In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Naarada explaining some important qualities of a leader (King, in this context) with regards to executing “Raaja-Dharma”. We’ve witnessed Sage Naarada talking about a few “numbers” in the last episode – Six, seven, fourteen, etc. We’re subsequently in the process of witnessing what are these “Six, seven and fourteen”. In the quest of understanding the six, we’ve witnessed three out of the six yesterday – “Vyaakyaana Shakti”, “Pragalbadha” and “Kushalaha”. While “Vyaakyaana Shakti” implies that the king should have an in-depth understanding of what the other person tells him, and he should explore the deeper meaning into what people are saying, “Pragalbadha” indicates humility or “Vinayam”. A king should always exhibit humility towards his subjects irrespective of any situation. Third one was “Kushalaha” which means that a king should be prepared with counter narratives on any topic or subject, when people talk or debate with him. This simply means that the king should be scholarly and should know the subject very well. For this, of course, the king should do a lot of homework and preparation and should be on top of things at all times.
Moving on thus, Sage Naarada asks the fourth question out of the first six qualities here. He now talks about ”Bhootakaaluki Smriti”, which means that a king should never forget what had happened in his kingdom in the past. For instance, this is the reason why we have a “family doctor” today. Many of us might have the practice of going only to one doctor most of the time, whenever we fall sick, or if we have some medical complications. Why do we do that? It is simply because, if we stick to one doctor, he / she would know which medicine would suit our body conditions and which medicines might be allergic to us. We might have seen with ourselves and many others that certain medicines can cause some complex side-effects on our body and only our family doctor would know it better. Whereas, if we consult some other doctor all of a sudden, he / she might not know our medical history and might end up giving a wrong medication which might cause unwanted complications, isn’t it? Similarly here also, as a king, it is very important to remember the past history as to what had happened in the kingdom during the earlier days. This would enable the king to strategize and plan things better.
For instance, the Covid-19 pandemic happened all over the world and India too had its share of problems last year. Since it was the first time we had such a large-scale disease, many of us did not know how to handle it, which led to lot of lives being lost. However, the question now is that, if another such pandemic occurs in future, what are the learnings that we’ve obtained from the previous experience, so that we can handle the situation better next time? Thus, the administrators should have the past Covid-19 experiences fresh in their memory at all times, so that the learnings from the pandemic would enable them to handle a fresh pandemic situation in future in a more systematic and professional manner.
Moving on to the fifth one thus, Sage Naarada explains to Yudishtra: “Oh Yudishtra! It is not just important that you only keep remembering the past. Are you planning for the future too? You cannot live those days that have already gone by. You only have the present moment and the future in your hands. Just like how you remember the past, you should also be able to strategize for the future!” This is exactly what I tried to explain in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic example in the previous paragraph. It is not enough to remember the past pandemic experience and keep brooding over it. We’ve to plan for the future as well – If another such pandemic occurs in future, or if some new variants of the same Covid virus arise, how well can we handle the situation so that we can minimize the loss of lives? This is what we’ve to focus on as we move forward, and this is exactly what Sage Naarada also explains to Yudishtra.
Moving on to the last of the six important qualities, Sage Naarada explains about “Neethi”. He asks Yudishtra thus, “Whatever happens in the kingdom, are you deviating from the path of “Dharma” or are you sticking to it?” This is also very important here for a leader. There might be compelling situations for a king / leader wherein he / she might be tempted to move away from “Dharma” for scoring some personal brownie points. Now the question here is that, are we remembering “Dharma” always and irrespective of whether we score brownie points or not, are we playing a neutral role as a leader? This is where many of today’s leaders go wrong – The moment they see an opportunity for themselves, they start taking sides where the opportunity for their growth is more! This is a very bad approach towards leadership. A leader should always exhibit neutrality and take unbiased and informed decisions, rather than leaning towards one side and ending up taking skewed decisions!
Thus for today, let us understand these six points for effective leadership, as explained by Sage Naarada and let us wait for the next episode to witness the next number – “Seven” that Sage Naarada says! Stay tuned! 🙂
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Wonderful narration of Mahabharata