Success and Prosperity
1. The following brings happiness in life
a. Health,
b. Un-indebtedness,
c. living at home,
d. Companionship with good men,
e. certainty as regards the means of livelihood,
f. Living without fear.
g. acquirement of wealth,
h. a beloved and a sweet-speaking wife,
i. an obedient son,
j. knowledge that is lucrative
k. meeting with friends,
l. conversation with friends in proper times,
m. the advancement of persons belong to one’s own party,
n. the acquisition of what had been anticipated,
o. respect in society
2. Prosperity takes its birth in good deeds, growth in consequence of activity, drives its roots deep in consequence of skill, and acquires stability owing to self-control.
3. He that accepts the teaching of the wise; he that is acquainted with the rules of morality; he that is liberal; he that eats having first dedicated the food to the gods and Pitris; he that envies none; he that is incapable of doing anything that injures others; he that is grateful, truthful, humble and learned, succeeds in attaining to heaven.
4. Success – He who with a firm resolution strives to accomplish by a virtuous policy purposes that have once been frustrated, is said to possess real manhood. That man attains all his objects, who is conversant with remedies to be applied in the future, who is firmly resolved in the present, and who could anticipate in the past how an act begun would end. That, which a man pursues in word, deed, and thought, wins him for its own; therefore, one should always seek that which is for his good.
5. Effort after securing what is good, the properties of time, place, and means, acquaintance with the scriptures, activity, straightforwardness, and frequent meetings with those that are good, these bring about prosperity. Perseverance is the root of prosperity, of gain, and of what is beneficial. The man that pursues an object with perseverance and without giving it up in vexation, is really great, and enjoys happiness that is unending.
6. Prosperity never approaches from fear the person that is excessively liberal, that gives away without measure, that is possessed of extraordinary bravery, that practises the most rigid vows, and that is very proud of his wisdom. Prosperity does not reside in one that is highly accomplished, nor in one that is without any accomplishment. She does not desire a combination of all the virtues, nor is she pleased with the total absence of all virtues. Blind, like a mad cow, prosperity resides with someone who is not remarkable.

Kings and Managers – How to be successful
1. A king (Manager) should renounce these seven faults that are productive of calamity, inasmuch as they are able to effect the ruin of even monarchs firmly established; these are women, dice, hunting, drinking, harshness of speech, severity of punishment, and misuse of wealth.
2. Before one engages in an act, one should consider the competence of the agent, the nature of the act itself, and its purpose, for all acts are dependent on these. Considering these one should begin an act, and not take it up on a sudden impulse.

3. Kings (Managers) duties and responsibilities and way of operation.
a. That king whose counsels cannot be known by either outsiders or those about him, but who knows the counsels of others through his spies, enjoys his prosperity long.
b. One should never speak of what one intends to do.
c. Let anything you do in respect of virtue, profit, and desire, be not known till it is done.
d. Let counsels be not divulged. Ascending on the mountain-top or on the terrace of a palace, or proceeding to a wilderness devoid of trees and plants, one should, in secrecy, mature his counsels.
e. Neither a friend who is without learning, nor a learned friend who has no control over his senses, deserves to be a repository of state secrets.
f. Never make one your minister without examining him well, for a king’s finances and the keeping of his counsels both depend on his minister.
g. That king is the foremost of rulers, whose ministers know his acts in respect of virtue, profit and desire, only after they are done.
h. The king, whose counsels are kept close, without doubt, commands success.
i. He that from ignorance commits acts that are censurable loses his very life in consequence of the untoward results of those acts. The doing of acts that are praise-worthy is always attended with ease. Omission to do such acts leads to repentance.
j. As a Brahmin without having studied the Vedas is not fit to officiate at a Sraddha (in honour of the Pitris), so he that has not heard of the six (means for protecting a kingdom) deserves not to take part in political deliberations.
k. He that has an eye upon increase, decrease, and surplus, he that is conversant with the six means and knows also his own self, he whose conduct is always applauded, brings the whole earth under subjection to himself.
l. He whose anger and joy are productive of consequences, he who looks over personally what should be done, he who has his treasury under his own control, brings the whole earth under subjection to himself.
m. The king should be content with the name he wins and the umbrella that is held over his head. He should divide the wealth of the kingdom among these that serve him. Alone he should not appropriate everything.
n. A foe that deserves death, when brought under subjection should never be set free.
o. If one be weak one should pay court to one’s foe that is stronger, even if the latter deserves death; but one should kill that foe as soon as one commands sufficient strength, for, if not killed, dangers soon arise from him.
p. One should, with an effort, control his wrath against the gods, kings, Brahmins, old men, children, and those that are helpless.
q. He that is wise should avoid unprofitable quarrels such as fools only engage in. By this one wins great fame in this world and avoids misery and unhappiness.
r. People never desire him for a master whose grace is fruitless and whose wrath goes for nothing, like women never desiring him for a husband who is a eunuch.
s. Intelligence does not exist for the acquisition of wealth, nor is idleness the cause of adversity; the man of wisdom only knows, and not others, the cause of the diversities of condition in this world.
4. Learned men have declared that a king, although powerful, should never consult with these four,
a. men of small sense,
b. men that are procrastinating,
c. men that are indolent, and
d. men that are flatterers
5. A king should cherish a counsellor that worships persons of wisdom, is endued with learning, virtue, agreeable appearance, friends, sweet speech, and a good heart. Whether of low or high birth, he who does not transgress the rules of polite intercourse, who hath an eye on virtue, who is endued with humility and modesty, is superior to a hundred persons of high birth.

Venu Payyanur


Vidura was half-brother to Dhritarashtra and Pandu. He was a son of a maid-servant who served the queens of Hastinapura. In some accounts, he was an incarnation of Yama or Dharma Raja, who was cursed by the sage, Mandavya, for imposing punishment on him that exceeds the sin. Vidura is held to be a paragon of truth, dutifulness, impartial judgment and steadfast dharma. Viduraneeti, or Vidura’s Statecraft, narrated in the form of a conversation between Vidura and King Dhritarashtra, is considered the precursor in some ways of Chanakyaneeti. Just before the war, when Sanjaya who was sent by Dhritarashtra as a peace envoy to Pandavas returns and admonishes the King for his unreasonable attachment towards his elder son, Dhritarashtra becomes extremely nervous and calls Vidura for advice. 

‘O Vidura, Sanjaya has come back. He has gone away after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court, Yudhishthira’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the message is and therefore, my body is burning, and that has produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is sleepless and burning. You are well versed in both religion and profit. Filled with anxiety about what he may deliver, all my senses have been disordered. I desire to hear from you words that are beneficial and fraught with high morality.

The advice given by Vidura is known as Vidura-niti and is a great source for wisdom of the highest order. Even after 5000 years, what Vidura said is relevant today and we can apply these principles in our day to day life.

Who is a wise man?

  1. He whom neither anger nor joy, nor pride, nor false modesty, nor stupefaction, nor vanity, can draw away from the high ends of life, is considered as wise.
  2. He that is not served from the high ends of life by the aid of self-knowledge, exertion, forbearance and steadiness in virtue, is called wise.
  3. Adherence to acts, worthy of praise and rejection of what is blameable, faith, and reverence.
  4. He whose intended acts, and proposed counsels remain concealed from foes, and whose acts become known only after they have been done, is considered wise.
  5. He whose proposed actions are never obstructed by heat or cold, fear of attachment, prosperity or adversity, is considered wise.
  6. He whose judgment dissociated from desire, follow both virtue and profit, and who disregarding pleasure choose such ends as are serviceable in both worlds, is considered wise.
  7. They that exert to the best of their might, and act also to the best of their might, and disregard nothing as insignificant, are called wise.
  8. He that understands quickly, listens patiently, pursue his objects with judgment and not from desire and spends not his breath on the affairs of others without being asked, is said to possess the foremost mark of wisdom.
  9. They that do not strive for objects that are unattainable, that do not grieve for what is lost and gone, that do not suffer their minds to be clouded amid calamities, are regarded to possess intellects endued with wisdom.
  10. He who strives, having commenced anything, till it is completed, who never wastes his time, and who has his soul under control, is regarded wise.
  11. They that are wise always delight in honest deeds, do what tends to their happiness and prosperity, and never sneer at what is good.
  12. He who exults not at honours, and grieves not at slights, and remains cool and un-agitated like a lake in the course of Ganga, is reckoned as wise.
  13. That man who knows the nature of all creatures (viz., that everything is subject to destruction), who is cognisant also of the connections of all acts, and who is proficient in the knowledge of the means that men may resort to (for attaining their objects), is reckoned as wise.
  14. He, who speaks boldly, can converse on various subjects, knows the science of argumentation, possesses genius, and can interpret the meaning of what is writ in books, is reckoned as wise.
  15. He whose studies are regulated by reason, and whose reason follows the scriptures, and who never abstains from paying respect to those that are good, is called a wise man.
  16. The person, having attained immense wealth and prosperity or acquired (vast) learning, do not bear himself haughtily, is reckoned as wise.
  17. He is a wise person who does not disregard even a weak foe; who proceeds with intelligence in respect of a foe, anxiously watching for an opportunity; who does not desire hostilities with persons stronger than himself; and who displays his prowess in season.
  18. That illustrious person who does not grieve when a calamity has already come upon him, who exerts with all his senses collected, and who patiently bears misery in season, is certainly is a wise person.
  19.  He who does not live away from hope uselessly, who does not make friends with sinful persons, who never outrages another’s wife, who never betrays arrogance, and who never commits a theft or shows ingratitude or indulge in drinking is a wise man and will always be happy.
  20. He who bears not malice towards others but is kind to all, who being weak disputes not with others, who speaks not arrogantly, and forgets a quarrel, is wise and will be praised everywhere.
  21. He who rakes not up old hostilities, who behaves neither arrogantly nor with too much humility, and who even when distressed never commits an improper act, is considered by respectable men a person of good conduct.
  22. He who exults not at his own happiness, nor delights in another’s misery, and who repents not after having made a gift, is said to be a man of good nature and conduct.
  23. The intelligent man who relinquishes pride, folly, insolence, sinful acts, disloyalty towards the king, crookedness of behaviour, enmity with many, and also quarrels with men that are drunk, mad and wicked, is the foremost of his species.
  24. A wise man must eschew the company of these ten who do not know what virtue is
    1. the intoxicated,
    2. inattentive,
    3. the raving,
    4. the fatigued,
    5. the angry,
    6. the starving,
    7. the hasty,
    8.  the covetous,
    9. the frightened, and
    10. the lustful.
  25. That king (manager) who has the following characteristics will attain great prosperity and will be regarded as an authority of all men.
    1.  who renounces lust and anger,
    2. who bestows wealth upon proper recipients,
    3. who is discriminating,
    4. who is learned and active,
    5. who knows how to inspire confidence in others,
    6. who inflicts punishment on those whose guilt has been proved,
    7. who is acquainted with the proper measure of punishment, and
    8. Who knows when mercy is to be shown.
  26. He that is not envious and is possessed of wisdom, by always doing what is good, never meets with great misery; on the other hand, he shines everywhere. He that draws wisdom from them that are wise is really learned and wise. And he that is wise, by attending to both virtue and profit, succeeds in attaining to happiness. Do that during the day which may enable you to pass the night in happiness; and do that during eight months of the year which may enable you to pass the season of rains happily. Do that during youth which may ensure a happy old age; and do that during thy whole life here which may enable you to live happily hereafter.
  27. The wise prize that food which is easily digested, that wife whose youth has passed away, that hero who is victorious and that ascetic whose efforts have been crowned with success.
  28. The man that is wise, pierced by another’s wordy arrows, sharp-pointed and smarting like fire or the sun, should, even if deeply wounded and burning with pain, bear them patiently remembering that the slanderer’s merits become his.
  29. Gambling provokes quarrels, therefore, he that is wise, should not resort to it even in jest.
  30. The man of wisdom should never contract friendship with those that are proud, ignorant, fierce, rash and fallen off from righteousness. He that is grateful, virtuous, truthful, large-hearted, and devoted, and he that hath his senses under control, preserves his dignity, and never forsakes a friend, should be desired for a friend. He that is intelligent should avoid an ignorant person of wicked soul, like a pit whose mouth is covered with grass, for friendship with such a person can never last.

Venu Payyanur

Bhishma – Bhishma was a great archer and a warrior of peerless valor and courage. He had the stature and personality befitting that of a King and was a true Kshatriya and disciplined ascetic – a rare combination. In the great battle at Kurukshetra, Bhishma, bound by his oath to serve the ruler of Hastinapura, fought very reluctantly on the side of the Kauravas; nevertheless, gave his best effort. He tried his best to bring reconciliation between Pandavas and Kauravas to prevent the war, before, during and even at his deathbed, without success.  In this war, Bhishma vowed not to kill any of the Pandavas, as he loved them, being their grandsire. Duryodhana often confronted Bhishma alleging that he was not actually fighting for the Kaurava camp as he wouldn’t kill any Pandava but would let them kill Kauravas. But in fact, Bhishma was the strongest barrier that had protected the Kaurava camp from impending defeat. The war was thus locked in a stalemate. As the Pandavas mulled over this situation, Krishna advised them to visit Bhishma himself and request him to suggest a way out of this stalemate. Bhishma knew in his heart that the Pandavas were righteous and chaste, and that he stood as the greatest obstacle in their path to victory, so when they visited Bhishma, he told them that if faced by a woman in battle he would cease to fight and not lift weapons against her. Arjuna with the help of Shikhandi, kills the Grandsire the next day and paves the way for eventual win for the Pandavas.

The story of Bhishma is full of enigma. His mind and body was never in one place, more so during and the time preceding the Great War. Physically with Kauravas, he always supported the Pandavas and blessed them with victory. Even accepting the post of Commander in Chief was conditional and eliminated another great warrior Karna from participating in the war. He was one person who could have averted the war and the subsequent tragedy, if even once he has exercised his moral authority over Dhritarashtra. Having known that Karna was the eldest Pandava long before the war from Narada, disclosure of the same to others would have resulted in Karna becoming the king uncontested by either side, and the war averted, but kept this knowledge within. Do you like your Head of Sales, to be a confused person with questionable loyalty? How would you judge him when he dismisses the best sales person without any reason from the company?

Drona – Drona was born a Brahmin, son of Bharadwaja, in modern day Dehradun (a modification of dehra-dron, a clay pot); he was a master of advanced military arts, including the divine weapons and was the teacher for both the Kaurava and Pandava princes. Like Bhishma, none can defeat Drona as long as he is with his weapons and ready to fight, including his most favourite disciple Arjuna. Like Bhishma again, he was emotionally attached to the Pandavas than Kauravas but have to side with the Kauravas due to loyalty to the throne. He was delighted when Duryodhana requested him to capture Yudhishthira rather than to kill him. But as a Brahmin and a teacher, Drona displayed many weaknesses. He always favoured his best student Arjuna and son Ashvatthama against the basic principles of teacher student relationships.  Drona’s biggest criticism springs from his behavior towards Ekalavya (having understood that Ekalavya has better skill than Arjuna, Drona ask for his thumb finger as guru dakshina even though he was never his student directly) and Karna as he rejected him as student for not being a Kshatriya. As Brahmin he was supposed to be a teacher, Vedic scholar and a priest and not to take part in a war killing other people. During the war, while he was the commander in chief, Drona ordered his commanders to attack and kill Abhimanyu which was against the principles of war. In fact on his fifth day as Commander in chief, just before he laid down his arms, many Rishis appeared in the sky and requested him stop the heinous crime of man slaughter as it was not befitting his stature as a Brahmin and teacher.

We see many Drona like characters in every organization. Favoritism and nepotism is very common which leads to groupism and demoralization of capable performers.  There are many senior managers who forget their primary responsibility and interfere in other departmental activities leading to intra departmental rivalries and loss of performance.

Duryodhana – The meaning of Duryodhana is the one who is very difficult to conquer; it also means the one who misuses wealth. He was the eldest of the Kauravas and perpetually fighting with the Pandavas for power and position, particularly Bhima. As his name suggests, his body is steel like due to special blessing from his mother and none can defeat him in the war, except for the devious plan hatched by Krishna to hit below the waist which is not permitted in war. During the time he was the king, he made all the subjects love him by showering them with wealth and positions. With the help of Karna he also captured kingdoms far and wide and became an Emperor of the Universe and amassed wealth and army of unimaginable proportions. Although loved by all his family, Duryodhana and most of his brothers are seen as inferior to the Pandavas in their adherence to virtue and duty, and respect of elders. Duryodhana was a strong and powerful king, willing to do anything to ensure his continued supremacy and position. During the war he constantly reprimanded Bhishma and later Drona for not doing enough to destroy the Pandavas and win the war, and annoyed Kripa and Ashvatthama to incur their wrath.  There were also occasions where Duryodhana has shown greatness and magnanimity. Starting from anointing Karna as the King of Anga when all assembled at the great display of talent by the young Kaurava and Pandava princes after their training by Guru Drona, he chose not to accept the offer made by Yudhishthira to fight with any one of the Pandavas and take the kingdom if wins.

Duryodhana was a successful CEO, had the power, knowledge, drive and dynamism to get whatever he wants and eliminated the enemies (competitors) with disdain. But his disrespect for the seniors in the team, disregard for ethical behavior and practices, poor interpersonal relationship with his subordinates all cost him a lot. 

Karna – Karna was the son of Surya and Kunti before her marriage with Pandu and the King of Anga. Karna is the very embodiment of sacrifice and stories of his generosity are legendary. In the entire world you cannot find another person equal in the spirit of sacrifice to Karna. Karna was one of the greatest warriors, considered equal or better than Arjuna. Yudhishthira could not sleep worrying about the prowess of Karna and how the Pandavas will win the war against such powerful enemies like Karna and was also highly respected by Bhishma and Krishna. Karna fought against misfortune throughout his life and kept his word under all circumstances. Karna was the closest friend of Duryodhana and fought on his behalf against the Pandavas (his brothers) in the famous Kurukshetra war. His wrongful attachment to Duryodhana made himself remote from God and goodness, the cause of his final downfall. Just before the start of the war Krishna revealed to Karna that he was the eldest son of Kunti, and therefore, technically, the eldest Pandava, and asked him to change sides. Krishna assured him that Yudhishthira would give the crown of Indraprastha to him. Karna refused this huge offer because he had sworn loyalty to Duryodhana, and as such, was compelled to stay by his side despite his blood ties to the Pandavas. He said that Yudhishthira was a righteous man, and knowing that Karna was older than he was, he would immediately give up the crown. However, to repay his debt to Duryodhana, Karna would have to confer the crown of Indraprastha immediately onto Duryodhana, which Karna thought was against Dharma. Krishna was saddened, but appreciating Karna’s sense of loyalty, accepted his decision, promising Karna that his lineage would remain a secret. During the war Karna had many opportunities to capture or kill the Pandavas, except Arjuna, but he left them free, in spite of his loyalty towards Duryodhana due to the promise made to his mother.

Karna serves as an excellent example of a gifted, generous, righteous and brave individual who was doomed because of his misplaced sense of loyalty. He could have been the CEO of the most successful organization with excellent team, but chose not to accept it for friendship and loyalty. He is idealized as an inspiration for struggling humanity not to lose heart. He is also considered an example of how misjudgment can render all the finer qualities of an individual futile.

Abhimanyu is the son of Arjuna, nephew of Lord Krishna and grandson of Lord Indra, god of mystical weapons and wars, was a courageous and dashing warrior. Considered an equal to his father owing his prodigious feats, Abhimanyu was able to hold at bay great heroes like Drona, Karna, Duryodhana and Dushasana and none from the Kaurava side (except Bhisma) can kill him in a one on one combat (dwandva yudha). He was praised for his audacious bravery and absolute loyalty to his father, his uncles and to their cause. As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuha from Arjuna, his father but never learned how to get out of it.

Abhimanyu is often quoted as an example of how partial knowledge can endanger ones career and life. His name also suggests that “false prestige” (abhiman) leads to claiming unknown capabilities followed by disaster. When ordered by Yudhishthira to enter the Chakravyuha, he readily accepts that and instructs his driver to take the chariot into the battle formation made by Drona. When the charioteer cautioned about the danger of entering the battle formation and the prowess of Drona, Abhimanyu replies. ‘O charioteer, who is this Drona? Indra himself on his Airavata and aided by all the celestials, I would encounter in battle. This hostile army of Kauravas does not come up to even a sixteen part of myself. O son of a Suta, getting my maternal uncle Vishnu himself, the conqueror of the universe or my father, Arjuna, as an antagonist in battle, fear would not enter my heart.’ Is this bravery or foolish utterances of an immature sixteen year old arrogant brat? If you have ever worked in a family owned corporation, you would have seen such behaviour from the school going children of the owners.