Friday, September 19, 2014

Yearning, thy name is Radha

The historicity of Lord Krishna is a subject of active mainstream scholarship. That an amazing, unparalleled, magical being once walked on this earth a little over 5000 years ago, that there was in our midst an divine person who changed and directed the course of history and philosophy in his time and has inspired humanity as no one ever has since his advent  is no longer a question or matter that is doubt. The current human endeavour seems to be directed towards understanding and knowing this Supreme Hari better and finding his presence through scientific as well as spiritual means. Please see the reference section for a few excellent links on this topic.

However a question is that is sometimes asked is who is Radha, Krishna's eternal consort. Who is this devotee numero uno, only by whose graces may the Lord be attained. While the purans seem to attest Lady Satyabhama and Lady Rulmini as the principal wives of Lord Krishna, beyond his divine pasttime in the enchanted Vrindavan, why is it that Sri Radha, who the Lord is always pictured with in modern iconography, never mentioned?

Sri Radha, I believe is more than just one historical person who existed. She has become the personification of the yearning for the Lord that resides in heart and consciousness  of the devotee. As a historical person one may yet discover her in the magical forests of Vrindaban and one hopes that such a day dawns soon. But there is no doubt that a true devotee can feel her blessed presence in their hearts lighting up the path of para bhakti. She appears as guide, as a friend, as a mother who takes her children by their hands and guides them to their eternal destination - The Lotus feet of Lord Krishna, She is that cocoon of light and warmth that envelops the devotee in a motherly embrace when he looses his consciousness and identity into the infinite-ness of Hari naam, of Krishna naam.

But, most importantly and most often, she appears as a boundless yearning for Krishna, that sometimes breaches the embankments of the eye lids and flow out as streams of tears.

Recently an animated movie depicted the Radha bhava or Radha conciousness in a beautiful way. It showed the Lord as a child enchanting the whole of Vrindaban in his divine flute play, but when the music stopped it was only Radha who kept swaying as if to the tune of some unheard music. The Krishna music that she was dancing to came not from without, but from within which manifests as an unceasing stream of melody.  That truly is Radha's love and Radha's devotion.

No doubt Radha's name preceeds Krishna's when they are remembered together. It is always Radha-Krishna, Radha-Madhava, for Radha is indeed the true yearning for Krishna that leads a devotee to him.

Radhe, Radhe,


Saturday, September 13, 2014


Why is it that there are a few leaders who are able to galvanize and rally people for a greater cause, when many others who would have this moniker applied to them merely end up being pushy individuals that you would normally want to avoid.

The answer is in the simple word -- Vision.

Vision is a highly abused word, and it is thrown around in most humorous ways by people. The situation that I find most funny is when some clueless set of people sit around in board rooms to arrive some futuristic vision for an organization.  Each of the participant will typically say something heavy sounding about a future point in time, sometimes simply because they want to make their presence felt or because their boss is in the room as well. Sticky notes will be used in wild abandon, while boards messed up with an universe of unreadable doodles. Finally the fearless leader in the room shall stitch together a convoluted sentence using words from various sentence and voilĂ  - A vision is ready

Something oozing with creative juices. Such as:

We are the best jacket makers, encouraging innovation and ensuring humane killing of animals whose hide we use, through six sigma quality processes , so that citizens of Timbaktoo feel impelled to buy these apprehending a global cooling at some distant time in future.


We exist to leverage the synergies between the watch manufactures in North Antarctica and the igloo heating needs of Eskimos of the Arctic, while exhibiting our deeply felt social responsibility towards the bushmen of Kalahari by ensuring an constant supply of soda bottles to the inner reaches, through cost effective solar powered non polluting vehicles drawn by the penguins of Antarctica desirous to explore the new educational vistas that would be rendered open to them.

The reason that these Vision Statements don't work is because they mean nothing, paint no picture in front of our eyes. They are pasted in the walls of Corporates to be ignored until the next version of equally inane vision statements take their place to be ignore with equal gusto.

Recently I have been in a set of meetings that have been completely different. It started with a offsite at a nearby town for a couple of days and before long the entire group who were in the offsite were buzzing with excitement and activity.  It has been over a month since that and the excitement continues to grow and spread across to the entire org...

So what was different..

The difference was how our leader galvanized the whole team by painting a vision of future that we could connect to, at the very inception. Telling a story that was challenging but realistic. Something that would need an entire organization to rise together, move through a  trajectory to reach a promised future. A future that we could see and were excited about.  That was the secret sauce.

As I thought through this whole thing I released that this approach had worked for me in the past as well, Every time I was able to paint a vision of what the shape of future would be and provide a way to get there I was able to infuse energy into my team or my customers.  When people are excited by the vision of a future and see a way to get to it, they work like supermen to make that a reality.

No one perhaps realized this better than Lord Krishna. If you analyze Mahabharata purely from a management and leadership perspective it is clear that it is the victory of a Vision of righteousness painted by the Lord against a utter lack of that in the side of Kauravas. This vision made the Pandava army perform like super warrior and vanquish a much larger army of Kauravas. Lord Krishna no doubt was the biggest visionary that ever set foot of earth but then he is "Bhagavan Himself". Every step of his life as documented and known to us shows Vision and purpose to uplift and free mankind. 

Netaji Subhash Bose is another person in recent history who led with Vision and captured India and the world's imagination . Jamshedji Tata, Bill and Dave and many others have similarly been visionaries, the path set by whom still act as a inspiration to many.

So...  As a leader if you ever get to a situation where you see confused expression in the faces of your people, a reluctance to follow you, Ask yourselves the following questions..
  • Do I know whether I want to lead my people?  Is it a destination that is worthy?
  • Do they understand the vision? Does it paint a picture for them when the close their eyes?
  • Can I show them a map of getting there that they would believe?
  • Are they inspired at the thought of this journey
If the answer of even a single question is a NO, your vision is still not a mature one and home work is in order.  If all answers are YES but you still have confused looks it is likely that you would need to communicate better..

However, if you are lucky to reach a point where your team resonates with with picture you paint for them, give yourself a light pat on back, you could have well be on your way to becoming a visionary...