In the previous episode, we had continued the discussion between Sage Naarada and Yudishtra, wherein Sage Naarada had asked Yudishtra whether he was following the six important characteristics or qualities that a leader should possess. Subsequently, we witnessed the seven important methodologies that a leader should adopt while handling different people differently. They are “Mantra”, “Aushadam”, “Indra-Jaalam”, “Saamam”, “Dhaanam”, “Dhandam” and “Bhedam”. We’ve had a detailed discussion on all these seven important methodologies yesterday and in today’s episode we shall move ahead with the next set that Sage Naarada is going to emphasize now. Now the number is “Fourteen”. Thus, Sage Naarada is asking Yudishtra whether he is constantly putting these fourteen people under test at all times! We might wonder here as to why we should “test” someone! Yudishtra also had this same doubt and Sage Naarada explains why a leader should keep these people under constant testing. We shall first understand who those fourteen are and then subsequently we shall understand why we should test them.
Sage Naarada lists out the fourteen here – “Desham”, “Durgam” “Ratham”, “Elephants”, “Horses”, “Armymen”, “Ministers”, “Antah-Puram”, “Food”, “Servants”, “Shaastram”, “Writing”, “Dhanam” (Wealth) and “Balam” (Strength). Thus, these fourteen should always be under constant tests. Now we would have understood why these things are to be tested frequently. For instance, if we relax a bit and develop some sort of complacency with regards to the elephants, horses, armymen (Soldiers), etc. the army would become outdated. A king should always ensure that the army inclusive of all these should constantly be on high alert and vigil. Even today we witness this – Every country has its own army and every government investments thousands of crores of rupees (or whatever is the respective currency of that country) to build “State-of-the-art” army with all required equipments, weapons, aircraft, latest variants of missiles, and in some cases nuclear weapons as well. We’ve of late been hearing constant news on this front due to the ongoing war situation, isn’t it? Thus, constant testing and vigil is required in the army front.
Similarly, servants, ministers, etc. should also be under constant testing, but the leader should do it secretly without their knowledge of them being under test. For instance, servants should constantly be under watch because they might steal something from the coffers while doing some cleaning or other routine work. Sometimes, if we’re careless, our enemy might secretly befriend our servant and in a bid to put us to death, the enemy might use this servant to maybe poison our food! We never know! These kinds of incidents have happened in the past with many leaders and we’ve seen the story of one such political leader in South-India losing her life to this. Thus, servants should be under constant vigil. Similarly, ministers should also be under constant check, because ministers are the main sources of corruption. Even in today’s scenario we’re witnessing how ministers are openly involved in public looting and at times, the top authority is clueless as to what is happening on the ground! The Prime Minister / President of a country might be good enough to announce some welfare schemes for people, but he / she should keep a check on the ministers who are supposed to take these welfare schemes to the public, isn’t it? Else, the ministers would use the funds allocated for these welfare schemes to build their own villas, buy expensive cars, etc. and roam around freely without getting caught! Thus, some sort of accountability should be maintained by the leader so that the ministers under him / her do not misuse their power to involve themselves in corruption.
In similar lines, a king should also keep all his accounts (Wealth inflow and outflow) correctly. He should know what is coming in and what is going out. If the king is not having a check on this properly, we would have a situation that is currently happening in Sri Lanka, wherein the country is reeling under a huge economic crisis. If the leader doesn’t have a check on the public finances, the country will run into bankruptcy within no time and people would have to suffer excessive inflation costs and experience lack of essentials for their survival. Thus, “wealth management” for a leader is of paramount importance. Similarly, “Shaastram”, and its allied aspects should also be under constant vigil – One main reason behind this is that, if we let ourselves lose and if we do not practice the chanting of Vedas, Upanishads, and the likes, we might tend to forget them quite easily. Hence, we should make it a point to practice them frequently.
Thus, we witness here that these fourteen items need special vigil and attention and should be under constant check. So for today, let us understand this point clearly and in the next episode, we are going to witness “Eight” things that a king should take care of every day. Stay tuned for more updates on this interesting and informative Yudishtra-Sage Naarada conversation! 🙂