7 Effective Leadership Skills In Valmiki Ramayana – Ep 16

7 Effective Leadership Skills In Valmiki Ramayana – Ep 15 - Commitment

उत्साहः पौरुषं सत्त्वमानृशंस्यं कृतज्ञता।

विक्रमश्च प्रभावश्च सन्ति वानर राघवे।
— Valmiki Ramayan 5.37.13।।

Maryadhapurush Ram practiced seven traits which are essential for a good leader and they are

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Fearlessness
  3. Goodness
  4. Kindness
  5. Being Grateful
  6. Commitment to work and
  7. Prowess

as told by Sita Maa to Hanuman when Hanuman met her at Ashok Van.

Commitment and Dedication as that of Manakkal Nambi

Lord Ram showed great commitment to whatever responsibilities he has taken up, be it warding off the rakshashas from Viswamithrar’s yagna, killing vali, etc.

We have another Ramar of kaliyug who showed great commitment to the responsibility assigned to him. Let us listen to this story of Ramamisrar.

Ramamisrar was born in a village Manakkal near Lalgudi in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu in 10th century. He became a disciple of guru Uyyakondar and stayed with him to learn great tenets of Vaishnavism from him.

Uyyakondar’s wife died at young age leaving behind 2 little girls. After the demise of Uyyakondar’s wife, Ramamisrar took over the job of cooking and attended to every personal needs of his guru. One day, he escorted Uyyakondar’s daughters for some festivities. On the way back, they had to cross muddy waters. Seeing the girls hesitate to set their foot on muddy waters, he lay upside down forming a human bridge for the girls to cross over to the grass portion on the other side. Since the sandy footprints fell on his back, he came to be called Manakkal Nambi, meaning Nambi with sand (Manal for sand and Kal for foot in Tamil) footprints on his back.  Uyyakondar was so pleased with his disciple’s dedication that he offered to do whatever Ramamisrar wanted.  Rama Misrar replied that he desired to continue as a disciple of Uyyakondar. He went on to learn all the knowledge from Uyyakondar and hailed as an important part of the chain of gems of learned gurus known as ‘Sri Vaishnava Guru Paramarai’.

It is an act of unquestionable love for the guru who is considered more important than the GOD in the pecking order. Is it more than guru-bhakti?  Can we expect such commitment and dedication from current day professionals?  Can leaders expect this level of dedication from their teammates? What should leaders do to earn such respect?

Answer is ‘Yes’ for all the above questions. Manakkal Nambi demonstrated the virtues of ‘dedication to work’. There is another incident in the life of Manakkal Nambi involving his (to be) sishya yamunacharyar where he yet again demonstrated the same trait ie commitment and dedication to the responsibility taken up by him. We could thus easily infer that this is more than guru-bhakti, an act of his dedication and commitment to the responsibilities taken..

Manakkal Nambi’s Cold Call

Sri Nathumani initiated Sri Vaishnava tradition and requested his disciple Uyyakondar to install his grandson ‘yamunai thuraivan’, who was a small boy when Nathumani died, as the spiritual successor to him. However, this could not be achieved in the lifetime of Uyyakondar and hence Uyyakondar on his deathbed passed that responsibility to his primary disciple Manakkal Nambi.

By a quirk of fate, Yamunaithuraivan was crowned as a king (by answering the questions posed by a renowned pandit intelligently when he was a young boy) and was enjoying the comforts of palatial life. Manakkal Nambi could not get an audience with yamunaithuraivan, known then as Alavandar (meaning one who was destined to rule). Manakkal Nambi could not get past the king’s guards. He must somehow reach out to the king directly. Typical ‘cold calling’ issue. Manakal Nambi would not give up.

Prospect Persona – What It Is and Why It’s Important

When creating a prospecting & selling process, a critical initial step is developing a Prospect Persona.

Persona depends on the following:

  • The decision maker’s factual variables like Budget, Needs, Authority, Decision Making Process, etc. There are many methodologies available like BANT methodology.
  • The decision maker’s personality variables that impact the prospecting/selling process like the decision maker’s personality traits, interests, social status, etc.

People buy from people they are comfortable with and like. The more you are in tune with the prospect’s personality, the more likely you are to make the sale.

You might ask why am I talking about sales prospecting here?  Manakkal Nambi was not selling anything? Manakkal Nambi was trying to convince Alavandar about following his grandfather’s teachings and after all SALES IS NOTHING BUT CONVINCING THE PROSPECTS.

Nambi came to know that the king relishes spinach. Nambi being an expert cook himself, devised a plan to attract the attention of his prospect.  He had to work two months to make his plan succeed. He had the patience to wait.

He supplied thoothuvalai keerai (type of spinach) to the royal kitchen daily for few months and stopped the supply suddenly once the king got addicted to its taste.  Thoothuvalai is known to make the mind peaceful and serene. Alavandar asked his cook as to why toothuvalai  is no longer being served in the food. They replied “one brahmin used to supply toothuvalai daily but stopped suddenly” Alavandar told them to bring the brahmin to him the next time when he comes and thus both of them met the very next day.

Manakkal Nambi’s commitment paid off

Manakkal Nambi told Alavandhar that his grandfather Sri Nathamuni had passed on the family wealth and it is his responsibility to hand over that wealth to him. Alavandar was pleased with the sanyasin’s honesty thinking that it is some material wealth that could be helpful for the expansion of his kingdom. He asked him to hand over the wealth at once. Nambi said “It is a treasure which is well protected by 2 rivers and 7 walls and you need to come with me to claim that treasure”. Nambi took Alavandar to Srirangam temple and showed Lord Ranganathar as the family wealth which Nathamuni wanted to be preserved and handed over to his grandson. Alavandar was moved by the splendor of the Lord and Manakkal Nambi’s preaching and became a sanyasin yamunachariyar instantly and became a renowned acharya of Sri vaishnava peetam.

Thus Ramamisrar aka Manakkal Nambi delivered on his responsibility after months of consistent effort. He had no one to report his progress except the lord. This was not part of his appraisal. He was not incentivized.  He did it because of his sense of ownership and the clarity on the purpose of Alavandar’s initiation.  That is the POWER OF PURPOSE & COMMITMENT TO WORK



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