To provide answers for what makes for effective leadership in the times of a crisis like the one the world is faced with today, a thought provoking discussion between global humanitarian and spiritual master Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living and eminent leaders from Nepal including Supreme Court judges, former secretary-general of UN, leading sportsmen, and spiritual leaders concluded last week on the topic “Role of inspirational leadership in these uncertain times“.
Role of Inspirational Leadership in Uncertain times
The dignitaries included Hon. Sapna Pradhan Malla, Justice, Supreme Court of Nepal, Bandana Rana, UN CEDAW Committee, Kula Chandra Gautam, Former Asst. Secretary General, UN, Dr. Shankar Prasad Sharma, Former Ambassador of Nepal to the US, Paras Khadka, leading Nepalese cricketer and Ani Choying Drolma, Buddhist nun and musician from Nagi Gompa Nunnery, among other esteemed guests.
Gurudev founded The Art of Living in 1982, which has today grown to 155 countries reaching out to over 450 million people, being one of the largest volunteer based organizations engaged in several service initiatives including education, trauma relief, conflict resolution, environmental conservation, and promoting human values and diversity. Given that India and Nepal are a country of young today, keen to learn the secret of a good leader from the master himself, the panelists sought to know what can fill the leadership gap in the current times when there are few leaders for the youth to look up to.
Talking to the panelists Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar said that people with negative mindsets are few in number but are very active and people with positive mindset are in abundance but are relatively quiet. He also said that it is important for a leader to aspire to have a good and clean reputation whether in power or not. Answering to a question from Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam on leadership crisis in present times he added that a political leader should first put the interest of the nation and have a sense of sacrifice. His outlook should be like that of a soldier who is ready to sacrifice his life for the nation. He also pointed out that the problem in Asian countries is that of having multiple parties with multiple interests pulling them in different directions which lead to corruption and poor leadership.
Answering a question on leadership post-COVID pandemic Gurudev added that before every new beginning there is chaos and bliss emerges from chaos. “There will definitely be a shift towards a more resilient and humane, compassionate society. So I keep giving this assurance every day to people, not to panic but instead invoke the valor in you and keep marching ahead.”
On a question from Nirvana Chaudhary, MD of CG Global and VC of Chaudhary Foundation on how to handle unproductive situations which cause hindrance in the path of growth Gurudev said that this is why spiritual strength is required which will helps overcome obstacles. Giving the example of how the gold shines more as it is beaten more by the goldsmith, or sugar cane is crushed to extract its juice, Gurudev said in life people with higher goals will face many obstacles but will finally be victorious. Such leadership will act as an example for others to follow, truth will always win.
Ani Drolma concluded the panel discussion with a soulful Buddhist hymn for humanity.