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Monday, March 28, 2016

The Complete Master & The Perfect Leader

The World Culture Festival was grand, glorious and global like nothing else I have experienced. It came with its challenges and left with its charm. Cultures united, humanity celebrated and people meditated. Anyone who participated in person or virtually was left with memories that will
last over lifetimes! Thousands of volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation across 155 countries of the world, worked with passion and perseverance to put together an event unprecedented & unparalleled in history. Their inspiration - the vision of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji of reviving the values of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam; A One World Family! They braved every weather and overcame every obstacle. They experienced new heights of their own abilities and tenacity.

The World Culture Festival enabled humanity to experience what more, what else and what new it was capable of! Gurudev led this incredible event from the front - and how! From the minutest detail to the biggest decision, he was available and involved. His leadership of this event is why it was successful and surreal. Watching Gurudev in action is the biggest blessing. This time watching him lead this event unveiled aspects of his personality that reinforce why he is the true global humanitarian leader of our times. He modeled leadership qualities that cannot be taught and learnt - only imbibed. Here are a few I tried to.

1) A Grand Vision

The whole scale and scope of the World Culture Festival was impossible for any of us to comprehend - 3.75 million people, 36000 performers, 155 countries, 40 dance performances,7 acres of stage,Inter Faith meet, Global Leadership Forum.. all this in 3 days? It was only Gurudev who was clear, confident and calm about it! He was sure it was possible ( and it was! ) and he tirelessly used every single opportunity to communicate this grand vision to every individual, group or country he met or spoke to. All of us, our partners, vendors, contractors and artists were all united by this one grand vision. Gurudev’s conviction was infectious and inspiring. It pushed us ahead when things went well and picked us up when they were challenging.

What we can imbibe - The vision of a leader can shape the reality of the future

2) Complete Ownership & 100 % Responsibility

Gurudev took complete ownership of every aspect of the event. Simplest to the most complex. Tiny to important. Even as the location of WCF was allotted to us by DDA, Gurudev took ownership to even clean the Yamuna, because its stink would render it impossible to be used. It was unfortunate to see how some sections of the media distorted and misrepresented many facts about our use of the floodplains. During the days leading to WCF, when the noise in the media was the loudest, Gurudev took it upon himself to answer every single question, respond to every allegation and assuage every doubt. For all of us,it was humbling yet energising to see his relentless sincerity of effort. What could have been a tough, challenging time for us, proved to be a new milestone in our individual abilities ! He even stayed back after the event to oversee the clean up of the venue- if thats not 100% responsibility, what is?

What we can imbibe - When a leader takes ownership & responsibility, the team becomes capable of the impossible.

3) Accessibility, Availability, Adaptibility

Gurudev could easily be the most busy person in the world ! Yet he was always accessible and available for us. Planning and executing an event like this needed thousands of decisions, coordination across time zones and complex matrices of transnational teams. No matter what time of the day or night, Gurudev was only a phone call/email away! Sometimes he was more available to us, than we were to our teams ! Also, every day new things had to be done, old had to be changed. He was so adaptable and ready for change that it would surprise us sometime! When the Prime Minister’s security demanded a separate stage for him, an unfazed and unshaken Gurudev calmly advised a new stage be made - done in 8 hours !

What we can imbibe - The 3 As directly impact leadership success

4) Courage of a Warrior

This time, I saw the warrior side of Gurudev in glorious resplendence! I have experienced his courageous stand on issues and incidents many times before, but this time it was something else! Whether it was standing up to the onslaught of some sections of media or holding ground on our stance wrt the NGT, whether it was braving the hailstorm or international opinion, whether it was battling intermittent disappointment or overcoming big challenges - He was courage personified !!! When I was standing on the stage built for the PM on day 1 and watched him walk to the stage alone - through the slush, rain & hail pelting down heavily, I almost felt he may slip. But no, drenched to the bone, he walked right royally, with every cell of his being radiating strength and willpower. His gait and look melted the tiny tear in my eye into a bright sunny smile!

What we can imbibe - A courageous leader is an inspiration by herself

5) Compassion and Care of a Parent

One would think, that a leader who has embarked almost on the impossible, must be goading his people to work more, harder & longer. Not Gurudev. The one thing I would always hear him telling anyone who looked or sounded little stretched, was to relax, rest and take care. His most common reassurance - You relax, everything will happen. None of us felt overloaded or overburdened. He resolved interpersonal conflicts delicately, comforted caringly and forgave mistakes compassionately! Sensitive to the core, everyone felt looked after. On the night of the 1st day of WCF,  I went to Gurudev's room to ask him some advice for the Global Leadership Forum starting next morning. I realised he was having dinner, so turned around to leave. Without turning his back, he called out, "Rajita, Have you eaten dinner?" When I replied yes, he went on to ask the menu, if it was too spicy for our international guests, did everyone eat and finally served few people in the room from his own food ! The examples are a million to espouse his ability to care for his people. I can write a whole piece on that alone!

What we can imbibe - When you care as a leader, your team rejoices


6) Enthusiasm, Pride and Humility

This event yet again was a testimony to the fact that Gurudev is the epitome of enthusiasm! The whole World Culture Festival was turbo charged by the energy of his  enthusiasm for every aspect of its success. Keen appreciation of every members contribution, celebration of milestones and making you feel like a queen for doing something quite tiny - all hallmarks of his generous enthusiasm.Pride in the organisation, pride in his people, pride in what he stands for - experienced it in a totally new way! All this combined with pristine humility- quite a potent combination. Watching him  interact with heads of states, faith leaders, artists, guests - host them, greet them and serve them, was humbling to say the least

What we can imbibe - An enthusiastic, proud, humble leader - an unshakable force.


7) Undeniable Divinity

Hail storm, rainbow, gushes of winds and sharp sunshine - all in a couple of days! Hundreds of thousands got wet for over 5-6 hours- no one fell sick! Thousands of dancers danced in perfect synchrony without practice! People of all faiths, all religions, all colours came together and celebrated !

Just the fact that World Culture Festival happened is proof of Gurudev’s unrestrained, unmistakable, undeniable Divinity !

Today as I watched him walk humbly and gracefully towards the President of the Republic of India to receive his Padma Vibhushan award, my throat choked with emotion and heart swelled with pride. The complete master, the perfect leader and  a superlative human being was being celebrated and honoured! It was our good fortune more than his!

81 comments:

  1. Love it! So true and beautifully described. It is indeed our fortune that such a human being exists among us and is showing us the way to reach our own full potential. It is our honor that he is doing what he is doing.

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    1. Thanks
      U have given summery of what guruji stands for
      Having tears in my eyes
      Feeling blessed even though i was abscent for event...
      Thanks....
      Jgd

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  2. Fantastic piece. Rajita, very well written. Gurudev is the personification and epitome of a true leader. With World Culture Festival 2016, he once again gave us a glimpse of his ability to execute an unimaginable vision to perfection.

    Sachin Thombre

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  3. I agree Rajita ji with your thoughts and experience. There are no words in which it can be actually described. One has to be present to experience such an extraordinary, exemplary, and amazing experience. Salute to Gurudev and his One World One Family! I am fortunate and blessed to be part of this.
    Dr. Ajay Kr. Singh

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  4. I agree Rajita ji with your thoughts and experience. There are no words in which it can be actually described. One has to be present to experience such an extraordinary, exemplary, and amazing experience. Salute to Gurudev and his One World One Family! I am fortunate and blessed to be part of this.
    Dr. Ajay Kr. Singh

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  5. This piece is one of the finest I have read. Specially from a person who works so closely with Guruji. You could have stayed and revelled in awe of what you went through. You could have shared your experience with a few close to you like most people do. But you choose to inspire us, you have chosen to tell us what we as devotees, volunteers need to know. Your intention comes or strong. That is beautiful about the post.
    Thank you. Jai Gurudev.

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    1. Thanks a lot Meena. Am touched with your remarks!

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  6. This piece is one of the finest I have read. Specially from a person who works so closely with Guruji. You could have stayed and revelled in awe of what you went through. You could have shared your experience with a few close to you like most people do. But you choose to inspire us, you have chosen to tell us what we as devotees, volunteers need to know. Your intention comes or strong. That is beautiful about the post.
    Thank you. Jai Gurudev.

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  7. This piece is one of the finest I have read. Specially from a person who works so closely with Guruji. You could have stayed and revelled in awe of what you went through. You could have shared your experience with a few close to you like most people do. But you choose to inspire us, you have chosen to tell us what we as devotees, volunteers need to know. Your intention comes or strong. That is beautiful about the post.
    Thank you. Jai Gurudev.

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  8. Thnx for more meaningful insights...
    Very nice and important artical....

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  9. Dear Rajita. Your words opend my heart and inspired me so much. Very precious. Thanks.

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  10. So true. Every word, every attribute of a leader, every sentiment..
    Something we all felt n you voiced our thoughts n feelings. Beautiful article. Jgd

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  11. So true. Every word, every attribute of a leader, every sentiment..
    Something we all felt n you voiced our thoughts n feelings. Beautiful article. Jgd

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  12. What a brilliant insight! So well-written..
    Makes me feel so fortunate, blessed and inspired! Thank you Rajita ji :)

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  13. Rajitaji...very well written it's same I and I am sure everybody experienced in presence of Guruji...

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  14. Amazing piece. Very well written. Great insight. Love it!!!!

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  15. Beautiful, Rajita. What a most wonderful, caring, compassionate, strong, inspirung and absolutely ego-less Guru we have! Truly the greatest Blessing. The German politician for which I translated got to sit next to him for a little while on the last day and was surprised how Guruji remembered the details of his speech - and how he personally supervised order and length of all the Speakers so everyone would feel happy and appreciated. Thank you for sharing this! Love from Germany, Mira

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  16. Srinivasan RamachandranMarch 29, 2016 at 1:18 AM

    Rajita ji... one of your best captured moments. I was there when you narrated your Taj escape experience. But I tell you this is superlative & special because we all feel part & proud of it. It is so wonderful to see you putting a solid structure to the emotional experience. Only a trainer of your stature with inquisitiveness can do it. Hats off!!!!!

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  17. Thank you Rajita for sharing the first-hand up-close experiences, which highlight what we all feel about our Master. You've described it so eloquently and beautifully. Very moving.

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  18. Thanks Rajitaji for sharing such wonderful thoughts!!

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  19. Rajita didi thank you very much for writing such an insightful article. I am very happy to read first-hand up-close experiences with Gurudev.

    Thank you once again :)

    Jai Gurudev
    Abhijit

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  20. Rajita di Thank you so much for this article. It's often so overwhelming to be able to put into words whatever we know, feel, experience about Guruji and our work. It's a very very challenging task to be able to put it so precisely and perfectly.

    JGD

    Neha Singh.

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  21. Dear Rajitaji
    ğŸ’ž Hearts United ğŸ’ž
    Sown together by your words.
    Bless you. Jai Gurudev. 💝✌
    Fuzzy

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  22. Dear Rajitaji
    ğŸ’ž Hearts United ğŸ’ž
    Sown together by your words.
    Bless you. Jai Gurudev. 💝✌
    Fuzzy

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  23. Rajitaji, You have done a wonderful job in sharing your thoughts, emotions, and experiences with all .. It is so gratifying to note what all Gurudev goes thru to make all his Devotees proud.. While I was there at WCF i was totally awestruck with visuals, concept, execution and totalharmony in what all were doing. It was simply unimaginable. It could only be done because it was done out of love for People and to demonstrate to all power of togetherness.
    I WOULD SAY AFTER THIS EVENT THERE'SHOULD BE A STANDARD CALLED 'AFTER WCF' and all organisers, performers, event managers and all those connected with any event should be judged on the STANDARD 'AFTER WCF". Jai Gurudev

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tandon ji ! Great suggestion of After WCF standard !

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  24. I share your feeling, I share your thoughts, I salute you for expressing this Rajitha ji

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  25. I share your feeling, I share your thoughts, I salute you for expressing this Rajitha ji

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Prakash ! Coming from you means a lot !

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  26. Wow..!!
    Very beautifully written. Its like you have put all the words together in the form of a garland.
    I can feel my heart melted after reading this.
    Thanks for writing.

    Love,
    Parveen

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  27. Wow..!!
    Very beautifully written. Its like you have put all the words together in the form of a garland.
    I can feel my heart melted after reading this.
    Thanks fir writing.

    Love,
    Parveen

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  28. Beautiful Rajita!! So well written and could see your heart dripping with love and gratitude :) JGD, Abhay

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  29. Wow beautiful written, Rajita didi. Your article inspire me in a various way how to imbibe our gurudev's vision. Completely agree with Meera, you would have choose to share with few people but rather you took extra step to pen out this beautiful lived experience to inspire millions. You are a truly gem of Art of Living Foundation.
    Thanks a zillions
    Love Sejal

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  30. Beautifully expressed along with the "imbibes" which are key for any leader not only to be successful but also to be sustainable. Much need of the hour for organizations and corporates to train people in the right way vs. just training for the sake of meeting the metrics!
    The article is extremely touching that I had tears in my eyes and my heart is swelled with pride to have Gurudev in our lives!

    Cheers, T

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  31. how beautifully expressed the grandeur of an Extra Ordinary Being. He certainly inspires millions on the planet.

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  32. Amazingly well written from the heart, Rajita! One couldn't have said it better. Thanks for writing this and bringing things into the right positive perspective..... the only perspective that matters. That of Divinity! The WCF was a Divine event! And we are so awesomely blessed to have a Master that is Divinity personified! :) <3

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  33. So beautifully written .. It covered almost every experience that any of us must have had in relation to WCF .. We all witnessed something that was ethereal, so profound, so magnanimous , so challenging yet so satisfying ..we could experience nothing but grace every moment . Savita Bhutani

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  34. Thanks a lot Mam for sharing this beautiful piece. I was not able to attend the grand WCF, n was bit sad but you made it possible for me to feel what u felt during the event. The way you described everything I felt I was there with you. Thank u so much for making me a part of your journey.

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  35. Dear Rajita ji! I am eagerly waiting for your entire book on WCF, with chapters dedicated to each and every line you have written above :-)
    JGD...Anjana Chandrasekhar

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  36. Thanks a lot Mam for sharing this beautiful piece. I was not able to attend the grand WCF, n was bit sad but you made it possible for me to feel what u felt during the event. The way you described everything I felt I was there with you. Thank u so much for making me a part of your journey.

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  37. Beautifully written, as always Rajita. I get goose bumps when I think of the unimaginable scale at which WCF was envisioned and executed despite all odds. Congratulations to all of you for being a part of Guruji's superlative vision. Nandita

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  38. Thank you so much for sharing this experience.. The sheer magnitude of this could have been pulled by Guruji and his A team !! Such a pleasure to get this first hand account..

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing this experience.. The sheer magnitude of this could have been pulled by Guruji and his A team !! Such a pleasure to get this first hand account..

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  40. Beautiful..
    You have taken me to guruji through your write up..

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  41. Wow Stupendous! You have so succinctly summed up the whole WCF experience magnificently replete with the media madness included !!!
    Moreover appreciate your efforts in penning down your experience and learning from our dear Gurudev ..shows your magnanimous nature in reaching out to people .You are a gifted writer apart from being a great leader yourself.
    This masterpiece needs to go down in the annals of the Art of Living knowledge sheets as the WCF lessons !
    Love you Rajitha !! Dr Bhramara Madduri

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  42. What a brilliant way you have expressed your experience of WCF truly inspiring and eye opener.

    Your insights during WCF and Gurudev truthfully shown to the world shows your Devotion and explicit love for Gurudev. Which is truly exemplary

    Love you Rajitaji
    Rashi Datt

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  43. What a brilliant insight and well-written words like necklace of precious gem stones

    Makes me feel so blessed and inspired! Thank you Rajita ji

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  44. Very well articulated dear Rajita. Inspiring millions of people to come together for WCF is true leadership in action as was demonstrated by Guruji. We are blessed to be a part of this.

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  45. Thanks Rajita,

    Really well captured & articulated :). Also practical & helpful given how inexpressibly inspired we feel around Gurudev. Appreciate you deconstructing the leadership lessons and behaviours that contribute to the awe & inspiration we experience and what we can imbibe on a daily basis.

    Lv ~Niyati

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  46. What great fortune to have the chance to work so closely with Divinity itself. And to be able to express it so beautifully...Very well written, Rajita!

    Shubhangi Deshmukh

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  47. Such a nice writeup. Rajita awesome.

    I am so glad to be walking on this planet with Guruji... He is Divinity himself the most kind humble no ego... So much to learn from him

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  48. Hi Rajita
    A nice truncated epilogue of ur guruji. Rite now he is one of the best person to display to the world what India is about, what we Indians r capable of & what v Indians can do. The events leading to WCF got a controversial exposure by the media initially. However, the AOL people were apparently unfazed & in complete control of the situation as can be understood from the subsequent press coverage & after reading ur blog.

    It is indeed a miracle to get representations & participation from so many countries & organizing the event on a grand scale.

    For India to stage an Olympic which is a world event Sri Sri ji is the best person on can think of....

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  49. so very well written that I could take many learnings. Thank you for sharing this experience. Truely, the biggest personal learning for me was how to take negativity with courage & strength as Gurudev exemplified.

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  50. Thank you Rajita for sharing this inspiration and wonderful details of your WCF experience. Such a beautiful opportunity to work with the Master and share with us Gurudev showing how doing what He teaches makes dreams come true.
    The WCF and the GLF are events that will continue to impact our consciousness, actions and world for years to come, I believe beyond anything we can imagine right now. As you said,these events were Gurudev's vision and His Leadership inspired us all through so many challenges and changes.

    Thank you for writing. Blessings and continuing success. Debra Joy Eklove

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  51. Rajita,
    The article is extremely touching,I had tears in my eyes and my heart is swelled with the prcious gift ofhaving Gurudev in our lives!

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  52. Wow. Each word is heart touching. We are very fortunate to have Guru Dev in our Life. Joy Guru Deva

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  53. Felt overwhelmed for everything -your feelings, thoughts, emotions, description and sharing; my connectedness and His Grace...Unlimited

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