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

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SUTRA 12

LOVE IS THE LEADER’S ESSENCE; LOVE IS THE LEADER’S PRESENCE

Arjuna asks Krishna about the path and practice of devotion. He wonders which of the two is better: to be devoted to the form of the divine or to his formless essence? Krishna explains that a devotee draws his inspiration from the source of love that integrates the human and the divine. A devotee’s work therefore becomes love made visible. Krishna is telling Arjuna, “Do not try to manipulate the result of your work in the direction of what you alone would like the work to be. Do not dedicate your attention to the urges of your ego. When you renounce your need for censure or praise from the outside world, you will acquire a silence and steadiness of devotion to your work. That’s when you will come close to me. That’s when you would be dear to me.”

LEADERSHIP IS LOVE MADE VISIBLE

Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic, now a Harvard professor who teaches a popular course called Authentic Leadership, says to his class, “You have a choice between seeking the world’s esteem and being grounded in your own intrinsic desire.” One can hear in Bill’s assertion the echoes of what Krishna advises Arjuna on the art of becoming an ideal devotee:

A true devotee works independently of the world outside and draws his inspiration, equanimity, and ecstasy from the source within himself.

(12.16)

Bill George is not unlike many other CEOs who discover that the journey from the head to the heart is one of the most difficult and most profoundly ...

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