In the previous episode, we had witnessed the remaining three out of the six important characteristics that a king should possess as part of being a great leader. We’ve witnessed how a leader should stick to the path of “Dharma” no matter what the situation might be around him / her. Moreover, the leaders should have a great deal of remembrance of past experiences and events that had taken place, and should have the capability to implement those learnings in the future, if any such similar events take place. Thus, a leader should remember the past, live the present and plan for the future. All these three are important, and there should be a good level of balance between them. For instance, there is no use of just living in the past, wherein the leader only talks and talks about what happened ten years ago! At the same time, the leader shouldn’t completely ignore what happened in the past. This means that the leader is not ready to learn from his / her mistakes. At the same time, the leader should not completely devote time only in planning for the future. Focusing on the present moment is also of paramount importance. There’s no use of just planning, if there is no present-day implementation. Thus, a balance needs to be struck equally between the past (Learning from past experiences), present (Implementing the learnings from the past), and future (Planning and forecasting). This is exactly what Sage Naarada is trying to advise Yudishtra with regards to the six important qualities of a leader.
Moving on further, Sage Naarada next focuses on “Seven”. We might now wonder what is this set of “Seven” Sage Naarada is talking about. He now focuses on “Sapta-Upaayam” which means, there are seven methodologies that a leader / king should follow for effective administration. They are “Mantra”, “Aushadam”, “Indra-Jaalam”, “Saamam”, “Dhaanam”, “Dhandam” and “Bhedam”. Many of us might know the last four of them – “Saamam”, “Dhaanam”, Bhedam” and “Dhandam”, isn’t it? Sage Naarada adds three more to this list. All these pertain to how a leader should handle different people differently. As we all know, “Saamam” is the most righteous and easy method to handle people – It involves giving a bit of an advice to people to mend their ways and fall into the path of “Dharma”. “Dhaanam” is a method wherein a leader gives some “gifts” or “donations” in order to bring people into the line. “Bhedam” is a technique wherein the leader purposefully creates rifts within the team, so that all the members would come towards the leader for a solution. This would enable the leader to gain control of the team effectively. Finally “Dhandam” means taking the stick in the hand to mend people’s ways. In other words, giving punishments for people’s wrongdoings is “Dhanda-Ubhaayam”. All of us might be knowing these four techniques of handling different people differently, and this is what Sage Naarada explains here.
Apart from these four, as I had mentioned earlier, Sage Naarada explains three more – “Mantram”, “Aushadam” and “Indra-Jaalam”. Now let us witness what these are and how these fit into the list. Normally, we might have seen “Mantra” being used as a technique to bring people under control – Some people are good in “Pilli-Soonyam” (Black magic), wherein they chant certain “Mantras” aimed at detrimental effects on others. With this “Mantra-Jaalam” it is possible to blackmail others, thus bringing them under control. Similarly we have “Indra-Jaalam” which can be equated to “Maya-Viddha”. In English, we could somehow equate it to “magic”. We might have witnessed how magicians make people attracted to them and how they are able to perform some illusionary acts to surprise others. Similarly, “Aushadam” means medicine. Some people can be brought under control via certain medicines. We would have witnessed how drugs and narcotics work, isn’t it? Even in today’s scenario we have all this very predominantly. If we take certain drugs, it artificially increases our ability to do certain things, and we would be able to see this especially in sports. This is why in popular sports events like the Olympics, there is something called “Dope test”, which would detect whether the participants are under the influence of any drugs that would artificially increase their abilities.
Thus, Sage Naarada explains these seven “Upaayams” with which a leader can exert control over his people. So for today, let us understand until this point and let us wait till the next episode to witness the next number – “Eleven”! Stay tuned! 🙂