for desire. Nice!

  • mallika

    I’m a great fan of yours devduttji, I have read ur 7 secrets of shiva, myth vs mithia, 7 secrets of vishnu, n currently reading jaya. They are just awesome. I always wanted to understand hinduism in detail but never came across writers or books which made the whole thing so interesting. thanks for works, they are an answer to my prayers in understanding so many esoteric aspects of my religion. Thanks again.
    Thanks thanks thanks :)

  • Brilliant interpretation of entrepreneurship!

  • Raj

    Devduttji. Really nice to see common patterns in Hindu Mythology and Business.Great Job!!!!!!

  • Beautifully usual.
    While we may give credit to the entrepreneur we must not forget that it is a team effort. There was a dialogue in the movie “Badmash company” starring Shahid Kapur and Ansuhka Sharma where Vir Dass replies to Shahid Kapur who was taking credit for the success of their venture “without us you would have not been able to execute your plan”. Somehow I tend to agree with above that though it all starts with the idea but without correct support the jigsaw of success would not fall in place. So many people become entrepreneur but how many succeed?

    Another example from the book “Cash flow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki( Rich Dad Poor Dad fame)

    “Can you personally make a better hamburger then McDonald’s?”
    So far 100% of the people I have talked with have talked with about their new idea have said “yes”. They can all prepare, cook, and serve a better quality hamburger then McDonald’s.
    At this point , I ask them the next question: “Can you personally build a better business system than McDonald’s?”

  • umesh lokhande

    sir u r fabulous.u converted many a complicated things into very ease. and it is very much required to know the learning behind myths so to pass on the nitty-gritty to upcoming generation.

  • chetan

    Thanks a lot, for accepting my request.

  • Ankit Parashar

    Sir.. I am simply a follower of yours.. and I have tried to apply some of the concepts/ thoughts/idea in daily corporate routine and it helped me lot.

    Thanking you for providing such amazing concepts.

    Best wishes..

    Ankit Parashar

  • Puneresident

    Nice article…..

  • Lakshminarasimhan

    Being from a land where businessmen and entrepreneurs were always seen as evil, people always got blurred in to thinking who deserves credit. Your simple analogy will go a long way in clearing that thought process.

  • vaibhav

    sir i have just finished watching business sutra … was awesome and in my msoffice one note the entire section is dedicated to your writings…..your speech on ted was what ignited the mythological flame that was cold shut for long and your writings drive me more of applying your analogy to mundane life. My days are filled with a lot of energy after this transformation.Thank you very much.

    Vaibhav Barpute

  • veerendra

    Excellent !! I always had a negative opinon about businessmen, this article changed my opinon. One quesion though, Would you also consider the Marketing person (who create desire in others, many times falsely)equally responsible for origniating Kama and therefore equal to a Enterpreneur ?

  • Akshata M Nayak


  • Rakesh Reja

    Just Awesome. I am great fan of you. I wish if I can meet you you some time. I have lot of things to understand from mythology. I am basically atheist but like to read and know about mythological era.

  • sanjay sharma

    Devdutt oustanding work. I read all the articales. I need ur some articles on execution and Dream( AIM)

  • Karan Verma

    Great words, inspiring !!

  • Sankalp Chandelkar

    Excellent words of wisdom!!!!!!!!!!

    It is the need of the hour that everyone in the business community realises the CSR in the real sense and not just to promote Brand or company and i am sure India INC will take care of this…..