We make hundreds decisions every day. Decision making is a process of making choices with the available options and information. Whether they are routine in nature or those impact ours and others life, making good decisions takes time, practice and conscious thought. Your knowledge and ability to make sound judgment pays a vital role in good decisions.  It is critically important that we evaluate all options before taking actions on important matters in life. I usually follow the 4Dprinciple, Do, Delay, Delegate or Dump, but the crux is in deciding which one to do, delay or delegate. Certain decisions in life or business are good to delay particularly in a fast changing environment. Here is a story from Mahabharata.

Chirakari is the son of Gautama Maharishi. He used to think deeply before doing any deed and so he earned the name Chirakari. Once when Gautama was away from the ashram Indra came there as a guest. Considering it as her duty to treat a guest of her husband properly during his absence Ahalya received him well and gave him fruit to ease his tiredness. Indra went back. Gautama on knowing this on his return suspected the chastity of his wife and calling his son Chirakari to his side asked him to cut off her head. After giving the order Gautama went to the forests.

Chirakari had a peculiar nature. He will ponder over things deeply before taking any action. He knew he must obey the orders of his father but killing one’s own mother was a greater sin than disobeying a father. In obedience to his father’s order Chirakari came before his mother, weapon in hand. He did not kill her immediately but pondered over the consequences of the deed. How shall I obey the command of my Father and Guru and yet how avoid slaying my mother? How shall I avoid sinking, like a wicked person, into sin in this situation in which contradictory obligations are dragging me into opposite directions? Matricide is a great sin, he mused, and then again, who would be there to look after father if mother died.  Weighing the merits and demerits of the act Chirakari sat thinking without doing anything.

Gautama when he reached the forest thought again about Ahalya and her crime. After all what has she done? A guest came to the ashram and as duty-bound she welcomed him. It was indeed a great sin to have killed her by her own son. Immersed in thoughts of this kind, sad and repentant, Gautama returned to the ashram to find Chirakari sitting silently deeply engrossed in thoughts. On seeing his father Chirakari was perplexed and he explained to his father about the good and bad effects of his order. Gautama was pleased to see his wife alive and blessed Chirakari with long life. He also made these comments “One that reflects long before he acts is certainly possessed of great intelligence. Such a man never offends in respect of any act.  Though the clamor of being an idle man may stick to him or may be regarded as a foolish person, it is only by those who lack better understanding and foresight of situations and life.

Decision Making Process

Generally in a business environment all our decisions are guided and governed by objectives and goals set to be achieved in a given time frame. There are many different methods of decision making, but planning and preparations are essential to ensure that you make the right decisions most of the time.

  • Define the problem – correct diagnosis of the problem is essential to identify and administer the perfect solution. If diagnosis is wrong, treatment goes awry and the patient can die. Identifying the cause of the problem can also help us choose the right solution easily.
  • Develop the alternatives – decision making is choosing between alternatives and therefore we should develop as many alternatives as possible. Brain storming is a technique usually employed by organizations to get variety of options to choose from. Not doing anything is also a decision, provided you have developed and evaluated many alternatives and found this is the best option.
  • Evaluate the alternatives – There are many scientific methods employed to evaluate alternate decisions such as T-chart, PMI (plus, minus, interesting propagated by Edward De Bano), Buridan’s Ass, decision matrix, etc. Use the best and most suitable method for your particular situation. At the same time it is critically important that one should not fall in the trap of “paralysis by analysis”. As a leader your knowledge about the situation and potential impact of the decision should help to take decision in a time bound manner to avoid the pitfalls of delayed decisions when the real requirement was quick decision. 
  • Make and implement the decision. Once any decision is implemented it is also important that you constantly check the progress and make corrections on the way as required.

Where we are today is based on all those decisions that we have taken throughout our lives. Which school to study, what subject to specialize, which career to choose and whom to marry, etc., are all our decisions taken after careful considerations.  It is possible that all our decisions are not perfect, but what matters in this world where law of averages prevail, is that we make more good choices than bad. Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favours the prepared mind.” Indeed, the prepared mind of an effective leader thinks carefully and searches constantly for the opportunity to learn from past successes and failures, and then improves the way he goes about making crucial choices in the future.


Scriptures state the following, “These six persons should be avoided like a leaky boat on the sea, viz., a preceptor that does not speak, a priest that has not studied the scriptures, a king that does not grant protection, a wife that utters what is disagreeable, a cow-herd that likes to rove within the village, and a barber that is desirous of going to the woods”.

How can we apply that in our daily life, both personal and professional? Let us analyze each of the six categories individually.

1. A preceptor that does not speak – Preceptor means teacher. In simple terms, a teacher who does not speak is of no use to any average student, unless of course the teacher is such eminent Yogi like Ramana Maharshi and students are also highly evolved souls. You do not want a teacher in your school who cannot speak or stammers while speaking. So is the case in your organization if you have a trainer who cannot speak either due to speech deficiencies or other reasons.

In our family, the father is considered to be the first “guru” of the child and is supposed to guide and lead the child, failing which the child’s life turns astray. In Mahabharata Dhritharastra is a failure as a father of Kauravas. Even though he was a highly learned person, kept a blind eye towards the atrocities of Duryodhana that led to their extinction.

In organizations, the ‘Boss’ is the guide and guru to all those who are working in the team and supposed to lead them to success. Those who fail to do that fail the team and the organization itself in the long run. Those who refrain from pointing out deficiencies in their subordinates to avoid conflict is a bad teacher and boss.

2. A priest that has not studied the scriptures – a priest has multiple responsibilities. Continuing the spiritual tradition of the religion and society is the primary responsibility of the priest besides conducting pooja and prayers in temples and other places of worship and knowledge in scriptures is a must for fulfilling such a responsibility.

Would you like to consult a doctor who is not professionally qualified? How about appointing a lawyer to fight your legal case in a superior court? Would you hire a person in position of high responsibility who is not qualified and experienced in that line of work?

3. A king that does not grant protection – a powerful king protects the subjects from every possible enemy including natural and man-made disasters. There are many stories about king protecting their subjects, at times, even at the cost of their own life. However the story of King Prithu stands out. In Vishnu Purana one can read the story of Prithu:- King Vena, from the lineage of the pious Dhruva, was an evil king, who neglected Vedic rituals. Thus the rishis (sages) killed him, leaving the kingdom without an heir and in famine due to the anarchy of Vena. So, the sages churned Vena’s body, out of which first appeared a dark dwarf hunter, a symbol of Vena’s evil. Since the sins of Vena had gone away as the dwarf, the body was now pure. On further churning, Prithu emerged from right arm of the corpse. To end the famine by slaying the earth and getting her fruits, Prithu chased the earth (Prithvi) who fled as a cow. Finally, cornered by Prithu, the earth states that killing her would mean the end of his subjects too. So Prithu lowered his weapons and reasoned with the earth and promised her to be her guardian. Finally, Prithu milked her using Manu as a calf, and received all vegetation and grain as her milk, in his hands for welfare of humanity. Before Prithu’s reign, there was “no cultivation, no pasture, no agriculture, and no highway for merchants”; all civilization emerged in Prithu’s rule. By granting life to the earth and being her protector, Prithu became the Earth’s father and she accepted the patronymic name “Prithvi”.

The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of states assumes the role of kings these days and their primary job is to protect the country and men from internal and external aggression, and provide all means for a peaceful and comfortable life for all its citizens. In a family, the father is supposed to protect the wife and children. The CEO assumes that role in an organization, who is supposed to protect the company and ensures its success and continuous growth thereby assuring job security for all its employees.

4. A wife that utters what is disagreeable – In Hinduism, a wife is known as a Patni or Ardhangini (similar to “the better half”) meaning a part of the husband or his family. Patni, means a woman who shares everything in this world with her husband and in return he does the same, including their identity. A wife usually takes care of anything inside her household, including the family’s health, the children’s education, parent’s needs, etc. In Mahabharata, Bhisma points out the sanctified importance of Bharya (wife) as follows: In his forlorn life on earth the wife is of great help to man. To him, who is suffering from diseases and is otherwise in distress there is no remedy (medicine) like a good wife. There is no relative like a wife. If one has no good wife to take care of domestic affairs one will be driven to the forest; the home will be like a forest. Without her even the palace will prove itself to be just a forest. While on tour in foreign places she will remain faithful to him and instill confidence in him. Bharya is great wealth to man. In the matter of practicing dharma there is none else to match the wife. She will be a great support (to the husband) in the matter of dharma (duty) artha (wealth) and Kama (enjoyment of material comforts). These three precede the ultimate state of Moksa (salvation) and the wife will be a great support in fulfilling the conditions during the first three stages to attain the ultimate, Moksha.

This clearly reflects the position a women and wife enjoys in our society and that also comes with great responsibility. A person who is unwilling or unable to fulfill her complete responsibility as a wife is of very limited use to any man.

5. A cow-herd that likes to rove within the village – cows should be taken where the grass is and that is generally outside the village. A cowherd who roams within the village is lazy and shows utter disregard to his primary responsibility of feeding the cows. A salesman must be in the field meeting customers and not sitting in his own office. A lawyer should be in court or a doctor in office to fulfill their individual duties and responsibilities.

6. A barber that is desirous of going to the woods – the barber’s duties require his presence within the village. If without being present there he likes to wander in the woods, he should never be employed, for it may then be presumed that he is wanting in that skill which experience and habit bring.

In summary it can be said that any person who is not conscious about his “Dharma” or duties and responsibilities and do not fulfill what is essentially mandated by his position should never be employed and if employed should be removed.

The Agamas are a collection of scriptures chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of idols, worship of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices etc. Agamas deal with the philosophy and spiritual knowledge behind the worship of the deity, the yoga and mental discipline required for this worship, and the specifics of worship offered to the deity. The ritualistic pattern of worship in the Agamic religions differ from the Vedic form. While the Vedic form of yajna require no idols and shrines, the Agamic religions are based on idols with puja as means of worship. The Agamic religions are also called Tantrism, although the term ‘tantra’ is sometimes used specifically to refer to Shakta Agamas. The tantras are considered innumerable with various sects. Some popular agama-based religions are those of Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, Ganapatya, Kaumara, Soura, Bhairava, and Yaksha-bhutadi-sadhana. The Shaiva Agamas revere the Ultimate Reality as Lord Shiva (Shaivism). The Vaishnava-Agamas adore the Ultimate Reality as Vishnu (Vaishnavism). The Shakta-Agamas (Tantras) venerate the Ultimate Reality as Shakti (Shaktism). Each set of texts expands on the central theological and philosophical teachings of that sect. There exist 28 Saiva Agamas, 77 Shakta Agamas and 215 Vaishnava Agamas, and their upa-agamas.

Each Agama consists of four parts

Kriya pada – consists of rules for construction of temples; for sculpting, carving, and consecration of idols of deities for worship in temples; for different forms of initiations or diksha.

Charya pada – lays down rules for daily worship (puja), observances of religious rites, rituals, festivals and prayaschittas.

Yoga pada – concentrates on yoga and the mental discipline.

Jnana pada – consists of philosophical and spiritual knowledge, knowledge of reality and liberation.

Elaborate rules are laid out in the Agamas for Silpa (the art of sculpture) describing the quality requirements of the places where temples are to be built, the kind of images to be installed, the materials from which they are to be made, their dimensions, proportions, air circulation, lighting in the temple complex etc. The Manasara and Silpasara are some of the works dealing with these rules. The ritual followed in worship services each day at the temple also follow rules laid out in the Agamas.


Saiva Agama (28) Vaishnava Agama (215) Sakta Agama(27)
Kamikam Agastya-Samhita Mahanirvana Tantra
Yogajam Aniruddha-Samhita Kulamava Tantra
Chintyam Ahirbudhnya Samhita Kulasara Tantra
Karanam Brahma Samhita Prapanchasara Tantra
Ajitham Brihat-Brahma-Samhita Tantraraja
Deeptham Isvara-Samhita Rudra-Yamala Tantra
Sukskmam Kapinjala-Samhita Brahma-Yamala Tantra
Sahasram Gautama-Samhita Vishnu-Yamala Tantra
Ashuman Citrasikhandi-Samhita Todala Tantra
Suprabedham Jayakhya-Samhita  
Vijayam Jayottara-Samhita  
Nishwasam Nalakubara-Samhita  
Swayambhuvam Naradiya-Samhita  
Analam Pancaprasna-Samhita  
Veeram Parama-Samhita  
Rouravam Paramapurusa-Samhita  
Makutam Parasara-Samhita  
Vimalam Padma-Samhita  
Chandragnanam Paramesvara-Samhita  
Bimbam Purusottama-Samhita  
Prodgeetham Pauskara-Samhita  
Lalitham Bharadvaja-Samhita  
Sidham Bhargava-Tantra  
Santhanam Mayavaibhava-Samhita  
Sarvoktham Markandeya-Samhita  
Parameshwaram Laksmi Tantra  
Kiranam Varaha-Samhita  
Vathulam Vasistha-Samhita  
  Visnu Tantra