The ancient wisdom of the Bhagvad Gita is as relevant today as it was centuries back. Dr Sanjay Srivastava, Managing Director, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions, with his profound erudition and deep insight into human behavior has given expression to his reflections on the Gita through a book which is being launched on April 2, 2017 as a tribute to Founder Visionary Dr O.P. Bhalla whose 70th Birth Anniversary is being celebrated at MREI. Given Dr Sanjay Srivastava’s expertise as academician par excellence, team builder, acclaimed teacher, prolific speaker, avid researcher and not to mention, his vast knowledge of the ancient scriptures, the book is bound to strike a chord with those inclined towards familiarizing and internalizing the profound wisdom of the Gita in their contextual life. Here, we present an interactive Q&A session with Dr Sanjay Srivastava in an attempt to unravel the exquisite vision behind his seminal work.
Ques: What inspired you to write a book on the Gita? Is it meant essentially for the youth?
Ans: This book is a dedication to all the Parents since they are the fundamental value system that any person is exposed to in life. In my opinion, they teach the very first lessons of culture to their children and in that the children are benefitted immensely from the experience.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a compilation of the Lord’s own words as he guided Arjuna to victory at the splendid battlefields of Kurukshetra. Replete with instances which help the reader envision their own problems through the lens of a battleground, Gita encompasses the ideal ideals to follow in one’s life. Hence, needless to say, Gita has guided me immensely in the various roles that I play in my personal and professional life, and like many who consider Gita to be the answer to each of their problems, Gita surprises me as the book which speaks timeless truths. Its infinite relevance in today’s youth can’t be undermined. It has principles with which our young brigade of future leaders should live and act, rules which they should follow and traits and skills they should master.
Ques: What does the Gita say about the art of leadership and how is it relevant to the contemporary world?
Ans: The fundamental problems and solutions are given by the Srimad Bhagvad Gita. In the simplest of words, the Lord has said, ‘Na dainiyan, napalaniyam’ (neither self pity nor escapism), only karma is the answer. Work is worship. Changing the face can change nothing, but facing the change will change everything.
I remember doing a research work on leadership in 2006 which got immense popularity. It talked about the differentiating and integrating factor of leadership. In this book, I have simplified those attributes of leadership and taken guidance of Gita on each attribute.
Ques: Your book is being launched at a time when Manav Rachna is celebrating the 70th Birth Anniversary of Founder Father Dr O.P. Bhalla. Were you inspired to write the book with his vision in mind?
Ans: Yes, of course. Our founder visionary, a powerful enabler with his inimitable Leadership value, in no time, leveraged Manav Rachna to great heights, fame and a credible position among the stakeholders. He envisioned identifying, nurturing and building great leaders. This book is a humble attempt to transcript Gita for a deeper insight into Leadership.
Ques: As a writer, what is the kind of change that has come about you on completion of the book?
Ans: While writing this book, I experienced a sense of renewal within me. In fact, putting together the book has been a life changing experience for me. The sheer beauty of Gita is that it is nobody’s and opens to various interpretations. I have had the fortune of being enlightened by some of the greatest minds who have hand held and enlightened me during my book writing journey.
After reading and re-reading Gita, I feel transformed as a person. It has certainly enhanced my listening skills and taught me the value of patience in life. Lord Krishna, it has been said, is known to possess ‘Shakshibhav’ or the quality of staying calm which comes from within. The basic purpose of this book is to take Gita to a level where it helps one in day to day life. It gives an insight on how to be a perfect leader in any situation and discharge one’s duties with equanimity and pride.
Ques: Which are some of your favourite shlokas of the Gita and why?
Ans: The book has 108 shlokas and it talks about the seven crucial aspects of life. My favourite shloka is the one on Self Awareness—Chapter 13, Verse 7 which says, ‘Desire and aversion, happiness and misery, the body, consciousness, and the will—all these comprise the field and its modifications.’