Session: How the power of “myth” can be leveraged in business by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik

The session on How the power of “myth” can be leveraged in business Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik had the entire audience listening with rapt attention.

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is a renowned mythologist, author, leadership coach & motivational speaker. In addition to this he is a  qualified doctor & the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group.

Here are some of the thought provoking ideas he had talked about:


Whenever you have a rule, there will be a rule breaker & someone will find a way to bend the rules.

  • Sanatan law states: Wherever there is a rule there will be a rule breaker. In business we all like the idea of Rules- with their promise of predictability.
  • On one hand we revere Lord Ram who follows rules & we also worship Lord Krishna who bends them.
  • Both are right. Both are divine.
  • Indian mythology never gives prescriptions. It gives frameworks.

Frameworks provided by Indian mythology can be applied in our day to day life, especially in the cases of conflicts.

  • 3 categorizes of leaders according to Jain mythological framework: “Vasudev, Chakravarti, Tirthankar”.
    • Vasudev – Rule breakers who do so to (re)establish justice or a new balance. Entrepreneurs fall under this category.
    • Chakravarti:  A Ruler who controls & establishes systems. He is the ‘King’; makes laws and creates stability. E.g. Auditors, regulators, most CEO’s.
    • Tirthankar – Someone who can find a balance between the Chakravartis & Vasudevs… He understands that both are important for sustained, systemic growth and change.  E.g. Chief Mentor (Narayan Murthy, KV Kamath)
  • An example of a Vasudev : Krishna.
  • An example of Chakravarti : Rama.
  • A Tirthankar is he who finds the ‘fjord’ – the bridge between the two .
  • ‘Fjord’ means a bridge which already exists, awaiting discovery. (origin: Norwegian).


 In Jain mythology – becoming a Tirthankar is man’s highest calling.

  • Vasudev, Chakravarti & Tirthankar. Most leaders don’t know this framework, but intuitively understand the need for both .
  • The predictability of ‘Stability’ and ‘disruptiveness of growth’ are important – and the Leader has to often play the role of the “Tirthankar” – judiciously calibrating the amount of each needed in a given situation.

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