Series: Management lessons from pre-historic texts
We all perceive ourselves to be a leader. No one likes to be a boss who is detested by their subordinates. There’s nothing wrong with assuming we are leaders, provided we work towards attaining the qualities of a true leader.
When Yudhishtra gambled and lost his kingdom, he was asked to put one of his brothers on stake, he chose the weakest one -Nakula. He let the weakest suffer. At that time, Yudhishtra was king of a small kingdom, but he didn’t display the characteristics of a king. He had to endure misery for thirteen years.
While reading Mahabharta, we may wonder “What gave Yudhishtra, the right to gamble away his kingdom?” As a leader shouldn’t you protect your team?
In one story, the thirsty Pandavas were desperately looking for water. Upon reaching a pond, a heron warned them and said they can only drink water if they answer a few questions. One by one they drank water ignoring the warning, all of them died. Yudhishtra was the only one who lived. He answered questions and drank water.
Earlier, an impulsive person who gambled away his kingdom, he was now ready to pause, think and answer the question. He displayed an important shift in his attitude, he was more patient and prudent.
The Heron rewarded him by allowing him to revive one of the brothers, Yudhishtra asked for the weakest one – Nakula. Formerly, he had gambled away Nakula considering him the weakest but now he was protecting the weakest. His father had two wives and he was the surviving son of one and he asked for Nakula to lessen the pain of his step mother, so one son of each mother survives. Thus lessening his step mother’s pain. Yudhistra has now become the protector and understood that he exists to help the helpless. He became a protector and a mentor. His prudence and compassion was rewarded and the heron brought all his brothers back to life.