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Monday, March 24, 2014

Valmiki Ramayan: On Leading People…...

“Man is a creature by nature adapted for life in a polis, or city-state”, said Aristotle, the philosopher, for whom the individual man and the individual family appeared too weak and too limited to be self-supporting. He felt that the State provides an environment in which the individual can achieve the proper telos of a man—enjoyment of happiness emerging from the practice of intellectual and moral virtues.

At the same time, Aristotle believed that ‘developed man’ is the best of all animals; but he can also become the worst of all if he has distanced himself from the customs and laws of the State. He also said that injustice, when strengthened by weapons, becomes most oppressive. Therefore, to have a just State in which a man can fully develop, ‘political partnerships’ must be properly planned for and implemented. Which is why ‘justice-driven-ruling’ and ‘being ruled’ have emerged over the course of civilization as the necessary tools for a just State.

In short, to rule a state, a person should be best in the state of soul and body. And to achieve such a sane disposition, a ruler must obviously have “more of some good or other.”  The ‘good’ that a ruler must have so as to rule a State is identified as the virtue of “practical wisdom.” That aside, ‘virtue’, when aided by external means, supremely enables a man to use force and in turn ensures that benevolence prevails in the State.

This led to the conclusion that to rule a State, a ruler needs a different kind of education. And the best way for a ruler to learn is “by being ruled, just as one learns how to lead cavalry by serving in the cavalry or to become a general by serving under one; and similarly in the case of a company commander or a platoon commander.” Thus emerged the ‘political’ rule in the Greek school of politics: “One cannot learn how to rule properly without having been ruled”, and there appears to be a lot in that saying, as Aristotle emphasized.

Coming to the Indian ethos, it is held that “attainment of Uttamapurusha is possible only when there is order in society that enables an individual to pursue purusharthas and varnasrama dharma. And importantly, such an order, along with its required social, economic and political aspects, has to flow from dharma itself. Here what they mean by dharma is: “a composite tradition of justice, impartiality and benevolence and is associated with the five distinct concepts of artha (economic good), dharma (ethics), kala (time), matra (measure), and parishad (counsel). Dharma moralizes the authority of the State and the rights and duties of the subjects. Driven by these values, the State is expected to promote the three ideals of life—Dharma, Artha and Kama.

The means for state to accomplish these ideals flow from danda—coercive power—which according to Kautilya “is the law of punishment.” It helps the ruler to maintain order, provided his danda is based on dharma. Dharma is, thus, “the ruler of rulers”. Such is its importance in the conduct of both the ruler and the ruled. Dharma, thus, not only enjoins on the ruler a wide area of activity and control but also imposes a check on the ruler limiting the control of the state. Thus, a ruler is traditionally expected to be a father figure and also the regulator of morals and customs.

Although there are certain differences between these two schools of thought, there is a fair amount of agreement on the fact of man’s finiteness. Man, being what he is, is a limited, imperfect, incomplete being. At the same time, both these schools of thought believe that man’s goal is to attain the state of completeness, fulfillment, and perfection. Indian thinkers are, of course, more concerned with seeing the man not only as he is but what he might be. His journey is from imperfection to perfection. Incidentally, in this journey of man’s search for the realization of his potential, rulers have a great role to play. 

Realizing the importance of the ruler and the ruled, the leader and the led, intellectuals have been reflecting on this dynamic relationship ever since the dawn of civilization and refining their understanding about this enigmatic relationship. Thinkers, including the modern-day management gurus, are grappling with newer and newer ideas to understand the concepts of leader, followers, and leadership and management. This investigation encompasses the governance of every conceivable institution/organization. 

Against this backdrop, let us now take a critical look at what poet Valmiki makes Rama teach his brother Bharata on how to rule the kingdom of Ayodhya. This ancient thought is not antiquarian; it never goes out of date, for it makes living contribution to our present enquiry into the philosophy of leadership.

The Makings of a King
The shocking news of Rama’s sudden exile immediately following the proposed coronation, that too, at the behest of his mother, Kaikeyi, upsets the innocent and devoted brother of Rama, Bharata. Anxious to establish his innocence, Bharata rushes to Chitrakuta to remind Rama of the Ikshavaku family’s tradition of the eldest son succeeding to the throne; to inform him of his strong desire for the failure of his mother’s scheming, for he was not for profit from it; to inform him of the unanimous wish of the people of the kingdom that Rama should return and take charge of Ayodhya, and finally plead for his return to Ayodhya and get crowned.

On seeing Rama in humble conditions in the forest, Bharata wails thus: “Here is that very elder brother of mine, who deserves to be attended upon by ministers in a royal assembly sitting in the company of wild deer. How is this person of my celebrated elder brother … who deserves comforts, has met with this misfortune on my account? Woe to my life, condemned by the world, cruel as I am.” Crying at the top of his voice, “My noble brother,” Bharata bows down at the feet of Rama, as he could not speak further for his throat dries up and eyes are filled with tears.

Moved to tears on thus beholding Bharata with joined palms, Rama, touching his head as an expression of his affection for him and placing him on his lap, tenderly questions him: “What brings you here now to the forest with all this paraphernalia?” 

Continuing his pleasant enquiries about the king, Ayodhya, its sages, and the welfare of its people, Rama subtly shifts his dialogue to the finer elements of judicature—without, of course, giving any scope to the listener to feel that he is being taught—by making matter-of-fact statements or raising questions such as: 
  • O, gentle brother! I hope the eternal kingdom has in no way suffered from your youthful experience. My darling! Are you rendering service to our father, who is truly valiant?
  • The source of victory for kings indeed comes from a closely guarded counsel by ministers, who are well-versed in political sciences and who can keep their thoughts to themselves.
  • I hope that you do not deliberate alone, nor indeed with numerous men. I hope the decision arrived at by you through such deliberation does not reach to the public even before it is carried out.
  • O, Bharata! I hope every undertaking launched by you has maximum benefit with minimum cost.  
  • I hope you seek one wise man rather than a thousand fools, for a wise man can be of a great help to you in difficult matters.
  • Even one wise, valiant, sagacious, efficient minister alone can cause to achieve great prosperity for the king.  
  • I hope that superior servants are assigned superior works while the mediocre are attending to mediocre works, and inferior servants inferior works.
  • I hope you are appointing those as ministers who are eminent, incorruptible, born of the fathers and descendants of good family, and who are full of integrity in matters of great importance. 
  • I hope you have selected a cheerful, wise, courageous, valiant, well-behaved, born in a good family and who is beloved by his subordinates as the army chief. 
  • I hope those warriors who are excellent, strong, skilled in warfare, whose excellent actions were seen before, and the most courageous ones are duly honored and respected by you.
  • When there is delay in giving bread and wages, the servants become incensed against their master and become corrupt; and that is said to be a great unfortunate occurrence.
  • I hope that a knowledgeable man living in your own country, a wise man, a skilled person endowed with presence of mind, and the one who knows how to speak to the point is selected as an ambassador by you.  
  • I hope your income is abundant and expenditure minimum. I hope your bounty does not reach undeserving people, O, Bharata!
  • I hope that you seek to administer pleasingly by following three means, namely gifts, a loving mind, and polite words.  
  • The tears that drop from the eyes of men falsely convicted, O scion of Raghu, destroy the sons and cattle of a king who rules the people merely for the sake of pleasure.
  • Do you abjure the following fourteen failings of kings, viz., disbelief in the other world, mendacity, anger, neglect of kingly duties, procrastination, shunning the wise, sloth, thralldom by the five senses, devoting thought to the affairs of the State without seeking the advice of others,  taking counsel with those of perverted insight, failure to launch projects already decided upon, failure to keep secrets, failure to utter auspicious words at the beginning of every undertaking, and rising from one’s seat to receive all?
  • O, the very wise Bharata! I hope you understand the following and deal with them properly: the ten evils attendant on royalty; the five kinds of fortifications; the four expedients; the seven limbs of State; the eight evils born of anger or the eight measures, the three objects of human pursuit or three kinds of power;  the three branches of learning; subjugation of the senses, the six strategic expedients; adversity brought about by divine agencies and by human agencies; the twenty types of monarchs, and the entire population of the kingdom, setting about on an expedition, drawing up an army in a battle-array and the two bases, viz., peace and war.
    • Ten evils attendant on royalty to be eschewed: Hunting, gambling, sleeping during the day, lustfulness, inebriation, pride, calumny, lounging about idly or aimlessly, diversions such as singing and dancing. 
    • Five kinds of fortifications: By moat, high bank, trees thickly planted, a space destitute of grain or provisions, and the turning of waters.
    • Four expedients: Making peace, liberality, sowing dissension, and chastisement. 
    • Seven limbs of State: King, ministers, friends, treasure, territory, forts, and army. 
    • Three objects of human pursuit: Religious merit, material wealth and sensuous enjoyment or the three kinds of power (viz., energy, power of dominion, and power of counsel).
    • Three branches of learning: The three Vedas, the knowledge relating to agriculture, commerce and other vocational pursuits, and political science. 
    • Six strategic expedients: Coming to terms with the enemy, waging war against him, marching against him, biding one’s time to seek a favorable opportunity, causing dissension in the enemy’s ranks, and seeking protection of a powerful ally.
    • Adversity brought about by divine agencies: Fire, water in the shape of excessive rains or floods, epidemic or endemic diseases, famine and pestilence, and earthquakes and tsunamis.
    • Adversity brought about by human agencies: officials, thieves, enemies, king’s favorites, and king himself when actuated by greed. 
    • Twenty types of monarchs  who are not worth negotiating with: a king who is yet a child;  aged;  who has been ailing for a long time; who has been ostracized by his own kith and kin; who is characterized by a cowardly attitude; who is surrounded by cowards; who is greedy; who has greedy associates; who has estranged his ministers and others; who confers with fickle-minded persons; who speaks ill of divine beings; who excessively indulges in sensuous pleasures and luxuries; who is ill-fated; a fatalist who believes that all things are predetermined or subject to fate; who is afflicted by famine; and by military reverses; who mostly remains away from home; who has numerous enemies; who is in the clutches of adverse times; and who is not devoted to truth and piety.   
  • Do you follow the way of life that is in accordance with the way of the virtuous and which is righteous, which our father treads and which our forbears trod?
Interestingly, all these dictums that poet Valmiki puts before us through Rama have relevance to the governance of today’s sovereigns or, for that matter, even modern-day businesses too—the need to place the right man in the right job;  right age and experience; the willingness of the CEO to put the organizational interest before his own interests; observance of proper etiquette while interacting with stakeholders; the necessity of personal sacrifice of the CEOs for the top performance of the companies; commitment to righteousness, etc. are ever important. By making Rama enquire Bharata, “O, gentle brother! I hope the eternal kingdom has in no way suffered from your youthful experience”, Valmiki highlights the need for “years of seasoning”, which even modern management pundits like Jay A Conger, the Henry Kravis Chaired Professor of Leadership at Claremont McKenna College in California, consider as an essential aid for a leader to be effective.

Box 7.1 – George Merck: The Leader Who Put profit second
The Merck & Co., boss didn’t worry about Wall Street – and grew profits 50-fold.

Late one afternoon in 1978, Dr. William Campbell did what all great researchers do: He wondered at the data. While testing a new compound to battle parasites in animals, he was struck with the idea that it might be effective against another parasite – one that causes blindness and itching in humans so horrific that some victims have committed suicide. Campbell might have simply scribbled a note in the files and gone to lunch. After all, the potential “customers” – tribal people in remote tropical locations – would have no money to buy it. Undaunted, Campbell penned a memo to his employer, Merck & Co., urging pursuit of the idea. Today 30 million people a year receive Mectizan, the drug inspired by his observation, largely free of charge. The most exceptional part of the story is that it wasn’t an exception. “Medicine is for people, not for the profits,” George Merck II declared on the cover of Time in August 1952 – a rule his company observed in dispensing Streptomycin to Japanese children following World War II. Yet fuzzy-headed moralistic fervor wasn’t George Merck. Austere and patrician, he simply believed that the purpose of a corporation is to do something useful, and to do it very well. “And if we have remembered that, the profits have never failed to appear,” he explained. “The better we remembered, the larger they have been.” It’s the mirror image of CEOs whose unhealthy fixations with Wall Street have served neither people nor profits: Merck served shareholders so well precisely because he served others first.

Source: Adapted from “The 10 Greatest CEOs of All Time”, Jim Collins, Effective Executive, September 2010, pp. 42-47
What poet Valmiki makes Rama teach his brother, Bharata, who is to be the ruler of Ayodhya, as to what, as a scion of Raghu clan, he is supposed to do and how he, as the ruler of Ayodhya, should conduct himself, is what Conger puts forth in different words: if we have to “teach and train managers to be leaders”, they must be made “to appreciate at a very personal level the demands of being an effective leader”. Valmiki’s articulation about the importance of assigning the various duties to appropriately qualified people and seeking advice from wise people for ensuring the welfare of the people makes it clear that no single individual, however mighty he is, can do everything by himself. The importance of this advice is highlighted by Michael Dell and Kevin Rollins, joint CEOs of Dell, in their interview to Harvard Business Review—Dell: “It’s a myth that one person can really run a company”; Rollins: “Either he doesn’t actually run it, or he dies trying.”3 Valmiki’s Rama, besides making Bharata thus understand the personal discipline and high standards that one has to set for oneself as the king, also shows him “how he can fail”.
Rama, the Teacher, Walks the Talk

According to Conger, “The leader must consistently role-model the critical behaviors that he or she wishes for followers to embrace.” Indeed, this is what Valmiki too highlights in the next Canto in which Bharata—having been asked by Rama, “What brings you here now to the forest with all this paraphernalia?”—begins his attempt to get Rama back to Ayodhya.

Bharata first emphasizes to Rama the unbroken tradition in the Ikshvaku family, that of the eldest son succeeding to the throne. Second, he says that he is not willing to submit to his mother’s improper wish: “My mother’s attempt should be completely foiled; I do not wish to profit from it.” Indeed he goes to the extent of saying, “My father was induced to these ill-proceedings by Kaikeyi. She has ruined her great name through history and she has committed a great sin.” Continuing with his pleading, Bharata says, “The power to emulate your ruling capacity does not lie in me,” and implores Rama to oblige him by accepting the throne of Ayodhya.

But Rama was not to be won over by such earnest appeals. Embracing Bharata, Rama says: “How can a man of noble descent … perpetrate a sinful act for the sake of sovereignty? I do not discover even a minute fault in you.… Nor should you reproach your mother through ignorance. Scriptures permit freedom of action to elders with reference to their esteemed wife and progeny…. The emperor [King Dasaratha] was perfectly within his rights to send me to a forest with the bark of trees wrapped about me and wearing the skin of a black buck about my loins or install me on the throne of Ayodhya.… Commanded by the parents, to ‘proceed to the forest,’ how can I do anything else?”

Then Bharata argues that “A son who honours only a good deviation (from righteousness) of a father is accepted as a real son in this world. He who acts otherwise than this would be facing a quite reverse situation. You be that real son. Do not submit yourself to the improper act, committed by our father, which in this world, confident men freely condemn.”   He further pleads: “I am only a boy. Don’t put too much on my unripe shoulders … I have brought everything from the capital … I have brought all the gurus; Vasishtha is here … all things are here.… It is my intention to have you crowned here … Let me anoint you here.” Persisting with his fervent appeal, Bharata beseeches Rama, “shirasaa tvaa abhiyaace aham kuruShva karuNaam mayi / baandhaveShu ca sarveShu bhuuteShu iva mahaa iishavaraH” (2-106:31)—I request you by bowing my head before you. Show compassion on me and on all our relatives like Lord Shiva on all beings.

Rama is however absolutely firm about his dharma when he says, “Father has laid on me one duty—going to the forest. He has laid on you another duty, being king at Ayodhya. Go and get yourself crowned.... Carry out our father’s wish as I am carrying out his wish.” 

At some point, as these two brothers are trying to convince each other of their respective point of view with due respect to each other, Vasishtha intervenes saying, “in the Ikshvaku family, in every single case a dead king had been succeeded by the eldest son, sanaatanam kula dharmam (2-110:36)—This is the eternal tradition of your race; so, you better come and rule the kingdom …  O, Rama the tormentator of the enemies! I am the spiritual Preceptor to your father and to you too. In obeying my words, you will not transgress the path of the virtuous….” But Rama politely refuses to accept his view saying, “No son can ever adequately repay what he takes from his parents ... aajnaatam yan mayaa tasya na tan mithyaa bhaviShyati (2-111:11)— Indeed I will not fail to do what my father bade me to do.”

Bharata then says, “I am going to perform prayopavesa as my brother is not willing to yield to me.… I will lie down on the kusa grass. I refuse to eat, refuse to sleep until my brother yields.” Then Rama chides him saying: “This is quite wrong … prayopavesa is not our, warrior class, province. We … ought not to do it.”

Even after noticing Rama’s disapproval, Bharata does not at once get up from the upavesa. Instead he asks the people who accompanied him, “Why don’t you say a word to my brother? See how obstinate he is? Speak to him.”  Though they are all interested in getting Rama back, they could not but say, “What are we to do? Your brother seems to be right.”

As a last resort to get Rama back, Bharata says, “Brother, this kingdom is yours. You accept it and if you want, then appoint a regent, whom you feel suitable to rule on your behalf.” Pleased to hear what Bharata said, Rama says, “Through the extraordinary humility that you have now shown, you have proved to me your competence to rule the kingdom. If still there are any doubts, you can always take the advice of ministers. So, giving up any hope that you might have of my returning to Ayodhya abandoning the promise given by me to parents, or my dharma, please go and rule the kingdom.” Lastly, Rama also advises Bharata to treat Kaikeyi as a mother should be treated.

Their contention for surrendering their right to sovereignty, of course, comes to an end with Bharata accepting to rule Ayodhya as the trustee of Rama by placing the sandals of Rama on the throne. But what poet Valmiki wants today’s leaders to learn from this enlightening discourse between Rama and Bharata—in which both brothers decline their legitimate right to power, though both of them had a claim over the kingdom in their own way, which neither of them wanted to exercise—is: never go against the canons of human values and importantly Dharma.

Box 7.2 – Azim Hasham Premji’s Value-Based Leadership at Wipro
On the sudden demise of his father, M H Premji, Azim Hasham Premji (Premji) was called upon to manage Wipro when he was just 21 years old. He therefore quit his studies at Stanford University, USA to take over the management of family business. In 1966, when he took over the management, Wipro—the 2-million company—was engaged in the manufacturing of hydrogenated cooking fats. 

Since then, the company has been on a rapid growth path. In the late 1970s, when IBM was expelled from India, Premji seized the opportunity and started manufacturing mini-computers to capitalize on the growing demand for computers in India.  Although he had no knowledge or experience in the field, Premji, collaborating with scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) in Bangalore, could achieve success with his product line. Thus was born the company Wipro Technologies in 1980. In 1984, Wipro Systems Ltd. was established as Wipro’s software products subsidiary. Later on, when the Indian markets were liberalized in 1991, Wipro started producing software for export to the US. In 1994, as a move towards business integration, all the subsidiaries were merged into Wipro Ltd.

Under Premji’s leadership, Wipro has grown into a company that has varied businesses ranging from IT services to consumer goods worth $2.8 bn as of March 2012, serving customers across the globe. As of March 2012, Premji owns 78.18% of Wipro shares, making him one of the richest men in India. According to Premji, the success of Wipro squarely rests on the value system that the company has breathed in, which he describes as: “When I look at where we have come, what gives me tremendous personal satisfaction is not so much the success, but the fact that we achieved this success without compromising on the values we defined for ourselves. Values combined with a powerful vision can turbo-charge a company to scale new heights and make it succeed beyond one’s wildest expectations.”

In July 2007, Business Week nominated Premji as one of the top 30 all-time great entrepreneurs in the world, along with Bill Gates and Michael Dell. The magazine said, “After making the company profitable … Premji led Wipro into the nascent tech economy in the 1970s. Premji is also a hands-on manager involved in its day-to-day operations, even making sales calls himself. 

According to Steve Hamm, author of Bangalore Tiger: How Indian Tech Upstart Wipro Is Rewriting the Rules of Global Competition (2006), “One of Premji’s most important accomplishments has been creating a sinewy management culture that thrives even under intense competitive pressure. He established two core principles that are instrumental in building the character of his leadership team. The first is rare among India’s family-controlled companies: The chairman is not king. While Premji owns a controlling stake in Wipro, he shares authority and responsibility with his subordinates. The second key principle: Premji believes in a zero-politics culture. At Wipro, backstabbing, playing favorites, and kissing up to the boss—tactics that sap much of American executives’ energy—simply don’t work. Open and honest disagreements are not only tolerated, but also required of everyone.

In a study conducted by Hewitt Associates in 2003, Premji was voted as the top CEO of 2004 selected in the Asia-Pacific region. The study pointed out that Premji was a leader who paid immense attention to the processes of developing and attracting leaders.

Premji believed in empowering people so that they could express their opinions and ideas freely. Employee feedback and communication was a transparent process and was considered to be the cornerstone of progress at Wipro.

Premji believed in:  “Values provide us with courage to stand up to any distractions along the way. The strong desire to move ahead can at times tempt businesses to cut corners or bend the rules. Values provide the necessary brakes or limits to keep leadership from going astray. Values essentially provide us with an internal discipline.” According to him, values also developed trust in the organization. Trust helped in building better relationships with friends, peers, team-members and business associates.

Talking about Premji’s leadership style, Pratik Kumar, Corporate Vice-President, Human Resources, Wipro Limited said, “He believes that personal credibility is one of the most important traits of a leader. Leadership must coach and energize others is what Mr. Premji demonstrates at the training sessions. Mr. Premji knows when to back out of the limelight and credit someone else in the organization with success.

Premji believed that excellence in the organization could be built by creating an obsession with excellence. According to him, the driver of excellence is internal—a battle that one has to fight with oneself by constantly raising the bar and stretching oneself and one’s team. He also believes that excellence calls for self-confidence and this calls for a culture of teaming at all levels. He says humility is another prerequisite of excellence—else one may become arrogant and lose the battle. Premji also placed great importance on innovation and creativity in developing a successful organization. 

It is these leadership traits of Premji that made his competitor N R Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys, say, “Wipro is a good competitor and full of decent people. I would give Azim Premji the credit for the company’s value system.” 

Source: Adapted from “Azim Hasham Premji’s Value-Based Leadership”, Case Folio – The Icfai Journal of Management Case studies, August, 2008, pp 58-74.

So, What Is It Valmiki Is Teaching Us?
The poet is articulating about Dharma and the importance of adhering to it. Valmiki, by depicting Rama as the upholder of Dharma, as the axis of the universe which revolves around the twin poles of compassion and renunciation, is placing, to borrow the words of modern management guru Peter Drucker, “such great emphasis on the character of managers [kings] and on the immense responsibilities they bear”. Besides, the characters of both the brothers, Rama and Bharata, are carved in such a way that they both assert their individuality, nobility, freedom, and strength—all to stand by their irreducible, unconquerable moral resolve—simply reflecting, in Drucker’s words, “a terrible urgency of moral purpose.”

Secondly, Valmiki makes it abundantly clear how important it is for a leader to walk the talk if he intends to make his followers adapt to his philosophy by deftly positioning Rama’s instructions to Bharata on good governance prior to his asserting his irrevocable commitment to practice righteousness by refusing to yield to Bharata’s prayer to return to Ayodhya in the subsequent scene. It also proves what Hans-Paul Burkner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Consulting Group, once said: “Good advice comes in the form of deeds, not words.” 

Thirdly, Valmiki, by making Bharata carry out Rama’s advice (to fulfill his father’s command of ruling Ayodhya) but in his own way—keeping Rama’s sandals on throne and ruling Ayodhya on Rama’s behalf—is subtly saying that “acting on the advice works best when you do it your way”, a thought which Burkner proposed based on his own experience: “The best advice I ever got came not by listening, but by observing one of my colleagues, Tom Lewis—by watching his behavior, coming to understand his philosophy, and then adapting it to my own style, the style of ‘directness’ that came naturally to me,  as against Tom’s subtlety.”

By making Rama listen to every argument put forward by Bharata, saint Vasishtha, and others, by making him patiently reason out with them as to why the dharma does not permit him to disobey his father’s command and why he cannot concede to the pleadings of all those for his return to Ayodhya for taking up the kingship, and finally by making him give his sandals to Bharata who wanted to rule the kingdom only on Rama’s behalf, Valmiki is emphasizing how important it is for leaders to care  for the shubham—‘general good’ of all. No leader of today can afford to ignore this simple truth.  

The style of interaction that Valmiki has structured between Rama and Bharata and its outcome show that good relationships, as psychologist John M Gottman, Executive Director, Relationship Research Institute, Seattle, says, “aren’t about clear communication—they’re about small moments of attachment and intimacy.” Secondly, the whole act of Bharata’s rushing to Chitrakuta accompanied by the ministers, sages, mothers and other important people of Ayodhya and his earnest pleading with Rama to accept the crown, and Rama’s patient listening and careful answering, as also his requesting Bharata to treat his mother honorably, shows “that respect and affection are the two most important things” which matter for success in relationships—a fact that has also been inferred by Gottman from his experimental studies. So, the takeaway for today’s executives is: Be it within families, or at workplaces, it is only good relations that ultimately result in shubham (general good of all)—the summum bonum of the existence of any organization.



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