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The Servant Leadership

In 1970, American consultant Robert Greenleaf coined the term "Servant Leadership" in his essay titled "Servant as Leader". This created a new trend of working as a servant in management. This concept is still widely used in the corporate world with even lectures and seminars being held on it. Numerous people are still willingly adopting this method in their organisations. Lord Swaminarayan, who is an exemplary example of such a servant leader, has said that it is a fact that no one likes an arrogant servant. In the corporate world, the arrogant and conceited often seem to be the first to be replaced or eliminated. The corporate structure needs a low-profile and sensible leader. This is because such a leader creates a conducive environment in the office, which in turn results in the employees being 4.6 times more productive.

Let us look at an example. According to the scriptures, Sage Durvasa had a temperamental nature and it was difficult for others to adapt to his anger. Hence, no one would invite him to their home. Once he arrived at Lord Krishna’s palace as a guest. Lord Krishna served him happily. During his stay at the palace, the sage would sometimes singlehandedly eat thousands of portions of food, and other times he would eat very little. Sometimes he would run away from home. Other times he would weep too much. Everyone else was exasperated with this behaviour. However, Lord Krishna did not get tired or irritated. He continued to serve him dedicatedly. One day, the sage said that he wished to eat kheer. Lord Krishna then offered him some delicious kheer. After eating the kheer, the sage asked him to smear kheer on his body, to which God obliged. On seeing this, Rukminiji laughed. The sage then told her to smear kheer on her body too. After this, Lord Krishna and Rukminiji were attached to a chariot on which the sage then sat. When the chariot was moving, he even whipped both. However, Lord Krishna and Rukminiji did not get angry at all. Sage Durvasa was extremely pleased after witnessing their humble devotion and blessed them for their service. He blessed Lord Krishna with a boon that wherever he had applied kheer, those parts of his body would never get hurt. He then turned to Rukminiji and blessed her by saying that she will be the best and most famous among her husband’s 16,108 queens. Lord Krishna did not apply kheer on the soles of his feet, which was where he was later fatally shot by a hunter's arrow. Overall, such a humble servant is dear to everyone. That is why Lord Krishna was also such an able leader in the Mahabharata war.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj was also such a servant and was always humble. From the very beginning, he exhibited the traits of a true Servant Leader through his behaviour. On the very day when Pramukh Swami was made the president of the BAPS organisation, he washed the dishes of the devotees. Even prior to that, when he was appointed as the chief saint (Kothari) of the Sarangpur temple, he would dedicatedly take part in fulfilling all the duties and serve everyone humbly. He never had any ego or arrogance due to his position. Whether it was cleaning and maintaining the gaushala, utensils, prayers, kitchen, pantry, etc., he took care of all these tasks with great devotion and humility. Seeing him, those around him would also get inspired to be a part of these services and that too by giving their hundred percent.

Once it so happened that a devotee was drinking tea. His tea did not have any sugar in it. Swamiji realised this and asked for sugar to be brought immediately. When the sugar arrived, he added it to hot tea and then mixed it with his finger and then offered the devotee the sweet tea. People were astonished by his spirit of service. For them, Swamiji was far sweeter than the sugar! All the saints of Lord Swaminarayan are motivated by Swamiji's inspiring life and do not hesitate to do even the smallest acts of service. In 1981, during the bicentennial festival of Lord Swaminarayan celebrated in Ahmedabad, Bhadant Anand Kaushalyayan, a senior saint of Buddhism, was taken aback after seeing the BAPs saints pick up and clean the dirty and used dishes of the devotees. During the Delhi Akshardham Festival, Chandubhai Patel had arrived from Mehsana as a volunteer. At that time the sewers were blocked due to the rains. Chandubhai saw the saints cleaning the dirty sewers and he joined them. He would plunge into the 5 feet deep pits, use his hammer to clear the line, come out to breathe, and dive back in. He continued doing this for seven days. Despite the stench of the gutters, the diseases, and the physical exhaustion, Chandubhai worked tirelessly and cleaned 260 gutters in total.

Therefore, Pramukh Swami Maharaj is an excellent example of Servant Leadership. Inspired and motivated by his humble demeanour, today, thousands of devotees do not hesitate from washing dishes or doing such acts of service even if that is something they have never done in their life. Today, many devotees voluntarily clean the utensils of the temple. In addition to this, they even keep the toilets, washrooms, etc., hygienic and tidy. Even if the work of the kitchen is very heavy, no one hesitates to join in and help out. In the United States, Canada, England, and other foreign countries, there is a system that after every meal, everyone cleans the kitchen thoroughly. Similarly, the devotees enthusiastically get involved in other small and big maintenance works of the temples as well. One such example is Dr. Rajiv Vyas. He is a wealthy and respected doctor hailing from the city of Cherry Hill (USA). He has a team of 800 who he leads, 38 doctors as his assistants, and is also the director of a well-known hospital in New Jersey. Yet, for years, he regularly cleans the toilets and bathrooms of the Cherry Hill temple after praying to Thakorji every morning. All these examples are a testament to the glory of President Swami Maharaj's unique Servant Leadership. He has set a gold standard for the entire world.

Sadhu Amrutvadandas

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