Hinduism is the oldest continuing civilization of this planet. The Hindu Puranas (books of history)  provide dating of this civilization that goes back into thousands of years.

Hindu civilization has produced multiple leaders in its course of time. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha, Lord Parshuram, Lord Hanuman have been great leaders of ancient times. Indian masses respect and reverentially assign them the status of Bhagvan (God) and they are worshiped.

On January 22, 2024, , a temple has been consecrated in Ayodhya (a city in Uttar Pradesh of India) at the birthplace of Lord Rama. Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi (a city in Uttar Pradesh of India) is worshiped as the abode of Lord Mahadev Shiv Shankar. Lord Krishna’s birthplace in Mathura (a city in Uttar Pradesh of India) is awaiting majestic reconstruction and consecration.

Modern literature on leadership states that the qualities of a great leader include integrity, self-awareness, courage, respect, compassion, and resilience. They should also possess learning agility, effective communication skills, and the ability to collaborate. A careful look into the qualities of leaders of ancient Bharat clearly identifies two very distinct qualities, namely, Bhakti and Shakti.

‘Bhakti’ is recognizing and respecting the Supreme Divine and ‘Shakti’ is Valor in the battlefield. Bhakti of unmanifest Divine, in Hindu culture, in manifest form is translated into respecting and caring your parents and elders. Shakti is defending your dependents and culture even at the cost of your life.

Lord Rama did it. On the day of his coronation, Rama was asked by his father as per the wish of one of his father’s queens, to go to the forest and spend 14 years there. He respected his father’s words most happily. His wife and younger brother Laxman went with him, despite Rama’s request to both otherwise. He killed many devils in the forest and finally killed Ravan with no extraordinary warriors but ordinary Vanars (residents of forests). He worshiped divine, both unmanifest (Mahadev) and manifest (his parents and elders), and defeated evil. Lord Rama displayed the love of mother and motherland above all. He even respected the will of his subjects over his personal and family comfort.

Lord Krishna killed many devils and even went in strategic retreat to reorganize and come back to kill Kansa. It is a great strategy to go in retreat where enemy is too powerful to defeat. The consecration of Ram Birthplace Temple in Ayodhya after 500 years signifies the same strategy. In between, Hindus tried to consecrate temple 76 times, but failed. To gaze their determination, you may note that residents of nearby villages  of Ayodhya had decided to not wear turban and shoes till the Ram Temple is consecrated. And the beauty is Hindus, thumping majority in Bharat, won their case through the court of law based on verifiable proofs. They are doing the same for Gyanvapi Mandir in Varnasi and Krishna  Birthplace Temple in Mathura. Lord Krishna have revolutionized the Hindu mindset by emphasizing that your real self is Atma which is immortal. The biggest fear of human life is death, but by making Hindus understand that you are Atma (Soul) and not body, it has turned Hindus always ready for supreme sacrifice.

Lord Ganesha, as a leader, has been a supreme problem solver. He also established that parents represent the whole cosmos. Going round the parents is as good as going around the cosmos.

Lord Parshuram was, by birth Brahmin, but by conduct and action kshatriya. He killed hundreds of kings of his time who mistreated their subjects and donated their wealth to Rishi Kashyap for promotion of education. Unfortunately, he has been projected as angry brahmin by some writers. The truth is elsewhere. He was a true believer of strength, respects strength. . According to a sage, why he was angry and protested on breaking of Shiv Dhanus by Rama in Sita swayamvar was because by that act vaishanvites were left with Vishnu Dhanush while Shaivaites had lost their Shiv Dhanush. To understand it in the modern-day language and context, imagine that for the sake of peace of our planet, it is decided that Russia hands over its nuclear code to USA and USA hands over its nuclear code to Russia. And then one day, Russia diffuses USA nuclear by use of that code. How will USA behave? Angry? Protesting? That was exactly what Lord Parshuram had done. Once Rama diffused Vaishnav Dhanus, he happily walked away blessing Rama. USA will be comforted only when Russia will diffuse its own nuclear.

Lord Hanuman displayed exceptional intelligence and physical power. He is a model combination of Bhakti and Shakti.

Since Hinduism is a continuing civilization, these two qualities of leadership have been imbibed and displayed by distinguished leaders of ever since then.

Shiva ji Maharaj, Maharana Partap and Guru Govind Singh ji displayed those two qualities. Shiva ji Maharaj  respected his mother and motherland above all. Maharana Partap also valiantly fought invader Mughals for his motherland and culture. Guru Govind Singh ji fought Aurangzeb and sacrificed his four sons and himself but never accepted to convert to Islam.

In the modern day, Narendra Modi and Yogi Aditya Nath are displaying the same qualities and are highly regarded by Indian masses. Modi conducts himself like a saint, does not react to every criticism and acts with firm mind. The Demonitization, Removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, surgical strike on Pakistan in response to Balakot attack are examples of his Shakti and taking blessings from his mother time to time till she was alive and fasting for 11 days to prepare and participate in Ram Birthplace Temple consecration is the example of Bhakti.

Yogi Adityanath is primarily a religious guru and personification of Bhakati who uses his Guru’s name instead of parents for formal identification. He has proved his determination for good administration and is famous as a bulldozer baba.

Lesson for Indian youth is clear. Combine Bhakti and Shakti to be a  successful leader. Bhakti makes you mentally strong. ‘You can dampen my spirit, but you can’t kill it’, that is what Bhakti creates in you.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.