Episode # 135 – Leaders should accept good people irrespective of their background – Vidura’s key advice!!!

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In the previous episode Vidura had continued his explanation on which would protect which other aspect in this world. In that way, yesterday Vidura had clearly explained that “Dhaanyam” could be protected properly only if we are able to spend it wisely and for a useful purpose (“Maanena”). If a horse (“Ashwam”) needs to be protected, we need to make it run often. Thus in order to protect the horse, it has to be kept on toes always! However on the contrast, a cow that gives milk regularly should be pampered frequently so that it gives more and more milk. Finally Vidura explains that the body of a woman is protected by a beautiful silk cloth!

It is at this point that Vidura candidly reminds King Dhirdiraashtra of the misdeed that he and his sons had inflicted to Draupati once upon a time amidst the public courtroom! Vidura indirectly pokes King Dhirdiraashtra that for this greatest “Adharma” that he and his sons have committed, punishment is round the corner and hence, it is time now to act accordingly so as to prevent that punishment to take over. That is, rather than the entire clan of Kauravas being washed away by the war, it is better that King Dhirdiraashtra takes the initiative to split the kingdom according to the agreement.

Thus so far we’ve seen which items can be protected by what strategies and now moving on further, Vidura is going to explain the next important thing here. This is an extremely important aspect of “Raaja Dharma”. He says thus,

“Na kulam vritthiheenasya pramaanamithi me mathihi!

Antheshvapihi jaathaanaam vrithhameva vishishyate!!”

Here Vidura explains that if a person is exhibiting the highest level of austerity and good practices, we should not look at his family background and derogate him. On the contrary, if a person doesn’t even have an iota of austerity and good practices in this world, even though if he is from a highly revered family background, it is not right to give importance to such a person.

This might be a little complicated to understand for our readers and hence I would try and describe this in simpler terms. For instance if a person hails from a community that is known to be extremely low class, yet his austerities, character and other practices are extremely good, we should never ill-treat such a person and shouldn’t pass derogatory comments against him or her. Rather, we should stand up and appreciate him for his good behavior, even though he is from a low community. In other words, if we find a person to be good in terms of his austerities, behavior, character, etc. we should never look into his family or community background. On the contrary for instance, if a person hails from a high class Brahmin family and yet doesn’t exhibit even an iota of goodness or austerities or character, there is no point in respecting such a person, just because he hails from a high-class background.

Thus the point that Vidura tries to communicate is that, in order to judge a person we should never look into his/her family or community background. We should treat everybody on the equal plane and judge them according to their individual character, austeritiy, etc.

If we’ve to extend this explanation further, how many of the famous “Alwars” were born in a Brahmin community? If we happen to look into their life stories, the first three “Alwars” do not even have parents as they were born out of a flower. If we look at “Thirumazhisai Alwar”, although he was born in a Brahmin community, he did not grow up in that way. Similarly if we look at “Thrumangai Alwar”, he was born amidst thieves! The very famous “Nammazhwar” was born in a “Velaalar” community. All these “Alwars” put together, how much of “Bhakti” and “Dharma” have they preached to this world, although they aren’t born in a high-class Brahmin community?

Many of us, although born in the Brahmin community, are we doing justice to our clan and to our family background today? Most of the times the answer to this question is “No”! We keep running behind money every time and involve ourselves in all the worldly pleasures as much as possible. Even going one step further, if we’re born in the Brahmin Community in India, we are supposed to involve ourself only in “Veda-Adhyayana” (Learning of Vedas) and other spiritual practices. But are we doing this in the modern day world? Only a few of them practice this today. Brahmins are never supposed to touch money by their hands! But unfortunately we’re doing just the contrary today! Of course we can argue that the norms of the world have changed with time and there is no other way through which Brahmins in the present day can protect themselves. Given such a situation in the present day, we don’t even have the right to blame others for what they are. Hence, we should accept people who are good, irrespective of who and what they are.

This is exactly what Vidura is advising King Dhirdiraashtra here. He indirectly explains thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! You’re trying to ignore the Pandavas just because they were born to your brother Paandu, who was a perennial sick person! Thus you’re trying to ignore the fact that these Paandavas are an embodiment of impeccable character! However you’re trying to favor Duryodhana who, irrespective of being born as a great prince, is ultimately an embodiment of all Adharma put together!

Hence, the message from today’s episode is that, irrespective of whatever family or community background a person hails from, we should make it a point not to derogate that person, if his austerities and character is good and impeccable. At the same time, we should make sure that we don’t encourage and appreciate a person for his bad qualities, just because he/she hails from a high family or community background. Thus as a leader, we should know to balance these two aspects correctly and this is where unfortunately King Dhirdiraashtra failed! We shall wait till the next episode to extend this argument further. 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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