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Timeless Leadership: 18 Leadership Sutras from the Bhagavad Gita by Debashis Chatterjee

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SUTRA 3

KARMA YOGA

Leaders Enter the Timeless Cycle of Action

Arjuna thinks that the path of knowledge and action are separate. Krishna points out that these two paths are complementary like the two sides of the same coin. Arjuna is looking for a simpler answer. He is not able to reconcile a life of contemplative knowledge and the path of “terrible action” that the war demands. Krishna tells Arjuna that wisdom truly reveals itself in an unselfish action. He points out that action is unavoidable as it is inherent in the three modes of Nature. He reveals to Arjuna the timeless cycle of action in which work is an act of sacrifice for the perpetuation of the cycle. This sutra is an unfolding of karma yoga—or the timeless leader’s path of enlightened action.

ARJUNA’S DILEMMA: THE WARRIOR AS WORRIER

If you say, O Krishna, that knowledge is superior to action,

Why then do you engage me in such terrible action?

(3.1)

Arjuna’s dilemma comes straight from his divided mind. He wants to split his own world into two halves: thought and action. In many ways, Arjuna is like most leaders who are caught in the emotional bind where thoughts often do not translate into action. Many CEOs state this as one of their usual problems. They say, “I know that I have to urgently act on a few things that are important to me as well as to the organization, but I never get around to doing them.” Very typically the sore points of inaction and indecision happen to be those that require the CEO to go through major ...

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