What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

orporate Social Responsibility or CSR had always been voluntary, till it was mandated by the Government under the Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility) Rules, 2014. It is now mandatory for all companies above a given defined size to give away 2% of their net profits of the last three years to charity.

According to the Vedas, we are living in Kalyuga. There is therefore a general perception that this being the age of Kalyug, it’s not possible to bring about any change for betterment of the society. But it is not so.

Just as Satya yuga had both Gods (suras) and demons (asuras), Treta yuga had both Ram and Ravana and Dwapar Yuga had Krishna and also Kansa, similarly, there are bound to be Satya yugis amongst the Kalyugis, though in minor numbers.

Who is a Satya yugi?

Srimad Bhagwad Gita describes four pillars of Dharma: Truthfulness (satya), hard work (Tapa), purity of mind (pavitrata) and compassion (Daya) and charity (daan).

When all these four characteristics are present in a person, with satya at the forefront, he is a Satyugi.

If truthfulness is absent, but the other three characteristics are present, the person is a Tretayugi and when truthfulness and purity of mind are absent, he is a Dwaparyugi and when only Daya and Daan are present, he is a Kalyugi.

Doctors are true to their chosen vocation. They treat their patients with honesty (satya), selfless hard work (tapa), purity of mind (pavitrata), compassion (daya) and charity (daan), all the characteristics that make a person satya yugi. Doctors, and not hospitals, charge no fee during emergency and also subsidize their fee. This makes them Satyugis.

All of us can become satya yugis.

CSR is one way of becoming a Satya Yugi. But, it should not be just limited to corporates. Each one of us too, as individuals, can carry out some acts of CSR or charity.

The principles of charity remain the same: Truthfulness, detachment, Positive. This is the meaning of satya, tap and pavitrata.

Everybody who is involved in charity or CSR should follow these principles of charity.

A simple mantra to do this is, ask somebody “May I help you?”

This is also the gist of my speech yesterday at the CSR Times Awards 2018, where I was the Guest of Honor.