7 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the Bhagavad Gita

Akash Kumar Goel
8 min readOct 16, 2021


Entrepreneurial lessons from the Kurukshetra War for the new age entrepreneur

01 Bhagwat Geeta

Table of Contents:

#1 Focus on Your Work, Not the Results

#2 Renunciation

#3 Adapt or Perish

#4 Improve your Emotional Intelligence

#5 Dig Deeper

#6 Stand by Your Decisions

#7 Business Ethics

The Bhagavad Gita was, is, and will remain a revered text with meaningful lessons for all — entrepreneurs included! Its versatility is evident in the way people across socio-geo-political realms consume its teachings. The Stillman School of Business conducted a symposium in 2016 entitled “Looking into the Bhagavad Gita for Managing Organizations to Become Meaningful.” It is a much sought-after text for counsel on business management for organizations of the twenty-first century.

For the uninitiated, the Bhagavad Gita is a scripture from the epic Mahabharata. It presents the discourse between Lord Krishna, the Supreme, and Prince Arjuna (one of the Pandava brothers) on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the land of righteousness. The war is between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas.

Whether you’re a first-time entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, or a seasoned one, you’ll find something of value from the lessons below. Read on!

#1 Focus on Your Work, Not the Results

The Bhagavad Gita discusses Nishkaama Karma Yoga, i.e., the path of selfless service, in Chapter 2. The scripture says that one must do one’s duty for the ultimate form of liberation and be detached from the outcome.

Focus on Your Work, Not the Results — bhagavad gita karma yoga

In other words, stay focused on the value creation, scalability, and sustainability of your business. Keep the valuation away. Develop your perspective: why do you want to do it, what are the goals, what should you do to be better at it, is everyone in your team clear about their duties, etc.

When the result does not drive your entrepreneurial journey, you will enjoy the journey more. Rest assured that the results will find you when you’ve nailed the process.

Check out these startups that turned unicorns despite the pandemic! And here’s a list of startups that were born during the 2008 Great Recession. The bottom line, when you work diligently, even challenges will turn into opportunities and generate results.

#2 Renunciation

Renunciation is a valuable lesson for any entrepreneur looking to solidify their standing. Before you begin to wonder, true renunciation, as per the Gita, is giving up selfish attachments and working for the common good.

Renunciation — bhagavad gita english

Entrepreneurs can renunciate in several ways. For instance, look at these US organizations that pledged for equal pay. This act renounces inequality at the workplace, thereby promoting appropriate division of labor and equal growth opportunities. Here’s another article shedding light on leaders who — through their organizational decisions — put their employees ahead of profits. Now, if that isn’t striving for the common good, what is?

Maya Angelou, the renowned civil rights activist, said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As an entrepreneur, every decision you make presents you with an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on someone. Use it wisely!

#3 Adapt or Perish

In a fleeting world, change is everything, according to the Bhagavad Gita. Most businesses — established and nascent — would not have factored for Covid-19 in their short-term or long-term plans.

Adapt or Perish — management lessons from bhagavad gita

For an entrepreneur, a robust change management system is critical. While not all changes will be humongous like the pandemic, the fact is, change is the only constant. Regardless of it being ecosystem-induced or crisis-induced, prepare to change when it comes calling. Businesses that adapted quickly to changes have not only survived but also thrived. An entrepreneur must be ready to innovate, explore new opportunities, and embrace change to be successful. These companies did what they thought was the best for them to march forward and march they did!

And if you think smaller businesses have it rough when manoeuvring change, check out these small businesses that pivoted to navigate through the pandemic… and survived.

Want to excel in strategy, leadership, and administration and turn fortunes around. Who better to look up to than Acharya Chanakya, the master strategist, politician, and kingmaker well-known for his role in establishing the Mauryan empire!

Think like Chanakya and grow yourself with these lessons from Chanakya Niti.

#4 Improve your Emotional Intelligence

An entrepreneur is leading a team — small or big — at all times. They are also the link between all stakeholders — employees, customers, shareholders, investors, etc. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, you need to exercise control over your feelings and emotions.

05 Emotional Intelligence — leadership lessons from bhagavad gita

The Gita particularly mentions the importance of transcending anger. Rage brings with it a surge of emotions that can cloud one’s judgment. Bear in mind that fuming at a stakeholder or making decisions in a fury comes with repercussions. Moreover, anger is an expression of one’s inability to control a situation. Read upon how leaders deal with anger here.

In Chapter 6, Krishna also counsels Arjuna on controlling the mind with diligent practice. A modern-day entrepreneur will find this relevant to deal with the vagaries of the business world, which may otherwise result in stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. It’s wise to remember that duality is inevitable in life and business. Therefore, work on how you process and project your emotions.

#5 Dig Deeper

In Chapter 3, the Gita says that it is essential that we recognize the misleading cover to anything. The outer layer or film obfuscates what lies within. The ability to distinguish what’s good or bad arises from our intellect.

best gita quotes — life quotes from bhagavad gita

Entrepreneurs must ensure that they don’t let their desires get the better of their intellect. Whether hiring a new team member or seeking an investor whose principles don’t align with the brand’s, entrepreneurs will have to deal with several instances where their intellect is tested. Getting rid of desires is the way to acquire true knowledge.

Further, sometimes, what’s best may not be in plain sight. Entrepreneurs must go beyond scratching the surface to enhance their knowledge. It will benefit when looking to innovate your processes or bring out a new product line and attain success.

#6 Stand by Your Decisions

In the Gita, Lord Krishna asks warrior Arjuna to bring his enemies down. Arjuna trembles as he’s being asked to kill his cousins. Krishna reiterates through the discourse that it is Arjuna’s dharma as a warrior to fight. He also reassures Arjuna that he will be exonerated from all blame as he is executing the will of the Supreme. The warrior then relents and goes into battle. Chapter 17 says that one must do any action with faith; otherwise, the act itself is purposeless.

Stand by Your Decisions — best english translation of bhagavad gita

An entrepreneur may have to make tough choices that might sometimes result in disagreement with a partner, disappointing shareholders, facing disgruntled employees, or unhappy customers. The outcome of your action will depend on many factors, some of which may be beyond your control. In such instances, it helps to remember that you are entitled to carry out your duty in the organization’s best interests.

Make your decision in good faith that it will work out fine, and don’t look to appease everyone. Here are some CEOs who stood by their decision even though it was unpopular.

#7 Business Ethics

The Gita talks in-depth about the root cause of ethical failure and how to avoid it. In brief, entrepreneurs can take notes on eternal values and moral principles that align with business ethics.

A calm mind, clarity of thought, treating everyone equally, contentment with one’s duty, and renunciation are some of the aspects an entrepreneur can focus on to build their character. Being merciful, truthful, and selfless is also discussed as part of the 26 qualities listed for a person’s character development.

Ethics In Business — Business lessons from bhagavad gita

Herein lies the groundwork in fighting ethical failure because, according to Gita, ethical failure occurs due to the inability to control one’s desires and senses. It advocates that one must gain control over the mind and senses. Entrepreneurs can improve their spiritual discipline through various reflective practices to abide by the code of ethics.

Avoid Inaction — bhagavad gita krishna

Another aspect discussed in the Gita is that inaction is also a conscious choice and comes with its consequences. This is a good reminder for entrepreneurs who tend to brush off certain events in fear of making a bad decision. Fight fair, fight hard. Take cues from these leaders who believe in ethical leadership.

Entrepreneurs must remember that in the 21st century, the lack of business ethics will be called out loud, and the stain will be hard to remove. Find here some examples of business ethics and their importance.

online bhagavad gita

Congratulations! You have learnt 7 lessons from the Bhagavad Gita that will not only help you build a business but a lifestyle!

For those who know us, this is the time for a bonus tip for sticking with us till the end.

#Bonus Lesson: Self-Realization

One of the most powerful teachings of the Gita is that one must know oneself fully to understand and reach one’s true potential. This is emphasized through verses spread across chapters.

Self-Realization — main points of bhagavad gita

Self-realization is of utmost importance to entrepreneurs. Unless you are thoroughly aware of yourself — your strengths, areas of improvement, emotional stability, moral values, and so on — you cannot lead others effectively.

Also, it’s not enough that you are in complete alignment with your true self. All those toiling with you must also be able to exercise their immense potential. Who better to inspire them than you leading by example? To attain deeper levels of consciousness, the wisdom of the Gita suggests engaging in meditation. Some leaders are known to meditate at work as it helps them be better at their job! Perhaps you could check them out here and join them!

Now that you’ve read all the lessons, don’t you agree that the Bhagavad Gita is timeless?


The images of this blog have been taken from the famous TV Show Mahabharata on Disney Hotstar. I recommend you to watch this to learn timeless lessons taught by Lord Krishna.
This blog is for educational purposes only. All credits for the images go to its rightful owner.

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Akash Kumar Goel

Entrepreneur at Heart. Hands-on experience at managing a business. Enjoys sharing knowledge about entrepreneurship and lifestyle.