7 leadership skills - success and failure

7 Effective Leadership Skills in Valmiki Ramayana – Ep 7


उत्साहः पौरुषं सत्त्वमानृशंस्यं कृतज्ञता।
विक्रमश्च प्रभावश्च सन्ति वानर राघवे।।
Valmiki Ramayan 5.37.13।।

Seven effective leadership traits as per Valmiki are Enthusiasm, Fearlessness, Goodness, Kindness, Gratitude, Commitment to work and Prowess.

This sloka from Bhagavad Gita is an interesting oxymoron.

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गम: पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते |
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप 
Bhagavad Gita 2.3

Klaibyam = unmanliness, antonym for pourusham. Klaibyam is used here to refer to fear. Paranthapa = conqueror of enemies

O Partha, it does not befit you to yield to this fear. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.

Interesting point is the first and the last words ‘klaibyam’ and ‘pranthapa’. Krishna refers to Arjuna as someone who is a ‘Conqueror of enemies’.  A person who can frighten his enemies is frightened now. A person who can drive the enemies away from the battlefield wants to run away from the battlefield. That is the power of FEAR. FEAR can bring down anyone. ‘Fear of Performance’ can inhibit the best of the performers in the world. ‘Fear of Failure’ has the ability to make the best to fail.

Lord Krishna calls fear as the petty weakness of heart and not the mind which automatically means we can conquer fear with the mind.

We had Swami Vivekananda’s birthday last week. Swami Vivekananda highlighted the essence of courage thus –

‘Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvellous work. The moment, you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world.

Arise, Awake!!

Stop not till the goal is reached.’

This poetry from the tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi on ‘Fearlessness’ is my all-time favourite.

அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்ப தில்லையே

இச்சகத்து ளோரெலாம் எதிர்த்து நின்ற போதினும்,

அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்பதில்லையே

துச்சமாக எண்ணி நம்மைச் தூறுசெய்த போதினும்

அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்ப தில்லையே

பிச்சை வாங்கி உண்ணும் வாழ்க்கை பெற்று விட்ட போதிலும்

அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்ப தில்லையே

இச்சைகொண்டே பொருளெலாம் இழந்துவிட்ட போதிலும்,

அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்ப தில்லையே

Bharathiar says that he does not know the meaning of FEAR. Brave poet says that he will not be afraid even if the sky falls on his head, even if the entire world comes together to oppose him, even if his enemies scorn at him, even if he loses all his belongings dear to him, even if he is pushed to the state of begging to survive.

Leadership Quality 3 – सत्त्वम  Quality of Purity, Goodness, Honesty

Beauty of Sanskrit is that most of the words can give multiple meanings and the apt translation will depend on the context in which the word was used.

The word सत्त्वम (Sattva) in the above sloka has 20+ meanings including Courage, Prowess, Goodness, etc. Prabhava which comes as the last in the list of 7 qualities is the most apt word for Prowess and hence I shall reserve prabhava for prowess and not sattva.

Sattva is one of the three gunas or “modes of existence” (tendencies, qualities, attributes), a philosophical and psychological concept in Hindu philosophy. The other two qualities are rajas (aggressiveness) and tamas (laziness, inactivity). Sattva is the quality of goodness, purity, positivity, truth, serenity, balance, peacefulness.

Humans will possess all the three gunas in some ratio and will exhibit different guna at different circumstance. Everyone and everything have all three, only in different proportions and in different contexts. But Sattva is the most positive and balanced of the three gunas. Sattva is hailed as the divine guna in many slokas of Bhagavad Gita.

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas can roughly mean Assertiveness, Aggressiveness and Passiveness respectively from modern management philosophy. We can understand the importance of developing assertiveness in place of aggressiveness or passiveness.

Sita says that Lord Rama possesses abundance of Sattva guna amongst the three gunas. Sattva can also be considered an emotional or mental state wherein the mind is at peace. 

The sattwic person perceives goodness, purity, and divinity in all sense objects. He / She projects the nature of goodness to the world around him / her.

More about Sattva as a leadership quality in the next episode.



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