Monday Musings 49

7 Leadership skills Ep 5

मन: प्रसाद: सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रह: |
भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते
Bhagavad Gita 17.16

‘Cheerful mind’ results in happy living. ‘Graceful mind’ avoids negative emotions. ‘Silent mind’ enhances the mental health as well as physical health.

Usage of ‘#mownam’ here represents the need for the focus on ‘Listening Skills’ as well.

A story to understand the #PowerOfListening

There once was a farmer who lost his watch in his barn. He could not afford the loss because the watch had sentimental value for him. After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up the search but enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn with the promise of a good reward for the person who could find the watch.

Lured by the reward, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up the search, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance. The farmer readily agreed as he somehow wanted to find the watch.

After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.

The boy smiled and replied, “When everyone else were searching madly all around, I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”

A peaceful mind can think better than a worked-up mind. Allow moments of silence to your mind every day, and see, how sharply it helps you to set your life the way you expect it to be! ~ The soul always knows what to do to heal itself.. The challenge is to silence the mind….

Next in the line of the five mental health enhancers suggested by Lord Krishna is #aatma_vinigrahaha. Aatma means self and vinigrahaha means restrain. What an appropriate order?

Self-restraint as a success mantra

Having developed good outlook and positive emotions and developed the habit of silent introspection, it is now important to exercise self-restraint to sustain the gracefulness.

Self-restraint is the ability to stop doing or saying something that you want to because you know it is better not to.

Self-restraint is feeling to do but deciding you would not. Self-control is an essential ingredient for achieving success and for living a satisfying, meaningful and moral life.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

Is self-restraint inherent or developed? I have seen some people taking the excuse that they are poor in self-restraint by nature, and they are seemingly very proud of it. Lord Krishna has not given any exception. He asked everyone aspiring to lead an ideal life to exercise self-restraint.

Although some people inherently have more self-control than others, research has found that effective self-control can be cultivated and strengthened to become a habit and a way of life.


Most powerful technique to develop self-control is also in the same sloka just a step earlier. Silent self-introspection every day will surely help to improve self-control. Introspect on daily basis, appreciate yourself with a kudo wherever you were able to exercise self-control and take a resolve to change wherever you could not exercise self-restraint. You will find the instances of the latter going down in numbers gradually if you practice this seriously and sincerely. Give it a serious try and let me know!

Ravana was a great shiv-bhakt and his kingdom flourished as long as he had his self-restraint. He was doomed and lost the plot the moment he lost his self-control. Duryodhana lost the Kurukshetra war because he lost his sef-control for a moment and he cursed that moment ever after. What is this story? I shall cover in the next episode. Until then, practice daily self-introspection.

Most damaging loss for Duryodana

All the warriors of Mahabharath time had aligned either with the Kauravas or the Pandavas and fought the mighty war but two great warriors of that time abstained from fighting and instead went on pilgrimage and that made big difference to the outcome. It is believed that the Kauravas could have possibly won the war if one of them fought the war with the Kauravas instead of abstaining. Who are these gifted warriors. They are Balarama and Vidura.

Balarama, elder brother of Lord Krishna, clearly preferred to abstain from the war as he was not convinced, neither with the cause of the Kauravas nor that of the Pandavas. Vidura’s story was different.  Vidura had given a pledge to Pandu that he will not desert the company of the blind Dhridharashtra anytime. Vidura had an obligation to fight on the side of the Kauravas though he was convinced with cause of the Pandavas. Why did he then stay away from the war? Was it because of the fear of fighting a war? Not at all. Vidura was a great warrior of his time and was gifted with a divine weapon, most devastating bow of that time, Govarthan.

GOVARTHAN was gifted to Vidura by Lord Vishnu and one who wields it at the time of a war cannot be destroyed by any weapon, not even by Arjuna’s Gandiva. If Vidura would have participated in the war, he could have won Arjuna easily.

Lord Krishna had a trick up his sleeves for all the warriors who had aligned with the Kauravas ie a Shikandi for Bhishma, Dhrishtadyumna for Dronacharya, etc but could not come up with anything to beat GOVARTHAN. Vidura had no vulnerability. Instead, he preferred to use a different weapon against Vidura, the weapon of ‘poor self-restraint’. This story is there in many versions of Mahabharath.

Krishna’s trick to contain Vidura

Lord Krishna came to Hastinapur as a peace ambassador of the Pandavas. Duryodana arranged a royal welcome for Lord Krishna as per the advice of the elders in his court. Duryodana invited Krishna to stay at his palace. Krishna knew that Duryodana would have made arrangements to spy on him if he accepted his offer of staying in the palace. So, he stayed at Vidura’s house.  Why did he choose Vidura’s house? He could have stayed with the great Bhishma who was as equal to Vidura if not more in righteousness, love for Krishna, etc. There should be a reason behind Krishna’s actions?

During the peace negotiations the next day, Duryodana abused Vidura for giving place to stay for his enemies’ friend (Krishna) and favouring the Pandavas’ cause. He blamed Vidura to be ungrateful to the kingdom and criminal thoughts.

Dhritarashtra, Bhishma and other elderly persons present in the court were stunned. They tried to pacify Duryodana, but he remained violent and aggressive. He used the harshest words against Vidura referring to his birth and said that while his belly was depending on the royal food, his heart was beating with love for the Pandavas.

Vidura remained quiet all through but could not tolerate when Duryodana abused him as a ‘dasi’s son’.  Krishna cleverly intervened and played a trick. Turning towards Duryodana, he said,

 “O Kaurava king, do not provoke Vidura like this. If you do, he might break his bow and declare that he will not fight on your side and would be neutral.”

Duryodana, however, was still indignant and arrogant and said it did not matter if Vidura decided against fighting. “I can win the war without the help of the ungrateful Vidura” 

An enraged Vidura was unable to digest any further insult. He declared, “Krishna, you guided me on the right path and reminded me of my power of archery. I will fight no more.” So saying, he strung his bow and broke it with a thunderous noise accompanied by a flash of lightning, Vidura thanked Krishna and walked out of the durbar. His promise to Pandu did not matter when his self-respect was attacked unfairly by a person who could not control his emotions.

This turned out to be a costly mistake for Duryodana. Vidura didn’t have any curse or vulnerability like Karna or Bhishma or Dronacharya and the only way to counter his power would be to stop his participation in the war and Krishna cleverly achieved that using the deadly vulnerability of Duryodana, his emotional intelligence.

Quotable quote from the same great Vidura in his Vidura Neeti

Old age destroys beauty; 

Temptation destroys patience, 

Greed spoils the malicious man, 

One’s good nature sours as a result of servicing the wicked, 

Lust destroys shame and


Introspect, control and shun these negative emotions.



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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