Leadership crisis – Bhagavad Gita perspective

In last two years, there was leadership crisis in some major countries in the world. In USA, Donald Trump tried to block Joe Biden’s appointment as President. He had to be impeached. In UK, Boris Johnson proved to be an inefficient prime minister and was falling short of integrity in speech. He was forced to resign. Prince Andrew was stripped of his royalty. In Pakistan, Imran Khan was trying to block a no-confidence motion against him citing the involvement of CIA. He was impeached. In Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed to protect his country from financial bankruptcy. He was found to be corrupt. He was forced to resign. He was even ousted from his country. The world is falling short of leaders of character as well as competence.

The current predicament

Leaders are prioritizing their personal pleasure over people’s welfare (BG 16.10). Corruption is rampant (BG 16.11-12). There is favoritism for upper class. 17.85 million rupees was found by protesters at Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home. Leaders are trying to remain in power in deference to the public opinion. They are using their power to destroy their political enemies rather than serving people who elected them. The leaders want to suppress all opposition and destroy criticism against them (BG 16.13-15). They are using the power to benefit their family members and relatives and their close aides. Gotabaya had all his family members in the cabinet. Since their focus is on fulfilling their personal agendas, they do not have much energy for addressing the nation’s problems. As a result, they are losing their competence in that.

Need for conscious leadership

The quality for a good leader is generosity (BG 18.43). His purpose is welfare of people. His personal needs are secondary. His remaining in power is secondary. A good leader admits his limitations. He keeps a wise counsel of capable ministers. A good leader is open for constructive criticism. A good leader trains himself in virtue and spirituality. He trains his citizens in spirituality, virtue and sense control. A good leader is God-centered. He sees his subjects as children of God. He sees himself as an instrument of God. Being God-centered frees the leader of vice and fills him with virtue (BG 4.2). When a leader is God-centered, generous and virtuous, he will naturally focus and direct his energies and talents for public welfare. He will naturally become expert in predicting, preparing for and handling crisis (BG 18.43).

What we can do?

Charity begins at home. First we can be a good leader ourselves at home and job – being God-centered, generous and virtuous. When we set an example of virtue as much as possible in our job, it inspires others to adopt some virtue in their own jobs. We can also try as much as possible in our capacity to educate the leaders in our reach about generosity and virtue. We also need to emphasize the role of God consciousness in ensuring generosity and virtue. Apart from this, seeing the predicament of current society in hands of selfish and ignorant leaders, we can earnestly pray to Krishna to send good leaders who are generous, virtuous, responsible and spiritually focused.