Leadership Lessons from the Ramayana – Part 2

When i was writing the first part a fortnight back, my focus was on the qualities of Shri Rama that was quite visible and in the highlight through out the epic. He followed Dharma throughout his life, he was a humble personality to all who earned or deserved it and he was a King Maker too. Now somehow i am redesigning what i already told. This would suit more in today’s world. So let us revisit the 3 qualities which i have already mentioned.

1. Dharma (or) Righteousness : – In today’s world where people have no time to relax and are ready to do anything to get what they want or to reach the heights they have dreamt from childhood, there is a tendency to forget Dharma or to suppress it for a while, which is itself equal to not following Dharma. But a true leader is the one who realises the value of righteousness in all his activities. To better understand what i mean, try putting yourself in the shoes of a famous retailer or a ceo of a mega pharmaceutical company. Can you not do the right thing to your customers ?!! Imagine someone doing a small mistake in a service based industry, then your whole goodwill will come down to pieces. And if what management gurus have observed is right, losing Goodwill will make you lose the entire thing in the totality.

I know several business houses who have reached the heights of successes and still are redefining a new benchmark for successes. And what is common between them is the mere fact that they did the right thing at the right place and all the right time.

2. Being Humble :- This probably is the easiest thing to do yet the most beneficial quality one can possess at any time. This truely shows the real leader in you. Have you ever come across a person who is arrogant because of his success ? I am sure you would have. But did you hate that attitude ? Didnt you wish that you never go infront of the person again ? In short, if you were carrying the same attitude, people working for you would probably feel the same about you. Being authoritative or showing power or dictatorship is probably the old warlord formula that doesnt suit the current scenario. It doesnt work for too long for anyone. Instead do this when you walk in your work place and see the difference. Be humble, smile at everyone as if you really love them, show genuine concern, help as much as you can wholeheartedly, think that your worst enemy is none other than your own negative attitude. I know a good friend of mine who has climbed up the corporate ladder pretty quickly when compared to his peers. And the secret mantra ?!! He has the natural process of carrying a big smile that would lighten up your soul and make you feel welcome. He would crack jokes on you, but none that would hurt you ever. He has the natural instinct to say the right thing the most gentle way. He never bosses around his peers or subordinates, instead makes them all feel very important and involved into his conversation. And as the result he is heading the banking division of a major software giant and is managing more than 350+ employees reporting to him. Now that doesnt sound big , does it ?!! That is because i forgot to mention that he is just 30 years old.

3. The King maker :- This is the quality which someone would not acquire if they did not have the above two that i mentioned here. The quality of a true Leader of the 21st Century is to create more leaders. Every organisation today talks about moving ahead in the race by creating more leaders than the competitor. My own organisation has laid out rigid plans to do the same and they probably are doing it quite comfortably than ive witnessed so far in my career. So why is it important to create more leaders to face competition ?!! In today’s world the one man show does not promise success like the earlier days. Truely distributed responsibility and empowerment creates more changes for good and more chances to win. So naturally it becomes quintessential for every department, every unit, every organisation, every economy, every government to create more and effective leaders than ever before. It promises more innovation, more tasks completed, more projects concluded, more promises achieved and most of all more trust from people than ever before.

Having mentioned the above 3 qualities which i already mentioned in the first part, i am now moving on to the next lessons to be learnt from the Ramayana. Lord Rama, was a man of pure and fair compassion towards all. When he was asked to go on 14 years in the Jungles, he started off from Ayodhya being followed constantly by the citizens of Ayodhya. So much was his love for his people that he let them follow him until he was sure that they would be satisfied to have been with him. But the moment they fell asleep in the banks of Tamasa, he silently left them to move into forests. Such was his compassion and love for even the citizens of the nation to which he was a prince.

Lord Rama, along with his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana went to the forests but stopped at one place and waited for long hours for a friend. He was a hunter and king of the jungle Saraayu. His name was Guha. It is written in Valmiki Ramayana that Lakshmana was amazed and puzzled by the compassion and love of Lord Rama that made him wait for an ordinary hunter for so long. When Guha heard the news that Lord Rama was in his jungle Kingdom, he jumped in joy like a baby and came yelling & running towards the Lord. But when he was near the Lord, he became calm and peaceful and did not know what to do next. Such was his respect for the Lord, that even though Lord Rama considered him as his best friend, Guha always respected the Lord for his great virtues. But Lord Rama, seeing this hesitation, hugged Guha and embraced him like a mother who embraces his son who returns home after long years. He caught the hands of the Hunter and pulled him towards Lakshmana and said “Dear Lakshmana, do you remember him ? He is the King of this jungle, the King of Saraayu and my dear friend Guha”. Rama never mentioned the word Hunter to Lakshmana or Sita while introducing. Such was his pure compassion for all human beings irrespective of their status, position, caste, creed, or region. When Lord Rama was later in Lanka, he welcomed Vibishana, the brother of his own enemy King Ravana to his side and embraced him like a brother. He knew that Vibishana was although the brother of the Demon King Ravana, he still had his heart full of pure devotion and love for the Lord. He made him his best friend instantly even though there were some arguments and feelings against this in his camp. Lord Rama even disarmed the King Ravana on the first battle and sent him home to come the next day with more weapons. He had the wonderful spirit of truth and a heart of Gold that led him to this path where he could see even his enemy with eyes of compassion and love. He showed humanity to his enemy too. His love and never ending compassion for his loyal bhaktha Shri Hanuman is something that has no boundaries. Lord Shri Hanuman too reciprocates it by never allowing the Lord Rama to walk on bare foot from the time he saw Hanuman till the time he reached back Ayodhya. Lord Hanuman himself had a great compassion for everyone he dealt with. This quality is again the make of a true leader. Every leader should trust his followers and he must show equal treatment and thereby a virtue of dealing fair and clean with all his people. That again proves the fact that he needs to have the heart to deal with people with respect and love. He needs to respect their space, their emotions, their beliefs and guide them the most compassionate way.

The most rightful and suitable quality of Lord Rama comes from the duty that he had to perform as a Kshatriya ( Warrior ) is the quality of Courage. Courage does not mean walking into the river full of crocodiles and challenge to fight them all inside water. That would be called as Foolishness. Real courage comes not from fighting or doing brave things, but from the mental and soulful stability to take both happiness and sadness in the most composed and calm manner. It is the firm heart that can take any feelings in the same pattern that is really a courageous one or a brave heart. It is the quality of a leader when he must be ready to put himself in a big risk when it demands for the situation where he fights for the truth and the well being of his people.

I remember an incidence from my youth when two of my friends had a big fight over a major issue that could have split them both apart. They were the thickest friends i knew of at that age. I expected the following days to be bitter and unhappy for all of us. But what turned out as a real surprise was, one of them came over to the other and infront of all of us confessed his real mistake and accepted his fault. He was genuinely feeling sorry for what he did. That changed my opinion about him. This young man showed extremely high courage that made him say the truth and accept his mistake. That is real courage.

Lord Rama had the most deserving and the most remarkable courage as a Prince that has ever been displayed by any one from the Past. He had the courageous heart of a lion that could take both extreme Happiness and extreme Sadness that came across him every time with the same pattern. He did not celebrate happiness nor did he mourned the sadness. He remained calm all through his life and displayed great courage. This indeed is the prime quality of a leader who wishes to take big risks. He needs pure heart and confidence to display such courage in each of his decision he takes. He needs courage to take calculative risks, he needs courage to accept major changes, he needs courage to face the competition, accept his weakness, and to remain modest and calm in all days no matter if they are fine or not.

8 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the Ramayana – Part 2

  1. Excellent blog.

    In every chapter of Ramayanam, the author brings in certain principles of management studies, giving relevant examples from the famous epic.
    For example, teamwork is an important principle in management, and Rama applied the same in search of Sita and was successful in the mission. Another one is in an organisation one must be treated affectionately which Rama did when he met Guhan and Vibhishana. Management principles such as encouraging lower category of employees, rewards for good work, self-motivation, decision-making, recognition, market survey, market exploitation, time management and the art of communication are aligned with instances in the epic.. The book is a valuable one, giving new interpretation to Ramayana

  2. Thank your for this! It’s helped prepare me for the essay I have to write tomorrow in my world literature class tomorrow. =)

    1. Im happy my blogs help some people around the world. Good for you – you have chosen a great topic for your world literature class as Ramayana is one of the greatest epic known to man.

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