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pleasantreads mahabharata

I recently got hold of a wonder toy called as the Chrome Cast.(You are probably aware of it )With nothing else going on Dutch Cable Television, (That’s right, my temporary diggings are in the Netherlands) I thought I might play catch up on some Indian Television Series from yore.

With technology at my disposal and spirituality in my mind, I promptly set the BR Chopra version of “Mahabharata “to cast (All the 94 episodes are uploaded on You tube) and set on binge watching the epic.

The special effects are laughable, but the story telling format (Time narrating it verbatim) was just way ahead of its times. I believe two more attempts were made at producing it, but in a very strange way, they do not have the savvy, compared to the old version. (A reminder to us that, technology can be a fickle mistress if not handled with care!)

Any-way, I could not help but relate to the characters of the Mahabharata, due to the fact that they still ring  true today. Forget  their godly powers aside and they will strike you as  human, with their fair share of qualities – good and bad.

It set me thinking whether I could draw up some character sketches and see if there is  any learning to be had, which will prove useful( In my opinion, at-least) in our corporate careers.

So, without any ado, let’s get right into it.

Pleasant reading!

 King Shantanu: – He was the prime mover of the whole Mahabharat shabang. Legend goes that Shantanu was besotted with a girl called as “Satyavati” and even asked her father for her hand in marriage. Her father, selfish man that he was, set the condition that only their biological issue   could have access to the Hastinapur throne. Devvrata[Bheeshma] upon learning of this condition renounces the throne and vows to be a bachelor all his life. Shantanu was thus able to  marry the woman of his dreams.

Management Moral:-Look out for such potential Shantanu’s around you. Are your colleagues benefiting excessively at your expense? If yes, then Man up and stand up for yourself! Time to make your selves heard!

Bheeshma: – You know the story already. He sacrificed his best years so that his father could live his last like a king.  He kept his promise till his last breath and gained immortality.He even got killed since Arjuna hid behind Shikhandi [ The Woman-Man or the Man-woman, your preference!]

Management Moral: – Is there  some project, some client commitment, a deadline and you are just slacking it off ? Well, time to shrug that sloth off and get cracking. Well, sure, you will not get immortality, but you will surely lose your reputation in the corporate world, if you don’t deliver. There is this funny thing about reputation- if you lose it once, you lose it forever.

Dhritrashtra:- To be fair, history has not been too kind to Dhritsrashtra. Since, he was the elder brother, tradition dictated that he be declared the heir apparent to Hastinapur, only to be replaced by his younger brother Pandu in the race to the crown. So, he was in a way robbed of his destiny.

Dhritrashtra did get to be king after Pandu’s death, but he knew it was mostly titular. (Bheeshma and Vidur took a lot of the decisions) So all, in all, he got a raw deal. This lucklessnes, his blindness and unrealistic love for Duryodhana  fuelled his insecurities towards the Pandavas.

Dhritrashtra  lost sight of the fact that his son, Duryodhan was not in fact worthy to be king and let Shakuni (That  evil  bastard of an uncle!) to run amok and meddle in his affairs.

Management Moral: – Do you constantly feel that life has given you a raw deal? Will your colleagues label you as the constant bitcher and disser if they were to take part in some 360 degree  feedback?

If the answer to both of the questions is yes, then time to take a halt and a look within. Sure, maybe life is not that rosy, but are you not better served to take a relook at your priorities? Ambition is necessary but excess of ambition is deadly. Take out some time for yourself, relax, reposition your priorities and then go all cylinders firing.

Kunti: Kunti  played a pivotal part in the Mahabharata. She gave birth to Karna, raised the Pandavas as a single mother, asked them  to even share Draupadi between them (she thought that Draupadi was a gift and thus could be shared equally) and finally when the time came, she tried to manipulate Karna into siding with the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war.

Whew, quite a role, wouldn’t you think?

Management Moral: Actions have repercussions and they can come to bite you in the future. So, if you are planning to resign from your company in haste, since your boss  is an ass-hole, do not write a resignation e-mail blaming your boss.

HR recruiters in other companues will tag you as a troublesome hire. After all, nobody wants a rabble-rouser.  Also, do not commit professionally to anyone without understanding the situation, it might land you in an awkward position.

Krishna:-Krishna was THE pivotal character of the Mahabharata. Whether be it finishing off the she demon Pootna, killing his uncle Kansa, leaving Mathura and be called forever as Ranchhod Das (person who runs away from war), kidnapping Rukmini and most importantly guiding Arjuna on the path of what is right and what is wrong by reciting the Gita, nothing will ever do justice to his character.

Management Moral: – Try and bring a little objectivity into the work place, just like Krishna.  If you are the boss, who will you give that promotion to?  Krishna stood by Arjuna in times of war because Arjuna had the greatest quality; humility. (Krishna had offered Duryodhana and Arjuna two choices: – either him or the use of his army in the Kurukshetra war. Duryodhana had asked for his army)

Keep your commitments! Krishna never forgot his promise to Sudama, even after he became King. If you can’t make promises that you can’t keep, don’t make them!

Strategize! Krishna is forever known as the strategist  in the sense that he never broke the rules but bent them.  Are there some tasks which you absolutely need to swing in your favour? What will be your strategy?

Motivate! Krishna made all the girls in Nand go weak in their knees by the melody of his flute.  Don’t take this literally and star playing a flute in the office! You will probably get fifty-paise.  Are you making your employees / colleagues feel motivated about their work?

Make practical, logic based choices. Krishna knew that Jarasandh would always keep on attacking Mathura to avenge the death of Kansa. He therefore moved his base to Dwarka,  even at the expense of being ridiculed. He arranged a fight between Bhima and Jarasandh and told Bhima to tear him up in the middle [ Jarashandh was supposedly weak in the middle, it’s quite an interesting story, Google it up]

I am trying to make this a two part series, since there are other characters in the Mahabharata who also deserve a mention. I am working in it and it will be out shortly, but for now, I hope you liked this article. Please fill up the form below and share your honest feedback with me. Thank you!

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Management Lessons from Mahabharata – Part 1
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