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

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SUTRA 5

LEADERSHIP IS THE ART OF UNDOING

The State of Detached Engagement

Arjuna wants to know which of the paths will lead to the ultimate goal of life: performance of duty or renunciation of action. “Why praise renunciation and at the same time urge me to perform one action or the other?” Arjuna is asking whether he shall fight or seek peace. Krishna says that these are not conflicting but complementary—Arjuna will find peace only when he fights without being a fighter. This is a paradox Arjuna is not able to unravel. Arjuna is wondering why Krishna is urging him to fight while advocating renunciation at the same time. Krishna makes it clear that when action is unselfish, renunciation and performance of action mean the same thing. Thus, he initiates Arjuna into one of the greatest insights into action philosophy: Be totally engaged in whatever you have to do but detach your ego from the illusion of doer-ship. Krishna clarifies further: It is Nature that acts through us by engaging our sense organs in the world. Our innermost soul Self does nothing at all. The Self merely observes as the senses get busy at work: seeing, listening, eating, talking, breathing, and acting. The Self is like the CEO who keenly observes while all the other executives in his organization execute with flawless precision. Krishna points out to Arjuna the ultimate goal of detached engagement: a state of being in the zone of equanimity and unshakable equilibrium even in the middle of hectic activity.

HOW ...

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