Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Quest for Personal Mastery . ..From Patanjali to Peter Senge

One of the five disciplines ,which Peter Senge has included in his list of Five Disciplines in his famous book(The Fifth Discipline) is  Personal Mastery.I have not tried to find out the sources of Senge's   ideas.But every time I  come across  his writings, I  am reminded of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali .Both Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and The Fifth Discipline of Peter Senge  have personal mastery as one of the ideas  in common .Personal mastery is personal growth and learning.
       Is it possible for every one or any one to  achieve  personal mastery? Yes, though the  goal is not easy to achieve .It is not correct to expect grand and instant character transformations.Any such expectation will be a mistake and will breed cynicism.The goal of personal mastery is a life long goal.One has to take this goal seriously , if one wishes to achieve it .Peter Senge  describes in his book  strategies to achieve personal mastery , some of which are:
1.Patience,perseverance.
2.Humility.
3.Telling the truth.
4.Remaining connected to others (compassion)but simultaneously  retaining  one's own individuality.
5.Meditation.

Yoga Sutra   describes  five ethical disciplines (yama) for personal  mastery:
1.Non-violence.
2.Truth.
3.Non-stealing.
4.Continence.
5.Non -coveting and non-possessiveness.
Yoga Sutra also gives five Rules of Conduct (niyama):
1.Purity and cleanliness.
2.Contentment.
3.Austerity.
4.Study of the Self.
5.Dedication to the Lord.
To  the above list of Patanjali . certain additional  yamas and niyamas have been added  by latter thinkers after Patanjali.
 Additional  ethical disciplines(yama);
6.Forgiveness.
7.Fortitude ,non-giving up in adversity.
8.Compassion.
9.Non-hypocrisy or sincerity.
10.Measured diet(Neither over-eating , nor under-eating)
Additional  Rules of Conduct(niyam);
6.Belief in God.
7.Charity ,sharing with others.
8.humility.
9.Thinking and reflecting to understand.
10.Religious and social ceremonies.
In addition to  the ethical disciplines and Rules of Conduct ,Yoga Sutra also prescribes the  other six  parts of Yoga:
1.Control of breathing.
2.Withdrawl of mind  from senses and external objects.
3.Concentration .
4.Meditation.
5.Super-consciousness-being one with  the object of meditation.
If we  compare carefully , all the strategies of personal mastery mentioned by Peter Senge are  included in Yoga Sutra.In fact , Yoga Sutra tells us many more  methods to  attain progress in  personal mastery.
We  should  not only pursue in our quest for personal mastery , we should also encourage  others in our neighbourhood and organizations  in their quest for personal mastery.It will help in making our own self,our  society and our organisations   stronger ,more prosperous and peaceful.