Episode # 377 – Sahuni – An epitome of “Opportunism”!!!


In the previous episode, we had witnessed yet another important point that Vidura emphasizes and this time it is about opportunistic behavior of people. When do people become selfish and opportunistic? This behavior starts getting exhibited mainly when it comes to money, name, luxury, wealth, property and the likes. This is exactly what is going on in the Hastinapura kingdom as well.

In fact, if we look at the sequence of the entire Mahabharata story, at every instance we would see some kind of an ego and vengeance taken by someone over someone else, just on the pretext of succeeding the kingdom, possessing wealth, transfer of property, etc. Here we would see people going to any extent to satisfy their desire of acquiring money and wealth! We’ve of course witnessed few of the instances in the past as to how this mentality transcended across the entire royal family of the Hastinapura kingdom – Right from the stories of Ambika, Ambaalika, birth of Bhishmaachaarya, emergence of Dhronaachaarya as a teacher of all the martial forms including artillery, etc., emergence of Paandu and King Dhirdiraashtra, emergence of Duryodhana and his 99 brothers (Kauravas), emergence of Sahuni (King Dhirdiraashtra’s brother-in-law), and how he conspired against the Hastinapura kingdom and King Dhirdiraashtra, etc. until the final Kurukshetra war. At every instance we would be able to witness many of these above-mentioned people, trying to satisfy their personal agenda via greed, opportunism, jealousy, etc. and eventually getting destroyed en-route!

If there was one classic person that we can single out from all of the above persons, I would pick Sahuni to explain this particular point that Vidura is explaining now! Of course, at this moment, Vidura doesn’t seem to train his guns towards Sahuni to drive this point home, but we can relate this point easily with whatever actions Sahuni did, so as to fulfil his personal agenda. If we look at the sequence of the Mahabharata story, there was a time when Sahuni had a huge tiff with his sister Gaandhaari and few others in the Hastinapura kingdom and due to this tiff, Sahuni was virtually sidelined on various issues. Eventually he took this as a matter of great personal insult and wanted to seek revenge for this. This is where, Sahuni played the game of a “mediator”. In the modern-day “Management” philosophy, we often employ this term called “mediator”, who is a third-party, outside the helm of affairs of the organization, giving suggestions and guidance so as to improve the prospect of the organization. This is exactly what Sahuni did to King Dhirdiraashtra, Duryodhana and the Hastinapura Kingdom. However, Sahuni went one step further here. Many a times, a mediator might not have a hidden personal agenda while executing his job role, but here, Sahuni – as all of us know, had a huge hidden personal agenda! The way he executed his personal agenda, without disclosing it to anyone in the helm of affairs is what is to be seen here.

Now what did Sahuni do exactly? Why do we say that Sahuni was opportunistic for money and power? Here goes his “modus-operandi” – Observing Duryodhana from close quarters, Sahuni sensed that he was the “weak-link” and he virtually captured this “weak-link” to drive his vengeance. As all of us know, Duryodhana was obsessed with the Hastinapura kingdom, its wealth, power, etc. Sahuni saw this as an opportunity to enter inside the helm of affairs of the kingdom – He establishes a close and a cordial relationship with Duryodhana and makes him fall into his trap! Sahuni makes Duryodhana believe that he is not only his uncle, but also a great well-wisher! This is how he made Duryodhana dance to his tunes! As all of us might know by now, Sahuni was an expert in gambling. It was Sahuni who instilled the “idea” to Duryodhana that the best way to defeat and insult the Paandava brothers is to somehow woo them into the gambling game! Sahuni also virtually brainwashed Duryodhana by repeatedly reinforcing the “modus-operandi” of the gambling game and how Duryodhana can use this as an opportunity to swindle away all the rights of the Paandavas to rule Hastinapura. Eventually as we know, Duryodhana was pulled into this and as per the plan, Sahuni makes Duryodhana “win” the gambling game and eventually “gifts” him with whatever he desired for! Little did Duryodhana realize at that point, that he is entering into a great “danger zone”! It was this one incident that led to the downfall of King Dhirdiraashtra and all of us hundred Kaurava sons and this incident was completely spear-headed by none other than Sahuni himself! Thus, through the game of gambling, Sahuni successfully drove his opportunistic personal agenda of bringing insult to King Dhirdiraashtra and the Hastinapura Kingdom as a whole! From this point of low, King Dhirdiraashtra and Co. could never rescue themselves till the end of the Kurukshetra war, and it is believed that this infamous episode of gambling was the start-point of all the problems that Hastinapura kingdom had faced!

Thus the point here is that, when it comes to money, wealth, name, fame, etc. people start becoming opportunistic and this becomes part of their hidden “personal agenda”. So from today’s episode, we should understand the significance of this point emphasized by Vidura repeatedly. I’m using the word “repeatedly” here because, all through the entire Vidura Neeti, we have witnessed Vidura iterating and re-iterating this one point again and again throught various means and analogies! This is the nucleus of the entire Mahabharata story and thus this point gains lot of traction. We shall wait for the next episode to move on with Vidura’s next important point! 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 Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, 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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