Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I was reading a book by well known author and leading management consultant, Stephen Covey, in which one of the chapters has been dedicated to the "Seven deadly sins". The author says that, "Mahatma Gandhi said that seven things will destroy us".

The enunciation of these seven blunders that would destroy this world are attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. Reading this seven page chapter was a very enlightening experience and thus I thought of putting the crux of the chapter on my blog, for posterity. These seven sins or blunders have universal applicability.

Image Courtesy - Google Image search.

This list grew from Gandhi's search for the roots of violence. He called these acts of passive violence. Preventing these is the best way to prevent oneself or one's society from reaching a point of violence.

The seven deadly sins, as per the book, are as follows:

Wealth without work. This implies getting 'something for nothing', or getting money without working, or adding value.

Pleasure without conscience. "Conscience is essentially the repository of timeless truths and principles" and anything that gives us pleasure but is against our conscience is a sin.

Knowledge without character.

Commerce without morality.

Science without humanity.

Worship without sacrifice.

Politics without principle. This is one of the deadly sins that is particularly applicable to present day India - the land of the Mahatma - the land where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born, was elevated to the level of a Mahatma, and also the land where he was assassinated; the land where he is called the 'Father of the nation' - a father who was so far ahead of his time that none can even attempt to walk in his footsteps. Politics per se is not bad, but politics without principles is a sin.

These seven were written on a piece of paper and given by Gandhiji to his grandson, just before Gandhiji's assassination. His grandson has added another blunder to this list of seven, which is:

Rights without Responsibilities.


BK Chowla, said...

Are we not going exactly the other way?We are doing what these quotes say are not right.

Piper .. said...

Sir, we have an audio book by Stephen Covey(Seven habits of highly effective people) and we(The G and I) listen to it a lot while driving. The G tried to make me read the book as well, but I`m not into reading non-fiction at all. I have to admit though, that hearing him speak actually has a huge impact on me.I`m pleasantly surprised to see you quoting from his book.

J P Joshi said...

BK Chowla: Yes, it does seem so when we look at the micro level(not saying that looking at the micro level is wrong), but a lot of things are also happening in the right direction too and that is why India is moving in the right direction, despite all its challenges - challenges that could have shattered many a lesser nation.

Democracies are not the most effective but are efficient over the longer term and a democracy as diverse, in every which way, as India seems very ineffective at the micro level BUT at the macro level the picture is not so bad, I believe. Yes, we could be moving faster if everyone pulled together, and I firmly believe that it would happen 'ek din, man mein hai vishwas, poora hai vishwas ham honge kaamyab ek din'.

J P Joshi said...

Piper: Unlike you, I read only non-fiction and leadership/ management books fascinate me. Stephen Covey is good and I am enjoying reading his book presently - I read only about 15-20 pages everyday - gives one time to reflect. I have never tried the audio book route - will try that sometime.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Stephen Covey quoting Gandhiji - and then realised that it had to be, as the book is titled, 'Principle Centered Leadership'.

Renu said...

I also have this book, presently borrowed by someone and not returned:) very usual in India...

these are universal priciples and true in all ages and times.

Balvinder Singh said...

How true. Each of these priciples brings so many example to one's mind which are happening in our daily life. These are real gems for all ages and all times, present and future.

Thanks for sharing JP

J P Joshi said...

Renu: Agree with you...

Balvinder: Yes, these are gems and the more one thinks, the more one is convinced that these are the seeds of passive violence that could eventually erupt, if not treated in time.