KATHMANDU: In the last few articles, I wrote about the general and special qualities of leaders — the various dimensions of leadership and what it takes to be a true leader. I received a number of questions from readers and the general public on what are the spiritual qualities of a great leader. I now attempt to present the spiritual dimension of leadership.Spirituality is an all-encompassing view of life and truly the climax of human understanding and living, which is why, spiritual qualities are the foundational qualities of every human being and great leader. Spirituality simplifies everything and addresses human problems to the core. It specifies that there are three natural
qualities of a great leader: Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram. These are ‘straight north’ principles that continuously guide one towards excellence and provide a dynamic benchmark to test one’s progress.
Satyam is truthfulness, integrity, transparency, focus and undivided energy. It is about living a life with openness and without hypocrisy. This
demands that a leader’s vision, feelings, thoughts, speech and action must be in complete synchronicity with each other. Any mismatch between his thoughts and actions divides the energy leading in lack of focus and commitment. Lack of Satyam results in poor self-
esteem and inability to dedicate oneself to the larger purpose of life. This also erodes trust and confidence in people and the leader losses his base.
Shivam means something that is good for everyone and one that takes care of the welfare of the society at large. This quality demands that a leader should always be filled with thoughts of service and good feelings for everyone. Whereas Satyam is the result of inner-centeredness, Shivam is about outward expansion and social growth. Spiritual literatures talk about vasudhaiva kutumbakam, exhorting us to treat the entire universe as one family. For spirituality, service to humanity is service to self, because there is really no ‘other’. The entire movement of service and corporate social responsibility emanate from this quality.
Sundaram, literally meaning ‘beautiful’, is concerned with what we do, create, execute and perform as a leader. Spirituality emphasises on making the world more beautiful and a better place to live and experience the splendour of life. And we can do this by exploring the various dimensions of Sundaram, including creativity, innovation and power of imagination. Beauty is the central theme of creation and every leader must strive to achieve growth and development by keeping this is perspective.
Leadership is the growth and flowering of human consciousness towards these three dim-ensions. We can test our own progress as leaders against these three criteria. Truth, welfare and beauty are the manifest-ations of all our efforts. We have witnessed deterioration of leadership in our country in the past few decades due to our inability to understand the spiritual dimensions of leadership. We can rebuild our family, society, institutions, nation and the entire world by internalising these spiritual principles.
(The author is the president of Jeevan Vigyan Kendra, a modern spiritual organisation and principal of Apex College. He can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org)