The waxing of the waning employee

Business, Indian Mythology 17 Comments


Published in Corporate Dossier ET, Feb. 18, 2011

Chandra, the moon-god, disobeyed his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati. Daksha had given him 27 wives and told him that he should love all wives equally.  Chandra, however, preferred only one of them. An angry Daksha, therefore cursed Chandra, that he would suffer from the wasting disease. Each day, his luster would wane and eventually he would disappear forever.  As a result, the moon started to wane.  A terrified Chandra did not know what to do. Being a Deva, a sky-god, he turned to his king, Indra, and begged him for help.  “The only person you can turn to is Shiva,” said Indra,  “because he is not a Deva.  He is a Maha-Deva, greater than all gods put together.”

Chandra went to Shiva but Shiva was a silent god, with eyes shut, deep in meditation.  Chandra sat before him, trembling, afraid, desperate for help.  Shiva opened his eyes, looked at the miserable moon-god. Without speaking a word,  Shiva picked Chandra up and gently placed him on his forehead. Instantly, the moon began to wax once again.  Daksha had caused Chandra to degenerate; Shiva had helped him regenerate. Chandra realized why Indra had addressed Shiva as Maha-deva; he was not just god (spelt without capitals).  He was God (spelt in capitals). Chandra established the festival of Shiva-ratri each month, at the tail end of the waning half of the lunar month.  And once a year, he established the Maha-Shiva-ratri, to mark the end of the winter months and the waxing of the summer seasons.

Offices are filled with Daksha Prajapatis and Shivas.  Daksha Prajapatis are colleagues who cause us to wane. Meeting Daksha results in loss of luster, mood and enthusiasm.  We feel depressed. Shivas ,on the other hand, have a calming effect. Without doing too much, just by their mere presence, they can energize and bring back enthusiasm in the most depressed of colleagues.  Shiva is the colleague we seek out when we have the blues. Daksha is the colleague who we shun as he causes the blues.

Sandipani Mukherjee, an architect, is terrified of meeting Rakesh Rathod who works in the same design firm.  Every time Rakesh joins a meeting, Sandipani feels depressed. Rathod is cynical and shoots every proposal down.  When Sandipani comes up with an idea, Rakesh finds holes in them, and invariably makes Sandipani feel small and incompetent.  But Sandipani cannot wish Rakesh away, they work in the same team and the same department and are on many common projects. Sandipani tries to rationalize the situation.  He knows Rakesh does not mean ill but that is the way he is, unfortunately.  The only way to survive is to walk across and meet Paritosh.

Paritosh is the admin manager who seems to be at peace with himself. He never gets angry, never raises his voice, and somehow gets every job done without much effort.  Sandipani just goes to Paritosh’s workstation and sits there.  They don’t talk. Paritosh simply goes about doing his work and just the gentle rhythm with which things gets done around Paritosh, energizes Sandipani.  The world no longer feels like a terrible place as it does after an encounter with Rakesh.  A cup of tea later, Sandipani returns to his desk, like the full moon, shining brightly, secure in the knowledge that should Rakesh make him wane, there is always Paritosh who will help him wax.

  • rajesh gawade

    Good Article Sir!!!!
    Knew story before but never thought in this way….great

  • Indroneel Pal

    True…..same in my office too….and yes in every office…..DEV it would be great if you could focus on ” how to turn anger into positive motivation for own good”.

  • Brings smile. I really admire the way you put things.

    This also reminds of a story where devi Lakshmi and Shanidev have an argument about who is more popular with humans. They put a businessman to test, who wisely declares in the end that He likes devi lakshmi when she is coming near and Shanidev when he is going away.

    Coming back to your story, there really are people in our orgs who we want to avoid but we can’t. It is required to find a Shiva for yourself.

  • i wait for all your articles….great articles….you are doing a great job..

  • In Vedanta my Guru compares the Atma to the sun and the Mind to the moon. The Moon requires the suns light to illuminate the Earth. So I used to associate my moods with the moon just to disassociate my thinking pattern….

    Your article comes perfectly in line. I never thought that ‘Shiva’s are around us all the time just make us wax again… Thanks for the great article.. Love your work

  • Very fine article sir as usual. I feel gud to know that my thoughts to some extent match with yours. In my story, Daksha is called Johny…

  • Anjan

    Why only restrict to office. These are individual traits. If we dig deep we would find the roots of such behaviours may be during their formative years. it is important that we have love and friendship during our formative period which otherwise would result into “Daksha”. We are becoming more and more intolerant, we are losing the power of forgiveness, we fail to identify our limitations in many many fields and think everyone should be perfect and thus become Daksha to someone somewhere. Its not about others but about ourselves.
    Lets become tolerant….just be there..

  • Dipti Samje

    Dev!! its really good & learning episode fr all of us working in corporate sector – may be in personal life too… thanks a lot!!! Also it wud be a gr8 help if u focus or illustrte us on how to turn anger into positive motivation for own good”.

  • Aghraja Bhatia


    Nice article. Just wondering if there is more meaning behind the curse on Moon.


  • shivakaradi

    Hello Sir,..you are as best as ever,..nice one again..this is in directly we should understand , how the gyan will be distributed and given from Lord Shiva..through Gyan Ganga ..thnq sir.

  • Dr Ajay Mathur

    The waxing and waning concept may also apply to the menstrual cycle of a fertile woman.

    • The waxing and waning of the moon may be compared to the menstrual cycle as far as earth fertility rights are considered.However to compare the cycle to a curse or a punishment suffered by chandra and to think that a male god restored the damage towards another male god is the end of the story for me. I dont think women need to carry any more guilt baggage than they already do!

      • pointninenine

        Why the guilt baggage? You need to spend some time with Paritosh is the admin manager. Take care.

  • Aashi

    hi devdutt,

    After the brief meeting i was keen to find your articles.. and here i found one of the many stories about lord shiva.. this certainly will help us in understanding him better.

  • akash dixit


    Its really a great.

    Everyone should… try to find…. and be with SHIVA….in their office….. when situation creats…. a feeling that….. world is a terrible place .

  • ayesha pattnaik

    found the succour I was looking for after a month spent in the midst of Dakha Prajapatis AND dEMENTORS IN THE OFFICE..THANK U SIR FOR LIFTING MY SPIRITS

  • deepak pandey

    dear pattnaik ji,
    ilike this story as just you have shown point of view.