Episode # 49 – Why is “Patience” (“Kshamaa”) key for successful leaders? Vidura’s brilliant explanation!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important advice of Vidura to King Dhirdiraashtra with regards to upholding of the “Dharma” and “Truth”. Eventually we’ve also seen some important modern day aspects to this important discussion. Thus, it becomes our bound duty to stand up for truth and our values, uphold them at any behest and make it a point to stick to it.

Now moving on to the next point, Vidura explains thus:

“Ekaha kshamavathaam doshaha dvitheeyo nopa padyathe!”

Here Vidura explains yet another important aspect – In the world, people may accuse that being patient is the worst thing ever, however, the attribute of patience is one that is unmatched in this world! This is what Vidura explains by saying “Ekaha kshamavathaam doshaha”, which means that the world would abuse those people who exhibit the quality of patience (“Kshamaa”).

We might be wondering why does Vidura say thus! There is a special reason here, and readers should focus on this point with full concentration. There is a thin hairline difference between two qualities – “Patience” and “Incapability”. If any person remains silent and inactive to any given situation in life, there might be two reasons as to why this person remains silent – One reason is that, the person knows to react, but still he is silent. The other reason is that, this person does not have the capability to react to the situation at all.

This might be a bit confusing and hence I shall explain with a simple example. For instance, one of my colleagues at office is humiliating me and he is verbally abusing me in front of my boss. For this, I can exhibit two types of reactions – I can yell at him back with equal or more force and try to bash him down! Otherwise, I can withdraw from the entire situation, keep silent and let him do whatever he wants! In this, we are not going into the debate as to which of the above two strategies are better. That would be for a different day. For now, the focus is only on the second reaction – Assuming that I’m keeping quiet and refraining myself to bash him. Now the question comes, “Why am I refraining? Is it because I want to exhibit my patience by refraining myself from bashing him or is it because I’m not capable to come up with a counter argument, so as to bash him?”

I hope the point is much clearer now. Hence, the important point that needs to be understood here is that, there is a thin line of difference between “patience” and “incapability”. This is exactly what Vidura explains here – Through the first phrase of the sloka he says that the world would tend to mistake those people exhibiting patience as incapable people (“Ekaha kshamavathaam doshaha”), but however, Vidura continues further by explaining that, no matter what the world thinks and says, one should never compromise his/her patience in any situation, given its enormous significance! Irrespective of who says what, a leader should always be an epitome of patience in whatever situation he/she is in and whatever activities he/she is doing. This is the biggest sign of a successful leader.

How is this applicable in the modern day? For instance if we consider politics, in any country there might be innumerable accusations from the opposition parties, so as to bring down the ruling government and to fulfil their opportunistic political dreams – We can of course see this happening blatantly in India too. However, when does the leader (in this case, Prime Minister) be termed as a successful person? He becomes successful only if he turns deaf ears to whatever allegations are being thrown at him and continues steadfast in his duties towards the country’s welfare. If the Prime Minister has to start paying heed and react to each and every accusation levelled by the hopeless opposition parties, he is indirectly falling into their trap! Ultimately it should be remembered that the opposition parties are trying to provoke the Prime Minister by putting words into his mouth and laying the trap for him to react! Here is where, “Patience” comes into the picture. So when do we say that the Prime Minister is exhibiting “patience”? It is only when he remains silent and focuses on his work rather than engaging in useless arguments with these hopeless people. There will arise a time when the Prime Minister can give it back right royally to all those opposition ranks that keep screaming at the top of their voice!

Thus from this example we can infer here that for a leader to be successful and to gain respect amongst the people, “patience” is of prime importance. This is applicable for everybody in their own respective domains of work and situations. We should always keep in mind that only if we are patient enough, will we be able to attain our goal perfectly.

“Yadenam kshamayaa yuktam akshaktam anyathe janaha!!”

Thus Vidura again reiterates in his next line of the sloka that people would mistake patience to be incapable people! (“Akshaktam anyathe janaha!”) However, all these allegations should not perturb one! For instance if we take our Mother Earth, how patient is she to bare all our day-to-day activities! Every passing day we stamp her, we hit her, we dig her, we drill her, etc. Yet, she doesn’t react to any of our activities! However, can we come to the conclusion that Mother Earth is totally incapable of reacting to all what we do? If she has to react even for one second, the entire clan of human beings would be wiped off! What happens when there is an earthquake? What happens if there is a sea-quake? We’ve witnessed the deadly tsunami that attacked many coastal areas in 2004. Thousands and thousands of people had to lose their lives within a jiffy! How many earthquakes are we witnessing, that is taking away lives in thousands? Thus we should also realize at this point that Mother Nature is thousands of times more powerful than what we are, yet She is an epitome of the highest level of patience! If Mother Nature exhibits this enormous amount of patience and tolerance towards us, what bigger example is required to drive the point further?

Thus for today, let us ponder over this important characteristic called “Patience” and its immense significance in our daily lives! Let us realize that patience is the first and foremost for any leader to achieve any mission successfully! We shall continue the discussion on “Patience” in the next episode also and drive the point even more clearly! 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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