Episode # 149 – “Honesty” and “Truthfulness” – Two important attributes of a righteous leader!!!

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In the previous episode we had extended the discussion on why is it important for all of us to have a control on what we talk. Thus the message from yesterday’s episode on this topic was that, every problem in this world has a definitive solution and this solution can be arrived at only with love and affection. Violence and adopting harsh means such as physical or verbal abuse can never bring about a solution to any problem. Even if the issue is complex, there is always a positive way to look at it with pleasing and affectionate words. This would melt the hearts of the opponent and thus would pave the way for corrective action to take place, atleast in most of the cases.

With this discussion we come to the end of this “Adhyaaya” (Chapter) of Vidura Neeti. The next “Adhyaaya” is going to be in the form of a small story and is also a relatively smaller “Adhyaaya” for us to complete. This story is going to about the conversation between three people – Prahlada, Virochana and Shudhanvaa.

Shudhanvaa was a Brahmin by birth. Prahlaada as we might know, is the son of the erstwhile Raakshasa king Hiranya Kashibu. However when this story is taking place, Prahlada had been coronated to the kingdom after the demise of his father Hiranya Kashibu. The son of Prahlada is Virochana. This Raakshasa-clan-born Virochana and the Brahmin-clan-born Sudhanvaa are now going to the “Svayamvara” (Pre-Marriage ceremony) of Kesini. For the benefit of our readers’ understanding, “Svayamvara” is like a competition between grooms to project themselves to be smart and superior in front of the prospective bride, who evaluates each one of them before selecting one! Hence for the “Svayamvara” of Kesini, Virochana and Sudhanvaa are on their way. This story is how truthful and honest did Prahlada conduct himself during this “Svayamvara”. It illustrates how Prahlada was so truthful that even he didn’t care that Virochana is his own son.

It is also interesting to note here that Virochana’s son is none other than the great king Mahaabali. Thus the “Raakshasa” family tradition goes like this: Hiranya Kashibu – Prahlada – Virochana – Mahaabali.

Now as they reach the venue, the competition is going to begin. Here, the contest is directly between the Brahmana-born Sudhanvaa and the Raakshasa-born Virochana. The contest is about to begin, but who is the judge for this contest? Every contest has to have a judge to evaluate the contestants, isn’t it? Now who is the judge here? The judge is none other than Prahlada himself! It is to be keenly noted by the readers that Prahlada’s son is also one of the key contestants in this competition.

“Broohi bhooyaha mahaa buddhe dharmaartha sahitham vachaha!

Shrnvathoo naasthime tripthihi vichithraaneeha bhaashase!!”

Now let us set up the context in Vidura Neeti for this story to commence. Here from the above sloka King Dhirdiraashtra requests Vidura to show an example of how all the “Dharma” that he had explained are put to practice. Vidura replies thus:

“Sarva theertheshu vaasnaanam sarva bhooteshucha aarjavam!”

Here Vidura explains back to King Dhirdiraashtra thus: “Oh King! Whatever it might be in life – It is always good to be truthful and honest with everyone around! This is equivalent of having a holy dip in all the sacred rivers across the world! Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! Please teach your sons to be honest and truthful to everybody! In that manner, you too would have to mend your ways to be open, transparent and honest! This is one of the most important characteristics of a righteous king! Just because your sons should have a luxurious life, please don’t disrespect the Paandavas. Please be truthful and honest with them!”

“Athraapi udaaharantheem ithihaasam puraathanam!

Virochanascha samvaadham keshniyarthe sudhanvanaa!”

Here is where Vidura is going to explain this important point of truth and honesty with the example of what happened during Kesini’s “Syamvara”. We’re now thus going to witness how irrespective of Virochana being Prahlada’s son, he treated him on par with the other contestant, Sudhanvaa. Such is the truthfulness that is required to be a true leader. Hence Vidura is advising with this example that, just like how Prahlada being a great king, was neutral towards his son, King Dhirdiraashtra should also be neutral towards his son Duryodhana and criticize his wrongdoings.

“Svayamvarestithe kanyaa kesini naama naamathaha!

Roopena apprathimaaraajan vishishta pathikaamyayaa!!”

Now Vidura begins narrating the story – Kesini was a beautiful girl and it is her “Svayamvara” that is taking place. Both Sudhanvaa and Virochana have arrived for the function. Kesini now comes near Virochana who is seated on a throne-like chair. She asks him thus, “Oh Virochana! Why are you sitting in this chair? Why shouldn’t Sudhanvaa sit here? Are you more powerful than Sudhanvaa?”

“Kim braahmanaaha svichreyaamso dvijithaaha didhijaaha svith virochana!

Athakenasva paryankam sudhanvaa naa dirohati!!”

Thus Kesini questions why Virochana is sitting in that throne-like chair and why not Sudhanvaa? Now Virochana has to answer Kesini’s question. What does he reply?

“Praajaapathyaasthuvai sreshtaa vayam kesini sapthamaaha!

Asmaakam kalvime lokhaaha ke devaahakve dijaathayaaha!!”

 Now Virochana replies back to Kesini, “Oh Kesini! I’m sitting here because I’m the most superior person of all! Because, we the Raakshasaas have already won over and established our supremacy over the Devas, Brahmanas, etc. Hence, as a representative of the “Raakshasa” clan, I’m the most eligible person to sit in this chair as I’m an embodiment of all the powers and strengths!”

Upon hearing this, Kesini was somewhat irritated. She now replies abck, “Okay! If that’s the case, let us all assemble at this same place tomorrow morning. We shall have a test to decide who amongst both of you is more powerful! Saying thus, Kesini leaves the place hurriedly.

As Kesini, Sudhanvaa and Virochana continue to wait till the next day morning, let us also wait along with them to witness what is going to unfold! Virochana with his over-confidence on one hand and Sudhanvaa on the other hand – A cracker of a contest is on the cards tomorrow! 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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