A Qualitative Examination of the Leadership Traits of Rām from Srimad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇ


Ravi Subramaniam

PhD defended at: 

Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa


Leadership research formally began in the early 1900s. Researchers started by identifying personality traits and their influences and situational impacts. In addition to leadership research that enumerated traits, another approach has been to relate leadership to models of psychological development. Researchers have identified how leadership is expressed and measured according to the various degrees of the psychological development of the leader. They related leadership models to self-development. A limitation on the ability to test these self-development models is that, so far, few individuals have achieved higher stages of self-development.
I studied the leadership traits of Rām found in the Srimad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇ because Rām is said to have been established in the highest state of consciousness. Rām was the king of the ideal civilization of ancient Ayodhyā, and his story is told in the Srimad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇ. While the Rāmāyaṇ has been the subject of prior research in the field of leadership, as yet no studies have aimed to research Rāmāyaṇ from the perspective of leadership traits.
Using the Grounded Theory qualitative approach, I explored the leadership personality traits of Rām in light of Maharishi Vedic Science and modern management. Applying the constant comparison method of the Grounded Theory approach, I codified and categorized the leadership traits that I found in the original Sanskrit text of the Srimad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇ. As a result of this process, I compared the leadership traits of Rām with those traits found in contemporary leadership theories. This helped me discover the core trait of Rām that could bring greater success to contemporary leaders. From the perspective of Maharishi Vedic Science, there are scientifically validated procedures to develop individual consciousness in the direction of higher states of consciousness, which are exemplified by Rām. In addition, some of these traits exemplified by Rām have been measured in scientific research on those who regularly practice the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program.