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Narian Chengiah Naidoo
 
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The True Leader

01 April 2014, 08:48

According to Indian Mythology, the greatest quality of a leader is not to create, but to be a tool of sustainability. This principle, like many others in mythology can be applied to most situations in life in the most effective manner.
 

Indian Mythology revolves around three primary symbols:  Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the sustainer), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Ironically, the only God from among these that is not worshipped by followers of Hinduism is Brahma, the Creator. The art of creation, is said to be a selfish pursuit of the creator, who, in an attempt to find more meaning to his existence and to attain his own goals of self actualization, ‘creates’. While creation is an important element in the world, sustenance is what ensures the longevity of the creation. Vishnu, the god of sustenance, with the help of Shiva, lays down principles and guidelines that enable mankind to sustain itself in a world that Brahma has created.  Vishnu therefore is revered and worshipped by his followers, as he shows them the means to sustain themselves in world of anger, deceit, jealousy, insecurity and desire. Shiva on the other hand is worshipped for the detachment he preaches, as he claims that what is created will be inevitably destroyed.
 

There are important inferences that can be drawn from the above description of the basis of Indian Mythology. Take for example a family, where the creation of the father and mother is the child. While the gift of life is important, what epitomizes parenthood is the education and upbringing that parents give to their children to help them through the challenges that nature presents to their sustenance.  Eventually, as the child grows to become a man, parents would be well advised to recognize their offspring’s individuality and provide the maximum degree of independence to enable their son or daughter to realize their dreams. This comes through detachment.
 

An entrepreneur’s biggest challenge is to sustain his profits once the business has been established. Moreover he needs to detach himself from his business and make practical decisions about its future, keeping all emotions aside. Vishnu and Shiva provide rich insight into both these aspects.
 

Vishnu is pictorially represented with a set of tools that enable him to guide his followers. These are The Shunk (a blow horn), the Chakra (a wheel), the Gada (an ancient Indian club), and a Lotus Flower. The Shunk stands for effective communication, the Chakra stands for constant check and review, the Gada stands for discipline and the Lotus flower stands for reward.  These are qualities needed for sustenance and can be practiced in daily life.
 

The key inference that can positively influence our lives is that the power to sustain is greater than the power to create. Moreover, it is important to remember that all things good or bad come to an end and therefore, detachment is an important part of life. Lastly, the ones that are revered and worshipped are those who either maintain a calm, sustainable consistency in daily life or those who know how to detach themselves from temporary emotions and material objects.  The ones, who create, perform only a part of their duty and unless they complete the circle are rarely followed.  Leadership therefore is much more than only ideating and taking initiative. It involves developing mechanisms to implement the idea, coach stakeholders and develop contingency plans in the face of destruction.  

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