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

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SUTRA 17

LEADERS FOLLOW THEIR FAITH

The Journey of Self-Giving

Arjuna quizzes Krishna on the nature of faith and its relationship with the real world. Krishna answers by saying that in the human constitution, faith is the deep structure of not just our purest spiritual quests but also our worldly passions and our blind prejudices. Faith embraces the whole range of our beliefs and behaviours from the mystical to the mundane. Krishna counsels Arjuna on three kinds of faith based on three types of human nature: slothful, dynamic, and illumined. From slothful inertia to dynamism and then onto illumination is the story of the evolution of the human mind. The three kinds of faith that Krishna alludes to play out in the daily lives of leaders. They show up in the kinds of work leaders engage in, the food they like, the way they speak, and the gifts they give.

Finally, Krishna talks about Self-reliance as the greatest gift that a leader can give to a follower.

FAITH: THE DEEP STRUCTURE OF LEADERSHIP

Arjuna asks Krishna, “What is faith? Is it purity, passion, or sheer ignorance?” Krishna answers that faith is inherent in the human heart. Faith is the deepest driving force that shapes a human being’s values and beliefs. It is faith that shapes one’s destiny:

The faith of every human is according to his nature. By nature he is full of faith. A man is in fact what his faith makes him.

(17.3)

Let us take the example of two corporate leaders from different parts of the world who build successful ...

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