Upanishads and Transformational Leadership
What you'll learn
- Grasp the essence of the Upanishads, the most uplifting text, that can totally transform you.
- Understand who you really are, and thereby enrich your life by making it multi-faceted, more meaningful, and less stressful.
- Comprehend that you are not merely a sheep that you were imagining yourself to be, but that you are in reality a lion, and work wonders in every walk of life.
- Develop your transformational leadership, which involves showing others something higher than what they were seeing before.
- Make your relationships with others more stimulating, and elevate others to higher levels of human conduct.
- Enhance your moral reasoning capacity, and become skilled in resolving dilemmas in your life.
- This is a reading-intensive 30-weeks course. A 30-minutes pre-read needs to be completed before a 2-minutes lecture every week.
- Self-discipline to complete a pre-read before a lecture once a week, and to reflect on it for the rest of the week, is essential.
- Motivation and capacity to read, understand, and reflect on graduate-level course materials are prerequisites for taking this course.
- This is a modified version of an offline course that was taught to full-time MBA students for 15 years.
- No prior knowledge of the course content is needed.
This is a 30 weeks (7 months) course, with one session (pre-read, lecture, and quiz) to be completed every Sunday (or a different day). The rest of the week needs to be spent on reflecting on the session content. "The Atman should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon. By realizing the Atman, through hearing, reflection, and meditation, one comes to know all things" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 2.4.5). This course is designed to help you in hearing and reflection, the first two of the three steps.
This is a reading-intensive course, with a 30-minutes pre-read for a 2-minutes lecture per week. The pre-reads (downloadable 1 pdf file comprising 30 pre-reads) include the most readable translation of the 10 major Upanishads, 18 lectures of Swami Vivekananda providing the best explanation of the Upanishads, and two introductory chapters. Each pre-read is also separately available as an external link from each lecture.
Students are expected to first complete the pre-read for a session, then watch my brief lecture video, go through the pre-read once again, correctly answer one self-assessment quiz question on the pre-read, and reflect on the session content for the rest of the week, before going to the next session. It is not advisable to skip a session and jump to a subsequent session.
This course can have a transforming effect, only on those who complete a pre-read and reflect well on it, before proceeding to the next pre-read. Rushing through the course will not help. The course is likely to have less impact if it is completed in less than 30 weeks, possibly because only hearing would then be done, and not much reflection.
This course will help you better understand who you really are. Understanding your real nature will enrich your life by making it multi-faceted, more meaningful, and less stressful. Comprehending that you are not merely a sheep that you were imagining yourself to be, but that you are in reality a lion, will enable you to work wonders in every walk of life. Self-fulfilling prophecy results in the most miraculous outcomes in the domain of human behavior.
The Upanishads are the original texts that explain the Atman, the innermost essence of each individual. This course provides a wonderful opportunity to understand the Upanishads. These are unparalleled texts. There is nothing else that can be compared with Upanishads. Everyone who studies the Upanishads will be enthralled by them. Upanishads take us to a very high plane of thinking.
"Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth" (Burns, 1978, "Leadership," page 2). The lack of understanding about leadership is possibly because of confusing it with power. This course will help you clearly distinguish between the two, and choose the more effective option of leadership.
"To see the ubiquity and pervasiveness of power and leadership in the relationships of mother and daughter, teacher and schoolchildren, coach and athlete, master and apprentice, minister and congregation, sergeant and rifleman, party chieftain and card-carrying member, propagandist and believer, is to see power wielders, leaders, and followers in continuous interaction in virtually every sphere of human society" (Burns, 1978, "Leadership," pages 52-53).
Leadership is a dynamic and reciprocal relationship between two human beings. The one who initiates the relationship is the leader, and the one who follows that initiative is the follower. Hierarchy in family, organization, and society may not have much to do with leadership. Subordinates may initiate the relationship with their supervisors, and hence become the leaders. Parents may follow the initiatives taken by their children, and hence become their followers.
This course will help you to perfect your relationship with others in your family, organization, and society. You can develop your transformational relationship with others, instead of a mere transactional relationship. You can address their real needs, instead of merely fulfilling their stated wants and appeasing them. You can inspire them to achieve higher ideals and lift themselves into their better selves. "That people can be lifted into their better selves is the secret of transforming leadership" (Burns, 1978, "Leadership," page 462). Studying the Upanishads will provide an experiential learning of transformational leadership.
Who this course is for:
- Those who wish to understand the Upanishads, the most uplifting material available.
- Those interested in self-development, and in becoming better human beings tomorrow than what they are today.
- Those who want to influence others in family, organization, and society, in a positive and enduring manner.
- Those aspiring to be true leaders and not mere power-holders.
- Those who are keen on becoming transformational leaders, and in lifting others into their higher self.
- Those who desire to increase their moral reasoning capabilities.
Venkat R. Krishnan is Director of "Center for Oneness & Transforming Leadership." He received his M.A. (Philosophy) from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati; Ph.D. (Business Administration) from Temple University, Philadelphia; and D.Litt. (Doctor of Letters - Honoris Causa) for "Outstanding contribution in the field of Spirituality, Philosophy, Management and Yoga" from S-VYASA University, Bengaluru. He was Professor at XLRI Jamshedpur for 9 years, and then Director of "Yale-Great Lakes Center for Management Research," Chennai, for 8 years. He had earlier taught at Temple University, and was a manager in State Bank of India. He does research on transformational leadership, value systems, and Indian philosophy. He has published more than 100 papers. He developed this "Upanishads and Transformational Leadership" course, and has taught this as an elective for full-time MBA students for 15 years. He has also taught core MBA courses in organizational behavior, besides three electives "Leadership, Influence, and Power," "Impression Management," and "Karma-Yoga Leadership Experiential Project," all developed by him.