Leadership Lessons - Bhagavad Gita

Leadership Lessons from Bhagavad Gita #31 – Consciousness


I am restarting my series on Bhagavad Gita from where I had left off in Aug. Am still in Chapter 2 :).

Today its verse 50 and 51 from Chapter 2.

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते |
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् || 50||

buddhi-yukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛita-duṣhkṛite
tasmād yogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśhalam

buddhi-yuktaḥendowed with wisdom; jahātiget rid of; ihain this life; ubheboth; sukṛita-duṣhkṛitegood and bad deeds; tasmāttherefore; yogāyafor Yog; yujyasvastrive for; yogaḥyog is; karmasu kauśhalamthe art of working skillfully

Translation – One who prudently practices the science of work without attachment can get rid of both good and bad reactions in this life itself. Therefore, strive for Yog, which is the art of working skillfully (in proper consciousness).

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/50

र्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिण: |
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ता: पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् || 51||

karma-jaṁ buddhi-yuktā hi phalaṁ tyaktvā manīṣhiṇaḥ
janma-bandha-vinirmuktāḥ padaṁ gachchhanty-anāmayam

karma-jamborn of fruitive actions; buddhi-yuktāḥendowed with equanimity of intellect; hias; phalamfruits; tyaktvāabandoning; manīṣhiṇaḥthe wise; janma-bandha-vinirmuktāḥfreedom from the bondage of life and death; padamstate; gachchhantiattain; anāmayamdevoid of sufferings

Translation – The wise endowed with equanimity of intellect, abandon attachment to the fruits of actions, which bind one to the cycle of life and death. By working in such consciousness, they attain the state beyond all suffering.

Link to the page – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/51

My interpretation –

Most of us sleepwalk through life. As soon as a child is born and is 3 years old, they are put into a play school and then the K12 school system takes over, suddenly the child is all stressed out because he or she is in the 12th standard and has to find college admission. Marks in the 12th std determine everything it seems. Parents are stressed out, children are stressed out. Some kids manage to get through to an Engineering course much to the delight (however short-lived) of their parents. Some children manage to get into a medical college. The large majority manage to get into some college to do some degree. Three to four years go by and then the pressure of getting a job. Some young people decide to live off their parents’ money and continue onto their post graduation or MBA. Then they start working in some company, get married, have children, buy a house, change jobs, get promoted and when they are about to celebrate their 40th birthday (only lucky ones do), suddenly deep questions about life pop up – “is this what I want to do everyday”, “I wanted to be a rock star, but am stuck in a sales job”, “What is the meaning of all this?”… the corporate world has given a nice name to it – Mid-life crisis.

You get the drift? Am sure many of you had to take a deep breath by the time you read the last line on the above paragraph, so you can imagine how it feels for someone who has lived that life or is going through it now. Why does it happen? It happens because we sleepwalk through life. At every stage of life its a choice and one needs to decide on the route to take – but we don’t pause and evaluate every option. The world, our friends and families tell us that we ought to move ahead in a certain way because thats what works best. Even when we see the same friends and family members being unhappy with their choices, we still believe their choices are better than what we choose for ourselves.

Krishnan and I have a simple policy – we evaluate the direction our life is taking every year on our anniversary. We constantly check back during the year and course correct, but our anniversary is the time that we do a thorough evaluation. Even before we got married, we had taken a few important decisions like not having a child. We were clear that if and when we felt like having a child, we would adopt. Life threw several curve balls our way, but we took our decisions after evaluating our likes and dislikes. If we took jobs that we didn’t like, we did it because it served a purpose. Once we reached a level of financial comfort, we stopped taking jobs that we didn’t like. We had clear plans on when to quit our full time work and pursue our life purpose of giving back to the community. We have made decisions that turned out to be wrong and we have course corrected, but we have always made decisions consciously. No sleepwalking through life. The good thing is, anyone can do it :).

This is what Lord Krishna is trying to say in these two verses – don’t sleepwalk through life, remain conscious and take conscious, well thought out decisions. Easy enough. Now go do it.

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2 replies »

  1. Superb ! I really admire your clarity and strength to pursue what works by taking conscious decisions… I hope we did too … and your idea of reviewing it yearly is an excellent way to keep track…. time to check ours 👍

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