Using Spirituality and Meditation to Reinvent CSR Activities through Dana: Exploring the Potentials

  • Saumya Bera Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Rashmi Ranjan Behera Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Priyadarshi Patnaik Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Suhita Chopra Chatterjee Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Keywords: Spirituality, Meditation, CSR Activities


Organized religion has been associated with generosity behaviour or dana since time immemorial. Dana in the Indian context implies giving for altruistic purposes without any expectations. However, religion is a much larger concept which includes many other dimensions such as precepts, prohibitions, world views and rituals which do not contribute significantly to dana. In this paper we propose that it is the element of spirituality (as a subset of most organized religions) that plays a key role in eliciting generosity. While the term 'spirituality' has a long history, its contemporary use separates it from religion per se
and emphasizes a state of mind and an attitude. We feel that this state of mind, which often is a part of religious experience, and is well documented in almost all world religions, may play a vital role in inducing an attitude of altruism which is specific to certain actions – namely dana. It will be our attempt in this paper to bring out the relation between the three – spirituality, altruism and generosity – in order to suggest that they can play a vital role in contemporary organization practices for the betterment of society. Moreover, we will also attempt to link meditation to spirituality – as an induction process which often paves the way
to spirituality – as a model that can work in modern organizational settings to benefit the employees, the organization, and finally the society. While changing the whole organizational philosophy may be too difficult – like Plato's attempt to make a philosopher king out of Dionysius II – it is possible to use organizations' CSR as an important platform where the underlying mechanism of generosity and philanthropy outlined above may be beneficially implemented. The paper will attempt to explore these potentials as well as risks in order to develop preliminary guidelines for spirituality-based CSR.