November 2015 Vol 17.

The transcendental leader

A leader is a visionary who inspires her team, guiding, assisting and facilitating where necessary to drive an enterprise towards success. Leaders go beyond the nuts and bolts of accomplishing tasks or managing a team. They are dreamers, thinkers, catalysts of change and much more. And they come in many different types, with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Mahabharata, one of the greatest epics of war, gives us many great leaders. Spiritualists speak of Lord Krishna as the greatest of them all. This is perhaps because the great Lord brings a dimension to leadership that goes beyond success in the material world. Through example, He guides us to success that transcends into the spiritual realm. He shows us the polarities that are at war within us all: the Ego and the Self.

So let us look at leadership in the material realm of the corporate paradigm and, through this understanding of how to achieve success, move towards ultimate victory in the spiritual one.

Research shows that leadership roles can be broadly classified into four main types :

  • Strategic Leadership
  • Directive Leadership
  • Team Building Leadership
  • Operational Leadership
Strategic leaders are analysts of reality. Objectivity and rational thought are very important to them. They ask the hard questions and are ready to put the vision above the people. They take pride in their knowledge, aspire to wisdom and often stay in the background. But their focus on facts rather than emotion can give the impression of being ‘robotic’. Arriving at decisions takes time for them, as they have a tendency to lean towards perfection.

Directive leaders weave the big picture. They paint broad strokes and don’t like to spend much time in the details of the process. As effective speakers have a high motivational capacity and possess the ability to make people feel important. They are great with large groups, but not so much with the individual. A short attention span combined with restlessness means they prefer to take action and may even ignore financial limitations.

The team building leader is all about the people. They're charismatic and enjoy organizing people around a common cause. Their knack for generating high morale receives loyalty and respect from people. But they can also get hurt by people, allowing relationships to hinder progresses. This means that sometimes, they have a tendency to ignore agendas and action plans.

The operational leader is very practical. Devising systems and processes to run things smoothly comes very easily to them, so they bring a lot of stability to their leadership. They can create new solutions to old problems. But they dislike conflict and sometimes fail to see the big picture, a shortcoming which can make them slip into ‘managing’ rather than ‘leading’.

Whatever type of leader you are, however, certain characteristics lie at the root of success. Lord Krishna teaches us what these are. Let us examine a few.

Know yourself. This is the key to becoming a great leader. Which of these four leadership roles best describes you? How can you learn, understand and grow so that you can leveraging your strengths and improve your weaknesses to become better?

Knowing yourself means going beyond understanding personality traits. There is something to you that is transcendental, profound and eternal. Can you see this? The nature of this 'self' is eternal. It is sat. And filled with love. The Self sees all beings as an extension of the great and Supreme Being. It understands the interconnectedness of things. Therefore, when you lead with the Self, you will see the connection between the vision that drives you as a leader and the resources in hand that can efficiently realize that vision.

Going one step further, the Self also understands the meaning of true 'success'. It is not just about the highest profitability or the greatest breakthrough in knowledge. It is not about the clothes or the cars or the large mansions. All such achievements are gone in the blink of an eye when compared to the eternity of existence. Therefore, success, the Self knows, is the realization of that Supreme Love, from which 'maya' or illusion veils us. The Self knows of its connection to the Supreme Being. Our achievements, our profitability and our growth, whether individually or as an enterprise, is therefore not our own, but really the benediction of the Supreme.

Lord Krishna, therefore, tells us to place success where it belongs: as a polarity of failure. Great leaders around the world intuit this. They know that failure can teach many lessons, and use it as an opportunity for growth. When Steve Jobs was fired by the board of directors of Apple, he came back stronger and better than ever, going on to reinvent the company's image and making it one of the most profitable in the world.

Be detached. When you learn to place success and failure as mere polarities of each other, you transcend both. Such transcendence brings detachment : whether I succeed or fail, my duty I must do. Detachment brings with it objectivity, which is crucial when taking tough decisions in the corporate world. Detachment helps you see the bigger picture, uncolored by personal sentiment.

It is the Ego which claims all for itself. It creates an identity called 'I' veiling your true 'self'. This 'I' creates the illusion of an existence separate from the Supreme Being. And it claims all actions, both success and failure, for itself. That means it attaches a setback in the workplace to our very nature, taking away our self worth when we fail to finish a task or meet a deadline. Similarly, it attaches success to our nature, telling us we are worth something because we accomplished what we set out to do. So it tells us, we are worthless when we fail and wonderful if we succeed. Thus the Ego attracts unhappiness and colors our world views.

This 'I' creates boundaries. It takes us away from the interconnectedness of all things. It fails to see the inherent strength and beauty within all beings and wants to 'be the best' at everything. While a competitive spirit is a good thing, ruthless competition can destroy a team. Great leaders unite resources and talent. They do not divide out of fear of being replaced in their jobs.

Nurture people. When you begin to see all people as extensions of the Supreme Being, and thus, connected to you, you will learn to recognize the power and potential of those you lead. Duryodhana failed to realize this. In the Mahabharatha, Lord Krishna posed a choice to both Arjuna and Duryodhana: do you want me or my armies? Arjuna chose the great Lord, while Duryodhana chose His armies. Arjuna knew the power of the Lord and of His wisdom. Ultimately, this is what won the war.


It is our joy to share that one of our Kid Ms. Kusuma, cared and nurtured at Prasanna Jyothi, who is an Engineer in the USA entered into wedlock on 05.11.15. May God bless the newly-wed couple.


Chapter News :

Bangalore Chapter

Sri Jitender V Joshi conducted Mantra Yoga Program in Hindi at Shanthinagar on 29.10.15, which was attended by 30 participants.

On 01.11.15 Sri. Anil Nair conducted Healthy Minds program for Algorithm Computer Institute, Marthahalli for 16 students. It was his first time conducting a program and we congratulate him on it. Sri Sudhakara Rao also facilitated the event.

Chikkadpally CHAPTER

Prasanna Trust under the chartable activity extended the Educational Scholarship for 2 students Bhasker & Tirumalesh to pursue their education.

Delhi NCR Chapter

Delhi NCR Chapter led by Sri B.K. Mishra organized the Gita Talks on 26 & 27 November 2015 at FICCI Auditorium.

Hyderabad Chapter

Hyderabad Chapter, which had sown the seed of Gita talks, had organized the Talks for the 12th consecutive year from 6 to 8 November 15. The annual festival was attended by Amma to bless us all.

Sri Venugopal & Smt Annapurna, who had been organizing the Feeding the poor attendants of the patients at Nilofer Hospital on every second Saturday of the month. They organized the event for this month on 07.11.15.

Sri. Satish Kumar conducted the Healthy Minds Program at Aparna Hills Villas on 01.11.15

Nallakunta Chapter

The monthly visit to KGNMT home for destitute Women by our Nallakunta Chapter was held on 21.11.15. They handed over a cheque for Rs.10000 towards scholarship, Rs. 5000 for dinner and Rs. 1200 was handed over by the students from the spoken English class, apart from 46 salwar, bedsheets and sweaters. Our members helped the Trust by selling the diyas made by the inmates and collected Rs.10740.

Lucknow Avadh Chapter

Feeding the poor activity was undertaken by our Lucknow chapter on 21.11.15 at Gangotri Shishu Graha. The inmates were provided food apart from providing socks and wall clock.

Lucknow Avadh Chapter led by Dr. Chandra conducted a Free Healing camp on 31.10.15 at Vivekananda Poly Clinic. 40 patients were benefitted, assited by 8 healers

The evergreen Seminar Leader & Chairperson Dr. Chandra conducted the Mantra Yoga Program from 01.11.15 to 5.11.15, in which 65 participants attended.

Mumbai Chapter

Sri Sriram Athri conducted Vision 2020 for 35 students from GNVS Institute of Management, Wadala on 28.10.2015.

Ms. Asmitha Gokhale conducted the Healthy Minds Program for 500 students from Gauridatta School, Sion on 06.11.15.

Ms. Sangeetha Hegde conducted the Secrets of Success program for Kotak Unnati – Kotak Education Foundation on 30.11.15. 76 students and their trainers attended the program.

The Young Seminar Leader conducts regular satsang relentlessly week after week.

USA Chapter

The US Chapter led by Ms. Shakila conducted the November satsang on 16th attended by 14 rejoicers, who deliberated on Poojya Swamiji's message for the month.


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