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(The author is the Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group who decodes the wisdom of mythology for modern times. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where management meets religion and mythology
According to the Puranas, when Brahma creates the world, the Goddess appears as Saraswati, embodiment of knowledge, serene and aloof, dressed in white, holding a lute and a book, riding a heron. When Vishnu sustains the world, the Goddess appears as Lakshmi, stunning and alluring, dressed in red, bedecked in jewels, holding a pot that pours out gold and grain, riding an elephant that rises from a lotus lake. When Shiva destroys the world by shutting his eyes to it, the Goddess becomes Shakti – alternating as the naked and bloodthirsty Kali, who danced on his still body, and as the demure and maternal Gauri, who made him open his eyes with her affection. Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti are the three forms of the Goddess. They embody knowledge, wealth and power. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three forms of God who create, sustain and destroy. Now observe carefully. The Goddesses are associated with nouns: knowledge, wealth and power. The Gods are associated with verbs: creating, sustaining, destroying . Knowledge/wealth/power can be created/sustained /destroyed. Knowledge/wealth/power provides the capability to create /sustain/destroy. Action is with the Gods — the result of the action is the Goddess who in turn provokes more action. God is the subject; Goddess the object. Before we jump to outraged gender-based conclusions (“ the scriptures are patriarchal and that is why they portray God, hence men, as active and Goddess, hence women, as passive” ), note that Gods and Goddesses are embodiments of nongender based concepts that seek to enlighten, enrich and empower. A leader, whether it is a man or a woman, is God — the organisation is the Goddess. The reason why the world/organisation is visualised in female form is because just as a woman creates life inside her body, a world/organisation creates knowledge/wealth/power inside itself. Man creates life outside his body; therefore man is the best representation for the one who creates, sustains, destroys the life-giving organisation. God and Goddess, leader and organisation , cannot exist without the other. Without either there is neither. He or she can only create, sustain or destroy . What is created, sustained or destroyed is knowledge , wealth and power, which in turn offers more
opportunities to create, sustain and destroy. Typically, in the corporate world we assume that a leader exists to create wealth — he is Brahma creating Lakshmi. But a Brahma creating Lakshmi will fail, in the long run, because he is too busy creating to bother with sustenance. We often find fly-by-night operators in the business world who find validation in making that quick buck. These are the Brahmas of the world, desperate to get rich quick, without thinking about sustainability. A good leader is a Brahma who creates Saraswati — knowledge. Knowledge manifests as innovation and ideas and inspiration . That is why Saraswati holds not just books and memory beads but also the lute with which she makes music. Knowledge appearing as insight provokes a systemic transformation in people. A good leader is constantly seeking wisdom, within himself and others. Once Chandragupta was very hungry. The moment rice was served, he put his hand right in the centre of the pile. His fingers got singed and he withdrew instantly. “Never from the centre, child,” said his guru, Chanakya. “Always from the sides where it is cooler.” Chandragupta realised his master was not telling him about rice alone. He was warning him against his planned attack on Pataliputra , the capital of the Nanda Empire. It was a well guarded fortress. Better to go from the sides, conquer the surrounding , less formidable territories and gradually move in on the centre of power. This insight made Chandragupta a great general. He was able to overthrow the Nandas and become ruler of the Magadhan Empire. It was knowledge that made him king of a prosperous king. His hunger for wisdom made knowledge appear before him. By becoming Brahma, he discovered Saraswati and so was able to become Vishnu with Lakshmi manifesting as his crown and kingdom. It is said that Vishnu keeps Saraswati on his tongue. This makes Lakshmi jealous. She rushes towards him and plants herself in his heart. Vishnu knows that the fickle Lakshmi will leave as soon as Saraswati leaves his tongue. Thus to sustain Lakshmi, he needs Saraswati. Good leaders know that to sustain their business they constantly need to inspire, motivate people and at the same time innovate new products and services that will delight the customer. Lakshmi will come into the company where Saraswati thrives. Knowledge management systems, databases, research documents, patents are all tangible forms of Saraswati. A good leader focuses on them, rather than on account books. He ensures the Saraswati that is generated within the organisation stays within the organisation. In other words, by being Brahma who creates Saraswati he remains Vishnu who sustains Lakshmi. With knowledge and wealth, comes power and arrogance . The belief that one is
invincible and capable of doing anything. When this happens, the organisation becomes naked and bloodthirsty – provoking the leader to act rashly and indiscriminately, indifferent to all rules of conduct, making him believe that he is above the law. In other words, the organisation becomes Kali. A good leader recognises this rapidly and becomes Shiva. He has to destroy the rising ego and arrogance that blinds good judgement. He shuts his eyes and lies still, allowing the Goddess to dance on him but refusing to respond to her. Only then the Goddess becomes Gauri — dressed in green, she becomes maternal and affectionate , and with gentleness she requests Shiva to open his eyes and become Shankar, the benevolent, boon-bestowing , wise ascetic. Thus a good leader has to be fully sensitive to the corrupting influence of power — and try hard not to succumb to it. Ultimately to establish a knowledge, wealth and power generating organisation, a leader has to be a teacher, a king and an ascetic all rolled into one. When the three Gods thrive inside, the three Goddess will thrive outside. If Vishnu is the CEO, then his office is Vaikuntha, the ultimate paradise, a place where his every word is law and every wish a command. What cannot be resolved elsewhere can only be resolved in Vaikuntha. Naturally everybody wants to go to Vaikuntha. Outsiders, from vendors to consumers, even kings of other kingdoms, who wish to explore opportunities, make alliances, settle disputes and manage threats. Insiders, from managers to executives to trainees, when they feel the king's courtiers are ill-equipped to resolve their problems or when they feel the ministers are not telling the king the truth. Vishnu welcomes all. At least he intends to. A sage called Bhrigu once made a trip of the heavens to find out who is the greatest of all the Gods. Brahma was so busy creating the world that he did not bother to welcome Bhrigu. Shiva, with his eyes shut, was totally withdrawn and indifferent to Bhrigu's presence. Both were cursed by Bhrigu. Vishnu, busy managing the affairs of the world, at first did not notice Bhrigu but then apologized profusely, falling at his feet. For a visitor to Vaikuntha is God to God. Indra, king of the Devas, once made the mistake of ignoring a visitor whose name was Durvasa. As a result he was cursed - Lakshmi was forced to leave his side. Indra's paradise, was stripped of its splendour. The trees did not blossom or bear fruit. Cows did not give milk. Gandharvas were unable to make music. A reminder of the consequences of ignoring a visitor. For it is the people who seek the king - be it outsiders or insiders - who make the kingdom valuable. But even if he wishes otherwise, a leader just cannot make time for everybody. He, like the rest of us, has 24 hours in a day and that time has to be rationed well between his personal life and his public role. In Mughal times, the king had two courts: the Diwan-ekhas for his executive council through whom he managed the kingdom and a more general open Diwan-e-aam for the public, when everyone could meet him and where issues that his executive council could not resolve were addressed. It was in these times that great value was given to the position of the doorkeeper. Seated in the gatehouse, at the entrance of the king's citadel, it was his job to limit
access of the king and filter out the undesirables. In time, these doorkeepers came to have a mythology of their own. In a Shiva temple, for example, one is advised to acknowledge Nandi, the bull who sits before the deity, with a touch, or maybe an offering of flowers, and only then enter the main shrine. "Be in Nandi's good books," one is told, "Since he is always with Shiva, Shiva listens to whatever Nandi has to say." Vishnu's Vaikuntha has two doorkeepers: Jaya and Vijaya. In art, they are visualized as looking exactly like Vishnu, perhaps to remind us that our impression of the CEO often emerges from our impression of his doorkeepers. If one looks carefully though at the images of Jaya and Vijaya in a traditional Vaishnava temple such as the temple of Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, one will notice that while they look like Vishnu, holding a conch-shell and a discus, and a mace, they usually do not hold a lotus. And they sport fangs like dogs or serpents. Thus the doorkeepers, while apparently like Vishnu, are not as welcoming - they are stern, keeping the unworthy out. The story goes that once the four boysages known as the Sanat Kumars went to Vaikuntha to meet Vishnu. But they were stopped at the door by the Jaya and Vijaya on grounds that Vishnu was sleeping. The Sanat Kumars tried entering Vaikuntha three times and each time they were stopped on the same grounds. Since they looked like boys, the Sanat Kumars concluded that Jaya and Vijaya were not taking them seriously. In fact they were convinced that the two were humouring the four of them. Annoyed, they cursed the doorkeepers that they would lose their exalted position and be reborn on earth as much hated demons known as Hiranayaksha and Hiranakashipu. The demon-like fangs of Jaya and Vijaya, say artisans, are a reminder of how scary they appeared to the boy-sages. It is best that an aspiring leader keep in mind that he has many Jaya and Vijayas of his own - from the gatekeeper who lets in the cars to the receptionist in the lobby who shows in the guests to the secretary in the outer office who checks the appointments to the executive assistant who churns out all the key documents just before the meeting to the admin-boy who serves tea to guests. Each one of them has the power to make an impression about the CEO depending on how they treat a visitor. An MNC may talk highly about respecting human values but a rude remark from the gatekeeper or a cold stare from the secretary and the impression about the CEO, however grand and generous he may be, crumbles instantly. These reactions can make or break the meeting that is to follow. One CEO visiting another CEO was so annoyed because the gatekeeper insisted he get off his car and sign the muster book that he turned around and signed the deal with another company. Another visitor was forced to call the CEO himself when his driver got into an argument with the security at the gate. The CEO was unable to help because the security rules came from the US (it was an American MNC and incident took place shortly after 9/11) and he would be pulled up if he interfered in the matter. We live in times of tightened security. Nothing is worse than entering a meeting room after feeling one has been violated. But with a little training security personnel can be taught how to do their job without disrespecting incoming people, howsoever brusque
Of the 18 days of the Kurukshetra battle described in the Mahabharta. It helps if tea or coffee is served . in Kali-yuga. Bhisma believed that a creature such as this was a woman and so refused to raise his bow against her. followed by a glass of water. That is all very fine. This may all seem very colonial. the old but very able commander of the Kaurava forces. (very important in a hot country like India especially). these things may not matter." but viewed from the pointof-view of the boy-sages . who . Matters become worse when the secretary raises her head and rudely asks. Vishnu was asleep or on a cosmic assignment. In some offices. For the Pandavas. The next time you visit your office . the curse of the boy-sages may fall not on the doorkeepers but directly on the leader within Vaikuntha. Defeat is inevitable if one is unable to accommodate an alternate point of view. The Kauravas protested her entry into the battlefield but the Pandavas saw Shikhandi as a man. raising his bow at the invincible Bhisma and pinning him to the ground with hundreds of arrows.they may seem. it was critical that Bhisma. But any situation can be seen in many different ways. But they do matter in India where Atithi Devoh Bhavah . Shikhandi was born with the body of a woman which later transformed into the body of a man. they were being demonic. Arjun had no qualms about using him/her a human shield.not in a disposable coffee cup but in crockery worthy of the leader's status. In Pax Americana. There may be no secretary or doorkeeper. But Vishnu with his arms spread out perhaps gave the impression that everyone was welcome to Vaikuntha anytime. outnumbered the seven armies of the Pandavas.a guest is like God. Through alternate interpretation . Followed by clarifications of identity and purpose. Bhisma can be seen as a man who is paralysed by his own interpretation of a situation . Much better than being pointed to the water cooler. This can be quite disconcerting . But the room often does not have enough chairs or a water fountain or a toilet close-by. Drona. The way a visitor is treated tells one how a leader values his people.check out the Jaya and Vijayas who stand between you and your visitors and make sure they don't have fangs. This instruction was perhaps not given to Jaya and Vijaya. was a ruthless killer. The Kauravas . the commander of the Kaurava army after Bhisma. be killed. The Sanat-kumars perhaps did not come by prior appointment. it is possible to challenge anyone. No pleasant images to see or interesting reading material on the table. "Come later. one is made to sit in a waiting room and wait till you are fetched by the person who one has come to meet. A smile helped. Then being led to a seat or a meeting room. "Who are you?" There was a time when secretaries were trained to treat visitors as guests. You can simply walk into a CEO's office who just might be wearing shorts throwing a ball through hoops while discussing a billion dollar deal. nine days were indecisive. and the doorkeepers were perhaps only doing their job when they said. unavailable. Had Bhisma accepted that Shikhandi was a man there was no way he could have been defeated. So Krishna decided to make Shikhandi ride on his chariot alongside Arjun.especially when the waiting is prolonged. Or perhaps the timing was all wrong. On earth. with 11 armies.
Drona was convinced that his son was dead and that Yudhishtira gave him the strange answer to break the terrible news gently. like Drona. There are people who become strong in confrontations . To defeat Shalya. Still he told Drona . for example. On hearing this rumour. chakra. Their point must not be validated through arguments. Taking advantage of his this. Shalya who became commander of the Kaurava army on the last day. gada and padma . Otherwise. the leader-king. Krishna suggested that Yudhishtira fight him. the leader of the Pandava army raised his sword and beheaded Drona. Shiva. To break such a man down. said Krishna. in the absence of any. Drona turned to Yudhishtira. Many leaders have strong likes and dislikes and this can be used by corporate spin-doctors and gossip mongers to destroy relationships. said all the Pandava warriors surrounding him. Ashwattama was the reason for Drona's life. not with rage but with love. with no malice in his heart. The demon in Shlaya became so weak that it could not even come out of Shalya's ears. His very own shankh. Krishna spread the rumour that Ashwatthama was dead. A powerful lesson here. this instrument was used by the commander to rally their troops. Vishnu.either a man or an elephant. a demon that came out of his ears every time he was attacked. the most upright Pandava. is identified by his books. that which he is attached to must be destroyed. discus whirring around his index finger or chakra. This unnerves them. Confused. Vishnu's shankh or conchshell trumpet is blown to announce his presence on a battlefield. They come prepared to face all arguments and. They must check facts especially if the news relates to those who matter most to them. The best way to invalidate them is to simply agree with them. looking at the petrified face of Yudhistira. Only. Leaders have to be wary of this. So Yudhishtira walked towards Shalya with great affection. a mace or gada and a lotus or padma. Yudhishtira knew that the Ashwatthama being referred to was an elephant. Ashwatthama happened to be the name of Drona's son and Drona was extremely attached to him. according to the Indonesian Mahabharata . He lowered his weapons. the ascetic. he will not bother to delve deeper and check the facts. the priestteacher. Hindu Gods are distinguished from each other by the symbols they carry. had. Yes. This demon became stronger if the attack against Shalya became more intense. Such people must never be confronted. they become vulnerable. His obsession will cloud his judgement. To defeat him. In the din of the battle. his heart sank. In Vedic times. Come to think of it a good leader also has only four tools to get his work done. one does not identify his tools using mythological vocabulary. Brahma.broke Pandava morale by killing Arjun's son Abhimanyu and even making his soldiers fight at night. Warriors also used this to demonstrate their stamina before their enemies for . Yudhishtira raised his spear and impaled the last leader of the Kauravas. Drona can be seen as a man who is extremely attached to something personal . they will end up beheaded. When Yudhishtira came close to Shalya. against the rule of war. Ashwatthama is surely dead. is identified with four symbols: conch-shell trumpet or shankh. feel disempowered . Was his son dead? Yes. rosary and pot. Or at least he must be given the impression that it is destroyed. is identified by his trident and rattle drum.
The chakra can be viewed as a symbol of review. Every warrior in the Mahabharat from Krishna to Arjun had his very own conch-shell. The one ensures that errors are not repeated. Vishnu's carrot and stick approach of leadership is represented through his mace or gada and his lotus or padma. As a weapon. . The other ensures that best practices are always followed. Thus he keeps his team on the straight and narrow. Vishnu's chakra. is both a weapon as well as a symbol of life that Vishnu sustains . that attracts bees and butterflies. 'Blowing your own trumpet' and getting your thoughts across is necessary if anything needs to get done. to punish those who do not do what they are supposed to do. he checks what has been done and what has not been done. To keep your team on track. Your team must know who you are. and how this will help in achieving your final objective. The lotus rich with nectar and pollen. it indicates time (what goes around comes around in this life or the next) and space (the circular horizon of our worldview). which whirs round his index finger. the tools serve no purpose. monthly meetings. Repetition is the key word. Unless you communicate . In some organisations. ensuring they achieve what they set out to achieve together. is for those who do what they are supposed to do and more. The conch-shell can be viewed as an instrument of communication. and why. As a symbol of life. what your vision is and what you expect them to do. When this happens. what your capabilities are. In these meetings. things get trimmed and the vision gets sharper and clearer so that a new horizon of possibilities emerge. The first rule of leadership is to be an effective communicator. He identifies new creative thoughts and anticipates possible hurdles. He discovers what has worked and what has not. With each review. The mace is like a teacher's ruler. This he does again and again and again. Your competition also needs to know that you are powerful and they must avoid confrontation . The other he uses to reward the rule/law/system followers . He reviews their progress regularly by organising daily meetings.blowing a conch-shell trumpet was a measure of lung-power and mind control. A good leader's job does not end with communicating what he desires and what he expects from his team. Is the goal driven by reality or falsehood? Is it motivated by greed? Is the conch-shell trumpeting or the rotation of the wheel excessive? Is the mace too harsh or the lotus too stingy? In some organizations. it strikes a target. Doorkeepers of Vaikuntha The Jayas and Vijayas who stand between the CEO and the visitors to his office best not have fangs. the traditional method is to use the system of reward and punishment discretly. weekly meetings. nobody is aware of your presence. trims the unwanted and undesirable elements like an electric saw and returns to Vishnu's finger like a boomerang. He ensures that the team has not drifted from the goal. the four tools generate fear and anxiety. The one he uses to strike down the rule/law/system breakers. both the goal and the tools have to be relooked at.
Review meetings can generate new insights but it must never be at the cost of the planned agenda. and if short term results show that they are achievable. then the only way to reach the ultimate goal is to make things happen is by using reward and punishment to drive the team. with things going in every direction." said the beggar. Uttanka was irritated. with no alignment to each other. "I will bring you nectar of the gods whenever you genuinely yearn for it. and where organisational goals are achieved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.People continue to do what they are supposed to do. It contained water. Punishment need not be a public humiliation or a cut in incentive. There was no one.they are used to generate new ideas and discard old ones. He opened his eyes expecting a smiling Krishna to stand there with a cup brimming with sparkling nectar. 1. recognition. Mahabharat tells the story of Kuru who used his own flesh as seed and his blood as water when drought struck his kingdom. He shut his eyes once more and wished for nectar and remembered Krishna fervently. He remembered a promise made to him by Krishna long ago. the leader. New ideas must be parked. he saw a beggar covered with filth holding a dirty stinking bowl in his hand." Uttanka turned away from him. The aim of the review is to focus on the how . where every individual thrives. acknowledgment. "You look thirsty. This time when he opened his eyes. He shut his eyes and wished for it. it can be a kind word. By taking the ownership of failure. New whats and new hows to replace old whats and old hows. where the team works in alignment. if the what and how are clear. however. If all is well. just a vast sandy emptiness stretching to the horizon. Good leaders typically reward the team in times of success but punish themselves in times of failure. creates Vaikuntha.what must be achieved. This suffering for the sake of his people earned him the admiration of the gods who declared that those who die in Kuru's field and live as Kuru did would go to heaven. "Drink. the reasons for the success and failure. moving in different directions. must also communicate how it must be achieved. He was suddenly thirsty. The conch-shell . repelled by his ." That is what Uttanka genuinely wanted at that moment: nectar of the gods. reviewed later and then communicated accordingly. an organisation which is stable and harmonious . When this happens. the communication has to be relooked at. Proof of optimal tool usage comes when Vishnu. the review loses its purpose and the conch-shell only produces cacophony. it can be a simple awareness of failure. they generate a more powerful relationship with the organisation. There was no Krishna.if the prescribed methods are working or failing. Otherwise . Has the message gone through correctly or is the message changing repeatedly confusing all or is there a message at all? The message of ten contains only the goal . Reward need not be monetary. Often review meetings are not used for review what has been planned . Does packaging matter more than content? The sage Uttanka stood in the middle of the desert.
He was not even a graduate. Every time Bob called the government agencies. But despite his background. however. the deal would go through. Prashant hired a consultant. He knows that whenever he asks for an appointment. Every time Bob entered the offices. Suhas was extremely sharp and sensitive. poor and barely qualified as Suhas could not possibly solve his problems. came up with a wonderful idea of shift rotation to improve performance and reduce attrition. He had assumed how Indra should look. "I did. I forced Indra to offer you a bowl of nectar. big-built. In fury he yelled. Sandeep knew it was because of his Australian drawl. he came up with a rather shallow idea. Prashant is one such Uttanka. After six months of investigation. Invariably. Krishna. He recognised the problem that the BPO was facing and came up with a deceptively simple way of overcoming it. In wry amusement." It dawned on Uttanaka that the filthy beggar who offered him a bowl of water was actually Indra offering him nectar. There are many Uttanakas in the corporate world. he told Bob. He will be shunted from one desk to another. Sandeep observed how everyone ignored the fact that Bob was too young to be a Chief anything. along with Sandeep. He had paid a price for his assumption. Sandeep was very happy. He was hired by the organisation because he came very cheap. the very same people who never gave Sandeep the time of the day. he will not get it. Prashant kicked himself for not listening to Suhas as he signed the cheque for his very expensive consultant. One day. bearded Australian. he found himself being dismissed." A voice boomed from the sky. when Suhas presented the solution to Prashant.ugliness. Suhas was a young man of twenty-six who had spent five years in the BPO learning the ropes. The beggar went away. the solution that emerged was exactly what Suhas had come up with almost eighteen months earlier. He hired Bob. he was taken straight to the minister or the senior bureaucrats. One of his young executives. And you just refused. Unfortunately." Bob did not feel bad at . In frustration. He is the owner of a medium sized BPO. has accepted the existence of Uttankas in the market place. a tall. Sandeep. Bob was given the designation of Chief Consumer Strategist. That makes you a very useful tool for my business. He did not know English but that did not matter since the calls he serviced were for the local market. "They are so eager to impress the white guy that they are willing to sign on any paper. blonde. Bob gave a small speech after which Sandeep made the real pitch. he could not afford to go to college and needed to work. Uttanka was now parched. who was keen to gain some experience in third-world markets. Ministers and bureaucrats simply give him the run around. He has to deal with many governmental agencies. men who believe packaging is an indicator of content. Suhas. He just did. A year later. he was given appointments. "Keep your promise. Prashant did not even hear him out because he assumed someone as young.
“Oh that. he was crushed to a pulp under the great whirring wheel.” Irritated that Krishna did not come to return the Sudarshan Chakra himself. held a lotus flower in one hand and a conch-shell in another. but they have no clue as to what leadership actually means. That was the end of the man who pretended to be Vasudeva. let him come and get it. Everyone wondered who was actually the true Vasudeva. king of Karusha.” Krishna said. He even played the flute in flowery meadows on moonlit nights and got queens and concubines to dance around him.” Paundraka retorted caustically. .” he said. the vana-mali . the true Vasudeva. he was learning an important lesson in marketing. One often finds the corporate world teeming with false Vasudevas. Paundraka stretched out his hand to receive it. For some people what matters more is the packaging. So Paundraka wore a crown with a peacock feather. what cars to drive. As the wheel alighted on his finger. I am the true Vasudeva .” The Sudarshan Chakra that whirred around Krishna’s index finger flew towards Paundraka . even at the cost of the content. In his ears. In other words. Krishna is the false Vasudeva. He insisted on eating rich creamy butter in each meal. reinforcing his identity as Vasudeva. declared that Krishna was not the true Vasudeva . When he reached the gates of Dwaraka. I must get it back from the impostor. Around his neck. some confused. They know how to dress. some frightened. worshipped Paundraka with flowers and incense and sweets and lamps.” The people of Karusha. Krishna said. there is a hero called Vasudeva who defeats a villain called Prati-Vasudeva . they know the behaviour that projects them as ‘corporate leaders’ . return the Sudarshan Chakra that rightfully belongs to me.the racist jibe. the makarakundala . how to carry their laptops and their Blackberrys . it was he. “False Vasudeva. “Here it is. he put a garland of forest flowers. some gullible. One such Vasudeva was Krishna who defeated the villain Jarasandha. so heavy that before he could call for help. he put earrings that were shaped like dolphins. They know to walk the walk and talk the talk. Paundraka set out to Dwaraka on his chariot decorated with a banner with the image of the eagle Garuda on it. since both looked so alike. but simply don’t know what the talk is all about. 2. with whom and how to use words like ‘value enhancement’ and ‘on the same page’ . “I do everything he does. which clubs to join. “See. He even got his hair styled. he shouted. “He borrowed it from me. He draped the bright yellow silk dhoti or the Pitambara . Death by Mimicry Jain documents say that in every era. Paundraka’s courtiers pointed out to him that Krishna of Dwaraka had a Sudarshan Chakra. he realised it was heavier than looked. so it was curly.” So a messenger was sent to inform Krishna to return the Sudarshan Chakra or face stern consequences . But the Bhagavat Purana says that Paundraka. just like Krishna’s . where to be seen. “Sure. a wheel-shaped weapon that no other man has.
Jaipal. His charioteer was Krishna. In the midst of this massacre one hears a heart-warming tale. no inspiration. And a good mime can fool an audience . He shot an arrow into the ground. They need to rest and be refreshed. How organisations treat support staff is an indicator of leadership empathy For eighteen days. Hundreds of soldiers were killed on either side. Refreshed. in the middle of the war. spoke with the right accent and used the right words. The false Vasudeva is always good at mimicry. He did not hear his sales people whine and groan. Standing on the chariot. The horses are tired. Vijaychandra decided to study what Jaipal had done in the past two years. The market had just not responded. Krishna said. “We have to stop Arjuna. the revenue was way below the mark. rode on a chariot pulled by four white horses. He did not really immerse himself in the market research. the kauravas and the pandavas fought on the plains of Kurukshetra. Vijaychandra selected a young man who showed all signs of having the talent and drive of a leader. but he did not know how to do business. For that he had hired help. His organisation structure was designed such that it kept him away from the frontline. The young man’s name was Jaipal. But ultimately the audience has to pay when it is unable to distinguish mimicry from the real thing. He even played golf! He was fit to head the new e-business division. Vijaychandra learnt this the hard way. they were able to pull the . Keep the enemy at bay with a volley of arrows while I do so. Shoot your arrow into the ground and bring out some water so that I can bathe and water the horses. Arjuna. Jaipal knew how to talk business. He came from the right universities. he preferred the echoes of the market presented by strategy consultants. He simply assumed that his team would know what to do in the market place. He dressed the right way. had stayed in the right hotels and driven the right cars. At one point.At an interview in a fast-growing firm. released water and created a small pond where Krishna was able to tend to the horses. Arjuna shot arrows and kept the enemies at bay while the horses rested. 3. the chief archer of the Pandava army. had the right credentials and the right testimonies. Vijaychandra realised this was a false Vasudeva – all imitation . Two years down the line however.” Arjuna did as instructed. but he had never really gone down to meet the vendors and the customers. He had never picked up the phone and heard the clients complain — he preferred the summary of conclusions provided by reputed analysts. He focused on ‘strategy’ but not on ‘tactics’ – he loved boardroom brainstorming but not shop floor sweat. he realised. despite all the magnificent power point presentations and excel sheets that impressed quite a few angel investors.
Chaudhary. Randhir is frustrated. Chaudhary.” Randhir does not understand policy. I do not like the smell. the peons. Chaudhary and the little ones. Often there are parking spaces but no amenities for drivers — a place to rest or a decent loo. No holidays for Randhir. But Mr. there are a whole host of people who keep the office running — the office boy. he very generously gave Randhir a 500 rupee hike. In every office. They take care of the ‘little things’ that enable us to achieve the ‘big things’ . This means a lot of travel both in the city and outside. Mr. Chaudhary visits his farmhouse with Mrs. Horses are a crude metaphor for those who make our lives comfortable but who do not have much of a voice when it comes to their own comfort. “You cannot eat in the car. not the company.” says Mr. “His family is in the village so why does he need a holiday?” Often there is no parking space at places where Mr. Then there are Sundays when Mr. “I am being fair. Chaudhary’s swanky apartment block. Chaudhary has meetings . The horses pulling Arjuna’s chariot did not ask to be refreshed. This also means travelling from meetings from one end of the city to another and short trips to satellite cities. Chaudhary. A simple study of how organisations treat this silent support staff is an indicator of leadership empathy. the security guard. he was told.” And when Mr. Often we forget the ‘horses’ who help us navigate through our daily lives. I don’t want to disrupt the driver market. Randhir drives his boss to work every day negotiating through heavy highway traffic for over two hours each way.chariot once again with renewed vigour. His travel allowance is too meagre to take care of this. “So that he does not waste the battery. This is the silent support staff. To travel to the place of work. Krishna sensed their exhaustion and made resources available so that they could be comforted . Chaudhary got a 40% bonus over and above his Rs 2 crore CTC. responsible for over nearly 50 high net worth clients. Chaudhary does not see it that way. His boss. he needs to take a bus or an auto. Chaudhary.” . His boss does not know that he lives in a shanty town an hour away from Mr. who also disables the music system when he leaves the car. the canteen boy. These are not easily available early morning and late night. especially in India. That’s more than what the other drivers got. the drivers. This means early morning airport drops and late night airport pickups. “This is what the company policy says you should be paid. He serves Mr. is the partner of a large consulting firm. When he raised this issue with Mr.
He is one of the silent support staff without a voice. Vishnu promises to protect the earth from humans. If he shouts. to come to their rescue. They wish to domesticate nature so that all creatures align to a set of rules — their rules. offering no help to the meek. If he speaks. This means . Krishna advises the Pandavs to set a forest aflame. But again. In the Mahabharat. He is but a line item in the balance sheet. Yes. the management will fear ‘rise of union thinking’ and shoot him down. he is a human being. Hundreds of animals are thus massacred . Her udders were sore. Those who are unable to withstand the opposition or exploit the opportunity wither away and die. Krishna instructs Arjun to circle the forest on his chariot and shoot down every escaping bird and beast down. Indra. This forest. 4. Khandavprasth. does Randhir fall in the purview of management? He is neither part of the organisation nor the market. Yes. But surely not at the cost of the silent support staff. Tactics have to be implemented. the earth-goddess took the form of a cow and went to Vishnu with tears in her eyes complaining how the kings of the earth were exploiting her. Is he the responsibility of the leader or the administration team? He is neither Arjuna nor Krishna. Vishnu promised to set things right and so descended on earth as Krishna. What is happening ? These two stories draw attention to the nature of human civilisation and one unspoken aspect of leadership and organisation : the power of authority. Arjun uses his arrows to create a canopy over the forest preventing the water from dousing the flames. When the Pandavas declare their intention to become king. Do humans reorganise the rules of nature? One day states the Bhagavat Puran.Mr. On one hand. One wonders. They are as much a part of the war as the warriors. squeezed by human greed. Nature is intrinsically wild – wanting to go in its own way. Chaudhary’s empathy for Randhir is much less than Krishna’s empathy for his horses. Strategies have to be thought of. As the trees burn. replaced. And Randhir is no horse. however. Humans have the power to reorganise the rules of nature so that life becomes more predictable and secure. on the other hand Krishna himself indulges in an activity that damages the earth. None are spared except an Asura called Maya on condition that he build for the Pandavs on the gutted land a magnificent city called Indraprasth. the animals and birds of the forest try to escape. Nature’s order is created through the game of survival. or worse. they are essentially saying they are unwilling to accept the natural state of things. every plant and animal can make their own space. he will be silenced. The rest roasted alive. Through strength or cunning. on Krishna’s advise. which goes on to become the greatest city in the world. the Kauravas have to be defeated. The human mind rejects this state of being . is the share of property given to the Pandavs by their uncle when they demand their inheritance. Nature is thus generous on one hand. The serpents beg the rain-god . and one can look beyond survival. the Pandavas have to win. Every creature is on its own. giving total freedom and all kinds of possibilities to the mighty and indifferent on the other. often under “outsourced services” .
When the king promised to protect him. The hawk argued that was unfair – why should other doves be sacrificed so that the king could keep his promise to his dove. the dove was so heavy that he had to give up almost all the flesh of his body. If kings have to thrive then someone will benefit and someone will suffer. “Then eat me. during their exile in the forest. a king and leader is doing a good thing. In exchange she will provide milk and dung that will be the food and fuel of human civilisation. One day. protect her. That being said. Thus Prithu realises the bow was given to him by the gods not to hunt the earth down or to domesticate her and strip her of her wildness but to learn the importance of balance.” said the king. In the Mahabharata. what is right and what is wrong. the king had to die. A culture is born where it is clear what is acceptable and what is not. Creating resources and opportunities for his people by laying down the law but on the other hand he is curbing freedom or at least controlling it. refused to let the seeds sprout and the plants flower and bear fruit. The gods declared Prithu the new king by giving him a bow. Then the king’s corpse was churned. the scriptures repeatedly tell the story of Vena. From one point of view. hawks eat doves. punishment and constant coaching. . Prithu then lowered his bow and begged the earth to feed his subjects. who was pursuing the dove. The king’s authority cannot make everyone happy — either the animals will thrive or the city will be built. In nature. Typically. offering pieces of his flesh. This tough lesson is taught to the Pandavas when the forest of Khandavaprastha is burnt to make way for Indraprastha . his new bow in hand. All other plants that attempt to grow on the king’s land are declared weeds — to be pulled out and cast away. “If you kill me. The hawk argued that was unfair – why should other birds and beasts be sacrificed so that the king could keep his promise to his dove. The earth. Either the dove had to die or the hawk had to go starving. reward. He will love her. king of Shibi. more noble king.” said the earth-cow . all life will end. But there is an underlying wisdom in this story. He promised to be a king who treats the earth as a cowherd treats a cow. the sages tell the Pandavas the story of Ushinara. The benchmark of such judgements is laid down by the king. By introducing the human virtue of kindness into the natural law. Since neither was acceptable. She will be Go-mata . a king who so excessively plundered the earth. the cow keeper. the cow mother. still reeling under the impact of Vena’s reign. Prithu was created. To the astonishment of the king. The king then requested the hawk to eat any other bird or beast. the story is narrated to extol the virtues of the king Ushinara’s kindness and sacrifice. Taking the form of a cow she ran away and Prithu chased her on his chariot. The trees and creepers of the forest are destroyed to make way for fields and orchards where only the seed chosen by the king is planted. a dove came to the king and begged the king to grant him protection. that the sages were forced to kill him using a blade of grass that they transformed into a potent missile using magical mantras. “What will I eat then?” The king told the hawk to eat any other dove but this one.destruction of all other rules and laws. nurture her. These were placed on a balancing scale so that the hawk got flesh equal in measure to the dove’s weight. asked. the king could not make both the hawk and the dove happy. a hawk. Nature has two parts: the mind (internal nature) and the forest (external nature) — both need to be tamed. All negative aspects of the king was cast away and a purer. The king ensures that the mind of his people is disciplined and aligned to his way of thinking and performing through logic. and he will be Go-pala . A king has no choice but to tread this delicate line.
the great. “This is the throne of Vikramaditya. go away. Don’t you have any pity on poor people such as me?” Surprised by the behaviour of the cantankerous farmer. Your horses and your soldiers are damaging what is left of my crop. though amused by his turnaround. “Hey. while moving up the ladder One day. go away. 5. you will meet your death on the throne. So we are left wondering — does the throne transform a man into a king. Bhoj observed the farmer carefully. Let me have the honour of serving you. If not. . he is the common man. He noticed that whenever the farmer was rude. a king has to balance — his desire to control and domesticate nature with the wisdom to let nature be and thrive freely. he is what a king should be. Creating generosity. “Are you as worthy and generous as Vikramaditya ?” it asks through its many stories. On top of the mound. why are you turning away? Come back. Thus through these stories. Surely you will not say no to the hospitality of this humble farmer?” Not wanting to hurt the farmer. You are my guests. the farmer of the field screamed and shouted. a king named Bhoj was passing near a field outside his city.” The throne then proceeds to tell Bhoj thirty-two stories of Vikramaditya. There he observed something very peculiar. the farmer changed his tune to say. The “32 tales of Vikramaditya’s throne” is part of Indian folklore. Sit on it only if you are as generous and wise as he was. As soon as he is on top of the mound. you and your horses will destroy the crops. but in fact they were never meant to entertain children . Bhoj realised that the farmer’s split personality had something to do with the mound. Again the farmer changed his tune. the farmer did not like this and began protesting. The farmer is insecure and selfish when on the ground. This happened a few more times. The second part of the story is equally interesting . Again the farmer shouted. Within the mound. he was standing on top of a mound in the middle of the field. Bhoj moved away.” Bhoj wondered what was happening. the soliders found a wonderful golden throne. As he and his soldiers approached the field. they were meant to shape the mind of future leaders. But as soon as he turned his back. he was standing on the ground. each extolling a virtue of kingship. But Bhoj paid scant attention to him. “Hey. You wicked king. he becomes generous. But whenever he was hospitable. “Stay away. let me water your horses and feed your soldiers . it will break if the string is too tight. Likewise. the throne spoke up. The throne does not let Bhoj sit on it. As Bhoj was about to sit on it. Bhoj once again moved towards the field. How much alignment he should seek and how much freedom he must give. “Where are you going.A bow is useless if the string is too loose. Naturally. On the ground. And so very few people notice the most interesting part of this story —what does the king’s throne do the farmer? It makes him generous. the most important virtue being generosity. A good king knows when to stop: how much of the forest should be burnt and how much should not.” Bhoj once again turned away. They are often inappropriately referred to as children’s stories. my king? Please come to my field. He immediately ordered his soldiers to dig the mound in the centre of the field. hence generous. Bhoj learnt what it takes to be a good king. stay away.
Everyone knew that the lion was the king of the jungle. There is no sharing. in order to survive. Lions are the ultimate alpha male. The winner takes it all. Pande was a gentleman who tried to motivate the men with words and tried to get everyone to . they had sent Pande to manage the warehouse. They hunt. Thus he ensures that only his gene pool survives. The patron goddess of kings. Everybody fears Shekhawat. Having taken over a pride he rests. He is the absolute master and they are his slaves. They feel only he can manage the rather tough lot at the warehouse. They bear his cubs and take care of the young. When the leader takes over he wipes out all traces of the predecessor. afraid of and subservient to the lion. they make way and allow the lion to eat his fill before they feed themselves. and the one who displays it most magnificently. is recognised as king. The leader does no work. Animals do not give. the lionesses do all the work while the lion enjoys the fruits of their labour. The close association of lions with royalty had a reason. There are rumours that he uses violence to intimidate his people. the throne on which kings sat was known as the singh-asan. Through strength and cunning. he eats.or must a man first transform into a generous soul and thus become worthy of the throne? Either way. they risk losing their job. All he does he relax and stake claim to the fruits of the labour of the followers. A lion lays claim over a pride of lionesses by fighting off other males. they take food and shelter. with no natural enemy. When the lionesses hunt prey. Humans however can give food and shelter enabling others not only to survive but also to thrive. lions are the perfect symbol of leadership. He sits all day in his office and expects his team to deliver. But that was not what a king was supposed to be. the greatest predator. Thus generosity is most peculiar to humans. They can only take. on top of the food chain. hence leadership. For many people. leaving all the hunting to the lionesses. or worse. Before Shekhawat. The battle is fierce. he denies them wages or delays their bonuses. When a lion takes over a pride it kills all the cubs fathered by the previous alpha male. And if anyone complains about him to the management. This is the case in the warehouse at Bhiwandi where Shekhawat is in charge. The losers are left without mates. Followers should be like lionesses. Leadership by fear: Tried and tested method In ancient India. at least in Indian folklore. the lionseat. A king or leader is ‘creator of opportunities’. Thus in a pride. If they don't. Images of lions adorned the gates of royal palaces and could be seen atop pillars. but it is the lion that decides if a young cub should live or die. nor does he help or guide. But the management allows Shekhawat to function. One such image adorns our national emblem. He does not like being criticised. 6. generosity seems to the hallmark of kingship. Durga. also rode lions.
The king was therefore expected to provoke his people into empathy. No one is sure. and in the process unlock their own hidden potential. rode a lion. The king was not expected to treat his people like animals who needed to be controlled by fear or force. came into being. The most popular non-violent fear-inducing tool is the threat of sacking people. Humans are the only animals who can empathise. One often hears managers moaning that young people today are not afraid and in fact threaten to quit when threatened with sacking. not be a lion. eventually influencing what we is now commonly known as Western thought. It is believed that this story had a powerful impact on Greek myths as well as the Jewish Bible or Tanakh. Shekhawat was brought in. but no one is willing to check. There are rumours that he demands bribes from vendors before allowing their goods to be unloaded from trucks. They simply ignored Pande and threatened to form a union when he tried to act tough. A king was expected to help his subjects discover their humanity. They quivered in his presence. or the Creation Myth of Babylon. "My way or the high way." it is a lion growling. but implicit violence is still practised. His patron goddess. they did what he told them to do. Tiamat is described as a monster. and extremely popular.follow the policies. When a manager says. a tale was being told in Mesopotamia. The fear the roar of Shekhawat. To sit on the lion-throne was to be a leader who inspires. To be the lion is to be the leader who frightens. It was the tale known as Enuma Elis. meaning she domesticated the king of the jungle. He used brute force to get the workers at the warehouse in order. . From chaos to order Around 1500 BCE (Before Common Era. The message here is about human beings having the ability to overpower and outgrow the animal urge to dominate and frighten others into submission. This made the management happy. in her body resided all her children. about the time the Rig Veda was reaching its final form in India. Like lionesses. indicating their desire to be lions. But the labourers were a rowdy bunch. Pande had to be replaced. The story speaks of how the world. the king was expected to sit on a lion. as we know it. formerly known as BC or Before Christ). but it is a tried and tested method. But they are also afraid. Feudalism is essentially leadership by fear. Today explicit violence may be considered illegal and uncivilised. the fertile plains watered by the Tigris and Euphrates. Shekhawat knows his power and is slowly becoming a law onto himself. now modern Iraq. It involved a great war in which Marduk led the ‘new gods’ to defeat the ‘old gods’ who were led by Tiamat. Leadership by fear may not be part of management books. Durga. This is especially visible when the markets are down and jobs are scarce. 7. She was also the great mother of all gods. To treat people like lionesses and to behave like a lion is to an act of dehumanisation. But in ancient India.
scores had to be given. Just celebrate the reporting system that the new CEO likes. A new vision is drawn up. Egos are hurt. Tiamat. so that the final outcome would be objective. . defeated Tiamat and her consort and all the old gods who sided with them. This story informs human behaviour when a new management takes over from the old management. or it can be a new management brought in by the new majority shareholders. There are the conquerors and the conquered. The workshop was conducted using all tools of modern management – forms had to be filled. either a boardroom brawl or a takeover. ordered her consort to destroy the new gods. What is most bewildering is how these emotions are ignored. the old reporting structures. rational these actions may be. Yes. Either it can be new generation taking over from the old generation. Dileep overheard people saying. place talented members of the old management over the not-so-talented members of their team? Dileep is part of a consulting firm. The first time this happened. members of both organisations were forced to sit together but during coffee breaks the two tribes stayed away from each other. and the children born of her consort’s blood are forced to submit. emotions were determining the choice of the sales reporting system. The new gods are associated with action and order. Marduk comes with his resplendent army. Tiamat’s tears became the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. the reality is a ruthless change. stripped of bias. Tiamat warned her children. And since the old ways did not deliver.” Beneath the veneer of objectivity. Post an M&A. In this narrative. The second time this happened. Failure to serve the new gods led to floods and storms. And you know which one that is. usually after a violent struggle. People leave the organisation and those who stay behind mourn the passing of the golden age. But the workshop was anything but objective. All this is objectively explained using excel sheets and power point presentation. Marduk’s system won. Though the stated objective is to maintain harmony and respect the old ways. Tiamat’s system was broken down. However. Those who start working with the old gods are branded as traitors. He has overseen many mergers and acquisitions. As the spawn of the old gods. and a new organisation structure is galvanised to achieve the new objectives and goals. always feels that he has entered a war zone. From the body of Tiamat. Tiamat old body provides shelter to the new world order. The new gods rallied around Marduk who. the pathetic growth rate and the lacklustre balance sheets. reminding all of the terrible state of affairs. with the new guard holding the old guard in disdain. Dileep remembers this post-merger workshop he was asked to conduct to identify a suitable sales reporting system for the new entity. The new gods mock the old ways. SWOT analysis had to be done. old processes and old measurements are discarded in favour of new ones. Marduk created the earth below and the sky above. And the new gods face many dilemmas – do they reward loyalty or talent. humanity was forced to serve the new gods forever. The blood of her consort was mixed with the red earth and from this was created humankind. There is arrogance on one side and fear on the other. the old gods are associated with complacency and chaos. “Be smart.All was well until the children made so much noise that the old gods demanded the destruction of the new gods. they fuel fear and insecurity. hence acceptable to all. after a furious fight.
All the priests in all the Tamil lands who followed the liturgical manuals were perhaps just like him. He was asked to choose the language. When Raghuraj found that there was no electricity in his building society. But they did not fire the imagination of the people. stories of the most passionate devotees of Shiva were compiled in the Tamil work Periya Puranam. taking care to debone it with his own hands. Organisations have stopped hearing the customer Around a thousand years ago. He was then asked to . Meat as an offering! And flowers already stuck in one’s hair! Water from the mouth! Imagine! And yet the scriptures insist that Thinnan is a great Nayanar meaning ‘one who shows the way’. more popularly known as Kannappa Thinnan was a hunter. but Thinnan is remembered even today as Kanappa. He aligned to the systems and processes perfectly. He ate what he was expected to eat and dressed as he was expected to dress and conducted himself as was expected of him. he decided to call the helpline. This would happen every day at dusk. the great Nayanar saint. burn incense. he would collect flowers for Shiva. He had to light a candle and with great difficulty feed in the consumer number. We do not know the name of this priest. One of the stories is that of Thinnan. They created a sense of consistency across the land. The priest was part of an institution. having no pot he would carry it in his mouth. and then perform the rituals as recommended in the liturgical manuals . he was doing everything wrong. He would be horrified to see the mess in the shrine – meat and bones and dried flowers. This was difficult as it was the middle of the night and there was no light. He followed the method that was prescribed by the institution. He would wash the temple. what mattered was the institution they propped up by aligning to the rules. Then he was asked to enter his consumer number in the phone. At dawn. the temple priest would arrive . not his behaviour. Every evening he would cook the best part of the animal he had hunted.8. From the priest’s point of view. There he encountered the dreaded IVR (Interactive Voice Reponse). chant the hymns. Their names and identities did not matter. then shake his head vigorously so that the flowers fell on the deity and finally feed the image the cooked meat. light the lamps. he would spit the water out onto the image of Shiva. wrap it in leaves. having no basket he would just fix them in his hair. What mattered was his belief. and carry it in his hands to a Shiva temple located on the edge of the forest. He simply connected to divinity with devotion in a direct way. He would also collect water from the mountain streams for Shiva. On reaching the Shiva temple. He did not know the rules or the liturgical manuals. Thinnan by contrast was a maverick. hence mattered more than behaviour born through ritual alignment. On the way. The behaviour may have been inappropriate but it was a genuine manifestation of the belief. They ensured continuity of tradition. who was most dear to Shiva.
killing a Brahmin is considered the greatest sin. he is not expected to serve the client. intellectual growth (Saraswati) and . “I don’t know about that. There was no one inch of individuality allowed . the IVR or the temple priest? And so we have organisations that have stopped hearing the customer. He did. most astonishingly. Power will be restored shortly. he will contribute to the customer servicing process. He wondered if that was not supposed to automatically pop up when he followed IVR directions.” said the executive. But I will pass on your comments to my supervisor. The Brahmin was the noble teacher. What mattered was his efficiency. the pace of the questioning. We thank you for using your services. how does it matter who answered the call. “Hello. however passionate. aware that any irritation would be recorded by the call centre tapes. the intellectual wherewithal that enabled people to grow. his address. except through market research agencies.provided the direction. Why so? The word Brahmin comes from the root 'Brh' which means 'to grow'. But growth in Hinduism refers to all round growth .material growth (Lakshmi). his locality . “So when will the lights come back? What is wrong? What is happening?” Raghuraj asked angrily. subversive.choose from a list of standard complaints. who also follow processes. Despite his fancy title. he who facilitated growth . Otherwise we will never find the innovative Nayanars. how may I help you?” Raghuraj told him that there was no electricity in his building society. Everything was orchestrated – the pitch of his voice. God keeps killing Brahmins. he will be seen as a trouble maker.” came the pat response. “Good morning. but many companies are increasingly creating a system to discourage Thinnans. Does that get us the best of people or does the imagination of the management limit the possibilities ? Perhaps it is time to get the bhakti revolution into the corporate world – look at passion and intelligence along with alignment and obedience. The customer service executive said in a calm voice. Krishna encourages the beheading of Drona. the words he spoke.” said the executive. Ram kills Ravan. If he breaks the rules. ‘those who show us the way’. impersonally and professionally. And yet. By doing so. His full name followed by his. The customer may be God. “Before we get to that. good evening. The organisation celebrated his obedience. Everything was measured. 9. Shiva beheads Brahma. sir. not his sensitivity or passion.” and then put down the phone. So here we have a ‘temple priest’ in the customer servicing executive. “May I have some details?” An impatient and exasperated Raghuraj had no choice but to follow the line of questioning. He was finally directed to the customer servicing executive. If he tries to go out of the way or out of the box. Material growth through intellectual growth In Hinduism. “Your complaint has been recorded. I mean. He is expected by his institute to simply follow the processes. The company will not allow a Thinnan in their midst – he is disruptive. he will be punished. So long as the electricity is restored. unpredictable . sir. The human touch is frowned upon. the path.
so has the value of his company." Vinit's personal wealth has increased. Ravan wanted to dominate the world and Drona wanted to settle a score. He is. This has resulted in a Vinit who is less sensitive than he was when he started out. It was all about creating world class spare parts locally at a fraction of the price. Growth refers not just to one's own growth but to the growth of others too. determined to possess her. Vinit needs to relook at his vision statement put down years ago after he left his high paying corporate job in Memphis. taught martial arts to the Pandavas and the Kauravas and as fee asked his students to give him one half of Drupada's kingdom. They did not seem to be interested in facilitating the growth of others. I am afraid all that I have built will collapse. which is why Shiva is called Kapalika. to step back and reflect on his enchantment with Lakshmi. Brahma wanted to control his creation. who runs a successful spare parts company. not the coldness of a large corporation. but he is not. Shiva took the form of Bhairava and beheaded him. USA and returned to India. It had nothing to do with profits. and now is a highly admired small scale entrepreneur. Time to behead him. He feels his head will explode. and less secure. Brahma. His empathy levels are at an all time low. nurtured it. Drona. as a whole. the intellectuals. In . Intellectual growth manifests in increased sensitivity to people around us and to patterns in the world around us. He created this company. which was the Brahmin's vocation." he says. Ravan nor Drona demonstrate these traits. In disgust. nor can material growth. The Brahmin has been corrupted.emotional growth (Durga/Shakti). he forgot all about the intellectual and emotional growth that would facilitate this. Brahmins. "But I am not happy. Ravan. has grown from a small Rs 1 crore outfit to a Rs 30 crore outfit in five years. in the number of employees and their respective earnings. When Brahma created the world. so that he could settle a score with an old enemy. Brahma loses his fifth head and is left with four. Somewhere along the line. shaken out of his madness. He wanted an organisation with the warmth of a small organisation. In fact measuring intellect and emotions results in de-growth. also son of a Rishi. When Shiva beheads Brahma. It was all about material growth. though creator. son of a Rishi. the world took the form of a woman. in effect. There is growth in the number of clients. Perhaps the reason for this is that intellectual growth cannot be measured. So the head and heart was ignored in the pursuit of the wallet. cut down to size. Vinit. So he chased her. "I have more money than before. His aim was to be surrounded by simple engineers who were grounded in reality. But I am constantly worried about attrition and competition and client servicing. Vinit should be happy. Perhaps that is why they were beheaded. kicked his brother Kuber out of Lanka to become its king and then went on to abduct wives of other men for his pleasure. He got attracted to this woman of his own creation and wanted to possess her. the skull-bearer. the earning per client. Emotional growth manifests in an increased sense of security that makes us pay more attention to the development of those around us. Neither Brahma. is not worshipped in India. All three are more interested in their own material growth. emotional growth cannot happen without intellectual growth. Wealth generation and wealth distribution demand intellectual and emotional growth. Material growth cannot happen without emotional growth. were therefore critical for the growth of society.
But Krishna sensed what they needed. . clarified his doubts. Krishna knew what to give to whom — wealth to Sudama and wisdom to Arjuna. Only when there is all round growth will Brahma. The smile returned on the Colonel's face. The same Krishna had another friend called Arjuna. Sudama remained a poor priest. horrified him. cleared his mind.reflection lies realisation of Saraswati and Durga. While Krishna grew up to be a great warrior and lord of the city of Dwaraka. He realised his salary was not enough to support his lifestyle. Krishna sensed his friend's need and silently ensured that when Sudama returned home he found. He simply gave his friend a packet of puffed rice. which was all he could afford. He was terrified of the presentation. and the Brahmin. What Goes Unsaid: Listening to employee grievances Krishna had a childhood friend called Sudama. A retired army Colonel joined as the admin manager of a cosmetics company. And so when he joined civilian life he was quite satisfied with the salary he was offered by the company until he had to pay for some of the things he took for granted in the army. Too proud to ask for more. Rajnikant. Very discreetly. he lost his nerve. much to his delight and surprise. It is not always what they are asking. went through the presentation and said it was okay. who had to fight a great war against his cousins. Just before the fight. be worthy once again of adoration. This sensitivity is something leaders must possess. Desperate for some help. He knew it was in order. sensed something was amiss. And leaders have to be sensitive enough to figure out what exactly they are seeking and respond accordingly. He had lived a cushioned life in the army. The words of the song addressed Arjuna's core issues. Just like Sudama's. the Finance Department was told to make changes in the Colonel's salary structure. Imagine what would have happened if he sang the Bhagavad Gita to Sudama! Or gave wealth to Arjuna! When people enter a leader's room. they come expecting to receive something. Neither Sudama nor Arjuna were explicit about what they wanted. But he had missed the boat. He did not know what to do. But on reaching there he felt too embarrassed to ask for anything. however. Mukul left the room unsatisfied. enabled him to raise his bow and fight the enemy with conviction. 10. Sudama paid Krishna a visit in Dwaraka. He also realised that had he been aware of these expenses he could have negotiated a more appropriate salary. he kept quiet. It was here that Krishna sang the song now known as the Bhagavad Gita. When Mukul entered his CEO's room to check if the presentation to be made before the board was in order. A few inquiries and he figured out what was happening. but he wanted something else from his boss. He noticed that the Colonel took the company bus instead of his car several times a week. The thought of killing his own relatives. More importantly. his house overflowing with wealth. a few words of validation and even praise to soothe his nerves. however justified. The owner of the cosmetics company. the CEO. and claimed he just wanted to see his old friend. not realising the expense of some of the perks he received.
unafraid of the unknown. All that remained in the box was hope and luck. Every plant and every animal thanked him. Epimetheus was given a bag of positive traits by Zeus. he met plants and animals. once again. She opened the box. and Epimetheus felt good about himself. He wanted to know if Rajnikant would support him if things went wrong. But humans are usually not transparent. He had nothing to give humanity – he had not realised the consequences of his actions. She shut the lid quickly but by then the damage was done. 11. and to his surprise. It has to be developed. because he lacked foresight. was curious. Prometheus means foresight. What leaders need to focus on is what lies beneath the apparent. Tell them not to open the box. He wanted the feeling of support. Every organisation needs people with foresight Greek mythology speaks of two brothers who were appointed benefactors of humankind by the Olympian gods. Rajnikant expects everyone to state their needs in a checklist. he realised the bag of positive traits was empty. On the way. So Epimetheus. Modern businesses often talk about transparency and stating what one needs very clearly. He wanted Rajnikant to comfort him. not a curt “It is okay.” Epimetheus. for a senior director to admit that he is nervous. Out flew all the ills of the world – decay. a trait that had developed in humans ever since they were able to control fire.” Sensitivity to what people want is not something that can be taught in business schools. Finally he encountered humans. It was a woman called Pandora. He punished Prometheus brutally. granted them a positive trait from the bag given to him by Zeus. It is embarrassing for people to openly admit that they have financial issues. Every organisation has a Prometheus and an Epimetheus. Epimetheus made his way from Olympus down to the land of humans. without thinking gave the box to the first human he encountered. But Pandora. despair. Epimetheus focuses on the past. without thinking. Prometheus gave humanity the gift of fire. disease. Zeus did not like this. Every plant and every animal he encountered asked him for a gift. even beneath one's dignity. tied him to a rock and declared that every day a vulture would eat his liver and every night his liver would regenerate. preferably an Excel sheet.He feared that if things went wrong his reputation would be ruined. like all humans. Prometheus focuses on the future. ideas that would sustain humanity through its trials and tribulations. What is apparent is usually not the truth. Man became the only creature that could control fire. It is an implicit expectation from leaders. Prometheus is he who thinks before a deed is done while Epimetheus is he who thinks after the deed is done. Zeus then gave Epimetheus a box. It is awkward. “Give it to humanity.” said Zeus. Prometheus is a visionary. To undo the damage. but was too embarrassed to state it. . “Give it to the first human you see. This knowledge made man more superior than all animals and plants. destruction. Epimetheus means hindsight. Thus he would suffer every day for the rest of eternity. Their names were Epimetheus and Prometheus.
He had sensed people’s need for it. He cannot imagine. Rajiv is a Prometheus – he can see what no one else can see. He is therefore also a troublemaker. the village headman calls me to his house. He was often called by the local king to advice on matters related to the economy. Why is it then that the village headman makes fun of you. one who has to be restrained. It is difficult to extrapolate knowledge of the past into the future because the situation in the future is unknown. There. I feel everyone in the village is laughing behind my back because you do not know what is more valuable. The case-study method followed in business schools is a creation of Epimetheus. “Give us proof of concept. son. All that an Epimetheus can do is do what was done before but only better. 12.” They said. . His reputation had spread as far as Taxila in the North and Kanchi in the South. He asks me to pick up the more valuable coin. Rajiv will need heaps of hope and a bit of luck. punishes him as Zeus did. "Every day on my way to school. uncertain and unlike the situation of the past. for not all his experiments work. An Epimetheus cannot innovate. comfortable with the known.gold or silver?" "Gold. He brings fire and changes humanity for all time. Explain this to me. he brings gifts for all that creates a false sense of comfort. "You may be a great mathematician who advises the king on economic matters but your son does not know the value of gold or silver. Along with vision and hard-work. unpredictable. play fool to achieve your goal There once lived a great mathematician in a village outside Ujjain. No one had done this before. waiting to be tapped. The investors before him are Epimetheus – they trust only what has already been seen. in front of all village elders. It was a hidden need. This hurts me. he holds out a silver coin in one hand and a gold coin in other. They said. He would have to create a market for it. An investor may trust Rajiv but there is no guarantee that the business will succeed. His ideas seemed to strange and bizarre.Epimetheus is an implementer. claims you do not know the value of gold or silver? He teases me every day. So it hurt him very much when the village headman told him. A Prometheus is a disruptor of the status quo. Everybody makes fun of a Prometheus. and no one does it better than him. He cannot come up with a new idea. The need was not explicit. It was a new product." said the son. and does not prepare you for surprises and accidents." The mathematician called his son and asked." So the son of the mathematician told his father the reason why the village headman carried this impression. “Can you tell us exactly how much will be the return on investment. He relies on memory.” Rajiv tried his best to answer the questions but his idea was a radical idea. Epimetheus is dependable. he realised they were making fun of him. Cycle of life: Play wise. I pick the silver coin. "What is more valuable . "That is correct. He mocks me before other village elders as a father who neglects his son. wisdom from hindsight. gold or silver. When Rajiv presented his vision and business plan to his investors.
That does not mean we lose in the game of life. This leads to people bragging and putting others down.He laughs. we have to play the fool because our seniors and our peers. Allows him to feel he is smarter than others. That is why they tell you I do not know the value of gold or silver. has to endure hours of humiliation with his client. They will stop having fun and I will stop making money. Shailesh has figured out that if he wants to win the arena of portfolio management. His client then shows off his wealth and mocks the advise Shailesh gives him. one often has to demonstrate one is superior to others. 13. only you. We have to choose which arena matters to us and which arenas do not. His teacher. Shailesh. Often this is an emotional need. and sometimes even our juniors like it. a portfolio manager in a wealth management company." The father was confused. the son took the father to his room and showed him a box. by simply being . This happens every day. this endurance does bring dividends. he will remain Shailesh's client. Used well. the mathematician's son said. “It’s the curse of kingship. Chanakya. "The day I pick up the gold coin the game will stop. He wants to tell the client that everyone has his own criteria of success and that amongst portfolio managers he is one of the best. It is the fear of a king’s moods and opinions that shapes the behaviour in court. "Why don't you pick up the gold coin?" he asked. he has to allow the client of his to win the arena of emotions. But he remains silent. And then I go to school. How he wished to have honest people around him. So long as the client feels he is smarter than Shailesh and can crack jokes about Shailesh. The client will keep telling Shailesh that he is a loser because he works for another company and that he does not have his own business. the elders jeer. while we win in the other arena of the game. It just means allowing others to win in one arena of the game. you hate the liars and the sycophants. In the box were at least a hundred silver coins. The day Shailesh puts him in his place. Often Shailesh feels like lashing out and telling the client to mind his own business. and yet when asked to choose between a gold coin and silver coin always picked the silver coin. Yes. the game will stop and the relationship will come to an end. He endures the jokes of his client." Sometimes in life. It boosts his ego. To feel significant. And when the client feels good about himself. A king has a sword in his hand and everyone who stands around him is acutely aware of the sword. everyone makes fun of me. he gives Shailesh more business and more clients. Turning to his father. At the root is the human desire to feel significant. In response. Curse of kingship: It is the boss who created 'yes man' Chandragupta Maurya once complained that he was always surrounded by liars and sycophants. but who created them? You. His son knew the value of gold and silver. No one knows how it will swing? So to save themselves they end up lying and flattering the king. laughed and said. one that can be quite annoying to onlookers but critical to the one indulging in it. This makes the client feel good about himself. Recognizing this need allows us to endure many an insufferable boss or client.
He has to be able to create an atmosphere where the issue is being addressed and it is not the boss who is being managed. they are simply trying to win his approval. He is constantly judging me. It is the king who created the ‘yes man’ in court. it can be that they have found he appreciates disagreement and so by disagreeing with him. the puppet master. their jobs. He is. A good leader has to be sensitive to the power he holds over his followers. it is more often than not an indicator that he does not like dissent. he will mark you as a dreamer. it does not mean that they actually disagree with him. It takes a rare breed of people to be able to separate the issue from the person. he will mark you as unimaginative. . in a way.” Thomas. what they actually feel about the market. the Mughal Emperor clearly did not trust official reports. his head will be chopped off. “People in front of me tell me what I want to hear. “Why are you worried? Are things looking up or down?” Thomas replied.the king.” That very night. I want to hear the truth. If you present a growth rate more than what he feels. How do they reflect his behaviour? How he is. He is the observer creating the observation. If they disagree with him all the time. But it never happens. diseased woman to check if the piety shown by her devotees is genuine or not. We can make grand statements that we allow juniors to dissent but the juniors know that dissent rarely makes them popular. The marks appear in the appraisal.” Cyril does not even realise tha he is influencing the scene before him. was telling his wife. an investment banker. Either way one is doomed. the goddess takes the form of an ugly. I am worried about how to present it to my boss so that he does not think less of me. our work. Perhaps that is the reason one often hears legends of Akbar and Birbal venturing out secretly in the city dressed as commoners to find out what was really happening. Often the critic is a marked man. Even the gods know that the expressions and declarations made in the temple are not to be trusted. We look down upon the ‘yes man’ – but his actions stem from fear. we forget how the behaviour of people in power influence the behaviour of people reporting to them. “The market is looking up and the company has nothing to worry about. Even the gods often approach devotees in disguise. responsible for the way they behave? If they agree with him all the time. His wife asked. So he tailors his dialogue such that it pleases the boss. Thomas’ boss. One is always defensive in front of him and has to always strategise what one has to say. He knew they were influenced by fear of the king’s sword. He is afraid that if he actually says the truth. Cyril. inadvertently . it is the boss who created the ‘yes man’ in the corporate world. was preparing for his presentation late into the night. In an apparently logical and rational world. If you present a growth rate that is less than what he feels. In the Maa Santoshi Vrat Katha. old.
when in fact they are merely instruments of the root cause. Sarama cursed Janamejaya. the drug . Your intervention was merely the means by which Sarama's curse realised itself." He then told Astika a story. Uttanka hated the snakes as they had stolen a jewel that he wanted to give his guru as tuition fees. He wanted to destroy all snakes for this crime but while he possessed the knowledge of the ritual that could destroy snakes. In the former tale. Sarama is the real force. a scheme that never existed before but was met with great response from the consumer. If we find the cause. Both are wrong. When the Sarpa Sattra was about to commence. Sarama. he was but a pawn in Uttanaka's own agenda. a CEO was sacked when the sales of a new drug did not reach the predicted meteoric rise. That year had seen a heat wave never before experienced in India. king of Hastinapur. everyone is constantly trying to understand what the cause behind a success or failure is. he was going to be the destroyer of all the snakes in the world." said Vasuki." Both these stories from the Mahabharata concern themselves with causality." "That is why. He returned home feeling very triumphant. Astika is but an instrument. Uttanaka is the real force and Janamejaya is the instrument. Was it simply market conditions? Was it a person who made the difference? Was it a new process? Often success and failure is wrongly attributed to people. "Since your brothers hit my innocent children. Unknown to him. His uncle Vasuki smiled and said. "Yes. Janamejaya felt powerful. In another case. Success and failure are instruments of root cause Pariskhit. we hope to replicate it. "Why don't you invest in a great ritual known as Sarpa-Sattra by which you can kill all the snakes in the world? The world will be rid of these venomous snakes once and for all. The market had actually responded favourably but the error was in the plan itself. Janamejaya took the sage's advise and gave Uttanaka all the wealth he needed to perform this terrible ritual. was very angry. nephew of Vasuki. you contributed to the rescue but you were merely an instrument. It will not achieve its goal. he did not have the wherewithal to conduct such a ritual. Astika. The plan had inflated numbers because the former CEO realised that if the numbers were not inflated in the plan." said Uttanaka. "the Sarpa Sattra was never concluded. Janamejaya. a sage. And that very same year banks came up with excellent EMIs for household goods. king of the snakes. The puppies yelped and ran to their mother and pleaded their innocence. "I am the savior of the snakes. died of snakebite. Soon all the snakes of the earth were being dragged into a sacrificial flame and burnt to death." he told everyone he met.14. In the latter tale. the mother of dogs and her puppies were wandering around the sacrificial precinct. The CEO of a multinational firm's Indian arm took full credit for the sudden rise of sales of air conditioners during his term of office. In the first story. His son. He took advantage of Janamejaya's tragedy to fund his own private war. The CEO was just at the right place at the right time. Janamejaya thinks he is the killer of snakes and in the second story Astika thinks he is the saviour of snakes. In the corporate world. The real reason was two-fold. convinced Janamejaya to stop the terrible ritual that was killing all the snakes. this ritual of yours will be interrupted. Janamejaya's brothers felt that the puppies had licked the milk meant for the ritual and so threw stones at them.
the Manavas or humans live on the earth. we are in for a surprise. he came out as a failure. With the second. Mahabhali was so great a king that he rose up from the subterranean realm of the Asuras. those below and all that lay in between. This created chaos in the cosmos and the sages begged Vishnu. there is nothing demonic about most Asuras. and gave it back to the Devas. rather despite us. success is not because of us. With one step. without a second thought. Vishnu asks for three paces of land. An event occurs because of a number of factors . But everyone is under pressure to attribute causality to all events. Some European translators used other words like ‘giants’ and ‘Titans’ and even ‘old gods’ to refer to Asuras. Mahabali gave it. So a lie that got the drug into India. We would like to believe that we are making the moves of the strategic chess board. or Mahabali. and went on to become became master of the three worlds — those above. Often when signing contracts. though mercifully they avoid depicting him with horns. displacing even Indra. We demand certainty. 15. Unless one attributes causality how does one take credit? The appraisal system demands that every event have a cause and every action has an outcome. without checking who would measure the paces. is described as the demon-king. “enough for me to sleep on. at least not in the Biblical sense of the term. He assumed it was the dwarf. A classic example is when one buys a house — 1000 square feet means very different . and the Asuras live under the ground. But sometimes. even today. the great king of Asuras. In the 19thcentury. but these did not capture the what the Asuras were. The only way to defeat him was by cunning. king of the Devas. we assume measurements but when the time comes to settle. So Vishnu approached him in the form of a dwarf and asked Mahabali three paces of land. We reject uncertainty. Subjectivity in measurement creates chaos and problems In the Hindu mythic world. Mahabali was impossible to defeat at war. when in reality it was taken by a giant. which is why he was much loved and difficult to overthrow. which incidentally is a Persian visual metaphor for demons introduced by Mughal court painters.” “Take it. With the third. to intervene and restore order. The story draws attention to the notion of measurements. the Asuras came to be described as the ‘demons’. Bali.would not be introduced in India by the multinational parent. As a result. Modern institutional thinking is uncomfortable with events that cannot be explained. Vishnu immediately turned into a giant. made the former CEO a hero but it became the cause of the current CEO's downfall. Unfortunately. in modern comic books. he claimed the sky. the Devas live in the sky. This is what happens when one uses Greek or Biblical templates to explain Hindu mythic structures.external factors that are not in our control as well as a variety of internal factors that may or may not be under our control. preserver of the universe. he shoved Mahabali back to the realm under the ground where all Asuras belong. English scholars equated Devas with gods of Greek mythology and so the enemy of the Devas.” said Mahabali. The current CEO had actually done a brilliant job considering ground reality but when his numbers were compared to the plan. Mahabali was known for his charitable nature. he claimed the earth.
comes a thought to describe the Kingdom of God. a place where one feels secure. Like Mahabali. The beneficiary is happy so long as he does not know the measuring scale of the benefactor. But the only way the European translators could ‘measure’ the enemy of the gods was by calling them ‘demons’. The cost of the gift. he did feel rather crushed. He expected cash or cheque. Humans alone. This is heaven. wild and untamed. In the forest. the corporate world feeds on cunning. or should we say realty. “The lion shall lay with the lamb. from the Bible. are animals that can imagine a place where one does not have to struggle to survive. 16. In the markets. afraid they might not find food and starve to death. built-up area. Rajesh could do nothing but nod his head. Krishna plays the flute and the milkmaids dance around him. It is equated with the jungle. a place that is not a ‘dog eat dog world’. if they sold an old slow-moving instrument to reach a particular target. on bulk purchase. R A A S L I L A C A N B E T H E V I SI O N ST AT E M E NT FO R B E T T E R W O R K P L A C E In the beginning. Another example is when one gets gifts valued at Rs 10. But we end up submitting to it. one finds the goat safe in the company of tigers. Instead he was given a new fast-moving product. where one is not afraid of a predator.things to a buyer and a builder. In the Bhagavat Puran. Everyone yearns for a piece of heaven. would be 30% or less of the MRP. Just cross-sell this product to clients who bought ABC and make your money. The Asuras are enemies of the Devas. XYZ. thanks to the larger brain. Since violence is not considered an acceptable code of conduct. But the scene takes place at night. the vast apartment of one’s imagination ends up becoming a tiny flat in reality.” said Sandeep. Rajesh did reach the target and went to claim his bonus. a place without a ‘rat race’. The one who receives the gift is made to believe that the value is Rs 10. Popular phrases indicate how people perceive the corporate world. This is why. “The margin of XYZ is 3% more than the standard rate. The more cunning. but they are also worshipped: The rise and return of Mahabali is associated with harvest festivals in India such as Onam of Kerala and Diwali in the North. heaven is visualised as the Raas Lila. One has terms like carpet area. In the Raas Lila. Thus death lurks in every corner.000 while the one who gives the gift knows the cost is Rs 3000. animals are always afraid. What is often convenient for a few need not be correct or comprehensible for the rest. super built-up area. No one likes being here. . and afraid that they may become food and be killed. there was nature. everything seems fair.” This imagery is found in Hindu scriptures too. Subjectivity in measurement creates chaos and problems. the higher up you seem to get in the food chain.000. where in the hermitages of sages. except by gangsters. executives feel they have to compete in order to survive and thrive. Like animals. Sandeep was the owner of a firm that distributes mutual funds and insurance. words that are so difficult for the common man to comprehend that in the end. He promised new agents a 3% bonus. He had been paid 3% but not quite the way he assumed it.
bringing with it darkness and the fear. In fact. Krishna disappears. Neither law nor custom binds them. We can attempt to walk in that direction. All three of them imagine themselves to be quivering frightened milkmaids waiting for the music of the flute. Everyone feels they are fully appreciated. He feels powerless. Ikram hates going to office every day. but it is the thought that counts. Ikram’s boss Richard also feels underpaid and exploited by his bosses. Each one feels that Krishna is giving them complete attention. and yet they feel safe and secure. our tunes may not be perfect. It is torture. They sing and dance around Krishna. are a bunch of mercenaries. In the Raas Lila. a goalpost embodying infinity that can inspire us. The promise is fulfilled in the middle of the forest. The gap between the fantasy of Raas Lila and the reality of the workplace is huge. the moment they feel possessive about Krishna or believe he should love them more than others. the forest re-appears. Others may not play the flute for us. the menace of the night fades away. No one is obliged to be here. He is the senior vice president but he feels he is underpaid and exploited. Ikram can attempt to be a Krishna to Arvind. and that all the work is actually done by the rest of the team. They do not feel threatened. But we can play the flute for others. There is warmth and affection all around. a thought that is sorely missing in Ikram. It is Arvind who feels underpaid and exploited. Richard can attempt to be a Krishna to Ikram. There is perfect harmony. He hates his boss and feels his team is useless. who is neither their brother nor son nor husband. No one is jealous or territorial. But no one is trying. Arvind is Ikram’s subordinate and feels Ikram has a cushy job. yearning for the music and capable of producing the music. in his opinion. Raas Lila can be our vision statement. Eventually. Around Krishna. there is no jealousy and envy. he does not stand in the firing line before the directors who. No one feels exploited. with no real responsibilities. The forest evokes fear. Through the sound of the flute Krishna is communicating his affection. Through it comes the assurance of security. Raas Lila perhaps represents what people would like the ideal organisation to be like. The first step is recognising that we have the flute and everyone around us is eager for music. Richard and even Arvind. There is no duty or responsibility that binds them around Krishna. Every human being is at once milkmaid and Krishna. They don’t realise that each one of them is capable of playing the flute. . Krishna can be seen a theoretical construct. The milkmaids are away from the security of the village and family. the boss must be Krishna. Krishna makes music not for his pleasure but for the upliftment of the milkmaids. equidistant from Krishna. It is an invitation to a world where one can do their best. He feels Ikram has got it easy. Everyone forms a circle. Everyone is giving their best. They do not feel under pressure. There is perfect harmony. we will get there. Being human. in the forest. They do so of their own free will. Night evokes fear.outside the village. For this to happen. himself included. Every employee feels safe and secure.
Once water moves from a water body into a pot.” Thus property gives human life a meaning. and not bother with its generation. it validates existence. it is about Mr. Arguments are often logical but the cause of the conflict has nothing to do with logic. Raja do not realise is that the hotel is Mr. that the purpose of the organisation is to generate wealth – we are not simply referring to the human need to survive. Raja’s fight for his significance. Animals need territory in order to survive – to get access to food. The pot holds a special place in human imagination because a pot changes humanity’s relationship with nature. It now belongs to the person who owns the pot. he feels. It generated a lot of wealth. is not doing his job. But when another animal lays claim to its territory and it is unable to fight back. Animals have territory that they defend with brute force. Raja that he must be allowed to take a call to run the show but Mr. And this is the source of most conflicts. Raja and the manager over the best way to manage the hotel. Nagarjuna P. but my pot will outlive me. Humans need property not just to survive. humans need property in order to feel significant. Raja’s pot. survival of the fittest. He tries to explain to Mr. All living organisms die. “I may die. When one says. water in the river and water in a pot. It is not only merely the source of money. The hotel was highly successful. The manager is exasperated. there is no court where an animal can go to appeal. we are referring to the human need for significance. Herein is the difference between animal and humans. Property is a human idea. Raja built a hotel in a small town. This is a classic conflict between the proprietor and the professional. an artificial construction. Pots are not natural. There are no courts in nature. Raja keeps interfering. Water in a pot has an owner. The pot enables humans to turn natural resources into personal property. When seems like a fight between Mr. The presence of pots indicates the presence of humanity. every time he visits the hotel he finds something wrong. Property gives humans a reason to live and it allows humans to defy mortality. Animals do not create territory for self-actualisation. no law except might is right. Raja’s sense of significance. For the human desire to feel significant is infinite. If he . not a natural phenomenon. Now. it stops being everyone’s water. Unfortunately. food in a tree and food in a basket. The manager. territory and property. There is enough wealth around to pull people out of poverty but there is never enough wealth to make people feel significant. Animals do not own nature. What the manager and Mr. Desire to feel significant is the root cause of most conflicts Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth who holds in her hand a pot.17. This leads to arguments. is actually Mr. Only humans introspect about death and wonder then about the point of life. it is emotional. he has appointed a manager to run the hotel so that he can achieve his lifelong dream of retiring in peace and enjoying his wealth. they are man made.
Even before he was born. And so the two fight as two animals fight over territory. and the manager. participated in the competition but he lost the debate to a sage called Bandi and was forced to kill himself. Raja and the manager will never end 18. The hotel defines Mr. Kahoda went to the court of king Janaka to participate in a public debate. While he was in his mother's womb. Few mentors can handle a student who is better than them. father. often without even a good reference. pot. Only here they are not fighting for survival. He has nurtured many young attorneys under him. "May this over-smart child of mine be born deformed with eight twists in his body. So long as this desire for significance is not acknowledged. It is an unconscious need. He is the sun." he said. that very same wisdom had made my father insecure. constantly that it is his. They are fighting for significance. Raja’s image of himself. "Perhaps. To this Ashtavakra said. and only his. who thought greatly of his wisdom. who nurtures talent under him. makes him feel he has done something with his life. He won the competition and Bandi was forced to bring Ashtavakra's father back to life. "While you. he had understood the secrets of Vedic hymns so well that one day." said the father. humans are not. "the same hymn can be interpreted in this way. The moment Manohar sees real talent. or the envy of a teacher for his student. Kahoda. By the law of averages. Thus Ashtavakra not only avenged his father's humiliation. It justifies his existence on earth. It takes a lot of self-assurance for a mentor to admit that the student is better than him. he feels threatened and kicks them out of his team. reflecting his glory. Manohar is a senior partner in a law firm. Letting it into the hands of a manager seems logical. the mentor. from his mother's womb. he feels invalidated. Kahoda. but he needs to remind himself. he decided to participate in the same public debate in Janaka's court. When Ashtavakra grew up and learnt about the fate of his father. the coach. he spoke and corrected his father. he also brought his father back to life. Ashtavakra represents that unusually bright student one sometimes gets to coach or mentor. over . Future fate of organisation depends on brilliance of Ashtavakras Rishi Ashtavakra was called Ashtavakra because his body was deformed and twisted in eight areas. As a result his team is full of rather mediocre lawyers who look to him for direction. But in interfering with the hotel. the father was annoyed. such brilliant students are few and far between and when they make themselves known they usually face great hostility from those around them and especially the mentor. As a result. Kahoda is the boss. he invalidates the manager." This ancient story draws attention to the envy of the father for his son. the rest are the planets. The desire to feel significant is never a stated goal. But he nurtures only those who are inferior to him. He was cursed by his own father.remains indifferent to the running of the hotel." Rather than being appreciative of his son. The condition of the debate was that the loser had to die. he had overheard his father converse with his mother on the nature of Vedic truths as expressed in various Vedic hymns. While animals are clear why they are fighting. appreciate my wisdom. Janaka. Janaka commented that Kahoda was lucky to have a son as brilliant as Ashtavakra. the fight between Mr.
all he has to do is wish for what he wants and it appears before him. but Vishnu is. Indra lives in Amravati. Ashtavakra. Despite being blessed with such wonders. He wants to provide a 'womb' where such talent can be nurtured. Jacob is like Janaka. When he finds sages meditating. he steals their royal and sacred horses and disrupts their ritual. Indra is constantly terrified of losing his exalted position. Fortune-chasers & Fortune-magnets In Hinduism. a place to go after death by accumulating enough merit during life. What is it that makes Vishnu different from Indra? To answer this question. The result is an organisation which is full of many more Kahodas than Janakas. there are gods and there is God. a wish-fulfilling gem. Manohar is like Kahoda. Perhaps that is why he is worshipped. No wonder humans describe Amravati as swarga or paradise. He is threatened by kings and sages and demons. Vishnu is described as being very secure. He does not have to work for a day . Chintamani. Indra is a very insecure god. The best minds come to his court and thrive. who also has a law practice in the same city believes in attracting talent.the years. he has lost out on the best people who could have made his practice the best in town. He believes one must hire people who are better and bigger than oneself otherwise one will end up with a company of dwarves. Kalaptaru. for the benefit of his own firm. Organisations have to constantly ensure that leaders are more like Janakas and less like Kahoda because the future fate of the organisation depends on the brilliance of Ashtavakras 19. Vishnu is the fortune magnet. a realm above the skies. She clings to his feet. The fundamental difference Indra and Vishnu is that Indra chases Lakshmi. By contrast. He has the perfect life. By contrast. and she. in keeping with her nature. The gods are called Devas while God is Bhagavan. slips away from his hand like water from a clenched wrist. All his stories. When he sees kings perform a yagna. Lakshmi chases him. and Akshaya-patra. Jacob. Indra is never worshipped. and if they leave his firm. revolve around his shaking throne. Vishnu does not chase Lakshmi. when a junior can overtake his senior. The Pandavas wanted who Krishna was while the Kauravas wanted what . to the detriment of Ashtavakra. He is so secure that he gurgles joyfully like a baby even while floating on a Banyan leaf cradled by the waves of a stormy ocean. And when he sees asuras becoming too powerful. he turns to God and ensures their defeat. All these wonders are at Indra's disposal. a wishfulfilling cow. threatened by his own son. Perhaps that is why he is God. coaches and mentors are often threatened by team members. In a world of corporations. By contrast. one has to hear a story. Here he has Kamadhenu. He knows he is not the best and believes there are better talents out there. Indra is king of the Devas while Vishnu is Bhagavan. Once Krishna asked the Pandavas and the Kauravas. he sends nymphs to seduce them. a wish-fulfilling tree. Indra chases fortune. even those retold in the most tacky mythological television serials. the goddess of wealth and fortune. a pot overflowing with gold and grain. "What do you want? Me or my army?" The Pandavas said they wanted Krishna while the Kauravas wanted Krishna's army. for the benefit of the industry.
Rajsingh is a classical Indra. Not surprisingly.000 students are trained. By using the parable. Both targets are measurable. He believes that students are just a means. he will continue to chase the elusive and whimsical Lakshmi but Lakshmi will never chase him.what he is and what he has. students . whisper angrily to potential candidates that they will earn less than what is projected in the advertisements . Nathan had tricked the king into judging himself. Every human being has two parts . This happens when 10. past and present. Bathsheba. a king with many wives. his costs will increase and bottom-line will be adversely affected . He is unable to find good placements for those who passed out. but the latter is dehumanised as it is monitised.simple things like the language of instruction and the ratio of theory and practice. all he has to do is pay attention to his value proposition. like Indra.000 students employable is a noble mission. No sooner did he take this decision than Nathan revealed that the rich man in his story was none other than David. He does not want to do that. H O W T O C O M M U NI C A T E T A C T FU L L Y W I T H Y O U R B O S S The Bible tells the tale of the prophet Nathan who sought justice from his king David for a poor man who had been wronged by a rich man. which means increase in duration of training. and not what people are (not employable). if anything it will improve. He forgets that this translates into 15. David was understandably upset when he heard the complaint.Krishna had. not the end. Vishnu's gaze is on people while Indra's gaze is what people bring to the table. His turnover is 50 crores. Why didn’t Nathan simply tell the king that his actions were wrong? Would the king . not the outcome of enterprise. the Lakshmi of 75 crores. He feels a good businessman is one who makes money. His head of sales head is finding it difficult to meet targets as the buzz in the market is that the education offered by the academy is not value for money.000 students employable is the same thing as 75 crores. Rather than taking one from his own flocks to feed a traveller. The flow of wealth into his organisation will not be affected. Rajsingh's computer education academy trains young people to be hardware technicians. He decreed that the rich man should die. The market says the quality of education is bad. Making 15. Rajsingh fears that if he puts more focus on quality of education. Sales were good last year but he has a problem. 20. He is more interested in the student's share of wallet rather than the student's employability. The balance sheet for him is the goal of enterprise. He focuses on what people have (fees). the king had had an adulterous affair. genuinely make students employable. He expects to make 75 crores next year. For that he has to sincerely look at the training gap . He had made the king realise his own hypocrisy: quick to judge others but not himself. Vishnu focuses on his devotees while Indra focuses on his wealth and threats to his wealth. the rich man claimed the one lamb that the poor neighbour dearly loved. To become Vishnu. his brand equity is poor and the market does not worship him. His focus is on the financial goal. Until he admits a flaw in his gaze. Yet words like nobility discomfort Rajsingh. students are sub-standard. The poor neighbour was the Hittite Uriah with whose only wife. Making 15.000 employable youths.
The next day Mr. Rathodji knew this and so when the problem was presented to him. without much consideration . Mr. the ascetic. Just before leaving . Khilachand. Khilachand commented. In fact if a mistake was pointed out. Mr. It is a trait that people who work with leaders must possess. Rathodji told Mr. was a brilliant man with a rags-to-riches story. And Mr. but that’s the way he was. Mathias. appointed manager in one of the many oil depots he owned. What do you think?” Rathodji agreed. causing a great deal of problems in the smooth running of operations. The ability to communicate with a king with deference and dexterity is known in Sanskrit as sabha-chaturya . In a rage. especially when it shows them in a bad light or has consequences that could affect them adversely. One needs strategic communication. But no one dared tell this to Mr. Mr. Khilachand did not appreciate being taken for a fool. He did no work. Khilachand was a fool to appoint a candidate purely on recommendation without checking credentials. They may get defensive or simply reject the submission. Mr. he pondered long and hard on how to give Mr. This form of . Khilachand the message without upsetting him and making matters worse. he would simply sack the guy who complained and give the candidate a raise and maybe even a promotion. or simply made excuses for it. Khilachand and Rathodji had a long session gossiping about Mr. 21. Khilachand how Mr. “I feel it is time to get the new candidate to work in the head office. the prophet was wary of the king’s ego and anger. He also knew his boss had an ego the size of the mountain. Khilachand with a recommendation from that cousin. he was. Bhaya means fear. The message had been passed. The candidate was a good for nothing. Mathias had foolishly selected a candidate on his sister’s recommendation and how the workers under the candidate were grumbling and planning to leave that firm and join their firm. He knew his boss.have heard him? Maybe he would have denied the crime. To do so would imply that Mr. Khilachand’s archrival. No feathers were ruffled. And so he used the Trojan horse method to address the sensitive issue. Sabha-chaturya had worked its magic. The dignity of all parties was maintained. he would do everything in his power to justify it. Khilachand a file containing the new figures on operational efficiency. It was irrational. He refused to accept or admit a mistake. So the work does not get done. So when a candidate presented himself before Mr. The foundation for this skill lies in the observation that people are uncomfortable with the truth. It is a trait that ministers and courtiers had to possess if they wished to survive in court and get their jobs done. A profitable decision was made and all was well. One needs sabha-chaturya . Bhairava is a form of Shiva. Rathodji gave Mr. Rathodji mastered the art of sabha-chaturya long ago. which literally translated means ‘tactfulness-in-court’. When confronted with it. just to prove he was right — and everyone else who thought he was a fool was wrong. Human beings often become territorial In hindu mythology the god associated with fear is called the Bhairava. Despite being a representative of God. It is a trait that even leaders need to possess if they wish to lead. Khilachand. Khilachand was very fond of a distant cousin. The next day. they react negatively – with rage or denial.
We do our best to retain the meanings that familiar contexts give us. for example. The provider of this territory – the boss – is much adored. He had to be the undisputed top dog. Dangerous dogs have been systematically declawed. the fear of invalidation and insignificance. A dog is highly territorial. At a primal level. He is aware of his own need for territories. We do everything in our power to maintain the certainty and familiarity offered by our emotional and intellectual territories. he very clearly wanted to be the alpha male. Why is a dog associated with the god of fear? Is it because a barking dog baring his teeth as he protects his master’s territory is fearsome ? Or is it something else? A dog is a needy animal. The dog within us is born of fear. we are afraid. It is how a dog is . but in fact. Through territory we try to overcome this fear. He identified all their bones and was now pulling them away. In other words. Everyone except the CEO would be sitting in an open office . the CEO. his cabin at work overlooking the sea and the BMW he had recently been given. We wag our tail when the boss celebrates us. a pecking order is established so that the alpha male gets the first right to adore the master and eat the food that is placed before them. Any shift in context. Only. his position was as precarious as ever. This need of validation from the master manifests in extreme loyalty. The company did not want to bear the expenses. many people believe this is the only way to get people to align to the organisational values and processes. his territory was defined by the clients he had. He was understandably upset. he did not share vital details. growling and barking and biting. Satish. The use of fear to establish and run an organisation is a popular method. Ratnam. To make them whine and bark into submission before him. Ratnam’s boss. In fact. annoys us and we respond like dogs. He encourages us to overpower it. he refused to do so. He believed he had arrived in life. even the master is territory. Bhairava draws attention to this dog within us as he rides on it. he was not entitled to a cabin. It is constantly afraid and insecure. Ratnam started whining and barking. he would not let go of his work and he felt most satisfied as he sunk into the plush seats of his BMW. The restructuring was his way to shake the territories of the entire team. When the organisational restructuring took place. The human mind is very much like a dog. he constantly feared losing it all and clung to it tenaciously. We whine when he chides us. He felt powerless. He never shared his clients. was not even aware of the dog within him. thereby reinforcing our territorial hold over him. any change in territory. since he is the CEO. has an intuitive understanding of the dogs within all humans. Everyone had to cower before him. frightens us. We cling to it tenaciously and fight over it tooth and nail. and he was asked to share his clients with others . He can get extremely upset and angry if he finds his master is paying attention to other people. It becomes like a dog’s bone. When forced. It was extremely aggravating when he was told to let go of his cabin. It is popularly called the ‘carrot and stick approach’ . But that’s not easy. In the new structure.Shiva is associated with a dog. Any threats to these emotional and intellectual territories unsettle us. Yet territory ends up becoming the source of our greatest fears. It constantly seeks his master’s attention and validation. And there were questions about the BMW. If there are other dogs in the house. A successful lawyer. thereby threatening our territorial hold over him. We mark our emotional and intellectual territories and derive meaning from them. He knows how people derive validation and significance from their jobs and their perks. This was apparently the modern way to do things.
And by giving them meaning. In modern times. while they did provide livelihood . they ended up accentuating fear. It feeds on human insecurity. he insists . doing whatever pleases you. Give a person a salary but no job description. Mitt Ka Madhav (some say Gobar ka Ganesh) and Raja Bhoj. a dreamer as well as implementer. there are four characters. they were meant to provide livelihood and take away fear. Just as an oil presser uses force to push oil out of oilseeds. Shekchilli is a dreamer. we do not call it fear – we call it stress. he stumbles and falls on the road. The pot of milk in his hand breaks and out pours all the milk into the ground. As he dreams of the possibilities. Since he knows that. are dreams. he often suffers from an inflated self-importance . making some money and using that money to buy more milk and making more butter. sticks. One day he gets a pot of milk from his master. He dreams of turning the milk into curds. If a . he is neither. The story goes that when the wall of the king’s mountain-fort kept co lapsing. And finally. take away his KRA and the KPI. On his own. An organisation needs a mix of dreamers & implementers In Indian folklore. The only person whose wife and child were available for sacrifice – either voluntarily or under pressure. he will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. He is a reactive member of the team. Rational business processes and organisational structures refuse to acknowledge this very deep human need for territory and meaning. His name Teli suggests that he is an oil presser. He calls himself a ‘realist’ and focuses on practical things like doing the task and measuring its effectiveness and efficiency. and who report to them. we will never know — was Gangu Teli. with no mind or opinion of his own. He is what you want him to be. they also stir the dog within them. When times are bad. Gangu Teli uses pressure to get work out of his team. organisations are actually giving meaning to people by placing them within a very structured framework. 22. Gangu Teli. Over time. Carrots. the astrolog recommended the sacr fice of a woman and her newborn to appease the gods the mountain. Mitti ka Madhav (also known by some as Gobar ka Ganesh) is neither a dreamer like Shekchilli nor an implementer like Gangu Teli.house broken. don’t define who he reports to and whom he should report to. he says. It is ironical that when organisations were first established. By giving jobs to people. the ideal leader. That’s what the world should be doing. this method of giving people cabins without jobs or jobs called ‘special projects’ is a time-tested method that is adopted by many alpha males to get rid of senior people in the system. churning it for butter and selling it. In fact. He likes to implement things. He has a disdain for dreamers. He is the frontlinse warrior. The buck stops with him as he stands in the market. are reality. defining whom they report to. And in time making and selling so much butter that he would not have to work. and you will have a person who will become highly restless and anxious and it is a question of time before he leaves the organisation. There is Shekchilli. there is Raja Bhoj. he knows. Gangu Teli does not dream at all. He is therefore most valued in the immediate term. These four characters most aptly describe the kind of people we have in our organisation.
They sat all day. it was time for him to make the dreaded sacrifice of all that he dearly loved. made presentations to him. Almost everyone. and Yudhishtira. Mr. Every boom is followed by a bust. So he created an organisation where it was all about tasks and measurements . Pyne looked around and realised there was no idea he could copy to get out of the situation. Pyne realised. he is its custodian. If only. “You see when the going was good.” he said. Pyne had had his experience with dreamers. Bigger offices. So he hired a number of executives who thought tactically and could sell. the Mahabharata. But two ideas that they came up with are proving to be viable in these trying times. “No dreamers for me. he was no Raja Bhoj. Raut. Raja Bhoj knows when it is time to dream and when it is time to implement. If the kingdom is a cow that gives milk. Their salesmen were not complaining and no one in his team feared losing a job. Creativity was not celebrated. I imagined a time when things would not be so. So I created a small team to imagine a situation where there is no demand for copper pipes. Mr.” he told his HR department. He had taken pride in being Gangu Teli and now that the fort had collapsed. And this had enabled them to survive the bust. then Raja Bhoj sits in the top right hand box while Mitti ka Madhav sits on the bottom left hand box. “Lets just copy what the competitor does. Growth in quarter after quarter. And he had to admit that it was his own fault. the right to gamble his kingdom? A king is not the owner of the kingdom.2x2 matrix of dreamers and implementers is created. Everyone was in the same boat. he had functioned like that. The salesmen were frustrated. Everyone shrugged their shoulders helplessly and hung their head in shame. Not more me. more people. That is the traditional model of a leader in Hindu mythology. Together they had dreamt of bust even in boom times. and imagined the market. Then came the recession. Raut was a Raja Bhoj who had created a team of Shekchillis. No one wanted copper pipes. He had to pay them a fat salary but there was no output that he could implement or measure. When the recession hit. “Why waste time thinking ourselves?” Things went well for a long time.” he said. There was one small company. It was a waste of time. never moved out of air-conditioned offices. All the businesses showed a de-growth suddenly . 23. “I want people who implement. in general . Pipes sold were being returned. in particular. then the king is the cowherd. that his organisation is full of Gangu-Telis and Mitti ka Madhavs. that was doing reasonably well. How would we survive then? They came with many ideas and I invested a small proportion of my profits to experiment with them. to his horror. belonging to one Mr. Raut. Most of them failed.” Mr. But then. The king takes care of the kingdom and the kingdom nourishes him. The demand for the copper pipes he made was greater than the supply. For six years the going was good. Yudhishtira learns the lessons of Rajdharma the hard way When commenting on the great Indian epic. who was kind to share his secret. “All this strategy nonsense is good for other companies .” Mr. Mr. more sales and good profits. Pyne called on Mr. people often point to the question raised by Draupadi: "Does a man who has gambled himself have the right to gamble his wife?" Very few have asked the question: Does a king have the right to gamble his kingdom? What gives the Pandavas. Pyne realised that Mr. Payments were not being made. He defends the kingdom and the kingdom empowers .
"Why a weak step-brother . And so.him. he is no different from an alpha male. he exists for the weakest in his kingdom. The man who without thinking gambled away his kingdom. But then. his kingdom is no different from the jungle where might is right. With the help of Krishna. Kunti. He exists for others. During this time there are tales of how each brother gets a lesson is humility and patience." asks the heron. get the prosperous city of Hastinapur. The Pandavas get the underdeveloped half called Khandavaprastha . which even involves an assassination attempt against the Pandavas. Yudhishtira pauses. This displays a shift in character. they lack the attitude of kingship. In the Mahabaharata. the son of his first wife. they gamble the kingdom away. the Pandavas transform Khandavaprastha into a great city called Indraprastha . and in his absence. is now ready to pause and think. He is not a king as in his previous life as Ram (whose story is told in the Ramayana). but acts as a kingmaker. Krishna offers them no reprieve when they have to suffer twelve years of exile in the forest living in abject poverty followed by a year of humiliation when the former kings live in hiding as servants in another king's palace. visualised in scriptures as the supreme divine cowherd. Krishna leaves.growth for the cow and growth for the cowherd." Here again we see a transformation. while they have the capacity to be king. "Save Nakula. He is suddenly more patient and prudent. Should kingship be determined by bloodline or meritocracy? After much debate and discussion and violence . It's a symbiotic relationship. the brothers reach a lake where a heron warns against drinking water until they answer his question. A cowherd cannot exist without a cow and a cow isn't safe without a cowherd. It is almost as if. it is decided to divide the lands. the Kauravas . I. and in the process create more cowherds. enable her to multiply and thrive. there is a great debate on who should be king. and is then allowed to drink. Let one of the second wife Madri's son live too. question his actions and listen to good counsel before acting. Nakula was the first of the five brothers to be gambled away in the game of dice. which becomes the envy of the world. Yudhishtira has learnt the lessons of Raj-dharma . "My father had two wives. am alive. Thus the unwanted step-brother . help it produce more calves. who mattered least in the gambling hall matters most in the forest. the impatient Pandavas drink nevertheless and die. In one episode. answers the questions. thus acts as a coach in the Mahabharata. "when you might as well save a strong brother like Bhima or a skilled one like Arjuna ?" To this Yudhishtira says. He is asked to choose. This is true Raj-dharma . that it is not about his greatness and grandeur that the crown is placed on his head. all except Yudhishtira . Krishna. Here he plays a lowly role of a cowherd and charioteer. he exists to help the helpless. Otherwise. This is the essence of a king's role: to protect the cow. Otherwise. With the help of Krishna . while their cousins. the Pandavas even become kings." he says. He knows that it is not just about skill alone that makes a leader (turning the . The heron then tells Yudhishtira that only one of his brothers will be brought back from the dead.
It is about attitude.wilderness into a rich kingdom ). 24. one has to be dragged through misery . sometimes.13 years of forest exile. And to shift the attitude of the leader. .
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