On 17th January, Artha forum organized its 5th event in Singapore held at Tanglin Club on the back of very successful events in 2013 and 2014. The conference titled “Conscious Leader” was attended by over 120 entrepreneurs, industrialists, corporate leaders and professional in yet another successful event by Artha Forum (a Not for Profit initiative dedicated to bringing relevance of Ancient Wisdom in Modern business). Bhakti Charu Swami was invited to be the keynote speaker for the event. Esteem corporate leaders from Singapore shared the dias including Vikram Rao of Crayon Data, Dr. Charles Chow – Founder and MD of East West Group, Subba Vidyanathan – MD and Regional Head of Retail Banking at SCB, Sumita Ambasata – Founder of Flowering Tree Inc. and Gowthaman Ragothaman – COO at Mindshare Asia Pacific & Global Client Lead at WPP. Other eminent business leaders present during the event were Jayesh Parekh Co-Founder of Sony Entertainment Television, Anurag Srivastava of Jungle Ventures, Chandrasekhar Pingali – Managing Director at I Cube Consortium Limited and Sanjiv Aiyar – President PAN IIM Alumni.
The event started off with the extremely insightful panel discussion where the panelist fielded relevant questions on how they practically implement Conscious leadership in their respective spheres of work. Gowthaman shared that Conscious leadership should not be left to interpretation. One has to lead by example every day, every moment so that everyone can look up at you and know what is right and ethical and what isn’t.
Dr. Chow gave a very interesting analogy of how potato, egg, coffee and frog behave differently under boiling water. They either turn soft in case of potato, hard in case of egg, grind and spread aroma in case of coffee or just adopt to boiling water in case of frog. So as a leader we need to think what we and people around us want to become given the situation.
Having been leader in Human Resource, Sumita brought out a very important point of integration of inner and outer development of an individual. She mentioned that its inner development that drives outer development; and all this starts with patient, listening and understanding the motivation that drives the individual. Corporate leaders should not be looking at individuals as resources and numbers. Subba shared his experience of having self care and to be resilient from perspective of physical, mental and emotional and to be grounded by spirituality.
Bhakti Charu Maharaj started of his keynote talk by defining Conscious Leadership as the leader who has to become conscious of their position of leading and guiding others. He mentioned that leader needs to have three qualities, which are: to have vision, to know how to motivate the followers and to facilitate. A leader is the position at which you serve and not exploit. But the state of world we see now, the leaders have resorted to exploitation more than service.
Bhakti Charu Maharaj said that we all are leaders with either a large sphere of influence or small, and as a leader we all have to answer the questions of “Where to lead?” He brought home the important message of Bhagvad gita that as a living spiritual being, we are different from matter. We need to understand the science of soul and consider this as important aspect when leading. Briefly describing the sankhaya philosophy, which extensively analyzes the material creation made of 24 elements; he said is “objective” reality which in turn is meant for the subject, which is the soul.
He mentioned that the world is probing deeply in so many other branches but we are hardly probing the science of soul and spirituality. Emphasizing the significance of vedas he said that “The wisdom of vedas are not just the matter of faith. Wisdom of the vedas are scientific probing of different subject both material and spiritual. And though the probing started from material domain but it reaches spiritual domain.”
He concluded saying that “The world today has everything in abundance but there is one acute scarcity – that is the scarcity of spiritual understanding. The scarcity of consciousness. So take this responsibility. The books are available. So take this opportunity in order to benefit yourself and in order to benefit world around you.”
The keynote talk was followed by an hour of Q&A session where both Bhakti Charu Swami and the panelist fielded interesting lineup of questions from audience which was very thoughtful and full of inquisitiveness of how to apply spirituality in one's own life.