In Hindu mythology, there are two types of gurus. There is Shukra, associated with the planet Venus, who focuses on creative visualisations and creative thought based on future possibilities. There is Brihaspati, associated with the planet Jupiter, who focuses on case studies and critical thought based on past occurrences.
In the corporate world, Shukra manifests as a ‘to-do-list’ of what you are supposed to do while Brihaspati manifests as a ‘check-list’ that cross-checks if you have done what you are supposed to do. To-do-list focuses on the future while the check-list focuses on the past.
Which list is better? This or that?
The scriptures seem to offer a value judgment when they associate Brihaspati with devas and Shukra with asuras. We have been conditioned to believe that devas are ‘gods’ and asuras are ‘demons’. But that is not entirely correct.
We forget that in temples when worshipping astrological deities we also worship asuras/demons like Rahu (demon of eclipse and confusion) and Ketu (demon of comets and restlessness) along with the demon-guru Shukra. For in traditional Hindu thought, there was no such thing as ‘demon’—just various forces, all valid and valuable, in the universe that can benefit or harm us. Each force has to be invoked in appropriate measure.
Positively speaking, a to-do-list evokes an instructive and directive emotion to ensure there is no doubt about what needs to get done, while a check-list evokes a more supportive emotion to ensure we have forgotten nothing.