Episode # 71 – Accepting people unconditionally – Most important “Dharma” of a Leader!!!

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In the previous episode yesterday we had spoken about a very important aspect called “friendship”. As leaders in the present day in whatever domain we are in, we should be smart enough to choose the right companions to be with us. This is where we had the important discussion on friendship vs. opportunism. There might be people in our lives who might tend to use us for their benefit and growth, ultimately pushing us down for their sake! We need to be careful when we come across such people. When we’ve to move with them we need to maintain a distance and not encourage them to get closer to us. This is where our smartness comes into play. We thus need companions who would be ready to help us out importantly during critical times and support us unconditionally. Of course one can argue that it is tough to come across such people in today’s world, given innumerable challenges we face every passing day! However, we need to figure out such people and be sure that we do not fall into the trap of opportunism.

At the same time, from this above sloka that we are discussing for the last couple of episodes we should also realize yet another important fact that if someone had committed a mistake but realizes his fault and falls on our feet and begs for an apology, we must be ready to forgive that person, whoever it might be. In other words, we should be able to accept people unconditionally, whoever comes to us. This is one unique quality of a respected leader. In the next sloka, Vidura is going to extend this argument to a different level. How does he do that? Let us see:

“Bhakthancha bhajamaanamcha tavaasmeethicha vaadinam!

Treenethraan sharanam praapthaan vishamepi na santyajeth!!”

Here Vidura is explaining this beautiful characteristic of a leader by listing down three types of people, one should never desert and thus protect them unconditionally. Who are those three people? The first one is a “Bhaktha” (Ardent devotee of Bhagawan). The second one is a faithful servant who strives for our welfare always and the third and most important one is the person who falls on our feet requesting unconditional surrender. Of course it is obvious that the first two categories of people should never be let down. Our point of discussion would be the third category and this is one of the most unique leadership qualities – Never ever desert a person who comes with an unconditional surrender to you!

The perfect example for this quality is always Lord Rama. How and where did he exhibit this quality? We can witness two main instances – When Lord Rama had to kill Vaali (Brother of Sugriva), what was the justification that he gave for this action? What was Vaali’s important mistake? We can recall from our previous Ramayana project wherein Vaali had gone to fight a “Raakshasa” by name “Maayaavi”. This fight went on for days together and as Sugriva witnessed blood flowing out of that area, he thought that Maayaavi had unfortunately killed Vaali. Hence he returned back to Kishkinta and since the kingdom was without a king at that point, Sugriva was forced to coronate himself as the successor of Vaali. However, the result was contrary! Vaali had successfully killed Maayaavi and returned back to Kishkinta, only to see his brother Sugriva seated in the throne! Upon seeing Vaali coming back, Sugriva wanted to hand over the kingdom to his brother with happiness. But what was Vaali’s reaction? Rather than receiving the kingdom with grace and accepting the surrender of Sugriva, Vaali ended up abusing Sugriva and chasing him away from Kishkinta! Thus, Vaali had failed in the duty of a king to accept the unconditional surrender of his brother Sugriva, and hence he had to meet his end in the hands of Lord Rama! Thus from this instance we can see that “accepting people who surrender to us unconditionally” is a very important quality for a successful leader.

The next instance where Lord Rama again emphasizes this important leadership quality is when Vibhishana (Ravana’s brother) wanted to come to meet Lord Rama and announce his unconditional surrender at his feet. At this point when Vibhishana arrives at the coast of Rameshwaram to meet Lord Rama and the Vaanaras, Sugriva goes in the front and blocks Vibhishana from going ahead to meet Rama. This was primarily because Sugriva had an impression that Vibhishana was a spy sent by Ravana to assess the Vanara army and thus giving feedbacks about Rama’s strengths and weaknesses! Unfortunately, Vibhishana had no such intentions and he had come with tears in his eyes after being insulted and thrown away by Ravana from Lanka. Upon seeing Vibhishana’s condition, Lord Rama calmly explains to Sugriva about this important “Dharma” of accepting people who surrender with an open mind and makes him understand. Here Lord Rama says to Sugriva, “Oh Sugriva! Even if Vibhishana has come here as my enemy or a spy or whatever, he is standing in front of me with tears in his eyes and seeking surrender! It is my duty as a King to accept his surrender, irrespective of whoever he is! If Vibhishana’s eyes are full of tears, my eyes are equally full of tears and hence I would accept him as my own brother! Even after this, if he wants to destroy me, let him try to do it and I know how to protect myself from his attack!” Such is the level of acceptance Lord Rama had and this was one of the unique qualities that differentiates him as an extremely successful and an admirable leader!

Hence for today, let us think and ponder about this important characteristic of acceptance of people unconditionally. If we had rejected our friends or family members by not accepting their apologies, let us think again! Let us try and welcome them back with our open arms with love and affection! We shall wait till the next episode to discuss the current day scenario of this important attribute! 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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