In the previous episode we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on how a ruler or an administrator should conduct himself with respect to public money and property. We’ve had a detailed discussion for the past two episodes over contemporary issues that are plaguing the world such as corruption, illegitimate amassing of wealth, misusing public taxpayers’ money for purposes other than development, etc. In the same course of discussion Vidura had a small caution for all of us as well – We should be very careful with the “limit” upto which we can go on to pump money into a business. For instance if the business has started to make enormous amount of losses, it is not wise on our part to pump in more and more money with the hope of making a turnaround. Of course we need to strive with all our efforts and money and try to make a turnaround, provided the losses are within the manageable limits. Whereas if the losses start widening beyond a threshold point, it is only wise to close down the business rather than pumping more and more hard-earned money into it.
How valuable is this advice from Vidura for the modern day! In today’s business scenario we’ve seen quite a few companies going down the undesired path of losses, yet people keep on pumping funds into it. We’ve seen an example of an airline company that had taken enormous amounts of loans from a consortium of various banks and finally had to wind up the business within a few years! The owner of the airline company had recently fled India to the United Kingdom (UK) by squatting all the money from India! Isn’t this a perfect fit to what Vidura had advised us not to do? Even though the owner knew that this airline company is never going to generate any profit, why was he pumping in so much money into it? This has also created a lot of stress to the banks that have lent this huge money! This is what we call today as “Non-Performing Assets” (NPA’s) or simply “Bad Loans” (Loans that are “written off” by banks due to non-payment of dues). Hence, NPA’s of banks are only because of such unethical business houses taking enormous amounts of money as loans and fail to repay them to the banks!
This is exactly what Vidura is advising here – If we are commencing a business or a company, we need to analyze if this business would generate considerable and sustainable amount of profit or not. We should analyze the various risks involved in this venture, evaluate them and only then make a decision to start business. This is extremely important not only for the person who is starting the business, but also for the employees who are going to work with the organization, the banks that are going to lend loans for developing the business and finally the nation, which is going to ultimately enjoy the fruits of the company’s success. Hence, modern day business leaders should think about this important advice from Vidura.
On top of this and as a continuation of this important discussion, we should also note another important aspect here – We should try and develop “self-satisfaction” or “Self-contention” with whatever we have. In pursuit of more and more money, in the modern day for instance, we go and invest in real estate. Of course it is required, because we require a decent house to stay put. However, that desire wouldn’t stop there – If we have one house, we would immediately start thinking, why can’t we have a second house? Why can’t we rent it and earn some money out of it? Thinking thus, we invest money to buy one more house. Once we start getting good returns from it, immediately we would think, why not a third house? The limit becomes endless! We need to think for a moment here – If we keep buying more and more houses like this, who is going to maintain all of them? Who is going to manage all the problems and challenges that would come along with the investments? Sadly, it is we who have to manage everything. Moreover, although we might be having four or five houses, ultimately we can stay or sleep only at one house at a time, isn’t it? We’re not omni-present like Bhagawan to be in many houses simultaneously! Even if we manage to reside at ten different houses for ten different days, will we be able to get a good sleep? We wouldn’t! It is because, we would not be able to get a proper sleep if we are not accustomed to that particular place for sleeping every night! This is a human limitation and we’ve to live with it! Hence, just because we have ten houses at ten different locations, it would not be feasible for us to enjoy the comfort of all the ten houses at the same time. This is exactly why we insist on the point of “Self-Satisfaction”. That is, we need to develop the satisfaction within ourselves with whatever little property we have, rather than craving and running behind more and more money and properties. We should make sure that we inculcate this self-satisfaction within us and limit ourselves from excessive running behind money and property. We’ve already discussed many times in the past that we are nothing but the “Aathman” or the “Soul”. This “Aathman” has nothing called “mine” in this world! It doesn’t own any materialistic things. It is only our mind and our physical body that keeps torturing our “Aathman” by getting carried away with innumerable worldly pleasures. Hence it is upto each one of us to realize that we are none other than “Aathman” and our “Aathman” does not require all these worldly items like money, property, real estate, gold, etc. It only requires Bhagawan’s grace and nothing else. With this knowledge, we should thus be able to control our mind by saying that, “Oh mind! I’m not going to run behind you searching for worldly pleasures. I’m hereby controlling you to follow the principles of Dharma and implement them without any blemish!” It is upto each one of us to take this pledge within us.
This is exactly the mistake what King Dhirdiraastra is making too. Vidura advises thus, “Oh Dhirdiraashtra! What will you do with such a huge kingdom ultimately? You cannot enjoy all of the wealth at the same time. Hence, why do you want to keep everything under your possession only? What’s wrong in giving away a portion of it to someone else too? Hence, please do not go forward and commit the mistake that you’re doing right now!”
Here we can see that Vidura is trying to take different routes so as to convince King Dhirdiraashtra somehow! But is he going to budge to Vidura’s words? Let’s wait till the next episode and see the next route that Vidura is going to take. Stay tuned! 🙂