Throughout Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna fully listens to Arjuna, before responding. Whenever Arjuna is on a long narration of his sorrow and depression, even if some of it is irrelevant or repeated, Sri Krishna never attempts to interrupt him. Not only does Sri Krishna listen to Arjuna fully and with patience, he mostly responds in a very calm and loving tone. On some occasions, he does respond with anger, but that is also not as a reaction but with a clear intention of having the desired effect on Arjuna. In short he showed all qualities of active listening and effective conversation.
Interestingly, these skills have just evolved over last few decades in developing societies. In many contemporary parenting books the importance of fully listening to children and always responding with calmness, is highly emphasized. Effective communication, which includes active listening, is equally important in success of any organization. Modern organizations no longer succeed under ‘dictatorial’ management of the past. Today the employees in any position want to be treated with respect and do not want to be ‘ruled’. To maintain organization leadership in today’s competitive world, it is necessary that organizations adopt wisdom from modern management which emphasizes listening as a core requirement. On another front, just think of some of your best friends. The chances are that they are the ones with whom you can talk freely and feel ‘heard’.
In fact just a few decades ago active listening was not considered as important. Whether it was business or family, the focus was more on authority, obedience and giving orders and so this wisdom from Bhagavad Gita was largely forgotten.
It is indeed interesting to note that this wisdom of ‘active listening’ is available in an ancient scripture like Bhagavad Gita. It does not mean that ‘active listening’ was followed in all spheres of life at that time. In fact that would be far from true. But it does imply that this wisdom was understood at some level at that time.
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