Sri Sathya Sai narrates a Management Lesson from a Mother-in-Law

In life, one should not buckle under pressure. One should face difficulties with courage and patience. One should leave the consequences of one’s actions to God with utmost faith in Him. If only one has this, one would be able to achieve anything in this world. Since time immemorial, it was not mere actions of the people alone that made them great, but it was their ability to strike a balance between their individual character and national character that made them great. Several great heroes and personalities like Vasishtha, Harishchandra, Dharmaraja, Bali Chakravarti, Shibi Chakravarti, Dadheechi, etc. personified these virtues. 

In order to rescue a bird, King Shibi sacrificed his life. You have to sacrifice everything in order to protect good people and for the sake of a good cause. On the other hand, if you hanker after power, money and position, you will attain neither peace of mind nor happiness. Obsession for power, status, position and other status symbols is a weakness. Even in small day-to-day matters, people with a mean nature try to dominate others. 

There was a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law. The mother-in-law was like a tyrant and never valued her daughter-in-law’s word or opinion. She did everything as per her whims and fancies. One day, when the mother-in-law went to the neighbour’s house, a beggar came to their house seeking alms, and the daughter-in-law declined to provide him with anything. The beggar on being denied alms was about to go away from the place. Just then the mother-in-law, who was returning, saw the beggar coming out of her house and enquired if by chance he had been returning from her house. The beggar replied that he went to her house but the young lady at home (her daughter-in-law) declined to give him anything. The mother-in-law took strong objection for the stance taken by her daughter-in-law and questioned her very authority to say, “No”Thus saying, she instructed the beggar to go back to her house and the beggar obeyed her expecting that he would get something. She went into her house, came out after a few minutes, and asked the beggar to get away without giving anything. The beggar exclaimed in surprise as to why then did she ask him to come back again when she knew that she too was going to treat him in a similar fashion. For this she replied that only she had the right or authority in that house to say “Yes” or “No” to anybody and in order to re-establish her supremacy she had called him back only to say, “No”!


Vasishtha, Harishchandra, Dharmaraja, Bali Chakravarti, Shibi Chakravarti and Dadheechi are all the names of people in Indian theological history, who have gone through difficult experiences in their lives to uphold Satya (truth) and Dharma (righteousness). Sage Vasishtha was the Guru of Lord Rama against whom Vishwamitra harboured ill will because of which he lost his sons and suffered much. King Harishchandra was an ancestor of Lord Rama, who sacrificed his wife and only son, and worked in a crematory to uphold truth. Bali Chakravarti was the grandson of Prahlad who sacrificed his own life for the word given to Lord Vishnu who incarnated as Vaman. Shibi Chakravarti sacrificed a pound of flesh from his own body to save the life of a bird (who in reality was a demi-God come to test him).

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