Episode # 47 – Successful leaders prefer “Collective” rather than “Individual” decision-making – Vidura explains!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed a very important modern day phenomenon with respect to administration and leadership, as explained by Vidura in the Mahaabhaarata – “Playing politics”. We witnessed how relevant is Vidura’s words in today’s context – In fact, each and every word uttered by Vidura so far in the past 46 episodes were completely relevant and directly applicable for the modern day! What a long-term vision did our ancestors have! Indeed we would never be able to find such exact references to modern day contexts in any other scripture across the world! There is nothing that is absent in our “Sanaathana Dharma”. The only requirement from our side is that we should spend some time to explore it and get to understand the real “Dharma” that is explained beautifully in our “Sanaathana Dharma” scripture. In that way, we have witnessed various aspects of “Dharma” as explained by Vaalmiki Maharishi in the Ramayana text and now it’s time to witness innumerable aspects of “Dharma” as explained by Sage Veda-Vyaasa through Vidura.

Thus yesterday we had witnessed some important ill effects when a king/administrator resorts to play “dirty politics” because of geed for power. We witnessed that if such a thing happens, one fine day the people of the country would unite under one umbrella and resort to a huge and an unprecedented revolt or a scoop wherein the entire country would crumble! We’ve seen this happening quite often around the world in many countries, and if we brush through our Indian independence struggle, how many such incidences have taken place! This is exactly what Vidura is trying to explain here too!

Now moving on to the next sloka, Vidura explains yet another important point with heavy emphasis. Vidura says thus,

 “Ekassvaadhuna bhunjeetha ekashcha arthaan na chintayeth!

Ekona gachhe na dadhvaanam na ekaha supteshu jaagriyaath!!”

Here, Vidura is continuing the list of actions that are not be executed as a king or an administrator. Here in this sloka Vidura explains four important such activities. Let us witness one by one.

The first avoidable action – “Ekassvaadhuna bhunjeetha” means, a person should not consume any eatable item alone by himself or herself. Rather, he/she should develop the habit of sharing the eatable with others while consuming it.

The second avoidable action – Ekashcha arthaan na chintayeth!” This means that a king should not take any decision on his own without consultation with anybody around him! How relevant is this point in the modern-day management and leadership context! Today we lay enormous importance on the art of “Decision Making”. Successful leaders in any domain – Be it an organization or politics, or sports, etc. differentiate themselves with their ability to make the right decisions at the right time. We shall be able to quote innumerable examples of such cases. But the important question in this context is that, how do successful leaders make the correct decisions? There are different methodologies that leaders adopt – Either through extensive consultation and brainstorming with their close associates and advisors, or through extensive research on that particular area wherein they hold expertise. In both these cases we see that decisions are never taken alone by anybody! If the decision has to be a “masterstroke”, it doesn’t come that way without proper consultation with experts in that particular domain. This is exactly the reason why top CEO’s or political leaders like the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, etc. would have advisors to advise and appraise them on various issues that need to be handled. The advisors are of different categories viz. political advisors, legal advisors, technical consultants, management consultants, etc.

For instance if there is an issue in hand for the government and there is a crucial decision to be taken, it is not the Prime Minister who would be completely at the helm of all the affairs, but there would be political, legal advisors who would swing into action. If the matter is to be taken to the court for a settlement, legal advisors would immediately chip on. If the matter is of great political importance and would impact the country politically, immediately the political advisors and experts would chip in! Similarly if there is an economic decision to be taken at the behest of the country, economic advisors and financial experts would chip in. Thus from all these instances we can clearly see that decision making would never be done singlehandedly, but only with proper consultation with experts and advisors in the respective areas. This is exactly what Vidura is explaining to King Dhirdiraashtra here – “If a decision needs to be taken for splitting the kingdom for the Paandavas, you need to do it with proper consultation with the concerned people. Whereas you are trying to take a decision that is unanimous to you, (just because of your affinity towards your son Duryodhana) and that is going to be detrimental to the kingdom!”

Now moving on to the next point, Vidura says, Ekona gachhe na dadhvaanam!” Here, Vidura explains that a king should never venture into a forest or a jungle area alone at night! In fact, we should combine the next phrase also with this and witness the inference together. Vidura finally explains, Na ekaha supteshu jaagriyaath!” This means that, a king should not keep himself awake in the middle of the night when everybody is asleep.

Now why does Vidura say all this? What is the relevance? It directly means that if a person is awake at a time when he or she should not be, there are many bad consequences that would follow – When we look at it from a physical perspective, if we are keeping awake at odd times of the night, our body metabolism gets affected because of a disturbance in the sleep pattern. Eventually the subsequent day becomes extremely dull and our thinking capability and our efficiency would come down. This directly results in the fall in the output or productivity! The second perspective is that, if a person has to venture out to a forest area or a lonely place in the wee hours of the night, possibility of being attacked by animals or by thieves, burglars, etc. are extremely high. This results in a huge security breach and it can have multiple repercussions to the country. Hence it is always better not to keep ourselves awake at wee hours of the night and this is the main message that Vidura conveys through the last two phrases of the sloka.

Thus today we’ve witnessed four important activities that need to be avoided – Consuming an eatable without sharing with others, unanimous and singlehanded decision making, venturing out into a forest or a lonely place during the wee hours of night and keeping oneself awake during odd hours of the night! Hence let us introspect into it as managers or leaders in the modern day and make a conscious effort to avoid such things if we have such practices in us. We shall wait for the next episode to witness the next sloka and explanation from Vidura! 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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