Undesirable Traits for Managers: Insights from Ramayana and Mahabharata

There are certain undesirable traits which come in the way of man’s journey towards ultimate fulfilment. These include bad company, bad words, bad looks, bad thoughts and bad actions. These contribute to lopsided personality development of individuals in society.


Bad Words: The Example of Kaikeyee and Manthara
Kaikeyee with Manthara
In the epic Ramayana, Kaikeyee was a queen, the youngest wife of Dasharatha and the step mother of Rama. She was essentially a woman of good nature and loved Rama more than her own son Bharat. However, Manthara (an aged woman servant who came from the maternal home of Kaikeyee to serve her in her inner apartments) counselled negative things to Kaikeyee. Initially, Kaikeyee opposed Manthara vehemently saying: “You have a mean mentality. You intend to subject my Rama to all difficulties. You are bringing me a bad reputation. You do not deserve to be here.” Had she stood firm on this stance, Kaikeyee would have remained untainted. But Manthara in reply asserted thus: “You are inviting problems to your own son. If Rama becomes the king, your son will have to be a servant of Rama. Would any mother wish her son to be a slave?” She persisted and Kaikeyee continuously listened to Manthara’s words, which made an impression on her. She said at the end, “Manthara, what a good advice you have given!” Thus, when the bad times approach, things will take an unexpected twist. It is popularly said: “Vinaasha Kaale Vipareeta Buddhi” (During times of calamity, the mind gets deluded). Kaikeyee got carried away into Manthara’s schemes. She became an example of disgrace and wickedness to posterity, on account of which no one even intends to reflect about these two women and nobody keeps their names for themselves or their kith and kin.

Bad Deeds: The Example of Ravana
The Demon King Ravana
Ravana represents bad actions. He had all the wealth in the world, and had even learnt 64 types of knowledge (Chatush Shashti Kalas). He had even learnt how to communicate with the animals and birds. Rama knew only 32 types of knowledge. Yet, Rama is revered and Ravana is not. The reason being, Rama practiced what he had learnt, whereas Ravana misused his skills and knowledge for wrong purposes. He abducted the wife of another person, and so Rama with the assistance provided by monkeys killed him in the war. Even today, no one keeps the name of Ravana for themselves or their kith and kin.


Bad Company: The Example of Karna

Arjuna and Karna were both men of valour. They were equals in archery and in the art of warfare. But if you enquire in detail, you will realise that as far as skills were concerned, Karna excelled Arjuna in everything. Either in courage or valour, or in the art of weapons, Karna was highly gifted and had an edge over Arjuna. However, despite Arjuna being a little less in competence as compared to Karna, he took refuge in Lord Krishna. As a result of this, he was able to achieve all-round success in his life and accomplish the objectives of human birth. Therefore, God will give powers to those who surrender to Him. Though very strong, Karna had to meet a sad end due to his bad company, negative feelings and ominous deal with the Kauravas. 
Karna during the Mahabharata war
What is the reason for the death of a human being? There are three causes: anger, hatred and jealousy. These reduce the life span of an individual. Therefore, one should guard oneself against these three enemies. Duryodhana represents jealousy. He harboured jealousy and ill will towards the Pandavas for the reason that they were prosperous. Dushasana represents anger. Shakuni represents hatred. Karna made friendship with all these three and therefore was ruined. Ravana was a demon. His brother Vibheeshana was also a demon. Ravana chose the company of other demons. Despite this, no demon could come to his rescue during the war. Vibheeshana, though born in a clan of demons, surrendered himself to Rama. As a result, he was protected and made the king of Lanka. Therefore, one who surrenders himself to God will never get ruined. The one who relies exclusively on one’s own physical strength and power will have to face ups and downs in life: sometimes success, other times failure; sometimes happiness, other times misery; sometimes praise (bouquets) and other times censure (brickbats).

Bad Looks: The Example of Keechak
Keechak with Sairandri (Draupadi in disguise)
The example of Keechak (brother-in-law of the king of Virata where Pandavas took shelter for one year during their incognito period) [i] is an appropriate one for explaining the negative consequences of bad looks. Majority of people today suffer from this weakness. All have bad (lewd) looks. Even while travelling in the bus, people look at those standing at the bus stand, or outside at the cinema wall posters. Keechak cast bad looks at Draupadi (wife of Pandavas). Bheema noticed this and said, “Wicked man, because of bad times, we are wandering in the forests and eating roots, tubers and fruits. We are suffering, but somehow we are shielding Draupadi. Her beauty is natural. But you are casting bad looks at her.” When Keechak ignored Bheema’s advice repeatedly, at last Bheema took his Gada (mace) and smashed Keechak’s head into pieces. Who is Bheema? Not simply one of the brothers of Pandavas. He is Vayuputra (son of Wind God). Hence he was extremely powerful.

Bad Thoughts: The Example of Duryodhana

Duryodhana exemplified bad thoughts. From top to toe, he had bad thoughts. He always thought of harming others. What happened to him ultimately? As a part of fulfilling his vow in the Kurukshetra battle, Bheema killed him also.


[i] In the Indian epic of Mahabharata, Pandavas lost their kingdom in a game of dice with the Kauravas. As per the conditions of the agreement, Pandavas were required to spend twelve years in forest and one year incognito. During the incognito period Pandavas lived for one year in disguise in the court of King Virata of the Kingdom of Matsya. Keechak was the brother-in-law of King Virata and younger brother of Queen Sudeshana (wife of King Virata). Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, was living in the inner apartments of Queen Sudeshana as Sairandri, and doing the job of a beautician.  Once, Keechak happened to see Sairandri in his sister’s palace and turned amorous. When harassment reached the peak stage, Bheema, the second of the five Pandavas had to kill Keechak to save the honour of Draupadi.

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