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Love and Light

"Think of God and you will become a good Leader"

Throughout the ages, great and mighty leaders have walked upon the earth, who have led people to far off lands and civilisations, to freedom and more importantly to seek out Divinity in whichever name and form is most dear to them.

We have been extremely fortunate that Swami has lived with us and continues to live with us. During His life, every thought, every word and every action of Swami’s was an important lesson in ideal leadership. Swami led an exemplary life and taught us all how we should become good and ideal Leaders.

There is a common misconception amongst our fellow devotees that in order to be a leader, one must have position, a title, name or fame. This is not the case. Swami has continually extolled each and every one of us to become leaders. However, to become His leaders we must first become His servants. He requires nothing else!

Swami is pleased when our leadership is motivated by love for others. We must always ensure that we practice our leadership with love. Being motivated by love for others is certainly necessary, but it must be paired with practising our leadership in love. In other words, we must lead in a loving way. When we lead lovingly, the people we lead are encouraged, built up, and strengthened as individuals and as a part of the family of Sai.

Back in the late 1980s, I had the good fortune to interact with Swami. In that meeting Swami asked us to become good leaders and lead with love and compassion. I remember saying to Swami that I did not know how to become a leader, to which Swami mischievously replied, “Think of me all the time and you will become a leader!” I did what He said and thought of Him all the time, day and night, and I am very grateful to Him for all the wonderful and amazing leadership experiences He continues to bless me with. Even now Swami continues to lead me on a most unique journey of spiritual transformation. However, my story is not a unique story as we have all been touched by a Divine Master. We are all on this journey together, each with our own unique story and unique experiences. Swami has said we are all His leaders as long as we try to be good leaders.

Swami then continued to tell us that to be a good leader takes many years. It is not something that can be taught in a short space of time, through books or lectures. It must be practised, it must be experienced and it must come from the heart. In that meeting, Swami told us that Spiritual leadership must emanate from the heart whereas worldly leadership nowadays comes from the head. Therefore, if we make Swami our only role model, if we put into practice His teachings, if we look to Him for inspiration and guidance, He has promised He will mould us into ideal Sai leaders.

During the World Youth Conference in 2007, you would have heard about or fortunate enough to witness Swami distributing thousands and thousands of his robes to the 6,000 youth assembled in Sai Kulwant hall. On the day we were to leave, Swami called us in for a final meeting. In that meeting we thanked Swami for the gift of the sacred robes to which Swami asked us to tell the youth to keep the robes in their prayer room or under their pillow and that He will guide. Swami even went as far as to say that even if they did not get a robe, if they still thought of Him, Swami would guide and protect them. How fortunate were those 6,000 leaders, how fortunate are we all that Swami continues to guide, instruct and help us to become good leaders.

Swami many times has said that good leaders should always see themselves as children of God, created to experience the love of God deeply and personally and to live out their calling in love. The more leaders think like this, the more they will be able to function powerfully and effectively from a deeply spiritual base. The basic image is one of a deep well, filled with clean, refreshing water that flows freely to all those who tap into its source. The more leaders become deep spiritual wells, the more they will be capable of meeting the incredible challenges in today’s world and of leading others to greater depth, wholeness, and fruitfulness.

Throughout my journey with Swami, those closest to me, know of the many tests and obstacles that have come my way. Swami has often said “tests are my taste!”. However, every time I think of Him, every time I pray to Him and dive deep into that well of His pure love, the problems and obstacles have simply melted away. Therefore, good leaders today need many skills, abilities and resources to lead effectively. But the most important ingredient for those called to lead is spiritual depth and vitality, with an ability to let Swami work through them in their leadership role.

Shitu Chudasama,
Member, Publications Division
Prasanthi Council