The Bhagavad Gita is our ancient philosophical literature. It is the Hindu’s Holy book based on two prominent warring clans – the Pandavas and the Kauravas- and Shri Krishna’s advice to Arjun before the battle of Kurukshetra. It is believed that Bhagavad Gita was written 3000 BC ago, but its philosophical context is still found relevant today. Many great scholars or researchers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Peter Senge, Albert Einstein, and Henry David Thoreau have quoted the Gita in their writings.
The wisdom of the Gita contains many leadership lessons that are similar to contemporary leadership theories and practices:
- It is said that character defines a person. So it is the core of true leadership.
- Leaders should embrace challenges because they bring out the leaders’ greatest strengths.
- Leaders should be strong in their actions and not be weakened by pain and pleasure.
- Leaders must be honest and straightforward. It is very necessary to win the trust of the team members.
- Leaders must be self-aware as well as their surroundings.
- Leaders must have the ability to control their anger or fear. Any decisions must not lead by fear or anger.
- Leaders must be selfless and renounce deceit, dishonesty, and selfish acts.
But before adopting these leadership lessons, one prominent concept Gita has offered is “First know yourself.” Leaders can never lead effectively unless and until they understand themselves.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains the real meaning of renunciation, which a leader must practise. He says that true renunciation is providing selfless service for the common good. Some leaders who served selflessly for others are Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in prison fighting against apartheid in South Africa. Henry Dunant, a businessman, gave up his business to serve the war victims and founded Red Cross organization.