Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Leader’s Temperament – A Leadership Masterclass from the Mahabharata

et's talk about the role of a CEO and what advice would a board advisor give to an incoming CEO? Yes, this is still about the Mahabharta, but we are going to take a detour before getting there.

To strive to maximize shareholder value, to watch out for market trends and unforeseen macroeconomic headwinds, to hire the best, to not ignore the advice of advisors, to put down indiscipline with a firm hand, to be approachable yet not play favourites, and so on. This is the basic ingredient from which tens of thousands of management books, seminars, articles, and more are churned out each year.

In a modern context, while the use of the word "king" may be anachronistic, the basic import of the the Raj-dharma parva of the Mahabharata retains much of its value and relevance. If you substitute the word "king" with "chief minister" or "prime minister", or with "CEO" or "Managing Director", the advice given to the king then could very well be applied to the leaders of today.

When asked by Yudhishthira to elaborate on the true nature of rajadharma, Bhishma's advice is worth its weight in governance gold. Management gurus make a killing and fortune, but the Mahabharata dispenses this advice for free. In this post, therefore, let's look at the advice imparted by Bhishma on the ideal's king's temperament.
Mahabharata, Volume 5, Gorakhpur Gita Press

Monday, May 13, 2019

Stri Parva and Gandhari's Curse

ow do you curse God, and do it justifiably so? What is the arc of the geometry of rage? Does it rise up into a crescendo and then subside after it has found an outlet? Or does it ebb and flow, crest and trough? How does one react to being cursed? How would God react to such a curse? As curses go, there are many instances in the Puranas of gods being cursed. Indra is perhaps in the unfortunate position of being the recipient of the most curses. Even Vishnu was cursed by Narada to be born as a human. But Gandhari cursing Krishna is possibly one without parallel. Dharma was cursed, and was born as Vidura. The Vasus were cursed and had to be born as the sons of Ganga. But a god being cursed? Not only did Gandhari curse Krishna, she cursed his entire tribe, the race of the Yadavas. In it, there are several lessons to be learned.
Mahabharata, Volume 5, Gorakhpur Gita Press