Nanak’s Blessings — Changing Perspective in Leadership Thinking

Guru Nanak was a great spiritual master and leader of India.

One day he along with his disciple, Mardana, visited a village. They were greeted with great respect and well taken care of during their stay.

People came to the master to learn from his the secrets of living successfully even though they knew a lot about it.

Nanak and Mardana were very pleased with the gentle nature and exemplary behavior of the people of that village.

When the master and his disciple left the village, Mardana asked his master, ‘What good wishes you would have for these villagers?’

Nanak said, ‘I wish that this village is completed destroyed and ruined so that none can live here anymore.’

Mardana was shocked into disbelief by what he heard. But he did not question his master. They kept traveling.

After a few days they came to another village. Here their experience was completely different. The people were hostile. They hurled abuses at them. Some even threw stones at them. None offered them food or a place to rest. They refused to even offer them water to drink.

The master and the disciple somehow spent the night in that village under a tree and by day break they were on their way out of the village.

While they left the village, Mardana asked the master, ‘Master, what curse would you like to cast upon such heartless villagers?’

Nanak softly replied, ‘Did you ask me to cast a curse on these villagers? I would not do that at all. I in fact would bless them that their village grows more prosperous and the villagers lead a better standard of life and have more food to live on.’

By this time Mardana have had enough. He simply could not understand his Master’s strange ways of thinking and could not figure out why his Master cursed the villagers who were so kind and courteous to them and blessed the villagers who were out to almost kill them.

But he knew that his master was a very unusual leader of men. So after some time, unable to contain his curiosity any longer, he asked Nanak, ‘Master, I don’t understand. Why did you bless the people who were so unkind to us and curse the people who were so good and nice to us?’

‘It is simple’, replied Nanak. ‘The villagers who were kind to us were exceptional men and women. I haven’t seen such a group of people anywhere so far. So in a way I did curse them by wishing that their village be destroyed forever so that these good people are scattered and are forced to settle in other lands. This would brighten up the lives of others since they can only enlighten them with their way of thinking and living. On the other hand, I blessed the notorious villagers to be more prosperous so that such people are never forced to leave their place to live in other villages. For if they do that they would contaminate the minds of others forcing them to follow their evil ways in thought, words and actions. It would then harm the world so much that it would be difficult to restore.’   

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