Kṛṣṇa talks about the practical aspects of why a leader needs to act in a responsible manner. With responsibility, you experience the space of leadership consciousness, Īśvaratva.
Responsibility is thinking, feeling, acting, responding and cognizing from the truth that you are the Source of everything!
There is a difference between the state of a leader and the status of a leader. Most of us want to attain the status of a leader but not the state. When you achieve the status of the leader, it is ego-fulfilling and you feel great. Some politicians are good examples for this. They exert the power of their position on others without even feeling responsible. They were a little more dominating and convincing than the people whom they were trying to dominate, that’s all. It is not that they were more intelligent or more capable.
The state of the leader is something totally different. It is the state of the leader born from the principle of responsibility that enriches people to become responsible. Problems of all kinds, ranging from stress to discontentment and violence, result because the leader has achieved the status and not the state.
A leader with the status remains only as a slave. A leader with the state takes the responsibility to create more and more responsible leaders. Only when you express all the possibilities out of liberation cognition, are you living your life. Life is lived when jīvanmukta saṁbhāvana, the space of possibility, the space of leadership becomes your lifestyle. Nothing else is required for you to be a leader; just leadership consciousness is enough.
When Vivekananda walked the length and breadth of India, he did not have anything other than leadership consciousness in his life. But wherever he went, kings washed his feet, gave their own thrones for him to sit on, received his blessings and guidance, and requested his spiritual support.
Responsibility is thinking, feeling, acting, responding and cognizing from the truth that you are the Source of everything! It is responsibility that makes you realize all possibilities. It is leadership consciousness that brings not just success, but fulfillment in you.
I have seen thousands of politicians who have power without having the state of leadership consciousness. Sometimes, people sit on the throne or get the power and become power centers, without having the state of a leader. I have seen them dying in depression or suffering in suffocation, due to the power! They never enjoy the power. Unless you achieve the state, the status is a liability! If you have not achieved the state, the status binds you and also brings suffering to others. The state of responsibility, the state of leadership consciousness, Īśvaratva has to be achieved first. When you do not carry the consciousness of a leader, even if you get the powers of the leader, you are bound by it and you also bind the people who accept you as leader and follow you.
Leadership consciousness is an independent intelligence; it cannot be hidden from others. Once you have it, the whole world will know that you have it; the world simply listens to you! You do not need any power, political strength or infrastructure for the world to know that you are a leader. Even if you walk on the street, you will stand tall, as a man among men; what Kṛṣṇa names Arjuna as puṛuṣarṣabha, the best among men. And the world will respect you!
Listen! I am NOT talking to you about some corporate values and principles, or on something that Ṛṣis, Vedic Seers have uttered in the Upaniṣhads. I am talking to you about what I have directly experienced, which you have to experience. I am talking from the context of being responsible for making you responsible.
Be very clear, the person who talks has only one reason, making you responsible. I am responsible to make you experience responsibility as I have experienced it. A person with wealth is responsible to guide a poor man to wealth. A person with knowledge is responsible to make ignorant people knowledgeable! When you own, you become responsible to make everyone own. Because I own responsibility, I own the responsibility of making everyone own responsibility.
Kṛṣṇa, who owns responsibility, the space of leadership consciousness, Īśvaratva, is making Arjuna own responsibility. Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Whatever action is performed by a great person, others follow. O Pārtha, there is nothing that I must do in the three worlds. Neither am I in want of anything. Yet, I am always in action.’
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tad tad evetaro janaḥ I
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute lokas tad anuvartate II 3.21
nānavāptam avāptavyaṁ varta eva ca karmaṇi II 3.22
There are only two types of human beings on planet Earth, those who feel responsible for everything and those who don’t feel responsible for anything. People who feel responsible become leaders. People who don’t feel responsible continue to be slaves. There are some people who don’t feel responsible even for their own actions because they forget their action is going to bring its result. Many times, even when they plan out a business, they only plan out the people they will hold responsible if it fails! They don’t plan to make it successful.
Plan for success! Don’t plan for failure. Right when you start planning, if you wonder ‘If this fails what do I do?’, you immediately think, ‘I will hold him responsible!’ But holding the other responsible is not going to bring you success. Even as the thought, ‘I will hold him responsible’ arises, cut it. I always tell my disciples, ‘Take responsibility for practicing what I teach you by bringing authenticity into every action. Don’t just preach what I teach. Only by example can you cause others’ reality and radiate the teachings powerfully.’
Deep understanding and experiential expression of the truth happens only with taking responsibility for all your actions. Only when the space of leadership becomes your own experience does the responsibility become complete. Otherwise, if the understanding is just based on someone else’s words and experience, then there is always the possibility that anyone can come and shake your belief and you will either hold the situation or others responsible. The roots of responsibility, in this case, are not deep and strong enough to withstand all kinds of questions. Others’ questions are nothing but your own unanswered questions that you chose to suppress within you!
That is what happens to Arjuna as kurusattama, the leader of all Kuru warriors, as bharataṛṣabha, the best of Bhārata. Even though he takes the responsibility to fight and avenge the collective irresponsibility of the Kauravas, he falls from his space of leadership and gives reasons to escape his responsibility. Arjuna, the one of taintless, pure fame, becomes a slave to his incompletions. Only when he allows the Master to enrich him does he surrender to the Master of all masters, Jagadguru Kṛṣṇa as His disciple!
Unless we enrich ourselves and allow ourselves to be enriched by the Master, nothing good can happen to us. Allowing the Master to enrich you is the best way of enriching yourself. If you don’t enrich yourself, no one can save you. If you enrich yourself, whatever you touch will be successful. If you are in the space of completion, anything you touch will be successful. Powerfulness always showers success, it never brings failure. It is a law of life!
There are three types of people: the disciples (or the followers), the Masters, and the leaders (or guides).
The disciple is one who has not yet experienced and enriched himself with the teachings of the Masters, but who is authentically interested and has responsibly embarked upon the path. He needs some guidance on the path. He does not yet know how to practice what is being taught.
The Master is one who is in the eternal space of Īśvaratva, leadership consciousness and is in the ultimate experience of Enlightenment. Out of compassion, He enriches by showing the path of responsibility to reach His state to all those who would like to be in that state. It is not necessary for the Master to practice what He preaches because he is beyond the common rules of conduct. Masters need not follow what they tell you to do to reach their state. They understand the illusion of the physical plane that their body-mind system operates in. Whatever they may do physically is in a state of complete awareness.
I always tell people that they need to be aware and completely present when they eat. But if you have been around me, you will see that I never concentrate on my food when I eat. When I eat, I am reading or talking to someone. It is like this: For you, you have to meditate to be aware of the food you are consuming so that you eat only as much as is needed. But for me, if I am aware, I will not be able to eat the amount of food my body needs. I have to distract myself and remove the awareness, the self-remembrance, and only then will the food go inside! An enlightened being’s system is totally different from an ordinary person’s system.
A leader or guide is someone who is a spiritual activist, he is between the Master and the follower. He has not yet reached the ultimate state of the Master but he has had glimpses of that state. He is not as inexperienced as the follower. He is the bridge of responsibility to lead the follower to the Master.
One more thing: It is not that you need to practice the tattvas just so that others get inspired and enriched. Understand that the very practice will give deep understanding and completion to you. Automatically you cause what you want to cause in your life. That is the first effect, the actual result. Being an inspiration and causing the reality for others will be just a by-product. It will automatically result from the confidence of authenticity you radiate in your body language and the power of integrity you express in your words, when you enrich people out of the intelligence and strength of your own responsibility as a leader