The Pandavas, Navarasas and (not) yet another leadership workshop

Abhishek Paul
2 min readJul 23, 2019

A 2 day leadership workshop that was anchored on the 5 Pandava princes from the Mahabaratha was intriguing to say the least. Given that Naresh was facilitating it, I knew this was no cheap gimmick trying to appeal to the Indian in me. Growing up I was fascinated by the epic and enjoyed the comics that brought it to life, so I was more than a little keen to see what I could learn from the story at this stage in my life.

What I didn’t expect though was the session on understanding the navarasas to be a powerful learning, something that keeps coming to mind several times a day. When it began, I thought the objective was to recognize the rasas, in me and in others, see the impact and alter our behaviour — it seemed fairly straightforward, maybe an Indian version of EQ. As we progressed deeper, one of the facilitators said, “aim to recognize what is being invoked in you when you’re observing the rasas manifested by others” — this was an “Aha!” moment for me.

No longer was it just about spotting and adjusting, but it was about pausing to first recognize my (instant) reaction and then reflecting on why it was triggered. So I wasn’t merely figuring out the best response to a problem, rather I had to realize that the problem was within me all along. Think about that, it’s a brutal truth, one which I am figuring out how to deal with. This clarity alone made the 2 days worth it.