“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.” These famous words from Henry Ford are highly significant in contemporary times. Our ancient knowledge propounds, ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. The whole world is a family. Our prayers behold the welfare of all when it says -
Om Sarve Bhavantu sukhinas
Sarve Santu Niramayah,
Sarve Bhadrani Pasyantu
Ma-Kascit dukha-bhag Bhavet
Om Shanti! Shanti!! Shanti!!!
It means, “Om! May all be happy, may all be healthy, may all see auspiciousness, and may none suffer.” The life on Earth itself is made of five elements namely fire, ether, earth, water and air. It signifies that we are made of a combination. Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together. This finds echo in the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The importance of togetherness has been emphasiSed in our Yajur-veda -
Om saha navavatu
Saha nau bhunaktu
Saha viryam karavavahai
Om shanti shanti shantih
“May we be protected together.
May we be nourished together.
May we create strength among one another.
May our study be filled with brilliance and light.
May there be no hostility between us.
Om peace, peace, peace”
Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration as we need an entire army of companies to work together to build a better world. This means corporations must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Moving together, we can face any challenge. Initially people think that they can achieve anything on their own.
However, no one can whistle a symphony alone. It takes an orchestra to play it. Unity is strength. The strength of the team is each individual member and the strength of each member is in the team. Lord Krishna in Gita (10.9) has also highlighted the benefits of helping each other in pursuit of a higher goal -
‘Mac-citta mad-gata-prana bodhayantah parasparam kathayantas ca mam nityam tusyanti ca ramanti caʼ - which means “My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me”.
A team of about 35 employees had come together for a team building event. They were a young, bright and enthusiastic team. However, one big problem of this team was they wouldn’t share information or solutions with each other. The leader felt they were too focused on self and not enough on the team. So, she started off with a fun team activity. She brought the team into the cafeteria. All the tables and chairs had been stacked and put away. Placed around the room were fun decorations and hundreds of different coloured balloons. Everyone was excited, but not sure what it was all about. In the center of the room was a big box of balloons that had not been blown up yet.The team leader asked each person to pick a balloon, blow it up and write their name on it. But they were instructed to be careful because the balloon could pop.
About 30 team members were able to get their name on a balloon without it popping. Those 30 were asked to leave their balloons and exit the room. They were told that they had qualified for the second round. Five minutes later the leader brought the team back into the room and announced that their next challenge was to find the balloon they had left behind with their name on it among the hundreds of other balloons scattered in the large cafeteria. She warned them to be careful and not to pop any of the balloons. If they did, they would be disqualified.
While being very careful, but also trying to go as quickly as they could, each team member looked for the balloon with their name. After 15 minutes not one single person was able to find their balloon. The team was told that the second round of the game was over and they were moving into the third round.
In this round, the leader told the team members to find any balloon in the room with a name on it and give it to the person whose name was on it. Within a couple of minutes every member of the team had the balloon with their own name on it. The team leader then made the following point, “We are much more efficient when we are willing to share with each other. And we are better problem solvers when we are working together, not individually.”
Life is lovely and lovable when we mix together. It is bitter when we are separated. Individually, we are not powerful because we don’t share our strength, ability and sweetness. But in society, we are one of them and share our strength, skill, ability, love, affection and respect. This is well illustrated through one story.
Just after returning from school, a grandchild complained to his grandmother, “I won’t go to school. My teachers reprimand me. My friends don’t like me. They are better at studies, in sports and in drawings. No one likes me.”
The grandmother said politely, “You seem to be hungry for love and angry for not getting love. I will give you a cake to eat.” The boy replied, “Yes, I need it. I would love to eat one.” The boy was happy.
The grandmother gave him flour to eat. He ate it and his mouth was sour. Then the grandmother handed him a spoonful of sugar. He put the sugar in his mouth but could not relish it. The boy said, “It’s sweet but not tasty. Give me a cake.” The grandmother smiled and gave him butter with baking powder to eat. He filled up his mouth again but could not relish it. He complained “Oh grandma! What are you doing? I have lost my appetite. I can’t eat these things.”
The grandmother replied, “My son, these are the ingredients that make a delicious cake. Separately, they are tasteless but when mixed together and baked well, they turn into a delicious cake. Why are you separated from your friends and colleagues? Mix with them. Be a part of the group. You need love, so first give love. You want respect then show respect to them.”