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Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita #41 – Mine or For me

Chapter 2, Verses 66 and 67

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य न चायुक्तस्य भावना |
न चाभावयत: शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुत: सुखम् || 66||

nāsti buddhir-ayuktasya na chāyuktasya bhāvanā
na chābhāvayataḥ śhāntir aśhāntasya kutaḥ sukham

nanot; astiis; buddhiḥintellect; ayuktasyanot united; nanot; chaand; ayuktasyanot united; bhāvanācontemplation; nanor; chaand; abhāvayataḥfor those not united; śhāntiḥpeace; aśhāntasyaof the unpeaceful; kutaḥwhere; sukhamhappiness

Translation : But an undisciplined person, who has not controlled the mind and senses, can neither have a resolute intellect nor steady contemplation on God. For one who never unites the mind with God there is no peace; and how can one who lacks peace be happy?

Link to the above verse – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/66

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते |
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि || 67||

indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi

indriyāṇāmof the senses; hiindeed; charatāmroaming; yatwhich; manaḥthe mind; anuvidhīyatebecomes constantly engaged; tatthat; asyaof that; haraticarries away; prajñāmintellect; vāyuḥwind; nāvamboat; ivaas; ambhasion the water

Translation : Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.

Link to the above verse – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/67

My interpretation –

A couple of days back, we had attended the fourth day puja ceremony of my ex-boss’ mother. The young man who sang the bhajans and gave a short discourse quoting the vedas and upanishads, said a very nice thing that stuck with me. He said, the mistake human beings make when they are alive is to believe that “things”, “people” etc are owned by them whereas they all are just “for” them. Things are to be used and people have to be loved but you don’t own either because come death, they all are left behind.

Bhagwan Krishna seems to be alluding to the same thing in these two verses. Our attachment to things, our need to “own” stuff is unbelievable. We clutter our homes, offices and minds so much, that there are people like Marie Kondo who make a living out of de-cluttering people’s homes !!! In the same way, nearly all relationship issues stem from the need to “own” the other person. Hey, that’s another human being, with different thoughts, different needs and a different outlook towards life.

The nasty mother-in-law is a possessive mother and a one-time victim daughter-in-law, who perpetuates the wonderful practise of interfering in her child’s life well past his middle age. You don’t “own” your children. You are their steward … enjoy their childhood, teach them to walk, run and fly, then step back and clap from the sides, suck in a full chest of air and slowly let it out.

In the corporate world, bosses don’t “own” their team members. They too have a “stewardship” role – identify potential, help your team member develop that potential and let them fly. Celebrate their success, a small part of it is because of your pat on his/her back. But no, we would like to “own” them, and mould them in our likeness :):).

The message in both the verses to me is very clear – stop wanting to “own” everything and everyone in your life. Things are there for you to use, you don’t have to fall in love with them, just treat them well so they serve you well. With people, let them free… no one can be “owned” by another. We all are on our own personal journeys and different people join the journey for different reasons and durations. Celebrate, love and let free.

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