In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Naarada’s accord to Yudishtra, reminding him on various aspects of “Raaja-Dharma”. In this way, we had witnessed seven important people with whom a king / leader should never have any sort of enmity. They are “Swami”, “Mantri”, “Mitra”, “Kosham”, “Raashtram”, “Durgam” and “Sena”. We had witnessed a detailed description on this in our yesterday’s episode and readers can recollect it quite easily. In due course, we had also witnessed a key difference between a “Dhuta” (Servant) and a “Mantri” (Minister), as narrated by Sage Naarada. Along with this, we’ve also witnessed how these points are applicable in our modern-day context as well, and we can see how Sage Naarada’s advice exactly fits to today’s ways of administration. Of course, we should understand here that the overall holistic procedures of administration remain the same across various “Yugas” and they are never going to change. In those days, these principles were known as “Raaja-Dharma” or “Raaja-Neeti” and in today’s terminology, we give the name “Principles of Management”. But the content is the same under all the headings.
Moving on thus, we shall witness some other important questions that Sage Naarada is going to ask in the form of “Raaja-Dharma”. Now Sage Naarada asks thus: “Oh Yudishtra! Are your ministers and “Dhutas” completely devoted to you and are they of service 24*7 for you? If there is a problem for you, will they stand up for you to protect you by giving their life for you? Are they totally loyal to you at any point in time?” This is our first point of discussion today. At any point in time, a leader should have a group of “loyalists” around him / her. It is only with this group of loyalists, can the leader execute his / her agenda for the others. We can see this a lot in politics today. If we see some successful political leaders, they would have a huge clout of people around them at all times, who would be extremely loyal to their leader and their political party. Of course, not everybody in today’s scenario are that way – There are of course people who are opportunists, who keep switching sides every now and then. We’re not talking about such people here, and if the leader’s subjects are opportunists in some way or the other, the leader is never going to be successful! In fact, if his ministers / servants are opportunists by nature, the leader’s life and position is constantly at threat, because nobody knows at what time the true colors of these people around him would be exposed, isn’t it? Thus, Sage Naarada highlights the important point to Yudishtra that he should always keep only those people around him as ministers and servants, who would be completely loyal to him at any point in time. The problem wouldn’t come when everything is going well. People would obviously be loyal when things are happening in the way it has to. However, when a problem arises, this is the time when the leader can understand who is a loyalist and who is an opportunist.
Moving on to the next point, Sage Naarada asks Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Are you keeping with you, people who are elderly to you, and who are experts in various aspects of “Dharma” in your courtroom? You should always consult with them whenever you are in a dilemma with regards to any aspect of administration!” This is yet another important point and a fine example of this is King Dasharata again. As all of us know, King Dasharata had a huge courtroom adorned with great sages who were experts in “Dharma” in various ways. King Dasharata had Guru Vasishtaachaarya as the captain of the ship! This one person is enough as he is an epitome of all aspects of “Dharma” put together! Apart from Guru Vasishtaachaarya, King Dasharata had others like Sage Kashyapa, Sage Vaamadeva, Sage Jaabaali, Sage Goutama, Sage Vijaya, etc. who were extremely intense in terms of penance and spiritual expertise. It is only with their advice did King Dasharata run his entire administration at any point in time. This is exactly what Sage Naarada is trying to remind Yudishtra here. Thus, even though the leader might be an expert himself in various aspects of “Dharma”, he / she should have the humility to listen to elders’ advice and experience to run the show. All of us know of King Dasharata’s power, knowledge, valor and experience. Yet, King Dasharata would not disobey a single word what Sage Vasishtaachaarya tells him. This is how a leader should conduct himself!
Moreover, Sage Naarada adds another important point to the same context here – He says that a leader should conduct a discussion separately with each of the ministers / experienced Sages in the courtroom and get their opinion on the problem / issue that is prevailing. It is important for the king to consult and involve everybody in the courtroom. However, the king should not stop there. He should have a joint consultation with all of them in the courtroom as well. Thus, we can see here that both individual and group deliberations are of paramount importance. This is because, if we go and talk individually to people and not as a group, people might take this as an opportunity to cheat. If not for cheating, more often than not, different people might have different views on a single problem. Of course, each and every view is important, but a group deliberation is necessary to arrive at a consensus, isn’t it? In a group discussion, all of them would put forth their points on the table and then each point would be deliberated upon. Of course, all the points might be valid, but some of them might not be implementable at that point in time, owing to certain constraints. Such points need to be put aside for the moment for further deliberation and consideration at a later point in time. This is exactly what Sage Naarada wants Yudishtra to do – As a king / leader, Yudishtra should conduct individual consultations with experts, as well as a group consultation with all experts under one roof! This would ensure transparency in decision-making, by providing an opportunity for the leader to obtain a holistic view of the issue in hand.
So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂