How Relevant Are Leadership Lessons from an Ancient Indian Classic?


Arjuna and Krishna as depicted on the 1980s co...

Arjuna and Krishna as depicted on the 1980s cover of Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

With iconic corporate leaders like Rajat Gupta, former managing director of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., being convicted of insider trading, notions of leadership and corporate ethics are once again in the spotlight. In his recent book, Timeless Leadership: 18 Leadership Sutras from The Bhagavad Gita, Debashis Chatterjee, director of the Indian Institute of Management in Kozhikode, has tried to glean universal principles of leadership from the ancient classic.

 

The Bhagavad Gita, also referred to as The Gita, comprises about 700 verses and is part of the ancient Indian classic,The MahabharataWhile The Mahabharata centers on the power struggle between two groups of royal cousins and their battle in Kurukshetra in North India, The Gita is a conversation between two of its main characters, Arjuna and his mentor Krishna, in the battlefield. Faced with the dilemma of waging war against his kin, Arjuna is paralyzed into inaction and turns to Krishna for counsel. Responding to Arjuna’s confusion, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and a prince and also expounds on a range of practical and philosophical issues. The setting of The Gita, in the midst of a battle, is widely considered as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of human life.

 

Continue reading on India Knowledge @ Wharton…

 

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