7 Effective Leadership Skills in Valmiki Ramayan – Ep 2

Effective Leadership in Valmiki Ramayan Ep 2 Enthusiasm

उत्साहः पौरुषं सत्त्वमानृशंस्यं कृतज्ञता।

विक्रमश्च प्रभावश्च सन्ति वानर राघवे।।
–Valmiki Ramayan 5.37.13।।


Utsahaha pourusham satvam anrushamsyam krutangata

Vikramascha prabhaavascha santi vanara raghave


First habit of the seven effective leadership skills is utsahaha ie zeal. Valmiki is very fond of this habit. He not only placed this as the first in the order of seven habits but talked about utsahaha in an earlier instance as well. That happened in a very tough and sad moment. Yes, when Rama was lamenting the loss of Sita. Let us see that first for a better understanding and appreciation of zeal as the most important leadership trait.



This sloka comes in the very first sarga of Kishkinda Kanda and kishkinda kanda starts with grief. Rama in his pursuit to regain Seetha, who has been abducted by Ravana from the forest, reaches Pampa Lake with his brother Lakshmana. Rama visualises Pampa Lake as a heavenly abode and narrates to Lakshmana the suffering he is undergoing due to the separation from his beloved wife Seetha, i.e., the departure of innate soul from the Supreme. Seetha is the ‘alter ego’ of Rama, both in heaven as well as on earth. In heavens she is Goddess Lakshmi and she incarnated herself as Seetha on earth. It takes exactly 113 slokas for Valmiki to describe the beauty of Pampa Lake and the sorrow feelings of Lord Rama with the beauty of Pampa Lake and the forest kindling fond memories of his faithful and beautiful wife Seetha.

Lakshmana consoles Rama to enthuse him to come out of lamentation to action. This sloka is a very interesting and motivating sloka, 121st in the first sarga. Yes, it talks about motivation, Lakshmana motivating Rama to fight the despair instead of lamenting.  



उत्साहो बलवान् आर्य नास्ति उत्साहात् परम् बलम् |
सः उत्साहस्य हि लोकेषु न किंचित् अपि दुर्लभम् ||

utsaaho balavaan aarya naasti utsaahaat param balam |
saH utsaahasya hi lokeSu na ki.mchit api durlabham ||

 aarya = oh, noble one; utsaahaH balavaan = anyone possessing enthusiasm, is a mighty one; utsaahaat param balam naasti = there is no might without enthusiasm; saha utsaahsyaH hi = with enthusiasm; lokeSu kimchit api durlabham = nothing is impossible in this world.

Utsaha, Sanskrit word has multiple meanings. Enthusiasm, Zeal or being cheerful is the most apt meaning in this beautiful Sanskrit sloka. Right translation of the word durlabham is `Difficult to attain’.

Lakshmana advises Rama to come out of grief and get into action. An enthusiastic person is a mighty person.  There is no might without enthusiasm, however strong the person may be, Nothing is impossible to attain in this world, unmindful of the challenges, hardships, and difficult times.

Very next sloka is also a very interesting one

utsaahavantaH puruSaa na avasiidanti karmasu |
utsaaha matram aashritya siitaam pratilapsyaam janakiim ||

Enthusiastic people never get disheartened and thus never abandon their efforts in the face of difficulties. Enthusiasm only can help us to get back Sita. Self-pity is not going to help us in getting back Sita.



Rama is the avatar of Lord Vishnu who is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Lakshmana is the incarnation of adisesha, who is a faithful servant of Lord Vishnu.  What is the need for the Lord to listen to this simple tip from Lakshmana?  Two reasons. All across Ramayana, Rama lived the life of an ordinary human being. He wanted to be a role model and show to the society that human might have to face adversaries, encounter miseries and have to develop courage to fight the challenges cheerfully. He won against all his challenges using his human traits without resorting to any supernatural power. Second, Valmiki probably wanted to show to the world that `Listening and Learning’ are more important, it does not matter where from the learning comes. The advice could come from your subordinates but could be sanguine.  Rama listened to Lakshmana and came out of the dejection.



I remember this thirukkural which gives nearly the same meaning,  great men think alike! This is a `tongue twister’ kural with four இடும்பை coming within 7 words.

இடும்பைக்கு இடும்பை படுப்பர் இடும்பைக்கு 
இடும்பை படாஅ தவர்.

குறள் 623: இடுக்கண் அழியாமை)

இடும்பைக்கு – துன்பத்துக்கே

இடும்பை படுப்பர் – துன்பத்தினைத் தருவர் 

இடும்பைக்கு – துன்பம் வந்தபோது

இடும்பை படாஅதவர் – அத்துன்பம் கண்டு (நெஞ்சுரத்தினால்) துன்பப்படாதவர்

One who is enthusiastic and brave cannot be cowed down by any challenge.  They are capable of bringing despair to the challenge instead of getting despaired.


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