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Assignment 1 (Dhritarastra)

Charaiveti is a Sanskrit word which means keep walking. The Charaiveti Mantras are five Vedic mantras which talk about the need of dynamism in the life. If we take it one level up it talks about the importance of effort and pro activeness in the life. Since the present assignment is a part of IPLE course so we will give special emphasis on the importance of Charaveti mantras in the career development and leadership related discussion. The Character Dhritarashtra is one of the many key characters of Mahabharata epic. He was on the throne of Hastinapur for a very long time and we have enough evidences to see the presence or absence of Charaiveti gunas in the character. We have very limited detail about the childhood of Dhritarashtra so our discussion will have very limited talk about the young Dhritarashtra. After the death of the great king Shantanu the throne of Hastinapur went to his son Vichitravirya. Vichitravirya was married to Ambika and Ambalika but Vichitravirya also deceased and the throne was left vacant. Since there was no heir of the throne it was decided that half-brother of Vichitravirya Vayasa will mate with the two wives of Vichitravirya to give a heir to Hastinapur. Ambika gave birth to Dhritarashtra and Ambalika gave birth to Pandu. Dhritarashtra was elder to Pandu but was blind by birth. After birth Dhritarashtra, Pandu and their half-brother Vidur were sent to Ashram for education. It is given in Mahabharata that Dhritarashtra exceled in personal strength but much description which will help in analyzing the character is not available. When they returned Pandu was made king of Hastinapur and also all the brothers were married. Dhritarashtra was married to Gandhari. Few years down the line Pandu with his queens went to forest to get some rest and in between Dhritarashtra was given the responsibility to look after the throne in absence of Pandu with the help of Vishma and Vidur. Pandu never came back due to few happenings and hence for a long time Dhritarashtra was on throne. This period includes the period when Mahabharata war happened. During this period we have multiple evidences to analyze our character. If we go with our class discussion we have invariably placed Dhritarashtra in a category of Tamsik person. So in first place itself it appears that he can-not be one of the very dynamic or proactive individuals. Still since Tamas, Rajas and Satva are always present in an individual so we need to look at different incidents and different periods of the life of character. During early days of his monarchy he was a king who was respected well but this respect came just because the administration of Hastinapur was great shape. This administration was run by a group of wise individuals like Vishma and Vidur. If we refer to Mahabharata we can see that all the decisions and policies were decided by the ministers and Vishma. If we try to bring in the concept of Charaiveti Mantras we can see that the team which was led by Dhritarashtra was a

proactive and dynamic team but this cannot be said about the Dhritarashtra. He used to ask Vidur and Vishma for every single strategic decision and it was the team that used to do the things in time. On individual level the King was weak on self-esteem. It has appeared many a times in text of Mahabharta where Dhritarashtra is saying that being blind he cannot do anything. This is not a statement to be made by the king of Hastinapur because he had huge resources and he could have done whatever he wanted but this was not the case and things were not initiated and controlled by the king. If we try to put this in the modern era we can say that Dhritarashtra was force fit in a system full of people with high Charaiveti character which is very similar to a president in our country who although holds a top position but affects very few decisions and hence things depend on the performance of Prime Minister. Now we will look at the changes that occurred in the working style of Dhritarashtra when he became father of hundred sons. He started fearing the situation when his throne will be given back to Pandu sons and his sons will become throne less. He also started avoiding the suggestions which he felt were against his sons and family. One of the most important was the suggestion of abandoning Duryodhan by Vidur at the time of birth. But Dhritarashtra not being proactive in his approach ignored the suggestion which was a cause of Mahabharata war. So from above discussion we see that if a leader is not proactive in approach he cannot see the future or in other words he does not know the consequences of the actions he takes and he is bound to fail. In modern management also the concept is very relevant were companies try to project there future and they make moves to meet their future aspiration. Few fail and few succeed best on the fact that how well they understand the signals of present and how well they are ready to face the future. In case of Dhritarashtra his decision of not abandoning Duryodhan was not a decision of the king because for a king his first duty is towards his people and not his family. His effort should have been towards the welfare of people and hence he failed to make an effort to save his people from Duryodhan who was born to destroy Hastinapur. In between the period when Pandu and Kuru sons were growing many incidents happened were the King Dhritarashtra ignored the things. He never really tried to control the hatred that Duryodhan had for Pandvas instead his heart was also looking for the way to make Duryodhan Crown Prince. This was the period when Dhritarashtra started taking few independent decisions to favour Duryodhan. He also started making few ill efforts to full fill the desire of Duryodhan. Finally Dhritarashtra was putting some effort but this was not Charaiveti. Charaiveti is the effort put to achieve something which is the assigned role of a person and for a king of Hastinapur preparing plan to remove Pandvas from the race of the throne is not the duty. We can look it from the perspective that Duryodhna was the person who actually was putting the effort. Although his intentions to were not good but still he was committed to achieve his goal and he was just using his father for the same. The decisions were still not being taken by the

Dhritarashtra but by Duryodhana. Only fact was this that ill mentality Duryodhan had a greater influence on the king than Vidur just because Duryodhan was the son. Also we can see from the example of Dhritarashtra that a Tamsik person may be very bad with absence of Charaiveti. Dhritarashtra being tamsik wanted to favor his sons and all he did with a short sightedness. He consulted Kanika, Vidur his son and although he was told about the future curse that will come with the few proceedings his inability in Charaiveti stopped him from doing the right thing. When the Pandvas were sent to the lac palace he knew all the things but he was unable to take his own decision and under the influence of decision he did what should not have happened ever. A king should come ahead and decide that what is wrong and what is right but here was a king who himself was the part of conspiracy. Again during dice game he gave the permission of the gambling which was intended to bring down Pandavas. A king should have seen the misfortune this game was going to bring to the Hastinapur. Draupadi chir haran should have been stopped by the king just to avoid a great conflict but a king again failed to see the long term impact and let the things go the way it was going. The things were moving towards the destruction and king was not ready to take rectifying action. The only decision he took where he has shown some degree of pro activeness was the decision to return everything to Pandavas after the first dice game. When told by others he was able to see the future but his vision was blocked very soon when his son asked him to call Pandvas for another dice game. After the second game stage was set for a war and the king was one of the few responsible for all that was coming. Between these incidences and the war many a times Dhritarashtra took decisions which were influenced by the Duryodhan. The refusal of truce proposal was also not accepted because the king was not taking decisions on his own. FInally war broke out and when Sanjay was telling him the live commentary, Dhritarashtra realized that his sons are going to lose the battle. He started lamenting and he showed his frustration. He started to remember all those things which would have stopped the war. He started to think of all those suggestion which he did not accept because his heart was made blind too. This was the time when his non Charaiveti character was making him pay all the misfortune he has invited to himself by not being active. He has accumulated sin till now by not putting effort to resolve the things and now this was too late. Things turned as it was expected and all hundred sons were killed. A king and a father were paying the price of his inability of doing the things but along with him Hastinapur paid a price of putting an inefficient person at the helm. Crores people lost their life just because a wrong person was the leader.

After this the last phase of Dhritarashtras life was spent in Vanprasth and Sanyas. During this phase of almost thirteen years he was not holding any critical position and hence his inability to Charaiveti did not make any impact. The incident when he tried crushing Bhimsen too does not show ant character specific reasoning and was driven by the anger for the killer of the son. Also it appears that he was improved a bit because few decisions although not of strategic importance were taken firmly by the old king. For example decision to move to Sanyas from Vanprasth was a decision he stuck with, even though people tried influencing the decision. Now from all the examples which are taken from Mahabharata it is very evident that if we evaluate Dhritarashtra on a scale of Charaiveti he will score very low. The charaiveti Mantras say that when a person sits his fortune sits and he accrues sin. The person who is not dynamic and proactive is in Kalyuga. The one who does not move does not get the fruit but gets suffering instead and Dhritrastra is the perfect example of the same. He had everything to start with but he lost everything because in his life he never put effort. He never knew how to do the things because he always did what others said and basically he did not do the things but just passed the order and by virtue of the fact that a king is passing the order things were done. The misfortune of the king was spread to whole Hastinapur and it is very important issue to discuss. Indian leadership philosophy says that a king should always work for the benefit of his people and hence a king who is not working for his people will defiantly bring misfortune the society and same happened. Mahabharata was a huge loss to the Hastinapur and other states which would have been avoided had it been a dynamic and proactive king on the throne. Now that we have seen the character of Dhritarashtra and evaluated it on the scale of Charaiveti we know that a king who scores less on Charaiveti will bring misfortune to the state and himself. We will discuss in brief the same model for the modern top managers or individuals which are ultimate decision makers in the organization. The initial few days of success will also be an issue to look at and we will try to include this in our modern framework.