Ramayana & Transformational Leadership


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This presentation was made at the International Conference on Sanskrit: Sanskrit in Asia, Unity in Diversity organized by Sanskrit Studies Centre, Silpakorn University, Imperial Queen Park Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, 23 – 26 June, 2005. If you are interested to read the full paper, please email me at mbalakrsna@yahoo.com

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Ramayana & Transformational Leadership

  1. 1. V almiki R amayana and Transformational Leadership By B alakrishnan M uniapan Sungai Petani, Kedah, MALAYSIA  
  2. 2. Abstract This paper explores and explains the transformational leadership style demonstrated by Sri Rama . Transformational leadership consisting four dimensions (4I’s) namely; Inspirational Motivation (IM), I dealized Influenced (II), Intellectual Stimulation (IS) and Individualized Consideration (IC) was developed by Bass & Avolio (1994). This paper is based on a qualitative research methodology called hermeneutics, which is the interpretation of ancient or classical literature ( Valmiki Ramayana ) and the review of literatures in transformational leadership .
  3. 3. Introduction Kujantam rama rameti madhuram madruraksaram; Aruhya kavita sakham vande valmiki kokilam   “ I salute Valmiki, the cuckoo, who, perching on the tree of poesy, melodiously sing the sweet syllables – Rama, Rama ” (Ranganathanda Swami cited in Subramaniam, 2003, pp vii). Valmiki Ramayana , in the Sanskrit literature is known as Adikavya or the first poem and Sri Valmiki Muni is known as Adikavi or the first poet Valmiki Ramayana offers many lessons in various fields by great personalities, Sri Rama exhibited great leadership qualities, which has transformed and continues to transform millions of people even today.
  4. 4. Valmiki Ramayana is the source of many other versions of Ramayana such as Adhyatma Ramayana (Sanskrit), Kamba Ramayana (Tamil), Tulsidas Ramayana (Hindi), Ezhuttachan Ramayana (Malayalam) and other Ramayanas in all the languages of the states in India and also in the South East Asian languages. As Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitamanas ( Tulsidas Ramayana ) said, `Ramakatha kai miti jaga nahi` - It is impossible to keep count of Ramakathas ( Ramayana versions) in this world (Sundaram, 2002) The stories and the personalities associated with the lila (pastimes) of Sri Rama have captured the hearts of over three billion people worldwide. ‘Ram katha jag mangal karni’ quotes Tulsidas, which means the story of Sri Rama will bring about the good of the world (Sharma, 2002).
  5. 5. A Veda (knowledge) by itself was revealed by Sri Valmiki Muni, in the form of Ramayana when Sri Rama , the goal of Vedas came as the son of King Dasaratha (Vedavedye pare punsi jate Dasarathatmaje; Vedah prachetasadasit sakshadramayanatmana). Valmiki Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses divided into six Kandas (sections) namely Bala, Ayodhya, Aranya, Kishkinda, Sundara and Yuddha Kanda. A seventh Kanda named Uttara Kanda stands apart from the main epic (Tapasyananda, 1991). The narration of Valmiki Ramayana revolves around the life and character of Sri Rama who was born to King Dasaratha – the King of Ayodhya . Sri Valmiki Muni portrays Sri Rama as an ideal king, ideal son, ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal friend, ideal student and ideal enemy.
  6. 6. Objectives of the Paper This paper specifically explores and explains the transformational leadership exhibited by Sri Rama as narrated by Valmiki Muni in Ramayan a. Research works exploring and explaining the Ramayana ( Vedic literatures) in the context of modern management and leadership are limited. Ramayana has a lot to offer to management and leadership , however there is a lack of awareness of the message and lessons from Ramayana in leadership in this 21 st century. The transformational leadership exhibited by Sri Rama is a model and a guideline for every leader at any levels of organization, society and country.
  7. 7. Leadership Leadership is an art (not science) of influencing, motivating, inspiring, and transforming people ( human resources ) towards achieving organizational goals. The leader is the most important element in leadership . Napoleon once said that he would have an army of rabbits led by a lion than a army of lion led a a rabbit (Sheh, 2003)
  8. 8. Transformational Leadership Bass & Avolio (1994) states that there two types of leadership; Transactional Leadership and Transformational Leadership Burns (1978) characterized transformational leadership as a process that motivates followers by appealing to higher ideals and moral values. Transformational leaders are able to define and articulate a vision and mission for their organization and departments and their leadership style can transform their followers towards higher performance Transactional leadership focuses on exchange on valued things (rewards) and how current needs of followers can be fulfilled (Bass & Avolio, 1994)
  9. 9. “ If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to go to the forest to gather wood, saw it, and nail the planks together (Transactional Leader) Instead, teach them the desire to explore the sea (Transformational Leader) .” Transformational Leadership
  10. 10. Traits of a Transformational Leader 1. Transformational leaders are visionaries - Sri Rama created future vision for Ayodhya and the vision was clearly communicated to the people of Ayodhya before leaving to the forest. 2. Transformational leaders are change agents - Sri Rama changed the kingship of Kiskhinda from Vali to Sugriva and the kingship of Lanka . 3. Transformational leaders - are courageous people. Sri Rama was firm and brave to take all the risk to protect the words his father (King Dasaratha) gave to Kaikeyi
  11. 11. Traits of a Transformational Leader 4. Transformational leaders believe in people - Sri Rama had complete trust and belief in Sugriva to recover Sita. 5. Transformational leaders are value driven - Sri Rama , never deviated or deviates from the words he had and has given. 6. Transformational leaders are life long learners - Sri Rama , a perfect example of life of learner. 7. Transformational leaders have the ability to deal with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty - Sri Rama had to make the painful decision to banish Sita from Ayodhy a.
  12. 12. The Four (4) Dimensions of Transformational Leadership Idealized Influence (II) - the people of Ayodhya were full of loyalty and adoration to Sri Rama , which resulted them to follow him ( Sri Rama ) and to request Sri Rama to return to their kingdom ( Ayodhya ). Intellectual Stimulation (IS) - The intellectual stimulation provided by Sri Rama forced Bharata to think and rethink some of the ideas that he never questioned before.
  13. 13. The Four (4) Dimensions of Transformational Leadership Inspirational Motivation (IM) - Hanuman crossed the ocean to Lanka and found Sita. Sri Rama also exhibited inspirational motivation to the vanaras in the construction of the bridge to Lanka . Individualized Consideration (IC) - it is my vow to provide shelter and protection to any living entity from fear, even if Ravana comes for protection, he ( Sri Rama) will give protection. (Sakrudeva prapannaya tavasmiti cha yachate; Abhayam sarva bhutrbhyo dadamyetadh vratam mama).
  14. 14. Sri Rama exhibits inspirational motivation to the vanaras (monkeys) in the construction of the bridge to Lanka
  15. 15. Conclusion   Concluding sargas (chapters) of Yuddha Kanda and in Uttara Kanda describe the results and outcome of Sri Rama’s transformational leadership . Vikasa (2000) described leadership of Ayodhya , during Sri Rama’s reign. All citizens were fully righteous, always looking towards Sri Rama as their lord and master. Beyond that they saw Sri Rama as their life and soul. All talk centered around Sri Rama . The entire Ayodhya transformed into Vaikunta.
  16. 16. Sri rama rama rameti rame rame manorame; Sahasra nama tat tulyam rama nama varanane Thank you Balakrishnan Muniapan [email_address]