Episodes # 136 – How significant are our basic mannerisms amidst the society? Vidura explains!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point emphasized by Vidura to King Dhirdiraashtra. He reminds King Dhirdiraashtra of an important “Raaja Dharma” 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!

Taking this point forward still, we can witness innumerable characters in our epics – Ramayana and Mahaabhaarata to illustrate this point. From the Ramayana we can always take Lord Rama as the biggest example and role model for all of us with respect to this characteristic. This is where Vaalmiki Maharishi asks the first out of the sixteen questions to Sage Naarada – “Gunavaan”, wherein he asks Sage Narada, “Who is that one person living in this world, who would be able to transcend to any level so as to make his devotees happy?” This is what we call as “Sousheelyam” in Sanskrit. How did Lord Rama exhibit this characteristic of “Sousheelyam”? He went to Guha, who is from a low class hunter community and makes friends with him. He then goes to Sugriva who is from the monkey community and accepts him as his own brother! Needless to say, Hanuman is Lord Rama’s most staunch and ardent devotee ever! Hanuman is also a monkey by birth. Next comes Vibhishana – He was basically a “Raakshasa” or a “Demon” by birth as he was Ravana’s brother! Lord Rama was so compassionate that he even accepted Vibhishana as his own brother!

Similarly when we look into Prahlaadha’s story, even Prahlaada was Hiranya’s son, who by birth is a Raakshasa. However Bhagawan’s Narasimha incarnation was solely to protect this little child Prahlaadha, although he was a Raakshasa by birth! Thus from all these instances we can see that Bhagawan would show his unconditional love and compassion to everybody irrespective of whom we are and what background or clan we hail from. All what is important for Him is our unconditional love and surrender to his feet. However if we look at Indra (Leader of the Celestial Beings or Devas), even though he is extremely high-class by birth and by living, he still gets into trouble constantly with Bhagawan and hence he had to be punished every now and then for his wicked activities! Thus as a leader, the important lesson to be learnt by all of us from this section is that, we should accept good and noble people unconditionally, irrespective of whichever clan or community they come from.

Using this explanation, Vidura once more pokes King Dhirdiraashtra by saying that he has been ignoring the Paandavas just because they were the sons of his brother Paandu, who was physically not keeping well. However, King Dhirdiraashtra was hailing Duryodhana just because he was his son and also a prince by birth! Vidura is trying his best to check King Dhirdiraashtra’s actions and to somehow mend his ways. But is King Dhirdiraashtra ready to mend his ways according to Vidura’s words? Till now Vidura has been unsuccessful in his attempt. However that shouldn’t be a cause of worry for us. Our focus should always be on what Vidura is explaining here and what we can learn from Vidura’s important advice.

Moving on thus, Vidura is now taking a different route to convince King Dhirdiraashtra. He is now going to talk about “Responsibility” and “Mannerisms”. Vidura explains thus:

“Sheelam pradhaanam purushe tath yasyeha pranashyati!

Na tasya jeevithenaarthaha na dhanena na bandhubhihi!!”

Here Vidura clearly explains that if a person lacks his responsible behavior or mannerisms amidst the society, everybody would desert him then and there, without any concern! This is of prime importance for anybody in this world – Be it a king or a servant! Each one of us have a certain level of “societal commitments” in our life. In other terms, as human beings, our society expects us to behave in a certain specific manner that would earn us the respect amongst other fellow human beings. For instance, all of us know how to conduct ourselves in public places in such a way that nobody would insult us. According to some important societal rules, we should not litter public places like roads, railway stations, buses, trains, etc. We should not disobey traffic rules while driving on the road. We should not get into any sorts of illicit behavior towards the opposite gender in a public place. The list goes on. Here, if we obey all these common societal rules correctly, people would respect us in whatever small way possible and hail us in a nice manner. However if we start misbehaving in any of the above points, the society would start insulting us and would not give us any sorts of respect.

This is exactly what Vidura says here – As a king, he is bound under certain basic behavior and mannerisms that would earn him respect amongst his subjects. If the king is trying to deviate from these mannerisms, the subjects would brand the king as a person with a “cheap mentality”. This advice not only applies to King Dhirdiraashtra but also to each and every one of us. So for today, let us start pondering over this important point emphasized by Vidura. We shall wait till the next episode to extend this discussion 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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