Publication Type:

Journal Article


Purusharta, Volume 5, Number 1, p.125-135 (2012)



The world is witnessing unprecedented crises on many fronts of human endeavor like economic, political, environmental, social and personal. These crises are, in one sense, an effect of decisions made individually or collectively either in the recent past or bygone eras. These decisions arise from the decision-making models followed, which in turn are rooted in the perspective offered by the culture of the land. Now researchers and thought leaders are revisiting the decision models with the aim of making them more holistic, i.e. as multidimensional as possible. We see how decision-making models have evolved from simplistic uni-objective models to multi-objective and multivariate models that include uncertainty as an underlying assumption. Given this context, in our work we approach decision-making from a dharmic perspective. By dharmic we mean the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh traditions. We explore how the perspective adopted impacts decision making and the consequences of the decisions made. We have followed a multi-pronged approach. Initially, we critique the western models of decision making. In doing this we observe that the dharmic way of decision-making presupposes the features of multidimensionality and uncertainty. In other words, these features are endogenous to the dharmic way of decision-making whereas they are exogenous in the western way. In addition to this, the dharmic way recognizes how the qualities of the decision-maker impact the decisions and hence lays emphasis on the refinement of these qualities. For instance, the idea of citta-shuddhi (purification of consciousness) is considered important. Based on the critique and comparison we propose a model of decision-making inspired by dharmic perspective, specifically, from Indian philosophy and psychology. We base this model on aspects like embodied knowing, collectivity, reflection and contemplation and application of tarka (debate) and vada (discussion). The intended benefit of our work is to understand the gaps in the current decision-making processes that lead to crises. We achieve this by changing the perspective from western to dharmic. This leads to the refinement of the instruments of decision-making that will impact collective well-being.


cited By (since 1996)0

Cite this Research Publication

V. Adinarayanan and V. Rekha, S., “Approaching decision-making from a dharmic perspective”, Purusharta, vol. 5, pp. 125-135, 2012.