Successful leaders lead from within

Successful leaders lead from within

The challenge of effective leadership has two aspects that are integral to it. These might be termed outer development and inner development. Inner development is more important than outer development.

Inner development is about realizing the perfection present within from individual experience. This is what Swami Vivekananda meant when he said that education is the manifestation of the perfection inherent in man.

Outer development is gross while inner development is supple and subtle. Outer development cannot lead to inner development but inner development can lead to outer development. It is important to develop both with the strong conviction that the inner space needs to grasped for what it really represents because it is no less than the seat of intuitive and transcendental knowledge.

This is why visionary leaders listen to their inner selves. Indeed, they find it impossible to lead without that inner conversation. Examples of such leaders include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama. There are many more. There are numerous stories (all of them true) of how Alexander the Great was humbled by Indian sages.

King Ashoka, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Gautama Buddha, Nelson Mandela are yet other examples. But there are still others from the arts to the corporate world. There is no doubt about the fact that leaders realize the best they have in themselves when they realize that they are but instruments of a Higher Power.

The current challenge in India that is both urgent and compelling is the challenge of leadership. While the country has reached a watershed moment in her history and is poised to play a greater role in world affairs, it clearly lacks the leadership to take it forward. The crisis of leadership in India is a direct result of the fact that people occupying leadership positions lack the wherewithal to deal with the challenges they confront because they have not been through a trial by fire.
Successful leaders are unafraid of the trial by fire. Lord Jesus spent forty days in the desert and resisted temptation offered by  Satan. Waging war, King Ashoka realized its utter futility. King Bhoja realized that he could not measure up to the greatness of King Vikramaditya. The hunter Ratnakar became renowned as the Sage Valmiki when Narada made him to realize that even his own family was unwilling to share his karma.The successful leader functions from the seat of transcendental wisdom.

This is why realized souls are the most effective leaders. India is fortunate to have a plethora of them: Sadguru Sri Sharavana Baba, Mata Amritanandamayi, Srimad Sri Rajarajeshwari, Narayani Amma, Mother Meera are some of the names that come to mind. When in trouble, always approach such a Guru.

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