Episode # 132 – There might be thousands of reasons for not performing a duty – Vidura criticizes King Dhirdiraashtra for his inaction!!!


In the previous episode we had a continuation of the discussion on why we should exhibit a pleasing demeneaur at work and execute our duties correctly with due diligence, failing which, we need to be prepared to face the flak from our employer. Vidura took up two analogies to explain this important point to King Dhirdiraashtra. One was a simple analogy involving a branch of a tree and the other was from a more scientific perspective wherein he compared the smelting process of iron to drive this point home.

From this we can observe two things – First one being, it is surprising to note that scientific processes of extraction of metals from the earth surface were already known to people some 5000 years ago! It is evident because, if Vidura has to take a scientific process to explain lessons for life, these processes were commonly being used. Of course the artillery and weapons that were in use in those times are believed to be made of iron, steel, etc. and hence validates this claim. The second thing is that Vidura himself must have had an excellent knowledge and understanding of certain key scientific processes. This is evident not only in this particular analogy, but many others that we’ve seen in the past and also those we’re going to witness in future.

Now we shall move on to the next sloka that Vidura is going to explain – We can again find here that he’s still relentlessly trying to emphasize this point to King Dhirdiraashtra. Vidura says thus:

“Yethayopamayaa dheeraha sannametha baleeyase!

Indraaya sa pranamathe namathe yo baleeyase!!” 

Here Vidura goes on to explain that if we’ve to perform a task, there might be only one reason so as to finish the task successfully. However, there might be thousands of reasons for not executing it. For instance, if we request someone at our home (maybe our son or daughter) for getting a small bottle of water or some grocery items, what might happen? If that person is really interested to help us out, he/she would immediately go to the shop and by all the required items and come back. However if this person is not interested in going out, what all reasons he/she might give us for not going? The reasons that might surface up might be that the shop would not be open at this time of the day, the shop is closed for today, the quality of items that this shop sells aren’t really good, there’s no money with me to go and buy stuff, the shopkeeper never has sufficient coins to exchange money, etc. 🙂 This list goes on endlessly! However if a very close friend of his comes home, immediately this same person would run to the same shop to buy all the required items to host his friend! Now how is that possible? Till now this guy has been telling reasons not to go to that shop to buy anything, however when his close friend is about to come, he quickly hurries to that same shop to buy some water, eatables, etc. from the same shop!

Thus, what do we understand from this example here? If we really want to do a task, we would find ways to finish it successfully and there cannot be any reason for its stoppage. Whereas, if we’ve to put off a task, we would have thousands of reasons for not performing that task. Thus the question from Vidura here is that, if that task is one that has to be somehow done by us, why do we need to put it off? If the task becomes a duty, it is better to perform it irrespective of whether we like doing it or not. If we’ve to still resist and keep putting the duty off our “to-do” list, we would never be able to earn a good name amidst people, as well as we would be getting unwanted punishment for not finishing the duty on time.

Through this explanation, Vidura once again pokes King Dhirdiraashtra and directly tells him that what he is doing is wrong. He says thus, “Oh King! Irrespective of whether you are giving this Hasthinaapura kingdom to the Paandavas or not, Lord Krishna is going to ensure that the Paandavas would somehow get it from you. You might ask me how! If you are not going as per the agreement made, there is going to be a war and since Bhagawan Krishna is always on the side of Dharma, your sons including Duryodhana are definitely going to face flak and death. Thus if you’re not going to do this duty now, you are going to lose not just one or two – but all your hundred sons! Your entire family and clan is going to be completely destroyed because of your reluctance to adhere to this agreement and failure to do your duty at the right time!

Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! Please realize that you are resisting and putting off your important duty as a righteous king just because you are not interested in it. However, you’re not realizing that this duty that you are putting off, is nothing but the “Dharma” and you’re going to pay a heavy price for this act of yours! Thus please do not delay this important duty of yours. Please buck up and rise to the occasion. You need to somehow pull it off and there’s no question of not doing it. Please realize that if you do not perform your Dharma at the right time, there is no point in feeling helpless later on!”

Hearing thus, King Dhirdiraashtra is completely in tears! He knows that his actions are in the wrong path of “Adharma” but somehow he is unable to re-track himself back to the path of “Dharma”. He is blinded by his excessive affection towards his son! Is he going to change his ways atleast after listening to this Vidura’s elaborate discussion on this important point? We shall find out soon! 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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