An Article By Vijay Batra

A great book to read for all of us is “The case of the bonsai manager” authored by Mr. R. Gopalakrishan. The main learning, I have derived from the book is that one should keep challenging oneself to grow. The more challenges one faces, the more one learns and thereby achieving growth.

In the book, there is a beautiful story about how the Ramakrishna Mission at Nimpith, Sunderbans in West Bengal helped the village farmers in the early 1980s to increase the income they derived from their farms.

The farmers earlier were just growing one rice crop when monsoons brought rains. This limited their income. So, what the farmers did under the guidance of the Ramakrishna mission was to dig a pond in 20% of their farm land, and spread the mud over the balance 80%, which resulted in as much yield as before, as the mud dug out making the pond and spread over the balance 80% led to a better depth of top soil.

The pond, would capture the rain water. The farmers were taught to place the baby katla fish just before the monsoon. As the rains arrived, the ponds filled. Katla fish could grow to a certain size. However, when it rained a lot, the ponds overflowed. The fish could swim more vigorously over the whole field. It was observed that the fish attained the same size as they had earlier attained in nine months, in just three months, a three-fold increase in growth rate. Fish droppings also became a natural fertilizer for the land, thus further boasting the yield.

What the Ramakrishna mission did was to trigger the farmers to endeavour, which led to better learnings and earnings. In Japan, there is a wonderful thought, “life without endeavour is like entering a jewel mine and exiting empty handed.

As we keep endeavouring, we will make mistakes, in Japan, there is another powerful thought, “fall seven times, get up eight times.” Another thought in Japan is “Even monkeys fall off the trees.” Which means even experts will make mistakes, the whole endeavour is to keep getting up or to keep learning.

It is not the circumstances but how we endeavour in dealing with the circumstances that will decide the outcome. Another insight from a powerful Japanese thought “A cow drinks water, and turns it into milk, a snake drinks water and turns it into poison.” The inputs may be the same, but through endeavouring value add is attained.

Towards the conclusion, another Japanese thought “If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.”

I encourage all of us to keep seeking the advice of wise teachers, so we will keep learning better ways of endeavouring.

The day you and I decide, is our lucky day.