An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.
So the next step in our quest is to understand the guiding principles of human resource development in the light of an integral and evolutionary vision of human development. A person begins her evolution as a physical being with basic survival needs and instincts like food and sex. As she progresses further, she becomes the vital person with the urge or motives for action, relationships, power, wealth, achievement, enjoyment, success, conquest and expansion. Progressing still further, she becomes the mental person with motives for knowledge, and a seeking for understanding the higher aims, ideals and values like truth, beauty and goodness. As she ascends to the highest levels of mental, moral and aesthetic development, she opens her consciousness to the spiritual dimension. In the integral approach, the main aim of education and motivation is to felicitate and accelerate this psychological and spiritual evolution of the human being from the physical, vital, and mental to spiritual consciousness, to awaken her to her spiritual self and the spiritual goals of evolution.
This approach to motivation is based on the principle that every individual in the organization has to be awakened to the highest spiritual aim and destiny of life. But for practical purposes, each individual has to be helped to progress gradually towards the next immediate step or stage in the evolutionary ladder, from the physical to the vital, from the vital to the mental and finally from mental to spiritual.
As we have indicated earlier, the aim of Integral approach to management is not an exclusive spiritual growth but the integral development of the human potential, including the powers and faculties of his physical, vital, mental and spiritual being. So not only spiritual growth, but also psychological growth, from the physical to vital and from vital to mental consciousness, is an integral part of human development. We must note here, psychological and spiritual growth are not mutually exclusive; they can be pursued simultaneously. In fact they can complement each other. Spiritual development exerts an evolutionary pressure on mind, life and body, awakening higher motives and unmanifest faculties in the person. Sudden emergence of new faculties is a common experience in the path of spiritual growth. For example, the magnificent cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora in India were not done by professional artists but by Buddhist monks pursuing spiritual discipline. Similarly, psychological development, when it is pursued with the right inner attitude, can make the mind and heart more receptive to spiritual consciousness.
However this evolutionary hierarchy does not mean we have to wait until we attain the mental ladder in order to enter the spiritual path. Every human being, in whatever stage of development she is in, can begin the spiritual journey and progress in it by following a path of yoga, which is in sync with her natural temperament, capacity, and stage of evolution. For example the physical person can progress spiritually by pursuing a yoga which is predominantly physical or made up of physical activities like the asanas of Hathayoga, breath-control techniques of pranayama, rituals, external worship, selfless service, all done with simple faith, devotion and surrender. Similarly, the vital person can progress by following a dynamic yoga of consecrated work or self-transcending action or self-sacrificing leadership.
The Trigger of Conscious Attention
This human growth is awakened and triggered through focused Attention. The extent of growth depends on the quantum and quality of this attention. The quantum of attention is the amount of time and resources spent on the object of attention or growth. The quality of attention is the amount of knowledge, creativity, care and love the mind and heart bestows on the object of attention. When a human being is considered as nothing more than just a pair of hands and a material body with some physical and economic needs and we pay attention to only this physical-economic aspect of the human being, then naturally the nature of the creative output doesn’t go beyond the level of physical productivity and efficiency. On the other hand if we consider the human being as a vital being with vital, emotional and social needs and pay attention to this dimension of the person, then this part wakes up in the organization and all the creative energies of the vital being are also realized in the corporate life.
And again, progressing further, if we consider the human being as a mental, ethical and aesthetic being and pay attention to this part in her, then all the creative energies of this higher mental nature awakens in the collective life, leading to a truly cultured, refined and qualitatively superior corporate life, well poised and prepared for its spiritual destiny. And finally when we consider the human being as a spiritual being and pay attention to this divine element in her, then begins the true spiritual evolution which will lead the individual and the corporate life to its highest potential and evolutionary destiny. The secret of sustainable evolution lies in learning how to give the right attention at the right stage to the right object or part of an organization or person and also when and how to shift this attention.