Episode # 19 – Who is a “Panditha” (Learned person)???

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In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point pertaining to the various potential dangers that might arise when leaders become selfish in their approach. Vidura lays special emphasis on this point while he answers King Dhirdhiraashtra’s queries one by one. He advises King Dhirdhiraashtra to mend his ways and actions and to share the Hasthinaapura kingdom with the Paandava camp, as per the original agreement. He reminds King Dhirdhiraashtra about the various aspects of “Raaja-Dharma” and in this course of the discussion, let us see today who is a “Panditha” (Learned person) and who is not!

In this course of the discussion, Vidura is indirectly trying to highlight to King Dhirdhiraashtra that the Paandavas including Udishtra are epitomes of a “Panditha” and that, his sons including Duryodhana are far from being “Pandithas”! He thus highlights from the slokas that are going to follow from this episode onwards, some important points to follow and some important points to avoid as a person as well as a king!

All these points are going to be extremely important for our modern day life too and I request all our readers to muster more concentration and focus as you read through the following! Vidura says thus:

“Aathmagnyaanam samaarambhaha tithikshaa dharma nithyathaa!

Vyamarthaanaapa karishyanthi sa vai panditha ucchyathe!!”

 From the above sloka, Vidura lists the important qualities of a “Panditha” or a “Learned person” or an “Educated Person”.

Who is a “Panditha”? A “Panditha” basically is a person who is able to realize the purpose of his/her birth in this world correctly and tries to formulate ways and means to achieve that purpose correctly! In Sanskrit, “Pandaa” means “Brains”, or simply “Knowledge”. All of us have brains, however the trick of the trade lies in how are we going to use that brain to succeed! It is only this person who knows the trick of the trade is a “Panditha”!

In the modern day, we might have innumerable aims in our lives – To become a successful engineer, or a doctor, or a CEO of an organization, musician, dancer, etc. However, we should note that not everybody can become everything in this world! It solely depends upon the individual’s capabilities and interests, that he/she becomes whatever in life. Thus the important message from this episode is that, we should try and understand what are our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lying ahead. Based on all these, we should channelize our efforts to attain what we are interested and passionate about. This is exactly Vidura is also talking about here. He lists out the important characteristics of a “Panditha” as follows:

  1. “Aathma-gnyaanam” – A person who is able to realize the value of his birth by appreciating the significance of his “Aathman” or “Soul”, thus working in the right way to attain the realization.
  2. “Samaarambaha” – Once the awareness of the purpose of our birth is present, our actions should be channelized in the correct way to achieve our purpose. Thus here it is very clear that it is not only the knowledge about us is important. The actions and approach towards achieving our goals are also equally important. There are four points that need to be highlighted in this context with regard to performing an action to achieve a definite goal – “Gnyaanam”, “Icchaa”, “Prayathnam” and “Kriya”. As we’ve just seen, “Gnyaanaam” means “Knowledge” or awareness of the task that needs to be done. “Icchaa” means the “interest” that we develop to involve ourselves into that particular task. “Prayathnam” is nothing but the “Executable actions” undertaken by us to achieve the completion of that task. “Kriya” is the final stage wherein we reap the benefits of our actions. Hence, we should realize that our actions and approach should justify our knowledge about our purpose in life.
  3. “Tithiksha” – Now we move on to the next point – Whenever we start to work on our aim and purpose, we might encounter innumerable obstacles during our path. Thus, we should have the patience and perseverance to tackle those obstacles and move forward in our path. This quality is called “Tithiksha”. This is also extremely important for our modern day life – We might observe every passing day that if we are trying to do something good for the society or for the country, there would always be thousand people to oppose that! The test here is that, are we holding on to our actions by not giving into all these people who act as obstacles to our path! If we are giving into their pushes and pulls, it means that we are lacking “Tithiksha”. Whatever maybe the obstacle, we need to take it head on, and come out of it. When I use the phrase “take it head on”, it doesn’t mean that we should take spot decisions for anything and everything in life. We should think for a moment, analyze the significance of the obstacle and then react. This is where the quality of “Tithiksha” is very important.
  4. “Dharma-nithyathaa” – While pursuing our actions towards achieving our aim, we should ensure that our actions are as per the “Dharma” and not through any illegal means. This is also a very important point to be emphasized here. Some of us have this intention of attaining “quick growth” – Be it both in our personal and professional life. We should understand that there could be no short cut for sustained growth! Thus, even if our aim is very good but if we resort to take wrong course of actions to achieve the aim, it would backfire at us. We see innumerable examples in the modern day – For instance, all of us aim to achieve a comfortable lifestyle with adequate money flow to support our personal as well as our family wellbeing. This is a normal wish that all of us have and it is good too! However, the way in which we are going to earn that money is all what matters! If we work with a reputed organization and get a monthly salary, or if we own a business and make money through the correct and legitimate way, there is no problem! However, just for the sake of earning money, if we resort to illegal ways like corruption, taking bribes, engaging in the business of illegal activities, etc. it is evident that we are retreating from the path of “Dharma” to earn the money that we need! Hence the quality of “Dharma-Nithyathaa” is an extremely important one for a learned person. He or she should be able to differentiate between what is “Dharma” and what is “Adharma” and take decisions accordingly!

So far we’ve seen four important characteristics of a “Panditha”. There are more points to be discussed in this context. We shall continue the discussion in the next episode. 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 Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, 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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