The Essential Leadership Wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita

The Essential Leadership Wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita

Patrick Kim Cheng Low (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and University of South Australia, Australia) and Balakrishnan Muniapan (Swinburne University of Technology (Sarawak Campus), Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/jabim.2011100101
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Abstract

The Bhagavad Gita, a part of the Mahabharata composed more than 5,000 years ago by Vyasa, is a timeless leadership classic and its wisdom is highly relevant to leaders of today. Here, in this paper, the authors examine the various tenets of the Bhagavad Gita and provides its wisdom to contemporary leadership. Some of these teachings will certainly inspire the leaders to change from within and transform their leadership from transactional to transformational and towards transcendental. In presenting this wisdom, the authors have employed hermeneutics, which is a method to interpret ancient texts combined with some qualitative inputs received from leadership seminar participants. This paper is significant for both leadership theory and practice.
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2. Paper’S Aim And Objectives

This paper will explore the ancient truths from the Bhagavad Gita for our modern world and these will be related to the art and wisdom of leadership. In this paper, the various tenets of the Bhagavad Gita will be examined, and they or their relevance floated out and applied to the leadership basics. The Bhagavad Gita’s ethical principles start from what is good: specifically the moral issue of whether it is right for Arjuna, the warrior to fight and to kill his kinsmen in the battle. It is widened out to consider the kind of life that would be most fulfilling for Arjuna and in fact, for anyone of the leaders. The issues here are not what we would usually think of as moral but rather ones of value (axiology). Discussing what the most desirable kinds of life are is closely linked to the world picture, the metaphysics, of the Bhagavad Gita. In this regard, when applying the Bhagavad Gita to our leadership ways, when we lead, we would want to ask ourselves are we leading in a way that is morally good or ethical as well as with the peace of mind and for total goodness for the greatest number of people; in short, the authors would also want to make key lessons of the Bhagavad Gita useful and utilitarian. Or at least provoke us into thinking more on our leadership ways and improve on these ways.

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