Vidura Neeti # 18 – Dangerous outcomes of leaders becoming selfish!!!


In the previous episode we witnessed a very important discussion on three essential qualities of a successful leader as explained by Vidura to King Dhirdhiraashtra – Patience, Compassion and Respect. Vidura explains that Udishtra (Dharma-Putra) is an embodiment of all the above qualities and should not be underestimated at any cost. Rather, Udishtra is to be respected for what he is, and is not right to cheat him just because he is quiet and tolerating all what is happening around him.

Vidura continues further in his explanation to King Dhirdhiraashtra thus:

“Dhuryodhane soubalecha karne dushyaasanam tathaa!

Yethaihi aishwaryamaadhaayakathamthvam bhoothimicchasi!!”

 Through the above sloka, Vidura conveys a strong message to King Dhirdhiraashtra by saying, “Oh King! Let me ask you something! You’re having a wish that you should never compromise on your luxurious living,. Isn’t it? And you intend to pass on all these luxuries to Dhuryodhana and your sons. Isn’t it? Let me tell you something important! Passing on luxuries and wealth to your son is not wrong. However, passing on others’ wealth to your sons by allegedly cheating them is extremely wrong! Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! Please realize this fault of yours!”

Thus from the above sloka Vidura pinpoints King Dhirdhiraashtra’s “selfish” attitude that only his sons should be beneficiaries of the kingdom of Hasthinaapura. This is where even in the modern day all of us get entangled into problems. When it comes to money, property or any kind of wealth including land, houses, jewellery, etc. we tend to become possessive and selfish about it. We can see every passing day that families get split, relationships get broken, disputes happening between parents and children because of ancestral property inheritance. It is at this point our ego takes over and we tend to forget that relationships would prosper only if we sacrifice or let go of certain things at certain times. The moment our ego takes over our thinking, we become selfish and subsequently land into this vicious trap! This is where King Dhirdhiraashtra too exactly has got entangled – Because of his selfish attitude that his sons and family should prosper at the cost of the Paandavas! Hence, we should take a moment to introspect within each other and try to understand the significance of this sloka in the modern day context.

Moreover, through the above sloka Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra that, if he hands over the entire kingdom to the hands of Duryodhana and co., given the fact that they are useless and selfish people, how will the kingdom prosper? All of us know the characteristics of Duryodhana and his Kaurava brothers. If the Hasthinapura kingdom is passed on to those who would utilize the kingdom for fulfilling their personal needs, the entire kingdom along with its people would be ruined!

This is also one phenomenon we are seeing in the modern day – If people in the highest level of administration of a state were focusing only in fulfilling their personal needs by resorting themselves to corruption and other means, the state would not prosper! Only that person who knows the “Raaja-Dharma” and those who would abide by the principles laid in the “Raaja-Dharma” should rule the state. It is only then the kingdom or state or country would prosper.

Stating the above facts, Vidura tries to explain and demonstrate to King Dhirdhiraashtra that he is not getting adequate sleep and is sleep-deprived because of all these thoughts clogging his mind all the time! Vidura says thus, “Oh King! You’re having the noble thought that your kingdom should be in the highest level of prosperity all the time! But however, your actions and executions are just the opposite of your thoughts! If the country should maintain its prosperity, you should hand it over to the Paandavas. However, if the country should be handed over to your hopeless sons and if you still hope that your country should maintain its prosperity, this is never going to happen!” Thus we can see here that King Dhirdhiraashtra’s “Lakshya” (Aim) is different from the way he’s adopting to attain his “Lakshya”. This is the biggest danger that a king or a leader can face.

So for today, let us introspect and examine the applicability of this important sloka in our modern-day life. Moving on from this point, Vidura is going to continue his explanation further to substantiate this important point. He is going to explain who is a “Panditha” (Learned person) and who is a dumb-headed person. Let’s wait till the next episode to find out the characteristics of these two categories of persons! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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