By Gnanvatsaldas Swami
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a revered spiritual leader and the fifth spiritual guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). He was known for his exceptional leadership qualities and the ability to manage personal emotions while dealing in the professional sphere. In this article, we will delve deeper into his life and explore how his actions exemplify modern management principles.
Marjan Bolmeijer, a renowned executive leadership consultant, emphasizes the importance of a CEO’s senior team in his organization in his article “What It Takes to Be a CEO.” According to him, if a team works well together, it has a beneficial effect on the operational performance of the organization. Additionally, he discusses the importance of managing personal emotions while dealing in the professional sphere. As an organizational leader, the CEO must be in an emotionally right place and frame of mind so that employees can take their Emotional Quotient (EQ) from their leader.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj exemplified these principles in his actions during the Akshardham attack in 2002. Despite being deeply grieved, he remained calm and immediately prayed that no further lives be lost and that the situation be quickly brought under control. He then sent a group of swamis to Gandhinagar to help and guide the police and commandoes to defuse the situation. He also appealed for peace to the whole of Gujarat and for no backlash to occur. After the attack
was neutralized, he immediately went to Ahmedabad to meet the injured at the Civil Hospital. He visited the places in Akshardham where the terrorists had unleashed mayhem and prayed for the solace of those who had lost their lives or were injured. He also visited the spot where the terrorists had died and prayed for their souls and no one would ever think of committing such a horrific act anywhere in the world. Swamishri’s compassionate act became popularly known as the ‘Akshardham Response.’
Bolmeijer suggests that a successful leader needs to stock up on emotional intelligence. Pramukh Swami Maharaj possessed the highest level of emotional intelligence, which was evident from his work and services to others. His commitment and hard work inspired his disciples to endeavor and promote the message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and BAPS.
Even in his old age and ailing health, he continued his untiring vicharan. When asked to rest and stay in one place, he would say that when his gurus Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj did
vicharan till their last breath, then how could he remain seated and not follow his gurus’ footsteps?
Another aspect of social competency is the idea of developing others – to think and work in the direction of developing others. Swamishri sponsored the educational expenses of IPS officer Yashwant Jethva and inspired values and talents in him through the weekly satsang sabhas and services. He encouraged and supported him to study for the UPSC exams and serve the country.
Marshall Goldsmith, a globally renowned professional, who mentored senior executives of multinational corporates for more than three decades states, “In my vast experience of working with more than 100 CEOs I have learned that a large part of their success was due to soft skills like relationship management, personal growth and feelings.” When we understand this statement in the context of Swamishri’s life, he excelled on all these fronts. It was because of his understanding of the human virtues of care, compassion and consideration that he was able to create a mammoth force of youth volunteers and sadhus.
Thus, the way in which Swamishri executed and managed the BAPS can be assessed from multiple management viewpoints. Swamishri’s life included three main aspects: worshipping Bhagwan Swaminarayan, obeying his gurus Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj, and working for the betterment of society.