Sri Sathya Sai highlights a Lesson on Whistle Blowing from the Epic Mahabharata

There is an incident from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. The Pandavas were invited for a game of dice by Kauravas. It was a custom in those days that princely persons were under obligation to accept the invitation for playing dice under the royal norms. Betting was also part of the rules of the game. In this game of dice played between the Kauravas and Pandavas, Pandavas lost everything due to the foul-play of the Kauravas. After all things were lost finally, Yudhisthira, the eldest among the Pandavas, put their queen Draupadi as a bet. When they lost, they were forced to part with her. It was the prerogative of the people who won the bet to use their discretion to utilise the property or people they had won through the game of dice in the way they liked. They (Kauravas) wanted to settle scores with Pandavas for the humiliation (in their perception) meted out to them earlier in a palace known as ‘Maya Sabha’ (the magical palace). They summoned Draupadi to the court and made an abortive attempt to humiliate her by disrobing her. This was averted by the Divine intervention of Lord Krishna who miraculously protected her honour.

Draupadi being dishonoured in the Kaurava court
and Lord Krishna protecting her honour
Dushasana (the younger brother of Duryodhana) was disrobing Draupadi in King Dhritarashtra’s court amidst great personages like Bheeshmacharya (the grandsire of the Kuru clan), Kripacharya and Dronacharya (the preceptors of Pandavas and Kauravas), who were all aware that the act was wrong. All wise men were aware that what was being done was an atrocious act, but all remained mute spectators. It was only Vidura (minister of King Dhritarashtra and also his younger brother) who gathered courage to tell Bheeshma in no uncertain terms: “You are a man who can discriminate between good and bad. Such a noble person like you should not remain a silent spectator when such an atrocious act is being perpetrated. Why do you just keep quiet?” Bheeshma replied thus to the query of Vidura: “What can I do when the wicked people perpetrate such sub-human acts?” Vidura then reacted thus: “No! The one who does, the one who encourages, the one who acts as a mute/helpless witness, and the one who does not express the disapproval in unequivocal terms despite being aware that it is wrong - all are equally guilty.”

The lesson that modern managers can learn from this episode is regarding ‘whistle blowing’. When something is going wrong that may affect the survival and prosperity of the organisation, it is the duty of wise people (managers) involved in the decision-making process to express opinions objectively in a polite manner without offending anybody (the top management).  

3 comments:

  1. This is indeed true. However what is important is to have the courage to stand up to what one sees as unrighteous or inappropriate. That strength can come when each of us practices righteous conduct. Then the conscience is clear to stand up against unrighteous conduct. Sairam.

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  2. Based on personal experience -- i also feel that "nimitta matra" and "karishye vachanam tava" are highly important as they will help us stay grounded (we cannot solve world hunger -- but we surely can highlight the importance of solving it) - not get emotional -- not get personal -- and stay focussed on the act rather than the person. I usually follow a wise advise given to me long time ago by an elderly sai spiritual aspirant -- Love the man Not the Action -- which means that at human level -- sure love the person as he/she is also Divine -- but it does not bind us to love the action performed -- that kind of relieves the ownership pressure when we are engaged in "whistle blowing".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Based on personal experience -- i also feel that "nimitta matra" and "karishye vachanam tava" are highly important as they will help us stay grounded (we cannot solve world hunger -- but we surely can highlight the importance of solving it) - not get emotional -- not get personal -- and stay focussed on the act rather than the person. I usually follow a wise advise given to me long time ago by an elderly sai spiritual aspirant -- Love the man Not the Action -- which means that at human level -- sure love the person as he/she is also Divine -- but it does not bind us to love the action performed -- that kind of relieves the ownership pressure when we are engaged in "whistle blowing".

    ReplyDelete

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