The celebrated sage Markhandeya had prophesied about the happenings in Kaliyuga thus: In Kaliyuga all will be dishonest. Charity and Sacrifices will be only for a name. Brahmans would do the duties of Sudras. Sudras will become prosperous. There will be sinners as kings. People will be short-lived and the stature of the people also will diminish. Beastly type of men will be on the increase. Taste and smell will vanish. Men will sell rice and Brahmans, the Vedas. Women will sell their vaginas and be ‘Mukhebhagas’.The yield of milk from cows will decrease. Flowers and fruits will become less. Crows will be on the increase. Brahmans would become beggars. Sages will be merchants. Brahmans would without any reason grow hairs and nails. None will observe the four ashrams correctly. Students will defile the bed of their preceptors. Rains will be in and out of season. Trees and plants will refuse to grow in many places. There will be murder of people everywhere. Merchants will be cheats and they will use false measures. Righteous persons will decrease and sinners will increase. Girls of seven or eight years will become pregnant and boys will become fathers. Young men at the age of sixteen would be grey-haired. Old men will continue practicing the habits of young men. Wives will lie with their servants. Wives will be prostitutes even while their husbands are alive. People will die in lots of hunger.”
1. He is the best of kings who has wisdom, who is possessed of liberality, who is ready to take advantage of the slackness of foes, who has agreeable features, who is prompt in action, who has his anger under control, who is not vindictive, who is high-minded, who is not hot tempered by disposition, who is not given to boasting, and who vigorously completes all works commenced by him.
Good managers are essential to any successful organization. Good managers attract exceptional staff; they make the organization a preferred employer; they help to increase market share; add to profits and surpluses, and reduce costs. Their staff are engaged, committed and ‘go the extra mile’. What are the attributes of a good manager? Trustworthy -Trust is the basis of all relationships. People want a leader they can trust to keep their word, to back them up in times of crisis and take the lead under good or bad circumstances. Decisive – There are no certainties in life but a good leader must have the foresight and wisdom to make educated and informed decisions. A good manager is good at managing people, they considerate, thoughtful, caring, decisive, kind, mature, modest and coach their staff and counsel those who need it.
2. If the king happens to be always forgiving, the lowest of persons prevails over him, even as the driver who sits on the head of the elephant he guides. The king, therefore, should not always be mild. Nor should he always be fierce. He should be like the vernal Sun, neither cold nor so hot as to produce perspiration.
A manager must be tolerant with people and processes and must listen and check before making judgments and acting. However extreme tolerance and forgiving could be seen as a weakness that could result in employees disrespecting the manager and thereby lowering the performance of the organization.
3. If the king becomes mild and mingles too freely with his subjects they begin to disregard him. They forget their own position and most truly transcend that of the master. Ordered to do a thing, they hesitate, and divulge the master’s secrets. They ask for things that should not be asked for, and take the food that is intended for the master. They even seek to predominate over the king, and accepting bribes and practicing deceit, obstruct the business of the state. They become so shameless as to indulge in belching and the like, and expectorate in the very presence of their master, and they do not fear to even speak of him with levity before others.
There is a saying in the scriptures “A Brahmin should be respected for his “Kshama” (patience), a Kshatriya for his power, a Vaisya for his wealth and a Shudra for his age”. A Manager is essentially a combination of Kshatriya and Vaisya and should have the power and money to be respected by others in the organization. And power must be exercised when required while ensuring that excess use of power could also lead to exodus of good staff from the team. Not exercising the power when required is worse than over exercising.
4. The selection of honest men (for the discharge of administrative functions), heroism, skill, and cleverness (in the transaction of business), truth, seeking the good of the people, producing discord and disunion among the enemy by fair or unfair means, never abandoning the honest, granting employment and protection to persons of respectable birth, companionship with persons of intelligence, always gratifying the soldiery, supervision over the subjects, steadiness in the transaction of business, filling the treasury, absence of blind confidence on the guards of the city, producing disloyalty among the citizens of a hostile town, carefully looking after the friends and allies living in the midst of the enemy’s country, strictly watching the servants and officers of the state, personal observation of the city, readiness for action, never disregarding an enemy, and casting off those that are wicked. The king, even if possessed of strength, should not disregard a foe, however weak.
To lead an organization successfully a Manager must achieve the following
- Attract and retain the best talent in the team. A Manager is as good as his team.
- Key members of the team must be action oriented, with excellent business acumen and other skills necessary for them to excel in their respective functions.
- Keen understanding about the market and competitors strategy is essential to drive your company’s strategic plans and ensure success.
- Industrial espionage is rampant these days and therefore always keep an eye on your employees while creating discord and disillusionment in the competitors camp.
Raj Dharma vs. Adhikari Dharma – Part 1
Duties and Responsibilities of a King and how it compares that with a modern day Senior Manager (reference from Mahabharata – advices from Bhisma to Yudhishthira).
In the “Mahabharata” Santiparva, Bhishma Pitamaha gave advice to the newly crowned King Yudhishthira about the responsibilities of a good king. Given below are some of the extracts of that talk and how it is relevant even today and can be applied in Managers day to day affairs.
1. The happiness of their subjects, observance of truth, and sincerity of behavior are the eternal duty of kings. If the king becomes possessed of prowess, truthful in speech, and forgiving in temper, he would never fall away from prosperity. With soul cleansed of vices, the king should be able to govern his anger, and all his conclusions should be conformable to the scriptures. He should also always pursue morality and profit and pleasure and salvation (judiciously).
Manager – Employees are the most important resources for any organization. Motivated, committed, loyal and hardworking employees keep the organization always successful and ahead of competitors. It is indeed the Managers responsibility to take good care of the employees and keep them motivated by leading from front.
2. Readiness for exertion in kings is the root of kingly duties. The hero of exertion is superior to the heroes of speech. The heroes of speech gratify and worship the heroes of exertion. The king that is destitute of exertion, even if possessed of intelligence, is always overcome by foes like a snake that is bereft of poison. That king is not worth of praise who, is destitute of exertion.
Manager – Action orientation is an essential trait of any Manager. Those who are members of the NATO club (No Action Talk Only) never achieve anything irrespective of their qualification and experience.
3. It is the eternal duty of kings to prevent a confusion of duties in respect of the different orders. The king should not repose confidence (on others than his own servants), nor should he repose full confidence (on even his servants). These six persons should be avoided like a leaky boat on the sea, viz., a preceptor that does not speak, a priest that has not studied the scriptures, a king that does not grant protection, a wife that utters what is disagreeable, a cow-herd that likes to rove within the village, and a barber that is desirous of going to the woods.
Manager – It is essential that a Manager appoints the right person for the job and ensure they are performing their assigned duties and responsibilities to its fullest potential. He must identify those who are non-performers or whaling away their time in their desks and eliminate them without delay to ensure that motivation levels of those who are high performers are not affected.
4. The king should administer justice like Yama and amass wealth like Kubera. He should firmly follow the behavior of the righteous and, therefore, observe that behavior carefully. If the king is not wrathful, if he is not addicted to evil practices and not severe in his punishments, if he succeeds in keeping his passions under control, he then becomes an object of confidence unto all like the Himalaya mountains (unto all creatures).
Manager – Nepotism and favoritism must be avoided at all costs in an organization by the Manager. Such behavior only creates divide and increased politicking that severely impacts performance. Performance review must be conducted professionally and rewards, awards and compensation decided purely on merits and achievements. Anger is the biggest enemy and therefore a Manager must remain cool and composed displaying highest levels of maturity and compassion.
5. The king desirous of obtaining prosperity should always bind to his service men that are brave, devoted, incapable of being deceived by foes, well-born, healthy, well-behaved, and connected with families that are well-behaved, respectable, never inclined to insult others, conversant with all the sciences, possessing a knowledge of the world and its affairs, unmindful of the future state of existence, always observant of their duties, honest, and steadfast like mountains. That king, however, who is of righteous behavior and who is ever engaged in attracting the hearts of his people, never sinks when attacked by foes.
Manager – The greatest potentials for the growth of any company are generated by a commitment to high corporate values. Values raise the quality of corporate energies and elevate work to a higher level. Whatever be your job, when you add values to it, you will see Prosperity in abundance. Honesty, integrity, truthfulness, fairness, and justice are higher values. Punctuality, politeness, pleasantness, proper record keeping, orderliness, soft speech, cleanliness, accuracy, precision, workmanship, and thoroughness are physical values. Irrespective of your job, position and place, add values to your work. Go on adding them in quantity and quality. You will reach the heaven of Prosperity.
Unlike other major religions in the world, the Hindu’s have many texts that guide and help them to understand life and how to live. Unfortunately majority of the Hindu’s are not aware of the rich storehouse of knowledge that they possess and search in internet and library’s for wisdom and guidance. Here is a short description.
The Sruti and the Smriti are the two authoritative sources of Hinduism. Sruti literally means what is heard, and Smriti means what is remembered. Sruti is revelation and Smriti is tradition. The Srutis are called the Vedas. The Vedas are the eternal truths revealed by God to the great Rishis of India and the foundation of the Hindu religion. The word Veda means knowledge. When it is applied to scripture, it signifies a book of knowledge. The Vedas are the foundational scriptures of the Hindus and the storehouse of Indian wisdom. The Vedas are the oldest books in the library of man and are the ultimate source to which all religious knowledge can be traced. Any other Hindu scripture must agree with the Vedas in order to be considered an authority.
The great compiler of the Veda and Puranas was Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana who is understood have lived during the period of Sri Krishna around 3000 years ago. The chanting itself has the power to provide material benefit and spiritual apotheosis. Great emphasis, therefore, was laid on correct pronunciation and on memorization. The texts that are used for aiding the memorization and recitation of the Vedas with utmost fidelity, are called ‘Lakshana Granthas’. These texts include Padapathas, Ghanapathas, Kramapatha and other Vikrtis or modifications of the root text, phonetic treatises like Sikshas and Pratisakhyas and so on.
The Veda is divided into four great books: The Rig-Veda, The Yajur-Veda, The Sama-Veda, The Atharva-Veda. Each Veda consists of four parts: The Mantra-Samhitas or hymns, The Brahmanas or explanations of Mantras or rituals, The Aranyakas (philosophical interpretations of the rituals), The Upanishads (The essence or the knowledge portion of the Vedas).
The Mantra-Samhitas are hymns in praise of the Vedic God for attaining material prosperity here and happiness hereafter. The Brahmana portions guide people to perform sacrificial rites. They are prose explanations of the method of using the Mantras in the Yajna or the sacrifice. The Aranyakas give philosophical interpretations of the Rituals. The Upanishads contain the essence or the knowledge portion of the Vedas. They speak of the identity of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. The subject matter of the whole Veda is divided into Karma-Kanda, Upasana-Kanda and Jnana-Kanda.
The basic teachings of the Upanishads are summed up in six great sayings (Mahavakyas). These are: “I am Brahman” (Aham Brahmasmi). This states the identity of the inmost consciousness of the individual with that of the supreme Divine. “The Self is Brahman” (Ayam Atma Brahma). This also states the identity of the soul with the Absolute but in a more objective and less direct manner. “That thou art” (Tat tvam asi). Whatever we see or think about we are that. “Intelligence is Brahman” (Prajnanam Brahma). Our discernment of truth is the truth itself. “The Universe is Brahman” (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma). The entire universe is the Divine, which includes our self. “He am I” (So’ham). This shows the identity of the self with the Divine Lord inherent within the natural movement of our breath.
There are four Upa-Vedas or subsidiary Vedas: The Ayurveda (science of life and health), The Dhanurveda (science of war), The Gandharva Veda (science of music), The Arthasastra (science of politics and Economics).
There are six Vedangas to the Vedas: Siksha, Vyakarana, Chhandas, Nirukta, Jyotisha and Kalpas. Siksha deals with pronunciation and accent. Vyakarana is Sanskrit Grammar. Without knowledge of Vyakarana, you cannot understand the Vedas. Chhandas is metre dealing with prosody. (the use of pitch, loudness, tempo in phonetics and rhythm in speech to convey information about the structure and meaning of an utterance). Nirukta is philosophy or etymology. Jyotisha is astronomy and astrology. It deals with the movements of the heavenly bodies, planets, etc., and their influence on human affairs. Kalpa is the method or ritual.
Next in importance to the Sruti are the Smritis or secondary scriptures. The Smriti scriptures are of human origin and were written to explain the Sruti writings and make them understandable and meaningful to the general population. The Smritis have laid down definite rules and laws to guide the individuals and communities in their daily conduct and to regulate their manners and customs. The Smritis have given detailed instructions, according to the conditions of the time, to all classes of men regarding their duties in life. The Smritis are based on the teachings of the Vedas. There are eighteen main Smritis or Dharma Sastras. The most important are those of Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parasara. The other fifteen are those of Vishnu, Daksha, Samvarta, Vyasa, Harita, Satatapa, Vasishtha, Yama, Apastamba, Gautama, Devala, Sankha-Likhita, Usana, Atri and Saunaka. Manu is the greatest law-giver of the race.
The Itihasas (history) – There are four books under this heading: The Valmiki-Ramayana, The Yogavasishtha, The Mahabharata and The Harivamsa. These embody all that is in the Vedas, but only in a simpler manner. These works explain the great universal truths in the form of historical narratives, stories and dialogues. The common man cannot comprehend the high abstract philosophy of the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras. Hence, the compassionate sages Valmiki and Vyasa wrote the Itihasas for the benefit of common people. These are very interesting volumes and are liked by all, from the inquisitive child to the intellectual scholar. The Bhagavad Gita, more commonly known as the Gita, is part of the Itihasa scripture Mahabharata.
Puranas – The Puranas were written to popularise the religion of the Vedas. They contain the essence of the Vedas. The aim of the Puranas is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them devotion to God, through concrete examples, myths, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events. The sages made use of these things to illustrate the eternal principles of religion. The Puranas were meant, not for the scholars, but for the ordinary people who could not understand high philosophy and who could not study the Vedas. There are eighteen main Puranas and an equal number of subsidiary Puranas or Upa-Puranas.
The Agamas – Another class of popular scriptures are the Agamas. The Agamas are theological treatises and practical manuals of divine worship. The Agamas include the Tantras, Mantras and Yantras. These are treatises explaining the external worship of God, in idols, temples etc. They also give elaborate details about entology and cosmology, liberation, devotion, meditation, philosophy of Mantras, mystic diagrams, charms and spells, temple-building, image-making, domestic observances, social rules, public festivals etc.
Darsanas -These are the intellectual section of the Hindu writings. Darsanas are schools of philosophy based on the Vedas. The Agamas are theological. The Darsana literature is philosophical. The Darsanas are meant for the erudite scholars who are endowed with acute acumen, good understanding, power of reasoning and subtle intellect. The Itihasa, Puranas and Agamas are meant for the masses. There are six Darsanas and the six schools of philosophy are the six instruments of true teaching or the six demonstrations of Truth. Each school has developed, systematized and correlated the various parts of the Veda in its own way. The Shat-Sastras are: The Nyaya founded by Gautama Rishi, The Vaiseshika by Kanada Rishi, The Sankhya by Kapila Muni, The Yoga by Patanjali Maharshi, The Purva Mimamsa by Jaimini, The Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta by Badarayana or Vyasa.
In order to avert the impending war and yet give his sons the kingdom, Dhritarashtra sends his emissary to Yudhishthira with a message not to wage war and continue living in the forest for ever. However the Pandavas did not heed to his request and sends the emissary back with a stern message from all the brothers. Dhritarashtra becomes restless and summons Vidura his half-brother and minister 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.
After intensely listening to Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, ‘If there is anything still left unsaid say it then, as I am ready to listen to you. The discourse is indeed, charming.’
Vidura said, ‘O Dhritarashtra, the ancient and immortal Rishi Sanat-Sujata who, leading a life of perpetual celibacy, will expound to you all the doubts both expressed and unexpressed. Since I am born in the Sudra order and, therefore, do not venture to say more than what I have already said. The understanding of that Rishi, a Brahmin by birth and leading a life of celibacy is regarded by me to be infinite.
Sage Sana kumara was one of the Four Kumaras, the four Manasaputras (mind-born-sons) or spiritual sons of Brahma according to Puranic texts of Hinduism. When the four Kumaras came into existence, they were all embodiments of pure qualities. Upon remembering his name, Sanat kumara appears before them and the discussions between him and Dhritarashtra by way of question and answer session is called Sanat Sujatiya.
Sanat-sujata said, ‘that asceticism which is not stained by faults is said to be capable of procuring emancipation, and is, therefore, successful, while the asceticism that is stained by vanity and want of true devotion is regarded unsuccessful.
‘O king, the twelve, including anger, as also the thirteen kinds of wickedness, are the faults of asceticism that is stained. Anger, lust, avarice, ignorance of right and wrong, discontent, cruelty, malice, vanity, grief, love of pleasure, envy, and speaking ill of others, are generally the faults of human beings. These twelve should always be avoided by men. Any one amongst these can singly effect the destruction of men.
Thirteen Kinds of wickedness are
(1)Assertion of one’s own superiority, (2)desire of enjoying others’ wives, (3)humiliating others from excess of pride, (4)wrathfulness, (5)fickleness, and (6)refusing to maintain those worthy of being maintained, (7)He that regards the gratification of lust to be one of life’s aims, (8) he that is exceedingly proud, (9) he that grieves having given away, (10) he that never spends money, (11) he that persecutes his subjects by exacting hateful taxes, (12) he that delights in the humiliation of others, and (13) he that hates his own wives.
He that succeeds in acquiring these twelve becomes competent to sway the entire earth. (1)Righteousness, (2)truth (abstention from injury and truthfulness of speech), (3)self-restraint, (4)asceticism, (5)delight in the happiness of others, (6)modesty, (7)forbearance, (8)love of others, (9)sacrifices, (10)gifts, (11)perseverance, (12)knowledge of the scriptures.
Self-restraint, renunciation, and knowledge of self, in these are emancipation. Those Brahmans that are endued with wisdom, say, that these are attributes in which truth predominates. Self-restraint is constituted by eighteen virtues.
The eighteen faults (that have been enumerated) constitute what is called mada or pride. Breaches and non-observance of ordained acts and omissions, falsehood, malice, lust, wealth, love of (sensual) pleasure, anger, grief, thirst, avarice, deceit, joy in the misery of others, envy, injuring others, regret, aversion from pious acts, forgetfulness of duty, calumniating others, and vanity-he that is freed from these (eighteen) vices; is said by the righteous to be self-restrained.
Renunciation is of six kinds. ‘The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. They are these: The first is never experiencing joy on occasions of prosperity. The second is the abandonment of sacrifices, prayers, and pious acts. That which is called the third is the abandonment of desire or withdrawing from the world. Indeed, it is in consequence of this third kind of renunciation of desire, which is evidenced by the abandonment of all objects of enjoyment (without enjoying them) and not their abandonment after having enjoyed them to the fill, nor by abandonment after acquisition, nor by abandonment only after one has become incompetent to enjoy from loss of appetite. The fourth kind of renunciation is: One should not grieve nor suffer his self to be afflicted by grief when one’s actions fail, notwithstanding one’s possession of all the virtues and all kinds of wealth. Or, when anything disagreeable happens, one feels no pain. The fifth kind of renunciation consists in not soliciting even one’s sons, wives, and others that may all be very dear. The sixth kind consists in giving away to a deserving person who solicits, which act of gifts is always productive of merit. By these again, one acquires the knowledge of self.
As regards this last attribute, it involves eight qualities. These are truth, meditation, distinction of subject and object, capacity for drawing inferences, withdrawal from the world, never taking what belong to others, the practices of Brahmacharya vows (abstinence), and non-acceptance (of gifts).
So also the attribute of mada (the opposite of dama or self-restraint) has faults which have all been indicated (in the scriptures). These faults should be avoided. And self-knowledge has eight virtues, so the want of it has eight faults. Those faults should be avoided. He that is liberated from the five senses, mind, the past and the future, becomes happy.
These three, viz., the desire of enjoyments, lust and wrath lead foolish men to death.
Sorrow, anger, covetousness, lust, ignorance, laziness, malice, self-importance, continuous desire of gain, affection, jealousy and evil speech,–these twelve are grave faults that are destructive of men’s lives. Each of these wait for opportunities to seize mankind. Afflicted by them, men lose their senses and commit sinful acts.
These seven are counted as wicked men of sinful habits – on obtaining wealth cannot treat others with courtesy. He that regards sensual gratification as the end of life, he that is self-conceited, he that boasts having made a gift, he that never spends, he that is weak in mind, he that is given to self-admiration, and he that hates his own wife.
‘Mada’ has eighteen faults. They are ill-will towards others, throwing obstacles in the way of virtuous acts, detraction, falsehood in speech, lust, anger, dependence, speaking ill of others, finding out the faults of others for report, waste of wealth, quarrel, insolence, cruelty to living creatures, malice, ignorance, disregard of those that are worthy of regard, loss of the senses of right and wrong, and always seeking to injure others. A wise man, therefore, should not give way to mada, for the accompaniments of mada are censurable.
Friendship is said to possess six indications; firstly, friends delight in the prosperity of friends, and secondly, are distressed at their adversity. If anyone asks for anything which is dear to his heart, but which should not be asked for, a true friend surely gives away even that. Fourthly, a true friend who is of a righteous disposition, when asked, can give away his very prosperity. Fifthly, a friend should not dwell in the house of a friend, on whom he may have bestowed everything, but should enjoy what he earns himself. Sixthly, a friend stops not to sacrifice his own good (for his friend). The man of wealth who seeks to acquire those good qualities, and who becomes charitable and righteous restrains his five senses from their respective objects. Such restraint of the senses is asceticism. When it grows in degree, it is capable of winning regions of bliss hereafter.
These six are the habits of wicked persons – He that is covetous, he that is fierce, he that is harsh of speech, he that is garrulous, he that is given to nursing anger, he that is boastful.