In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of King Dhridiraashtra’s last ditch attempts to convince Duryodhana to change his course away from the gambling game proposed by Sahuni. King Dhridiraashtra tries his level best to highlight how the gambling game is against the “Raaja-Dharma”, but a determined Duryodhana isn’t going to relent! This means that the game is going to go ahead and Vidura meanwhile has already reached Indraprastha to extend an invitation to Yudishtra to come and participate in it. King Dhridiraashtra, as we’ve seen till now, is a perfect example of a failed leader – In the sense that he wasn’t assertive enough to overpower his own son while taking a stance against his “Adharmic” activities. This is just the trailer, and in the coming episodes, we’re going to witness how King Dhridiraashtra is going to fail miserably in keeping a check on Duryodhana’s atrocities, and where this is going to lead the kingdom to!
Moving on further, as I had already mentioned yesterday, Vidura knocks the doors of the Indraprastha kingdom, and Yudishtra welcomes him with all the respects and reverence. Unlike Duryodhana, Yudishtra knows that Vidura is a “Mahatma” and he bows down to the great learned man! As Vidura settles down, he conveys the message to Yudishtra about the game of gambling that is arranged at Hastinapura and that, he has to come and participate as per King Dhridiraashtra’s wish. Upon hearing this proposal, Yudishtra initially did not know how to react. He asks Vidura back, “Oh great Vidura! You’re talking about Dyutam, which is against the course of “Raaja Dharma”. I’m sure learned scholars like you would appreciate this. Why did King Dhridiraashtra arrange for this game all of a sudden? Is everything going fine at Hastinapura? Didn’t you advise King Dhridiraashtra not to go down this path? I’ve always heard that playing the Dyutam game results in a huge disaster and a fight! Playing the Dyutham game would result in permanent enmity between the two camps, isn’t it? I’ve always heard that getting addicted to alcoholic drinks, getting addicted to gambling, getting addicted to women, etc. would only lead to disaster in this world. Didn’t you explain all this to King Dhridiraashtra? Or, is he dancing to someone else’s tunes? Who is trying to influence and misguide King Dhridiraashtra? I’m sure it is not his decision. Someone is behind him! Tell me what is exactly happening!”
As Yudishtra gives a long accord thus, Vidura is pained at heart even more. He did not expect Yudishtra to doubt his credibility and prowess on “Dharma”. Vidura replies back thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Do you think I wouldn’t have spoken against the Dyutham plan to King Dhridiraashtra? You’re young and if you’re able to talk this much “Dharma”, for my age and experience wouldn’t I talk? I did my part to the best of my ability. However, King Dhridiraashtra remains unfazed. He’s in an “ordering” mode, rather than “listening” mode. Duryodhana and Sahuni are behind this entire plan and conspiracy. Sahuni is fueling Duryodhana’s anger from behind the scenes and is only trying to bring about Duryodhana’s downfall, however, sadly Duryodhana doesn’t realize it. Sahuni is digging Duryodhana’s grave and sadly Duryodhana is royally going and falling into it! Hence, I left it to fate to take over. If one is not listening to the words of “Dharma” just because they aren’t “favourable” to them, it means that they’re walking towards the path of destruction. Time will teach them a befitting lesson! Oh Yudishtra! I too know the disastrous consequences of playing this illegal game. I explained everything to King Dhridiraashtra, but I failed to convince him! He’s not in a mood to listen to me anymore! He’s carried away by the excessive affection that he has towards his son! Till now I thought he was only externally blind. But today I realized that King Dhridiraashtra is internally blind too!”
Vidura says thus with tears in his eyes. Upon seeing this, Yudishtra quickly understands the impending conspiracy that he is being pushed into by Duryodhana and Sahuni. He realizes the cowardliness of Duryodhana in terms of not being able to take him down in a war, and instead, resorting to such illegal practices to establish himself. Thus, Yudishtra asks Vidura: “Oh Vidura! The great one! Your words are sounding a huge alarm bell for me! Please advise me as to how to go about this situation. I shall act as per your advice. Please guide me and my brothers!” As Yudishtra requests thus, Vidura replies, “Oh Yudishtra! There is no other option left at this moment. We’ve to go with the flow of things. You come along and participate in the game. We shall leave the rest to Bhagawan to take care! Put the onus on Bhagawan Krishna and come with me to Hastinapura to participate in the game! You stand by the “Dharma” of not rejecting a king’s offer, irrespective of whether it is right or wrong! But you decide! You may play your cards smartly. If however you’re not interested, you can very well convey it to me, and I shall convey it to King Dhridiraashtra and Duryodhana that you’re not going to participate in the game. The call is yours!”
This is an important point that all of us should note – If we’re giving advice to someone, we should leave it open-ended for the other person to make a decision. On the pretext of advising, we shouldn’t impose our ideas on someone. We should make sure that we give a leeway for the other person to think, assimilate the pros and cons of what we’re trying to explain, and then let the other person make the decision. We should always remember this as a leader, and this is exactly what Vidura is doing here – He’s explaining the course of action to be taken from his view point, and lets Yudishtra take the final call. At any point in time, the king / leader should be the final decision-making authority and the minister’s role is only to advise the king. Vidura plays his role to perfection, both with King Dhridiraashtra and King Yudishtra. However, we’re able to see how both these kings took contrasting decisions. One king turns away the advice of his minister blindly and the other king takes the minister’s advice in a positive manner and puts in his thought process to make the final decision.
So for today, let us understand this important point in the “Raaja-Dharma” with regards to decision-making and we shall wait till the next episode to witness what is going to be Yudishtra’s decision. Is he going to reject King Dhridiraashtra’s offer, or is he going to go by what Vidura advises? Stay tuned for an important accord! 🙂