Monday Musings – 10 – Vidura Neeti

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Wisdom from Vidura Neeti continues


pravṛtta vāk-citra katha ūhavān pratibhānavān |

āśu granthasya vaktā ca sa vai paṇḍita ucyate || 29 ||

One who speaks boldly, can converse on various subjects, knows the science of debate, possesses intellectual acuity, and can interpret the meaning of texts, is reckoned as a pandit.

Importance of disciplinary process

We have seen in Valmiki Ramayan that kindness is an essential leadership quality but that does not imply that punishments are not required. A documented ‘Disciplinary process’ is essential for all organizations. Vidura explains the need for compassion as well as punishment in this sloka. Leader should know when to be lenient and when to be strict.

jānāti viśvāsayituṁ manuṣyān vijñāta doṣeṣu dadhāti daṇḍam |

jānāti mātrāṁ ca tathā kṣamāṁ ca; taṁ tādṛśaṁ śrīr-juṣate samagrā || 68 ||

One who knows how to inspire confidence in others, who punishes guilty, who is acquainted with the proper measure of sanctions, and who knows when leniency is to be shown will attain prosperity.

Power of Perseverance

niścitya yaḥ prakramate nāntar vasati karmaṇaḥ |

avandhya-kālo vaśyātmā sa vai paṇḍita ucyate || 25 ||

One who, having commenced a well-planned project, persevers till it is completed, who never wastes time, and who is self-controlled, is regarded as a pandit.

This sloka is the master stroke of Vidura.  I already covered this in my book #ManagementImmemorialLearningsFromLiterature. 

anirvedaḥ śriyo mūlaṁ lābhasya śubhasya ca |

mahān bhavaty anirviṇṇaḥ sukhaṁ cātyantam aśnute || 72 ||

Perseverance (Not getting dejected with failures) is the cause of prosperity as well as happiness. One who pursues a project with perseverance and without giving it up in vexation, is really great, and enjoys unending happiness.”

Six reasons for happiness

arthāgamo nityam arogitā ca priyā ca bhāryā priya-vādinī ca|

vaśyaśca putro’rthakārī ca vidyā ṣaṭ jīva-lokasya sukhāni rājan || 85 ||

Wealth creation, Good health, a loving and sweet-talking spouse, an obedient child and knowledge that is beneficial are the six causes for happiness in this world.

Vidura quotes six other reasons for happiness in another verse

arogyaṁ anṛṇyaṁ avipravāsaḥ sadbhir manuṣyaiḥ saha saṁprayogaḥ |

sva pratyayā vṛttir abhīta-vāsaḥ ṣaṭ jīvalokasya sukhāni rājan || 87 ||

Health, freedom from debt, living in one’s own home, companionship with good people, regular employment, and living without fear: these six result in happiness.

Saying Sorry without hesitation

ya ātmanāpatra-pate bhṛśaṁ naraḥ sa sarva lokasya gurur bhavaty-uta |

ananta tejāḥ sumanāḥ samāhitaḥ svatejasā sūrya ivāvabhāsate || 100 ||

One who says sorry without hesitation [when errors are committed] is highly respected by everyone. Possessed of boundless energy and a pure heart and focused within, he radiates energy like the Sun.

Six impediments to success

ṣaḍ-doṣāḥ puruṣeṇeha hātavyā bhūtim icchatā |

nidrā tandrī bhayaṁ krodha ālasyaṁ dīrgha-sūtratā || 115 ||

[excessive] sleep, lethargy, fear, anger, indolence, and procrastination are the six impediments for success.

Art of being critical without wounding with the words

saṁrohati śarair viddhaṁ vanaṁ paraśunā hatam |

vācā duruktaṁ bībhatsaṁ na saṁrohati vāk kṣatam || 124 ||

A forest shredded by arrows, or cut down by axes may grow again, but one wounded by harsh words would never forget and recover.

Thiruvalluvar conveys the same in this thirukkural.

தீயினாற் சுட்டபுண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே

நாவினாற் சுட்ட வடுThirukkural 129

Fire inflamed sore would heal in some time, but the wound created by harsh words would never heal.

Why is Vidur mentioning this as a statecraft skill? Kings / Leaders must be very careful about not wounding their team members with harsh words in the guise of being critical of their work. Sarcasm must be avoided in all office communication.

Vidura Neeti will continue in the next episode as well before taking up the other statecraft treatise from Mahabharatha ie Kanika Neeti. Can look forward to lot more interesting advisories.


Management and Leadership Topics covered in the previous posts

  1. The right attitude — Ch 1Ch 2  Ch6  Ch10
  2. Governance — Ch 3  Ch4  Ch7
  3. Leadership — Ch 5  Ch 8  Ch10
  4. Management — Ch 7 
  5. Intelligence & Wisdom — Ch 9  Ch10

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.



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1 thought on “Monday Musings – 10 – Vidura Neeti”

  1. Subashini Baskar

    Wonderful post Sir. I’m happy I came across this article atleast now. Very fortunate thankyou sir

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