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Leadership @ Lagaan Way - February 6th, 2006

Hi all..

A nice pdf on Leadership @ Lagaan Way...

Hope it gives you all a great mount of information...

take care
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Hi all..

A nice detail on Leadeship Skill of the 21st Century...

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Leaders Space:::: - February 20th, 2006

Hi all...


A student's distinction lies in his devout pursuit of knowledge, and not merely in his heritage. This manifests in a splendid manner in Ekalavya's life. He worshipped an idol of his 'Guru', learnt his lessons in archery in the Master's absence, and mastered the art. When his master desired the thumb of Ekalavya's right hand as a fee, which might cripple him, Ekalavya smilingly sacrificed it. A boy who had grown up in the forest thus developed into a great personality - a fine example for others to emulate.

Author - Nagamani S.Rao

Ekalavya'Gurur-brahma gurur-vishnuh Gurur-devo maheswarah !
Guruh-sakshat parabrahma Tasmai sri gurave namah' !!

In our land the teacher who imparts training is held in very high esteem. The teacher is respected like a father. As the above saying describes, the teacher is considered as the 'trimurtis'- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - all rolled into one.

In olden times, children who sought learning had to live with their teacher faithfully attend to the chores assigned to them and pursue their studies with concentration as he taught them. Such stay of the pupil with his teacher was known as 'Gurukulavasa' (‘staying and learning at the abode of the master').

The teacher was not merely teaching his pupil some subjects in a parrotlike manner. He would actually shape the boy's character and personality too by instilling in him an awareness of the world around him, and how to lead a life useful to the society and face various problems one comes across in life. Thus the tutor, who trains young boys to face life in future with success, came to be accorded a revered place in our culture.

The Brave Jungle-boy

This is a story of a boy who demonstrated to the world what an aspirant could achieve in life if he has faith and respect in his master and pursues his efforts. There are some that boast that they belong to distinguished families that they are taught by 'so-and-so'. The hero of our story should open the eyes of such arrogant men.

This ideal disciple is Ekalavya.

Ekalavya was a jungle-boy. Belonging to the hunters' community, he was a bold child. It was a time when such communities were considered socially inferior. But Ekalavya, by his actions and behavior, showed that one's inferior or superior status lies not in, which community one belongs to but in one's vision and qualities of heart.

Ekalavya resided in a small, charming forest, with his mother. They were leading a modest, contented life. His father Hiranyadhanu who was the chieftain there strove to bring up Ekalavya as a brave boy embodying good and noble qualities. But he passed away while the son was still a young boy. An ardent follower of the king, he died in a battle. Ekalavya then became the chief of the forest.

Lover of Animals

Ekalavya had developed a strong affection towards the animals amidst which he was growing up. He wanted these simple, harmless animals to grow in a loving way under his care and ensured they came to no harm. If anyone troubled them, he would feel like killing him!

A large number of wolves live in that forest and they often hunted small tender calves of deer and other animals. The calves wailing when caught by the wolves would be heart-rending, Ekalavya would upon hearing such cries, writhe in' agony. 'Can't I save these poor animals? Can't I possess enough physical strength to wipe out this menace?' he pined,

The hunters are born archers. Ekalavya too grew up mastering the art. However, he aspired to increase his physical prowess so that he can rid his forest of the wolves' menace and make it a safe haven for deer and other animals. He therefore pursued his training in archery with total concentration.

Who will be the Guru?

Ekalavya's mother, noticing her son's restlessness, asked him one evening: 'Son, why are you worried so much now-a-days?'

'Nothing to worry, mother'

'No. no. There is something which is worrying you very much, Can't you say what it is even to me?'

'There is nothing, which I have to hide from you, mother I only I do not wish to unnecessarily add to your worries. Look, our dear caives, deer, etc., are becoming game to the big cruel wild animals. We can kill a wolf if we can sight it. But often it will have made its kill and run away before we could see it, mother. Shoot wolf! But how to master archery to that extent? Which Master shall I turn to? This has been my worry.'

The mother in fact felt glad when she heard these words. She was pleased to learn of her son's concern for the harmless animals in the forest. She also felt sympathetic that her son, who was without a kill the unseen father, should take upon himself such an obligation at such a young age.

She said: 'Ekalavya, heard of Dronacharya?'

'No, who is he?

'If you want to shoot at the wolves unseen, you should become his disciple to achieve the prowess you desire.'

'Where is he, mother? Tell me. I will become his disciple', Ekalavya exclaimed with pleasure and anticipation.

'He is in Hastinavati teaching archery to the princes of Bharata clan. He is the 'guru' to the Kauravas who are the sons of emperor Dhritarashtra and their relatives. You have heard of Bhishmacharya, son of Gangadevi. It is said none can match him in battle. He was the person who suggested That Dronacharya should teach archery to the Kaurava princes. Drona's fame has spread far and wide and many princes from various other states also go to him for training.'

'How did Bhishmacharya discover Dronacharya?'

'He himself came to Hastinavati. He had learnt archery from his father sage Bharadwaja, besides being a disciple of Parashurama. It is said that persons matching.

Dronacharya in the art of wielding the bow and arrow are rare in the world. It appears he was very poor; and in the course of travels he came to Hastinavati. Bhishma heard about him. There is an interesting story about this also.' And she narrated that story.


The Kaurava and pandava princes were then young boy One day, while they were playing; their ball fell into a well. However much they tried they could not recover it and were looking for help. Near-by an impressive - looking, dark complexioned brahmin was standing. The boys went to him for help. Upon listening to their request, he took out a sheaf of dry grass cuttings (used in worship), consecrated it with holy prayers and threw one piece at the ball-, following it he sent down several grass leaves all of which were now attached to the ball forming a straight line leading to the top of the well. He pulled at it and drew the ball out! The boys were surprised at this 'magic' and queried:

'0 distinguished brahmin, what is your name? Where did you come from?'

Dronacharya : 'Go and narrate what you saw to Bhishmacharya, your grandfather, and you will know everything.'

The boys ran to Bhishma and excitedly told him about the brahmin's feat. At that time, Bhishma was thinking about equipping the princes in archery with thorough training, as they had to look after the kingdom when they grew up and protect it from enemies. He was on the lookout for a suitable tutor for the boys. He had heard about Dronacharya, son of the sage Bharadwaja and disciple of Parashurama, as a master archer. The enthusiastic narrative of the princes convinced him that the brahmin they had seen must have been none other than Drona. He immediately went to Drona and offered honors requesting him to stay in the capital and be the princes' master. Drona agreed and set up his residence in Hastinavati.

'He Alone is my Guru'

Ekalavya became excited as he heard the story of Dronacharya from his mother. "0, mother! How lucky are the Kaurava and Pandava princes! Can Acharya Drona teach archery to me too?"

'Go and try, son. I wish you lucked. Do not forget ' that he is a distinguished' elderly man. Conduct yourself with dignity and respect. Never retort. Behave with humility, and accomplish your task' blessed the mother and sent the boy. Filled with enthusiasm and happiness at the prospect of meeting Dronacharya, he set Out for Hastinavati.

You Too are My Disciple"

Even before entering the city, Ekalavya sighted -the master on the outskirts. Drona was giving early lessons in archery to the princes. Ekalavya hesitated to go to him while the class was in progress. He waited near-by and watched.

Disciples surrounded Drona. He would teach each boy in an easily comprehensible manner. He would show them how to stand erect, on which leg one should rest more bodyweight, how to position the hands and fingers, how to position the arrow and mount the arrow, how to concentrate upon the object, how and to what extent one should draw the thread, when to release the arrow. And he would demonstrate to them all these things vividly and in detail. He would watch a boy send forward an arrow and show him where he was right and where he went wrong. The practice would continue.

Ekalavya was all eyes and ears as he watched this class with fascination. He was gripped with a new sensation, as he learnt new things about archery. 'Oh! What a master He can turn even a novice into an expert! And how easy it is to understand his teaching!' he told himself.

He remembered the counseling of his mother. At an opportune moment he met Acharya Drona. He prostrated before him totally surrendering himself to the Master. Drona was touched by the humility of this boy from the woods, stretched his arms to raise him, and blessed him. Ekalavya introduced himself. When the Master learnt of the boy's mighty desire, a sympathetic chord struck in his heart.

But engaged as he was in teaching the princes, he had no time to accept other students. He was also worried how he could teach. a jungle-boy along with the princes.

Drona decided against keeping the boy with him there, and told him, 'Son, it will not be difficult for you to learn this art. You are a born archer. Go back to the forest and practice well and with deep interest. You too are my disciple.'

Drona's words them were a great blessing to Ekalavya. He felt confident that the Masters good wishes were with him. Again prostrating before Drona, he sought his blessings, 'Sir, I will act as you have instructed. Please bless me that my practice will bear fruit.' 'Go, son, may you master archery as you wish!' Drona said.

Before The Guru's Image

Satisfied at having achieved something new and significant, Ekalavya returned to his forest. There he prepared an idol of Dronacharya, installed it in a particular place, and began to worship it reverently by offering flowers, fruits, etc.

Ekalavya would get up early in the morning, bathe himself and offer 'pooja' to the master’s idol. Enshrined in his mind were the words, actions and training methods of Drona he had witnessed. He faithfully followed the instructions and continued his practice; and his prowess increased as days passed.

While Arjuna had personally mastered archery from Drona, learning from him by first hand, Ekalavya achieved equally impressive skill while worshipping the Master in absentia. If he could not accomplish a pailicular technique, he would rush to Drona's image and present his problem and would wait in meditation till a solution appeared in his mind. He would then proceed further.

Ekalavya's training progressed in this manner.

Who is This Expert Archer?

The Kaurava and Pandava princes once went to the forest on a hunting expedition. Their leading dog was running forward. Ekalavya, dressed in a tiger-skin and wearing strings of conch- beads, was engaged in his practice. The dog, on approaching him, began to bark. Probably wishing to show off his workmanship, he sent down a series of arrows in the direction of the barking dog and the arrows filled its mouth. It ran back to the princes. They were astonished at this expertise in archery and wondered who the archer was.

Arjuna, seeing this, was not only surprised but felt anxious too. He wanted to be recognized as the world's foremost archer. His fame was spreading across many states.

Now witnessing an instance of this extraordinary prowess, he was concerned that there may be another strong contender for that superior position.

The princes went in pursuit of the archer who had hit their dog, and saw Ekalavya.

Two Disciples

Ekalavya was standing there- a dark complexioned young man looking like a chiseled creation, there was the bow in his left hand and an arrow in the right.

The princes wondered: Was this youngster really the one who shot those arrows? How did he acquire his training? Who taught him to use the arrows with such precision in this forest?

Arjuna felt restless. Here was a person matching him. He felt deflated.

The princes asked Ekalavya: Are you the person who sent down those arrows into the dog's mouth?'


'Who are you? What's your name?’

'I am the son of Hiranyadhanu, the king of Nishada. I am the chieftain of this forest. Ekalavya is my name.

'Your prowess in archery is tremendous. Who is your master?'

'My master is Dronacharya' rep Ekalavya humbly, Arjuna was taken aback at the mention of Drona's name. Is this true? Could his dear teacher teach so much to an aboriginal boy? If so, what about the Master's promise to him?

The Guru's Promise

Drona had developed a special affection towards Arjuna. He was pleased at the extraordinary interest Arjuna evinced in his training.

There was a king named Drupada who also had learnt archery with Drona. He had learnt archery with Drona. He had promised Drona that would help him when he assumed throne. But later when the poor Dronacharya went to see, him, the king dismissed him saying 'Do you think a king can keep friendship with a wretched person like you?'

Dronacharya was enraged and retorted: 'remember this! Some day one of my disciple will bring you to me bound like a slave!' Since then, this one thought was constantly nagging in the Acharya's mind.

Drona called in his disciples and told them- "Sons, I am fulfilling the onerous responsibility of training you. I am sure all of you will meet with expected success. I have a desire to be fulfilled. You should accomplish it after your training is completed. Will you promise?'

The princes stood in silence before their tutor listening to his words. After a while, Arjuna felt that it was not proper for them not to respond to their Master. Should they remain silent at Drona's plea? Were they cowards? Rushing forward, Arjuna said: "0 Master, should you’re asking us thus? Your word is law to us. Whatever may be your wish, I shall fulfil it."

Dronacharya felt happy to discover a pupil of his heart's desire. His affection flowed forth towards Arjuna, 'I will train you to be unmatched in the world', and he promised him.

Another incident. Once when Drona and the princes were having their dinner, the light was suddenly extinguished by a drought of wind. The darkness encouraged Arjuna to ponder thus: 'now, in this darkness, our eyes cannot spot our hands or mouth. And yet the hand with food is correctly moving towards the mouth. This is the result of our practice. So, if we have thorough practice, even in darkness we can hit our target.' No sooner was the meal over, than he rushed out, and started target practice in the dark.

Drona was pleased with his dedication.

'Do Not Insult My Guru'

Arjuna grew up with the strong conviction that none in the world could match him in archery, and he was Drona's closest disciple. The sight of a jungle-boy that could challenge him set him worrying. And the boy said he was a disciple of Drona. Can a respectable person like Dronacharya fail to keep his word?

"Is it true that Dronacharya is your master?". Asked Arjuna of Ekalavya.

'Don't be so arrogant as to question my word. My father did not live long to teach me archery completely. But he taught me to be truthful and not to tolerate untruth. Do you doubting me? Who are you to doubt even my Master?'

At this retort from Ekalavya Arjuna replied in an equally spirited tone: 'I am the son of king Pandu. My name is Arjuna, and my Master is Dronacharya. He hails from a distinguished clan and would never teach a jungle-boy like you. All his disciples come from superior races."

Ekalavya felt like laughing at Arjuna's words but without making fun, he said: 'Arjuna, my Master does not bother about these classdistinctions. It matters to him little whether a disciple is an 'Arya' or a hunter. Why should it matter in one's learning of archery? As our Master says, the disciple should possess determination and concentration in practice to achieve excellence. The teacher should be genuinely interested in his pupil. My Master Dronacharya has heartily blessed me, and I am confident that I will become a master archer with his blessing.'

Arjuna could not accept Ekalavya's words. 'No', he protested, 'What you are saying is false. I won’t believe it. Did Master Dronacharya deceive me?

Arjuna's words angered Ekalavya. He suddenly whipped out his bow and shouted at Aijuna: 'You keep your mouth shut Say one word insulting my Guru, and I shall cut off your tongue!’

Sensing that the war of words was getting out of hand, Dharmaraya, the eldest of Pandavas, pacified Arjuna saying, -0 dear Arjuna, why this unnecessary acrimony? Let us go and ask Dronacharya himself.'

The Next Course

No sooner did they return to Hastinavati than Arjuna rushed to Dronacharya. His face was red and his eyes showed his anxiety. He explained to the Master what transpired in the forest and lamented: "A hunter-boy has gained superiority over me. 0 Master, he boasts that you are his 'Guru'. How can this be possible? What about your promise to me?"

Dronacharya was perplexed: He remained silent for a while. He could guess what really happened. He was caught between two foremost disciples, both dear to him.

Dronacharya was actually pleased at the enterprise of this disciple who stayed in the forest and had mastered the art of archery relying only upon the name of the Guru. '0, what an adventurous boy! What determination! Anybody should appreciate his capabilities when he could wield the bow and arrow so well as to humble Arjuna', Drona thought and felt happy within himself. He was very pleased at Ekalavya's devotion to the Master and thirst for acquiring a thorough training. He decided to show Arjuna the real qualities of Ekalavya.

And Drona also came to a painful decision in relation to his obligation as the teacher to the princes. 'God, Thy will be done', he prayed and set about his task.

Accompanied by Arjuna and Ashwatthama, he proceeded to Ekalavya's forest.

Here Comes My Guru!

Ekalavya's joy knew no bounds when he learnt that Dronacharya was visiting him. He tidied up the whole forest to welcome the Master. Thinking that Drona should not miss his path amidst darkness or shadows thrown by tall trees, he positioned his fellow tribesmen all along the route to guide his teacher to the destination without hindrance.

He decorated the idol he was worshipping with colorful wild flowers. He prayed before it again. He kept the bow and arrows properly arranged. He was full of anticipation.

Horns blew heralding the arrival of Dronacharya. Ekalavya rushed out and saw him majestically walking down. Approaching him, Ekalavya fell at his feet,- tears rolled down his cheeks in sheer excitement. His desire to welcome the Master was great; it was total surrender. Ekalavya also formally welcomed Arjuna and Ashwatthama, who had accompanied the Master.

The Guru's Agony and Ecstasy

Ekalavya treated the distinguished guests to a feast of delicious fruits, milk, etc. He later demonstrated to them his prowess in archery. Arrows flew in all directions in novel formations.

Ekalavya gratefully told Drona: 'Sir, all this is the result of your kind blessing. As long as I remember you, none of the arrows I send forth can fail to hit the target, Acharya, I have also learnt to aim at the source of any sound! I sat in prayer before your idol and during the worship; the whole knowledge came to me. How can I forget your generosity?' His eyes were closed in reverence.

Dronacharya was thrilled at the words and actions of Ekalavya. His heart melted with deep affection for this unique pupil. Seeing the devotion with which be worshipped his idol, his eyes swelled with tears of emotion. I am lucky to have such a pupil', he told himself. When he remembered the object of his visit, Drona shuddered in agony. Should this poor boy suffer because of a promise I made to a prince? Should his life's ambition collapse shatteringly? Drona felt grieved.

Arjuna and Ashwatthama sat transfixed upon witnessing Ekalavya's skills. They forgot themselves and began applauding him.


Drona awakened from his emotional state and remembering his objective instructed Ashwatthama to go out and make arrangements for their return journey. He was concerned that his son might oppose him.

After Ashwatthama went out, Drona, in a low voice, summoned Ekalavya.

'Yes, Guruji.'

'Your learning has been enormous, son. I am deeply satisfied. With utter devotion and practice, you have achieved something magnificent. May your achievement become an ideal for all to emulate.' Drona blessed his disciple whole-heartedly.

Ekalavya was overwhelmed. 'Thank you, 0 Gurudeva! I only wish my mother had heard your noble words. But, Sir, you blessed me with this training. You asked me in Hastinavati to pursue my training in my forest and said I too was a disciple of yours. Otherwise, I do not know whether I could have accomplished this much. May your kind blessings protect me for all time, Acharya!'

Drona said - 'If you accept me as your Master, you are obliged to pay my fee ('guru-dakshina'). Think it over.'

Ekalavya smilingly replied: 'What is there to think over, Sir? I am your disciple and you are my 'Guru'. This is as true as the existence of my mother, my forest here and my dear animal friends. Should I hesitate to pay my obeisance to you? Please say what you wish, Sir. I will fulfil it even if I have to sacrifice my life in the effort.'

Words failed Drona. He could hardly respond to the glorious devotion of the boy. He felt utterly helpless and was obliged to tell him: 'Ekalavya, your achievement is unparalleled. Any master should feel proud of such a disciple. But, son, now it has fallen to my lot to promise I made.' 'Oh, Master what are you saying? You have to break a promise? Impossible it will not happen. And that too because I got trained in this art? Bhagavan! Please tell me how I can help you solve this problem. Everything that is mine, my whole being is at your disposal.'

'Please Accept My Fee'

'Ekalavya, I have to demand a supreme sacrifice from you to fulfil my word. Pardon me, son! Can you please give me the thumb of your right hand as my fee?'

Ekalavya stared at Dronacharya for an I while. He could sense the Master's agony. He then stood up and walked. To the idol with determination, placed his thumb upon a stone and cut it off with an arrow from his left hands in an instant. Blood started gushing out.

Meanwhile, Arjuna was keenly listening to the dialogue between Drona and Ekalavya. He was worried whether he could match Ekalavya in the skills of archery, but felt confident that Drona would keep his promise. When the Master asked Ekalavya's thumb as his fee, Arjuna was shocked. By the time he collected his thoughts and turned to Ekalavya, the thumb had already rolled down to the floor.

Ekalavya then prostrated before Drona who was sitting with his eyes closed and said: '0 Master, please accept my fee.' Opening his eyes, Drona saw the thumb soaked in blood; the disciple stood before him with a smile on his face. Drona, while feeling grieved at the injury he inflicted upon Ekalavya, was at the same time deeply touched by his ardent devotion. He embraced him saying: 'Son, your devotion to the 'Guru' is unmatched. I feel a sense of fulfillment in having had a disciple like you. May God bless you.'

Arjuna was standing there dumbfounded.

Later, the threesome returned to Hastinavati.

The End

Ekalavya scored victory in defeat! With the right thumb gone, he could no longer wield the bow effectively. But he would not give up easily. He continued his practice using his left arm and achieved distinction. His accurate marksmanship became a byword. He demonstrated that nothing could be a hindrance to a totally sincere pursuit. But he was constantly nagged by one worry. As a heroic person like his father, he had desired to assist the king of the land in times of difficulties and he could not fulfill this ambition.

It was the time when the Great War of Kurukshetra was being fought. Lord Krishna, supporting the Pandavas, was thinking about talented and heroic people who may join hands with Kauravas.

Ekalavya's father Hiranyadhanu had died in the service of Kaurava kings. Now it was possible his son might also assist Kauravas. Though he had lost his right thumb, he was still one of the world's greatest archers, as
Krishna knew.

It is said in the Mahabharata that Lord Krishna, not wanting Ekalavya to assist the Kaurava army, killed him before the war erupted, ad blessed him with eternal salvation.

Ideal Pupil

Ekalavya was an ideal pupil. An intense desires for learning makes one a good pupil. Totally consumed by this desire for learning, Ekalavya, though not sitting before the Master in person, mastered archery by worshiping the 'Guru' in absence. A boy from the woods, losing his father early in life, achieved such great glory in the art of archery.

When the Master desired his right thumb as his fee, he unhesitatingly cut it off and presented it to him.

Ekalavya is a name that lives in the memory of mankind eternally like a star.

Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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nick18_in is a splendid one to beholdnick18_in is a splendid one to beholdnick18_in is a splendid one to beholdnick18_in is a splendid one to beholdnick18_in is a splendid one to beholdnick18_in is a splendid one to behold
Student of MBA at Thakur Institute of Management Studies
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Leaders Space: Dhruva - February 20th, 2006

Hi all....


He was a little boy of five years when he was insulted by his stepmotherand ignored by his father. He went to a forest in search of God. With determination and devotion, he succeeded. He ruled the country in the name of God and in the interest of the subjects.To this day the Pole Starre minds Indians of this great devotee of God.

Author - 'Kakemani'


Who has not seen the Pole Star? It guides travelers in remote forests and sailors at night. There is an interesting legend about this star.

King Uttanapada

In ancient times, a king used to have many wives. This was a common practice. But often the wives were not friendly towards one another. Disputes arose as to who should be given a higher place and enjoy greater pomp, and whose son should be the future king.

Once upon a time there was an emperor, by name Uttanapada. He had two queens. Suniti was his first wife and the Chief Queen. Suruchi was the younger wife. But yet the King loved Suruchi more. Her word was law to him. She had no patience. She would grow angry in no time. Her own happiness and glory were important to her. Yet the king loved her. Whatever she said he accepted;he never considered whether it was right or wrong.Even when he clearly saw that she was wrong, he was not bold enough to say so.

But Suniti was of a gentle nature. She would first 'consider what was right and what was wrong and then she would choose the right course. She was patient by nature. She was helpless before Suruchi's arrogance. The status of the Chief Queen justly due to Suniti wasgiven to Suruchi. As the King was a puppet in Suruchi's hands, she exercised greater authority in the affairs of the state.

Suniti had a son, Dhruva by name. Suruchi also had only one son, by name Uttama.

Dhruva cannot live in the Palace

Suruchi was not content with her pomp and power. She did not allow Suniti and Dhruva to live in the palace. Her desire was that her son Uttama should succeed to the throne. If Suniti and Dhruva lived in the palace, people would always remember that Suniti was the Chief Queen andDhruva the first son of the King Uttama might not become the king this was Suruchi's fear. Though Suniti was the Chief Queen, she lived on the outskirts of thecity like a commoner. King Uttanapada did nothing. He would not even turn towards herhouse. He had so much fear and love for Suruchi.

Each A Comfort to the other

In spite of such sufferings Suniti was true to her name ; 'Suniti' means one who is virtuous. She uttered not a word of complaint against her husband, nor would she blame Suruchi. She always wished them well. She accepted whatever fell to her lot. Submitting everything to God, she was silent. Her only treasure was Dhruva. Every day she would call him to her and teach him the holy stories of saintly persons.Thus she would forget hersorrow. She spent her days praying for the pros- perity of Dhruva who was her only solace.

Dhruva had great love for his mother; he was devoted to God and he respected elders. Though young, he had pleasing manners. Under the guidance of the mother, he had developed great devotion to God; and it grew every day. Sometimes he thought, 'My father is a king; but why do my mother and I not reside in the palace? Why does my father not come to our house at al l? ’ Again and again he questioned his mother. She managed to console him somehow and then grew silent.

Every child wishes that his father and his mother should treat him with love. Is this not so? Dhruva's mother fondled him, told him stories and dressed him with great affection. But he was denied the father's love. This pricked his mind.

"Father, Lift Me in Your Arms"

One day little Dhruva was playing; he went to the palace. He was just five years old. The King was seated with Suruchi and Uttama on the throne studded with gems. The magnificent hall glittered with pearls and gems. Many things there delighted one's eyes - pure white cushions here and there, golden chairs decorated with silver figures and lovely figures carved on marble walls.

Dhruva entered the hall. He saw Uttama sitting on the lap of the father. He, too, wished to sit on his father's lap.Hestepped towards the throne.

Suruchi saw Dhruva approaching hisfather. Her wickedness stirred at once. Dhruva climbed the steps of the throne. Standing near his father, he said, "Father, I too want to sit on your lap; lift me in your arms."

"Are You Worthy?"

The King did not even look at Dhruva standing nearby. Poor boy! Dhruva was very eager to sit on the father's lap like Uttama. He put his hand on Uttanapada's lap.

Suruchi flared up. Her eyes seemed to send forth sparks of anger. The King also noticed her angrily glaring at Dhruva. He, too, felt pity for the boy. Yet, on one side there was the natural desire of his little son; on the other side was his beloved queen glaring at Dhruva like a provoked lioness. He did not dare to face her anger. So he was silent.

Suruchi could not control her anger. She stormed at the child. "YOU fellow, how dare you presume to aspire to sit on the King's lap? You were not born, as my sons are you worthy of touching the throne? If you aspire after the throne, perform tapas; Pray to God and be born as my son. Only then can you be like Uttama. Stand back! Otherwise you will have to be pushed out. Get out!" she said scornfully.

Back to the Mother

Poor boy! He was confounded. He looked at his father, who did not even glance at the boy. Dhruva could not bear the sorrow. He was angry, too,like a wounded serpent. He felt deeply insulted. His father had not spoken a word to him, and had remained quiet when he was insulted. Tears rolled down his cheeks. Leaving his father, he went down the steps of the throne.

A servant had watched what hadhappened and saw the sobbing boy. She felt sorry for him. She came forward to lift him up. But Dhruva escaped and ran away. The servant followed him.

Even as Suniti saw her son at a distance she felt as if the skies had come down on her. Dhruva had always been full of laughter. But here he was, coming home sobbing. Suniti ran to the child hugged him and lifted him up. She kissed him and tried to console him. But he was still sobbing. He could not speak.

A servant had followed Dhruva, hadn't she? Suniti asked her, "Why is the child weeping? Do you know?"

The servant narrated the incident.

All Is God's Will"

Suniti could not bear the anguish of her heart on hearing the servant's story the insult done to Dhruva by Suruchi, her words and her keeping him at a distance as though he had no right even toapproach his own father. Sorrow welled up in her. For a while she could not even speak. She sat silent. The selfish Suruchi had insulted Dhruva who was the real heir to the throne Suniti felt sad. Poor boy! Dhruva was an innocent child. Why should Suruchi have ill-treated him?Suniti thought,'I should have enjoyed the status of the Chief Queen. When I myself live the life of a commoner, should Suruchi take revenge upon my child?'

Shedding tears, Suniti consoled the child. She said: "My darling, no doubt you are a prince but you are not fortunate enough to enjoy the position of a prince. When God takes pity on us, our condition will improve. I am an unfortunate woman; and because you are my child, you were subjected to suffering. Everything happens according to God's will. We can only surrender ourselves to Him and beg Him to save us from difficulties. That is all. Who else will help us? Take comfort. All is God's will."

"How Can I See God?"

Every day the mother used to tell Dhruva many stories about God.The boy had heard stories about the devotees in dis- tress whom God had saved.The mother now stressed the fact that thesole strength and shelter of those in distress is God, who is full of mercy. On hearing her words, a new Hope surged in the boy's mind.

"Mother, how can I see God? Will He not appear if I appeal to Him?" he asked.

"True, my child, we should think of God, that
Ocean of Mercy, and pray to Him. Then we can be sure of His help," replied Suniti.

Dhruva said, "But how can I see Him at all? I will see Him, tell Him about our sorrows and try to get His help."

Let me go to the Forest and See God"

Suniti smiled at the words of the child, but she also felt pity. She said, "My darling, there is no place where God is notpresent. In different forms, He pervades all places. He is present in all men. He is in the good and in the evil, in joy and in sorrow. But it is not easy to see God. He will be pleased with the devotion of a pure mind. My child, you should have a firm mind, absolute 'devotion and perfect faith."

"But mother, you have often told me that sages and ascetics go to the forest to see God. Is he present there, too?'

"Yes, my darling. He is everywhere. But, Dhruva, to perform tapas in a forest is not an easy task. The forest is full of wild animals like tigers and lions. There are poisonous creatures like serpents and scorpions. Whatever roots and fruits are found is all the food. One has to put upwith everything like the rain, the winds, cold and heat. A little boy like you cannot do all this, my love" Suniti said.

A firm decision shone in the innocent face of Dhruva as he heard these words.

"Mother, I will go to the forest and see God. I will please Him with my devotion and secure boons. Bless me that I may succeed." With these words, he respect- fully touched her feet.

"Not So Easy, My Child"

Suniti was taken aback at these words. She had not thought that Dhruva would take such a decision. A little child to go to the forest? A little child to perform tapas? She could hardly believe her ears. But he had made up his mind. She spoke comfortingly and lovingly, and said, "It is not so easy to see God my darling. Singleness of purpose is necessary to please Him. You must have faith that nothing can shake; your heart must be full of the nectar of devotion. All this is beyond a child like you. We must accept whatever falls to our lot - joy or sorrow. Whatever joys and sorrows we may face, we should consider them the gifts of God and surrender everything to Him.This is theonly way left to us." With these words Suniti lifted the boy in her arms.

"I Shall Surely See God"

But the mind of the innocent Dhruva was distrubed. He was determined to see God, whatever the difficulties he had to face. He had resolved to place his sorrows and sufferings and those of his mother before God and put an end to them. He rose from his mother's lap.

Mother,I cannot delay any longer.Whatever may happen,whatever hardships I may encounter, I will see God. Do not be anxious till I come back. The sages have seen God; will He not appear to me? Send me with your blessings,' so saying, he again touched her feet.

Suniti heard the words of her son. "You were not born as my son. Do you deserve the throne?' - these words of Suruchi to Dhruva she remembered. She too felt that the way he had chosen was the only way left for them to wipe out the insult. She said, "My love, what your step-mother said is true. Your father is ashamed even to admit that I am his wife. Then,how can you, my son, become the king? It is useless to blame Suruchi. The only right thing to do is for you to worship God. Pray to Him with single-minded devotion. May you succeed!"

Dhruva bowed to his mother. She took him in her arms and fondled him, and blessed him.The little boy, barely five years old, went to the forest determined to see God.

Dhruva had only one goal before him, and that was to see God. He walked on, unmindful of the stones and the thorns in his path, and of the Lips and downs; he had no thought of hunger,thirst and fatigue. The name of the Lord was ever on his lips. His mind was filled with the nectar of the Lord's name.

In The Forest

Walking without rest, Dhruva entered a thick forest. He walked on, struggling to find a path. Stones and thrones hurt his tender feet. All day long the boy walked on. He was hungry and thirsty. He was very tired. Darkness was descending. The forest was full of terrifying sounds. Ele- phants trumpeted, lions and tigers roared. But Dhruva was not conscious of them at all. H e was chanting the sacred words, 'Obeisance to Lord Narayana'. The words were his sole protection. It grew dark. He could not find his way in that thick forest. Unable to do anything and utterly ex- hausted, he collapsed under a tree. But the lips still uttered the name of the Lord. The tiny boy, exhausted by thewanderings, soon fell asleep.

The night passed.Day dawned.The chirp- ing birds came out of their nests. Little animals, which crept out of their holes, noticed the child asleep on dry leaves. The deer timidly and cautiously approa- ched Dhruva and smelt him. One creature attracted another, and soon a number of birds and animals gathered there and surrounded the boy. The noise woke him up.He opened his eyes and lookedaround. He saw it was morning and stood up. The birds and animals were all frightened and ran away in different directions.

Only the words. 'Obeisance to Lord Narayana' came from the lips of Dhruva. He was quite certain he would see the Lord.

Revered Sir, Guide Me"

Dhruva had comb with the yearning to see god. He got up in a hurry, and began his journey. Wandering in the wild forest full of stones and thorns, his tender little feet were already bleeding. He could hardly take a step.

Just then the great sage Narada un- expectedly appeared there. Narada was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu (Narayana). He visited the three worlds. Dhruva was filled with joy at the sight of the holy sage with cymbals and the 'tamboora' in his hands, who was singing the glory of the Lord. He bowed down and touched Narada's feet.

By intuition, the sage had understood everything about Dhruva. He raised the boy. Dhruva said, "Sir, I must see God. That is why I have come here. You are a holy man. Show me the way."

Stroking his back, Narada said with affection, "My child, you are a very small boy. In your mad desire to see God, you have come to this thick forest and exposed yourself to danger. What a difficult task you have undertaken!" The touch of Narada's hands infused a new spirit in Dhruva.

"Now Go Back"

Dhruva narrated everything in detail - how his stepmother had insulted him, how his father had ignored him and how his mother had advised him. Embracing Dhruva, Narada said, "Dear child, your parents are really fortunate. I am filled with joy at your determination to see God. But child, it is not so easy to see the Lord Sages have performed tapas in several lives and yet have not seen the Lord. If you give up your food and wander in a forest, you cannot see Him. Today you yearn to see God because a great sorrow has bewildered you. But only a man who can treat both joys and sorrows equally can see God. Hurt by your stepmother's words, you now seek God to get relief. But he who wishes to see the Lord should give up desire and anger. The desire for this thing or that must leave you. Look! You came here because your stepmother insulted you, didn't you? You were angry at her words. If you were wise, you should have remained calm, whatever your stepmother might have said. Without peace and calm of mind, how can you see God? If you gain experience of worldly life and attain maturity of mind, you can see Him. Now go back. Live like the others. Experience joys and sorrows. When you grow old, come to the forest and perform tapas; then you will see God."


But, though young, Dhruva did not relish these words. 'Great Sir, I belong to the warrior caste. Your advice cannot alter my decision. I came here to see God. Show me the way and bless me. My mother has told me that He is visible to the sages doing tapas in forests. According to her, God will look after the person who loves Him. Now I do not seek the throne. I want a position which none of our elders has so far obtained. When I see the Lord, that is what I will beg of Him. Show me the way, Sir," he said to the sage and bowed down and touched his feet. The little boy's courage and confidence pleased Narada. He said,'Look, my child, do you remember what your mother told you?That is valuable advice. Forget everything else and pray to God.There is a place by name Madhuvana on the banks of the Yamuna. Go there. Bathe in the river. Think of God with a pura mind. Have His image fixed in your mind. His face is lovely and innocent like that of a sweet child. His face is radiant. His lips are ever smiling. His is an enchanting figure, shedding light all around . Have that image fixed in your mind. ' Make that image the center of your thoughts, and pray. Control your mind so that it may not turnelsewhere. The Lord will be pleased with truedevotion. May you prosper!' The sage then taught him the sacred words of prayer to Vasu-deva (Narayana). He also blessed the boy.

The venerable sage had initiated and blessed him. So Dhruva's heart was 'filled with joy. He forgot all fatigue. Elated at the joyful thought of seeing God, he bowed down to Narada's feet and set out to Madhuvana.

"I Did Wrong"

After parting from Dhruva, the sage Narada went to the
palace of Uttanapada. When Suruchi insulted Dhruva, the King was afraid of her and so he kept silent. But he could not forget the boy's sorrow and tears. He sent his servants to Suniti's house to bring Dhruva. They returned with the news that the boy had gone to the forest to see God.Grief flooded the King's heart.

When Narada arrived, Uttanapada was full of repentance for his inaction. Every one was cursing Suruchi. Suruchi, who was once so arrogant, was now ashamed to show her face and crouched in a corner. Having lost her son, Suniti had given up food and had become weak.

The great sage Narada arrived at the court of Uttanapada. The King received him with all honor. He offered him a seat of honour. Narada said, "Great King, your face shows deep misery. What is the reason?" "'Venerable sage," replied the King, "unfortunately 1. Did wrong. Because of my love for Suruchi, I drove away my sweet, child with his mother. Dhruva was happy with his mother. I insulted him and sent him to the forest. So I have become a sinner." And the King broke down with grief.

Good Will Result From All This"

Narada consoled. The King saying, 'Great King, your son Dhruva is an exceptional child. God himself looks after him. Do not be troubled. With his firm mind, Dhruva will earn such a place as no one else has attained, and will come back. Take courage."

Full of repentance, Uttanapada said, "Revered Sir, I acted blindly and thought- lessly. I have committed a hundred sins. Forgive me," and he fell at the Sage's feet. Then Narada consoled the King and advised him. He Said, "Oh King! What you have done is wrong. Yet good will come of all this. Bring your Chief Queen Suniti to the palace and treat her with all honor." Then the Sage went away singing the sweet name of Lord Narayana.

"Dhruva Arise!"

Dhruva did not move from his seat. Reciting the divine name of Lord Vasu- deva,he fixed the divine, auspicious image of the Lord in his heart. Without food, with out caring for heat and cold, and not even conscious of the world around him,he went on reciting the divine hymn only. One day passed, two days passed; a month went by. Dhruva's tapas grew more rigorous. He dedicated himself to the merciful image of the Lord fixed in his mind. Months passed. In the beginning, he used to eat whatever fruits he could get. Gradually all thought of food disappeared. Both his mind and his body were absorbed in praying to God. Because of his rigorous tapas, a divine light shone round him. Terrified by it, the wild animals of the forest fled from him. The flame of Dhruva's tapas began to burn the three worlds.

Lord Narayana was pleased with Dhruva's devotion and his determination. He appeared before Dhruva in his divine radiance. A conch shone in one hand, a discus in the second and a mace in the third. Placing His divine hand on Dhruva's head, the Lord said, "Dhruva, arise. I am pleased with your devotion." Dhruva opened his eyes. He saw before him the Lord whose auspicious image he had fixed in his heart. He had left behind him his loving mother and his kingdom, and had gone without food, all because he yearned to see God. Now, that All-Merciful Lord stood before him smiling.

Dhruva was thrilled. Wonder and joy made him speechless. He prostrated before the lotus-like feet of the Lord. Then he gazed on the divine, auspicious figure, as if he would contain the - Lord in his eyes. He was eager to speak to God and praise Him. But joy had sealed his lips. The Lord affectionately touched his cheeks. That divine touch enabled him to speak.

"Enough if I Am Your Devotee"

Dhruva praised God with all joy and gratitude. "Lord, I cannot describe your greatness. You are a fountain of bounty. You are everywhere in creation. Even the wisest of men cannot understand you. What, then, of me, a mere child! As a cow protects her new-born calf, you must protect me," he prayed.

Dhruva had only one desire before going to the forest; and that was to see God. But on seeing him, the boy did not know what to pray for. He said, "Lord, I performed tapas in order to see you. What can I seek after seeing you? I am young. I do not know how to worship you and honor you. I ask for nothing. Only grant me the highest of all positions - that of Your devotee."

The boy's words brought great joy to the Lord. Embracing him again, the Lord said, "Child, all your desires will be fulfilled. Go back to your kingdom now; at the right age become the king and rule with righteous- ness. See your image in each of your subjects; share their ambitions, honor, prestige, joy and sorrow. Rule your king- dom righteously. Then enter the world of stars and adorn the highest position which none has secured so far." So blessing the boy, God vanished.

After God disappeared, Dhruva grieved like a fish out of water. 'Did I conduct myself properly before the Lord? Was there any lapse on my part? I do not know. I did not achieve the goal of merging in Him; alas, once again I am to be caught up in the affairs of this world!' He was un-happy. He said to himself, 'I should have begged of the Lord to make me a part of Himself. Instead I asked for something trivial! I am like a man who begs the emperor for a handful of rice!' So he was displeased with himself for a while. But had not the Lord himself asked him to go back and rule the kingdom? Now once again Dhruva's mind turned to his mother. He set forth for his kingdom. He was troubled fearing that separation from himmight have made his mother unhappy. But he had seen God and the experience had brought him a new vigor, a new delight and a new splendor.

Back To the Palace

King Uttanapada learnt that Dhruva had fulfilled his oath and was returning to the kingdom. His anxiety ended, he was supremely happy. Accompanied by his ministers and the elders of his state, the King went forth to greet Dhruva with auspicious music. As soon as he saw Dhruva, he affectionately embraced him. Then Dhruva respectfully fell at the feet of his stepmother Suruchi. Overjoyed, she lifted him up and blessed him. His mother Suniti's joy knew no bounds. Sorrow mixed with joy made her speechless. She held him tight to her heart. Then at Uttanapada's command Dhruva was seated on a royal elephant and the procession moved towards the city. The enthusiastic citizens had decorated the city with archesbunches of flowers and pearls. Every house was brightly illuminated. Women stood on both sides of the road, holding plates of flowers and fruits. Honored by all citizens, Dhruva received their blessings and reached the city.

Dhruva the Emperor

Uttanapada gave him excellent education. Dhruva mastered all the arts. When the king grew old, he decided to crown him King. As he desired, Dhruva married Brahmi, the daughter of king - Prajapati Simsumara and Ila the daughter of Vayu. Dhruva became the king. Then Uttanapada went to the forest to perform tapas. Dhruva ruled over his subjects with affection. Suruchi's son Uttama followed Dhruva in loving devotion.

The City of the Yalkshas in Ruins

Once Uttama went out hunting. When he was roaming about the forest, a powerful Yaksha killed him. His mother Suruchi was troubled in mind that he did not return. She went to the forest in search of him. The Yaksha caused a wild fire in the forest and Suruchi perished in the fire. Dhruva got the news that his loving brother and his step- mother were killed by the Yaksha. He was filled with grief. At the same time he was angry. He made preparations to fight. With the Yakshas.

Dhruva invaded Alakapuri, the city of the Yakshas. He began to strike them down. Dhruva rained arrows on the Yakshas and they fell down like dry leaves in a storm. They used their supernatural powers. It grew dark. A terrible storm arose.Serpents and lions chased Dhruva. He grew angry. From his quiver, he took the arrow named after Lord Narayana and shot it. All the Yakshas, their wives and children were killed. The city of
Alakapuri became a graveyard.

"Grant Only This - "

Dhruva belonged to the dynasty of Manu. His grandfather Swayambhuva Manu saw that the Yakshas were being killed need lessly. His heart melted. Accompanied by many great sages, he went to Dhruva. He taught him the path of wisdom. Dhruva bowed to his grandfather.

Swayambhuva Manu said, "Dhruva, you are killing the innocent people for the wrong committed by some one. Get rid of anger; for anger is the root of all troubles. Ignorance leads to anger. You are a wise man; how could you become involved in this highly sinful act? One devoted to God will never be angry and act rashly. You are a holy man, for you have seen Lord Narayana you must not do such a cruel act. It is your duty to have patience with those who do wrong. You should be patient with criminals. Pity those in sorrow and be friendly towards all creatures. Don't you know that the Lord is present in all living beings? You have now killed the Yakshas and thus hurt Kubera's feelings. The Yakshas are the followers of Kubera. Now go to Kubera, be respectful and win his favor."

The advice of his grandfather Swayam- bhuva Manu brought down Dhruva's anger. He stopped fighting. This news pleased Kubera very much. Accompanied by his people, he himself went to see Dhruva. Seeing Kubera, Dhruva bowed down respectfully to him and sought his bless- ings. Kubera ' was pleased with Dhruva's modesty. He said, "My boy Dhruva, I am pleased with your goodness. I am not at all displeased with you for killing the Yakshas. You did not disobey your grandfather Swayambhuva Manu. You curbed your anger and ended the fighting. I am therefore pleased. Every being born in this creation must die one day or the other. So do not grieve over the death of yourbrother and your stepmother; and do not be angry. Ask for whatever you wish. I will gladly Grant the boons."

But Dhruva did not wish to ask for anything. He had worshipped Lord Narayana even in his childhood and had secured His grace what could he desire in his old age? Hearing Kubera's words, Dhruva humbly said, "Master, I do not seek any kind of pleasure now. Just grant me this boon - that the auspicious form of Lord Narayana may ever shine in my heart." So saying he bowed to Kubera. Kubera was much pleased with his devotion to God. He said, "So be it!," and vanished.

The Pole Star

Dhruva returned to his capital. He ruled his kingdom, always helping those in need; his heart was ever with God. He considered the people's happiness his happiness and was a just ruler. The auspicious image of the Lord was ever in his heart and before his eyes. Whatever he did, he did in the name of the Lord.

Dhruva became old. He entrusted his son with care of his kingdom. Going to the holy Badarikashrama, he forgot the world in praying to the lord. And one day he departed from this world.

According to the boon granted in his boyhood by Lord Narayana, Dhruva became as it were, the crowning of the entire galaxy of stars. Also he became the lord of stars. Also he became the lord of the world of Dhruva. To this day when Indians see the Pole Star they remember Dhruva, the devotee of perfect purity of mind. His fame is deathless.

Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Student of MBA at Thakur Institute of Management Studies
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Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Leaders Space: Teacher - February 28th, 2006

This is might have been featured in the groups earlier but thought we might need it again.


There is a story that happened several years ago with of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson...and as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie.

Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same... But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath, and Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs.Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers....

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise:

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote,
"Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly
and has good manners. He is a joy to be around."

His second grade teacher wrote,
"Teddy is an excellent student. Well-liked by his classmates, but he
is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home
must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote,
"His mother's death had been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but
his father doesn't show much
interest. And his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote,
"Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He
doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of
herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas
presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except
forTeddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper
that he got from a grocery bag.

Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other
presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a
rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that
was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's
laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it
on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say,
"Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very
day she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead,
she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention
to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.
The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of
the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class
and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same,
Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her
that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then
wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she
was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while
things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with
it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.
He assured Mrs.Thompson that she was still the best and favorite
teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he
explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, the decided to go a
little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and
favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little
longer-the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter
that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be
married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago
and he was wondering if Mrs.Thompson might agree to sit in the place
at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
Of course Mrs.Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet,
the one with several rhinestone missing. And she made sure she was
wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their
last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.Thompson 's
"Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for
making me feel important and showing me that I could make a
difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.
She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught
me that, I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until
I met you."

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Nikhil Gadodia
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Leaders Space : To Get Ahead, Use Your Head
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Leaders Space : To Get Ahead, Use Your Head - March 3rd, 2006

To Get Ahead, Use Your Head

I'm the last person in the world who would tell you not to work hard. I'm also the first one to remind you that working hard must also be tempered by working smart, or you might just be wasting a load of effort. There is a reason why we were born with both muscles and brains.

Consider the story of two lumberjacks in a tree-cutting contest.

Both were strong and determined, hoping to win the prize. But one was hardworking and ambitious, chopping down every tree in his path at the fastest pace possible, while the other appeared to be a little more laid back, methodically felling trees and pacing himself. The go-getter worked all day, skipping his lunch break, expecting that his superior effort would be rewarded. His opponent, however, took an hour-long lunch, then resumed his steady pace. In the end, the eager beaver was dismayed to lose to his "lazier" competition.Thinking he deserved to win after his hard work, he finally approached his opponent and said, "I just don't understand. I worked longer and harder than you, and went hungry to get ahead. You took a break, and yet you still won. It just doesn't seem fair. Where did I go wrong?" The winner responded, "While I was taking my lunch break, I was sharpening my axe."

Hard work will always pay off; smart work will pay better. Remember back in college, there were the kids who studied all day and all night, but still struggled to pass exams? Then there were the kids who studied hard but also found time for a game of cards or basketball, and still aced every test. Both groups studied the same material, attended the same lectures taught by the same professors, and took the same test. Was the second group just that much more brilliant? Maybe, but my money's on the way they approached their material and learned how to study. If they were smart, they applied those same principles after graduation: work hard, but work smart.

That's a lesson that can be learned by even young children.

A little girl visiting a watermelon farm asked the farmer how much a large watermelon cost. "Three dollars," he told her. "But I only have thirty cents," the little girl said. The farmer looked around his field, and feeling sorry for the little girl, pointed at a small watermelon and said, "That one's thirty cents." "Oh good," she replied as she paid him, "Just leave it on the vine and I'll be back in a month to get it."

Call it creativity, call it ingenuity, call it whatever: I call it using your head
. Knowing how to analyze a situation and how to execute an action plan will put you ahead of the game in the long run. There's nothing wrong with having a leg up on your competition - it's how you win. The combination of hard work and smart work is the formula for success. Think about what needs to be done, and then think again about the best way to accomplish it - not necessarily the way you've always done it, or the fastest way, and certainly not the hardest way. Never make work harder than it has to be. That's just a colossal waste of time.

Perhaps the ingenuity award goes to the fellow who came to the Canadian border on his motorcycle, carrying two saddlebags strapped across his seat. The border guards asked the obvious question, "What's in your saddlebags?" "Rocks," was the reply. So the guards emptied the bags to check out his story. Sure enough, all they found were rocks. So they sent him on his way. The next week, the same fellow came to the crossing, again on a motorcycle, again with the same payload. The guards checked once again, and found more rocks. Off he went. The scene repeated itself weekly for several months, until finally the guards couldn't stand it any longer. "We know you are smuggling something across the border, but every time we inspect your saddlebags we find only rocks. Please tell us what you are up to, and we promise not to turn you in." "Well," the fellow replied, "It's really very simple. I'm smuggling stolen motorcycles."

Mackay's Moral: It's good to work hard. It's great to work smart. But it's best to work hard and smart.

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Nikhil Gadodia
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Leaders Space : Why the spiritual person is a better manager of people ??
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Leaders Space : Why the spiritual person is a better manager of people ?? - March 3rd, 2006

Why the spiritual person is a better manager of people

In the ultimate analysis it is people who make the difference. To organizations, governments, and nations. The leadership of these people makes the difference between success and failure

Religion is the way you treat people
No truly religious person will treat others unfairly. Like needy people give you an opportunity to do charity, people at the workplace are a chance for you to grow people.

To quote Emerson “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

The karma of comrades
If we delve into the theory of Karma for a moment – the belief is that we pick the family we are born into and the circumstances surrounding our life through our karma.

Taking that further, every person’s success or failure is decided by the people around him/her. All our skills come to zero if our people skills are crude.

Every professional should be a people person
Every working person has to deal with people who are juniors, seniors, management, clients, suppliers …

The relationship struck with these groups can decide the growth path of the individual and the organization.

The role of the senior - mentoring
Mentoring has been called ‘The art of achieving through another person’.

A senior has many roles to play where junior talents are concerned. The senior is involved in hiring people, working smoothly with them, nurturing them, and promoting them.
This is where ethics, religious beliefs, professional responsibility, and personal maturity come into play.

Are you scrupulously fair when you hire? The ideal would be to stay uninfluenced by any personal bias – caste, language or region. Also assess the highly recommended candidate on par with any other. The recommendation should be seen as an entry point after which everything else equals out. Merit is the only issue.

Have you ever enjoyed work in an atmosphere of fear? What do you do to provide an open, enjoyable atmosphere? And can you do that and still ensure a high quality of work? Easier said than done but the only way to go.

In a world full of choices, fear is no longer a motivator

Disregard personal bias when it comes to giving opportunity to the deserving. Training is to be given to the ones who need it more. In reports to the seniors do you name the high performers and detail out their contributions, or do you take credit by being deliberately vague?

Is there a junior who sucks up to you? Or constantly points out the shortcomings of others? Every organization will have a few of those.

These are the insecure ones. They need to be counseled. Don’t use them as a source of feedback on your team or how people see you. You will get only a conveniently distorted version.
Promote based on professional assessment procedures, attitude and potential. It pays off very soon for you and the organization.
Besides which, your conscience will rest easy.

Dealing with your equals – healthy competition
These could be your competitors, this is where the concept of healthy competition comes in. They are still within your organization, it would be better to outshine them and not outfox them.

For example if marketing is doing a brilliant job and the head of customer service is deliberately not doing the same…that is a house divided and will soon shake if not fall.
Or when the content team in a web company is delivering great content, and the tech team is not uploading these, simply by complicating things, as techies can so easily.
There are instances of techies tampering with the internal email accounts of various department heads, to ensure they don’t get memos to prepare for meetings, and end up looking amateurish due to lack of preparation.
Ethics goes out the window, and along with it hopes, ambitions, commitment to the organization and so on.

What goes around comes around
Why risk sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind? Experienced, older professionals will tell you that the scheming, unnecessarily aggressive person usually grows to a certain level, and then stagnates. Without the active goodwill of people around you it is next to impossible to grow to your full potential.

Years from now, old and feeble with life’s work over, you can choose what you will see when you look back. Imagine for a moment, however unpleasant it might be, that the newspaper at some future date is carrying your obituary:

When you look back, at the end of life
Imagine the reactions of the people you work with. Will they tell their families

“He made me what I am today.” Or “Never met a nicer person.”
Or at the other extreme “The old idiot finally died.” Or “Wonder whom he’ll pick on in the next world.”
Now how would you like to be remembered?
The most spiritual definition of leadership seen so far is: “Leadership is the ability to develop leadership qualities in others.”

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Nikhil Gadodia
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Leaders Space: Sudha Murthy
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Leaders Space: Sudha Murthy - March 23rd, 2006

Sudha Murthy

An angry letter from a young lady made JRD Tata change his rule Sudha was livid when a job advertisement posted by a Tata company at the institution where she was completing her post graduation stated that "Lady candidates need not apply". She dashed off a post card to JRD Tata, protesting against the discrimination.

Following this, Sudha was called for an interview and she became the first female engineer to work on the shop floor at Telco (now Tata Motors). It was the beginning of an association that would change her life in more ways than one."

There are two photographs that hang on my office wall. Everyday when I entered my office I look at them before starting my day.

They are pictures of two old people. One is of a gentleman in a blue suit and the other is a black and white image of a man with dreamy eyes and a white beard. People have often asked me if the people in the photographs are related to me. Some have even asked me, "Is this black and white photo that of a Sufi saint or a religious Guru?"

I smile and reply "No, nor are they related to me. These people made an impact on my life. I am grateful to them." "Who are they?" "The man in the blue suit is Bharat Ratna JRD Tata and the black and white photo is of Jamsetji Tata."

"But why do you have them in your office?"" You can call it gratitude."

Then, invariably, I have to tell the person the following story. It was a long time ago. I was young and bright, bold and idealistic. I was in the final year of my Master's course in Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, then known as the Tata Institute.

Life was full of fun and joy. I did not know what helplessness or injustice meant.

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus . I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies' hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science.

I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US. I had not thought of taking up a job in India.

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors). It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: "Lady candidates need not apply.?
I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers. Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful?

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco's management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco.

I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company's chairman then). I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote.

"The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives. They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender."

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco's Pune facility at the company's expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city. To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways.
As directed, I went to Telco's Pimpri office for the interview. There were six people on the panel and I realised then that this was serious business.

"This is the girl who wrote to JRD," I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realisation abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted. Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, "I hope this is only a technical interview."

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, "Do you Know> why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research
Laboratories." I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, "But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories."

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune
. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realised who JRD was: the uncrowned King of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr. Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw "appro JRD". Appro means "our" in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.

I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, "Jeh (that's what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor." JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it).

Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. "It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?"

"When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir," I replied. "Now I am Sudha Murthy.
" He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.

"Young lady, why are you here?" he asked. "Office time is over." I said,

"Sir, I'm waiting for my husband to come and pick me up." JRD said, "It is getting dark and there's no one in the corridor. I'll wait with you till your husband comes."

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn't any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, "Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee."

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, "Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again."

In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He wa
s absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, "So what are you doing, Mrs Kulkarni?" (That was the way he always addressed me.) "Sir, I am leaving Telco." "Where are you going?" he asked. "Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune."

"Oh! And what will you do when you are successful." "Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful." "Never start with diffidence," he advised me. "Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. I wish you all the best."

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive. Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco.

Later, he wrote to me, "It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he's not alive to see you today."

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice.

He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn't do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today's engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments.

I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD
. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence.

(Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives.)

Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100 th birth anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004

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3 Essential "E"s For Leaders... Engage, Empower, Encourage!!
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3 Essential "E"s For Leaders... Engage, Empower, Encourage!! - March 29th, 2006

"Enflamed with the study of learning and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave... and worthy..., dear to God, and famous to all ages." - John Milton

Leaders are by definition "stewards" of the trust, hope and beliefs of others. To perform their acts of stewardship, leaders must practice and master three essential tasks:

=> Engage people
=> Empower people
=> Encourage people

Many leaders have a problem applying those 3 "E"s to their leadership goals, actions and conversations. Here are a few strategic ideas you can use to inject the three "E"s into your leadership styles and behaviors.

Engage the Hearts, Minds & Wills of People!
"No seed shall perish which the soul hath sown." - John Addington Symonds.
When you plant a positive vision into the fertile fields of their hearts, minds, wills and emotions, your venture is sure to succeed.
Your task is to help your partners, associates, peers and constituents or clients to

=> Connect with,
=> Believe in,
=> Commit to,
=> Organize for

performing that mission-critical activity, reaching for a desired objective or completing some specific task.
The intent, consistency and integrity of your leadership style, behaviors and attitudes must demonstrate the worthiness of your visionary ideal or principles.
In a word, you use your dreams or ideals to motivate and inspire the confidence and commitment of others.

Empower the Skills, Performance & Competencies of People!

Empowering people means
-> linking them with the knowledge, resources, assets and processes they need,
- preparing them for the tasks, activities, objectives, challenges and problems they will work through,
- directing them to the sources of tools or materials, supplies and resources, specialists or networks to enable their efforts,
- guiding them in identifying, classifying, mapping or modeling, learning, analyzing, evaluating, innovating and creating, managing, venturing and leading for any situation.
By empowering, we mean facilitating the supply of energy, mass and capability to perform the work at hand. To provide people with the energy of a belief, competence or meaning.

"True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings; Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings." - William Shakespeare

Leaders encourage us to have hope, we use that hope to add speed and give flight to our dreams, our hope transforms our lives into the lofty desires of kingly beings, and transmutes our efforts into a reality of kingly treasures.

Encourage the Endeavors, Strengths & Confidence of People!

When you lead by encouraging people, you give them a:

=> purpose for being, for their inclusion, for making a difference and contribution, for reaching upwards or towards a higher plateau
=> obligation to the mission, to help others, to fulfill an ideal, to belong, to a higher power or greater good
=> trust in the common purpose, in goodness of others, love and mercy of God, in a promising potential for the venture,
=> affinity with a noble or worthy enterprise, with other positive or success-oriented people, with a great and righteous goal
You encourage people because you realize they will become transformed by the hope of a positive image or possibility.
"None without hope e'er lov'd the brightest fair, But love can hope where reason would despair." - Lord Lyttleton.

LOVE is an act of the will, to love is a willful decision to show a loving concern, care and compassion for another - love gives hope the solid support of a strong foundation.

"Growth is the only evidence of life." - John Henry Newman

If it is possible to encourage an energizing yet positive growth of people, then you are engaged in a worthwhile endeavor.

When we analyze the styles and behaviors of our greatest leaders like , Gandhi, King, Churchill, Tolstoy and Mother Theresa, they share a common trait - they applied all three "E"s to their practice of leadership.

Leaders in government, business and public services can easily find ways to use one or more of these key actions -

1) They can engage the hearts or minds of people through compelling ideas or inspiring principles;
2) They can empower the ability and desires of people by connecting or educating them through applied energy;
3) They can encourage the commitment and heroism of people by showing them the hope or belief in a better reality.
Try out these concepts - when you do, you'll see a real improvement in your leadership effectiveness!

"We have two lives about us, Two worlds in which we dwell, Within us and without us, Alternate Heaven and Hell: Without, the somber Real, Within, our hearts of hearts, the beautiful Ideal." - Richard Henry Stoddard.

It's up to you to decide, do you believe there are 3 "E"s in "leadership"? Stretch forth your hope and see the possibility - engage, empower, encourage your people to win!

By Bill Thomas

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Leaders Space: Dr. Stephen R. Covey
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Leaders Space: Dr. Stephen R. Covey - March 30th, 2006

About Dr. Covey
Internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, Dr. Covey dedicates his life to teaching principle-centered living and leadership to individuals, families, and organizations. Holder of an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate degree from Brigham Young University, Dr. Covey is author of the international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century, and other best sellers that include First Things First , Principle-Centered Leadership, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families .
A recipient of awards ranging from International Man of Peace to the National Fatherhood Award, Stephen R. Covey is continuously engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding through reading and through interaction with the diverse, inspirational people he encounters the world over.
Professional Biography
n 1996, Stephen R. Covey was recognized as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans and one of Sales and Marketing Management's top 25 power brokers.
Dr. Covey is the author of several acclaimed books, including the international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages throughout the world. Other bestsellers authored by Dr. Covey include First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, with sales exceeding one million, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.
Dr. Covey’s newest book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, which was released in November 2004, has risen to the top of several bestseller lists, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today Money, Business Week, and and Barnes & Noble. The 8th Habit has sold more than 360,000 copies.
  • In 2002, Forbes named The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the top 10 most influential management books ever.
  • A survey by Chief Executive Magazine recognized The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as one of the two most influential business books of the twentieth century.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People audiobook on tape is the best-selling nonfiction audio in history, selling more than 1.5 million copies.
  • Over two million copies of First Things First have been sold. Simon & Schuster expressed the opinion, "...First Things First is the best-selling time management book ever."
  • Dr. Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families was released in October 1997 and ranked fourth on the New York Times list within three months of its release date. It is the No. 1 best-selling hardcover book on family.
Dr. Covey is cofounder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, the leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries. FranklinCovey shares Dr. Covey’s vision, discipline and passion to inspire, lift and provide tools for change and growth of individuals and organizations throughout the world.
Dr. Covey's organizational legacy to the world is Covey Leadership Center. On May 30, 1997, a merger of Covey Leadership Center with Franklin Quest created FranklinCovey. Dr. Covey's vision of empowering organizations to implement "principle-centered" leadership in their cultures continues to be an important focus of FranklinCovey.
Career Highlights

Captain David Marquet
President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia
AB Combs
Throughout his career, Dr. Covey has had many unique and fascinating experiences. Here are a few highlights:
Captain David Marquet
I was training U.S. Navy officers in leadership during the era, when someone told me about an exemplary leader named Captain David Marquet, Captain of the U.S.S. Santa Fe, who never lost anyone, in spite of the hellish conditions submarine personnel are required to endure.
An opportunity arose, which I jumped at. I was invited to board Captain Marquet’s sub and interview him. Never before had I observed such empowerment. We stood on the bridge of this multibillion-dollar nuclear submarine with a football field of vessel in front of and behind us. A young officer approached the Captain and said, "Sir, I intend to take this ship down 400 feet." Captain Marquet asked about the sonar and sounding and then instructed this young man to give us another twenty minutes on the bridge before carrying out his intention.
Throughout the day, people approached the captain intending to do this or do that. The Captain would sometimes ask a question or two, but then say, "Very well." He reserved only the top decisions for his own confirmation and empowered others to make the rest. He said he wanted to empower his people as far as he possibly could within the Navy’s confines. He felt if he required them to own the problem and the solution to it, they would begin to view themselves as a vitally important link in the chain of command. He created a culture where those sailors had a real sense of adding value.
Months after my sub ride, Captain Marquet wrote to inform me that the U.S.S. Santa Fe was awarded the Arleigh Burke Trophy for most improved submarine, ship, or aviation squadron in the Pacific.
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President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia
We met at the Presidential Palace with President Alvaro Uribe and his cabinet for nearly two hours. We were impressed that he spent more time with us than had been scheduled. He was warm, open, humble—a real visionary. We talked about the importance of giving attention to things that may not be urgent and about creating a clear vision of what you want your legacy to look like. He had been struggling with urgent issues such as current terrorist activity, so we talked a lot about communication. President Uribe really opened up to the idea of working internally and with other government leaders with whom he has disagreements to practice Indian talking stick communication and try to work out third alternatives. However, his skepticism was evident as he considered how to apply this to communications with terrorist groups. My response was that you don’t attempt to negotiate with evil and I think that eased his mind a bit. He invited me to return next year and teach his congress and governors about it.
AB Combs
In 2001, I was invited to visit A.B. Combs elementary school in North Carolina . I was awed by what the principal of the school, Mrs. Muriel Thomas Summers, had been able to accomplish. Her success has inspired many educational institutions around the world, and I share her story wherever I teach.
Mrs. Summers envisioned introducing principle-based character education into the curriculum of a K-5 school (little children ranging from about ages 5 through 10), and of involving fellow administrators, faculty, and families in the preparation. She chose The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as the curriculum.
When asked how introducing principle-centered character training into the curriculum had impacted academic performance, she replied that the impact had been profound. "Eighteen months ago, 67 percent of our students performed at or above grade level in national academic standards; today 94 percent are at or above grade level." Consider the significance—the same families, the same facilities, the same core curricula and learning materials, the same buildings—only one variable—character principles were integrated into the classes and lives of these students for 18 months.
During my visit, they unveiled the "Wall of Wonder." It was made of 560 ceramic panels, each painted by a child and all blended into a montage of beautiful colors. In the center was depicted the four needs—to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. Many of the children, of 56 different nationalities, wore their native costumes and carried their native flags for my visit. I've never seen diversity that compared to this.
A.B. Combs School has received numerous awards, including:
  • NationalBlueRibbonSchool of Excellence (given by the U.S. Dept. of Education)
  • National Magnet Schools of Excellence Award, three years running ( highest award given by the National Magnet Schools of America ). Named one of the top five magnet schools (out of thousands) in the U.S. in academic performance, with 98 percent of their students performing at or above grade level.
  • North Carolina School of Excellence (based on academic achievement)
  • North Carolina Governor's Entrepreneurial Award ( awarded for leadership and risk-taking in education)
  • Winner, National Schools of Character
  • Invited to present at the Model Schools Conference, 2004
  • Finalist for the 21 st Century Award for Educational Excellence, 2004
In November of 2003, I was once again in North Carolina, and Mrs. Summers invited my assistant and me to visit the school. All of the students, grades K-5, knew and found ways to practice the 7 Habits. The principles taught had literally become a way of life for these students. We went on a tour of the school and visited all of the classrooms, meeting staff, teachers, and students. The feeling there was extraordinary and the attitude of everyone was one of passion for teaching and developing the leader within each child.
Every class had a mission statement, and each student was encouraged to write his or her own. It was inspiring to catch a glimpse of what these students have the potential to become in their lives because of how deeply they believe in themselves and the habits they were acquiring at such a young age.
I spoke at a leadership conference later that day in which the children were invited to participate. They formed a parade and carried the flags of all of the nations they represent, some wearing the traditional clothing of that country. They sang "It Takes a World of Differences to Make a Difference in our World," a song about celebrating diversity. One little girl soloed throughout as the choir backed her up. It was very touching. A young boy named James stood at the podium to give a short speech. Although James had received a prepared speech, he had wanted "to make some changes," which he did. I was impressed with the confidence demonstrated by this. I only wished all children could be afforded the opportunities children at A.B. Combs School enjoy. It will be interesting to follow these children as they grow. I can only describe what I saw as amazing.
Personal Biography
r. Covey earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah, his MBA from Harvard, and completed his doctorate at Brigham Young University. While at Brigham Young University, he served as assistant to the president and was also a professor of business management and organizational behavior.
He received the National Fatherhood Award in 2003, which, as the father of 9 and grandfather of 44, he says is the most meaningful award he has ever received.
Dr. Covey currently serves on the board of directors for the Points of Light Foundation. Based in Washington, D.C., the Foundation, through its partnership with the Volunteer Center National Network, engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers from all walks of life—businesses, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, low-income communities, families, youth, and older adults—to help solve serious social problems in thousands of communities.
ome years before writing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I took my family on a sabbatical leave from the university at which I was teaching. We lived for a year on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, and I spent much of the time writing. It was very beautiful there and conducive to contemplation. After an early morning run on the beach, I would retire to an isolated office next to the canefields on the outside edge of a college.
While wandering the book stacks in the college library one day, I noticed a book that piqued my interest. Looking through it, my eyes fell upon a paragraph, which powerfully influenced the rest of my life. I read it over and over.
The paragraph communicated the simple idea that there is a space between any stimulus and the response to it. The key to our growth and happiness is how we use that space. The idea hit me with fresh, unbelievable force. It was like an inward revolution. I reflected on it again and again. It was as if I had become an observer of my own participation. I began to stand in that space and look out at the stimuli. It would change my life and the way I communicated forever.
To read more about how Dr. Covey incorporated the stimulus/response concept into his life, read the chapter “Inside-out Again” in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
2003 National Fatherhood Award
As the father of 9 and grandfather of 44, Dr. Covey received the National Fatherhood Award, which he says is the most meaningful award he has ever received. Each year since 1997, the Fatherhood Awards have been presented to individuals, corporations, and organizations that significantly contribute through their work or personal lives to strengthening involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood. Past Fatherhood Awardees include James Earl Jones, Tom Selleck, Stephen Collins, Tim McGraw, and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
1999 Speaker of the Year Award
1998 Sikh International Man of Peace Award
1994 International Entrepreneur of the Year Award
National Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership
1990 ThomasMoreCollege Medallion
Dr. Covey was awarded the first ThomasMoreCollege Medallion for continued service to humanity. The Honors Leadership Seminar at Thomas More College includes a component based on Dr. Covey's approach "principle-centered leadership" concepts.
Dr. Covey has been awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees.
Reading List

Where you’ll find a list of authors and works Dr. Covey recommends.

Wisdom Literature
Basic Works
The Analects of Confucius. Translated by Arthur Waley. Vintage, 1938.
The Art of Virtue. Benjamin Franklin. Acorn, 1986.
As A Man Thinketh. James Allen. Running Press, 1989.
As A Man Thinketh, Volume 2. James Allen. MindArt, 1988.
The Bhagavad Gita. Translated by Eknath Easwaran. Nilgiri Press, 1985.
Book of Hopi. Frank Waters. Ballantine, 1963.
The Book of Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986.
The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton University Press, 1961.
The Dhammapada. Translated by Eknath Easwaran. Nilgiri Press, 1985.
The Essential Gandhi. Edited by Louis Rischer. Vintage, 1962.
The Holy Bible.
The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep and the Instruction of Ke'Gemni: The Oldest Books in the World. Translated by Battiscombe Gunn. London: John Murray, 1912.
The Lessons of History. Will and Ariel Durant. Simon & Schuster, 1968.
The Meaning of the Glorius Koran: An Explanatory Translation. Translated by Mohamad Marmaduke Pickehall. Mentor Books, n.d.
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Translated by George Long. Avon Books, 1993.
The Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle. Oxford University Press, 1991.
The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye. H. H. Gyatso, the Dalai Lama Tenzin. Quest Books, 1966.
Ramayana. R. K. Narayan. Penguin, 1972.
The Sayings of Confucius. Translated by Lionel Giles. London: Charles E. Tuttle, 1993.
The Sayings of Mencius. James R. Ware. Mentor Books, 1960.
Siddhartha. Hermann Hesse. New Directions, 1951.
Sufism, The Alchemy of the Heart. Labyrinth Publishing, 1993.
Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu. Penguin, 1963.
Tao, to Know and Not Be Knowing. Labyrinth Publishing, 1993.
The Torah. Translated by W. Gunther Plaute. Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1981.
The Upanishads. Translated by Eknath Easwaran. Nilgiri Press, 1987.
Walden, Or, Life in the Woods. Henry David Thoreau. Shambhala, 1992.
The Way of Chuang Tzu. Thomas Merton. Shambhala, 1965.
The Wisdom of Confucius. Peter Pauper Press, 1963.
The Wisdom of the Vedas. J. C. Chatterji. Quest Books, 1992.
Wisdomkeepers: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders. Steve Wall and Harvey Arden. Beyond Words Publishing, 1990.
World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. International Religious Foundation. Paragon House, 1991.
Zen, The Reason of Unreason. Labyrinth Publishing, 1993.

The Art of Peace. Translated by John Stevens. Shambhala, 1992.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom. Balthasar Gracian. Translated by Joseph Jacobs. Shambhala, 1992.
The Book of Virtues. William J. Bennett. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry. Edited by Stephen Mitchell. HarperCollins, 1989.
The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose. Edited by Stephen Mitchell. HarperCollins, 1991.
Light from Many Lamps. Edited by Lillian Eichler Watson. Fireside, 1979.
Native American Wisdom. Running Press, 1993.
Oneness. Jeffrey Moses. Fawcett Columbine, 1989.
The Pocket Aquinas. Edited by Vernon J. Bourke. Pocket, 1960.
Prayer of the Heart, Writings from the Philokalia. Translated by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware. Shabhala, 1993.
The Sayings of Muhammad, Allama Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy. Charles E. Tuttle, 1992.
Spiritual Illuminations. Edited by Peg Streep. Viking Studio Books, 1992.
Thoughts in Solitude. Thomas Merton. Shambhala, 1993.
Wisdom: Conversations with the Elder Wise Men of Our Day. James Nelson. Norton, 1958.
Wisdom Is One. B. W. Huntsman. Charles E. Tuttle, 1985.
Words of Wisdom. Ariel Books, 1992.
Words of Wisdom. Thomas C. Jones. Chicago: J. G. Ferguson, 1966.
A World Treasury of Folk Wisdom. Reynolds Feldman and Cynthia A Voelke. HarperCollins, 1992.

Commentary and Analysis
Proverbial Philosophy: A Book of Thoughts and Arguments. Martin Farquhar Tupper. E. H. Butler, Philadelphia, 1892.
Ways of Wisdom. Edited by Steve Smith. University Press, 1983.
Wisdom. Edited by Robert J. Sternberg. Cambridge University Press, 1990.

The 8th Habit
Literature Review of Leadership Theories
Results-Based Leadership. Ulrich, Senger, & Smallwood (1999); Nohria, Joyce & Robertson (2003).
Servant Leadership. Greenleaf (1996); Spears & Frick (1992).

References Consulted
Discover Your Strengths. Buckingham, M., and D.O. Clifton. New York: Free Press, 2001.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently. Buckingham, M., and C. Coffman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't. Collins, J.C. Good to Great: New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
Capturing the Heart of Leadership: Spirituality and Community in the New American Workplace. Fairholm, G.W. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1997.
Perspectives On Leadership: From the Science of Management to Its Spiritual Heart. Fairholm, G.W. Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books, 1998

Man's Search For Meaning. Frankl, Viktor. New York, A Washington Square Press Publication, 1959.
A Guide for the Perplexed. Schumacher, E.F. New York, Harper and Row Publishers, Inc., 1977.

Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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