The Mahabharat is the world’s longest poem with over 100,000 stanzas and is an integral part of India’s cultural heritage. But the story of Mahabharat isn’t just for entertainment, it has something to offer as an education in life itself. The characters and situations in the epic are so varied and vast in number that almost every situation a human being might face in life are illustrated within the story-line.
For a manager, the epic is a goldmine of information on understanding human reactions and psychology. So let’s take a look at three management lessons we can learn from the Mahabharat.
Honesty Is Not Always Black and White
The eldest of the Pandavas, the protagonists, is Yudishthara, known for his truthfulness. However, in the heat of the battle at Kurukshetra, it is his lie to Drona – one of the chief warriors in the enemy Kaurava camp – that turns the tide in favor of the Pandavas.
Without Yudishthara’s “dishonesty” the Pandavas would have been slaughtered by the enemy. Integrity isn’t always black and white and speaking the truth may not always be best in every situation.
Bitterness Does Not Pay
One of the warriors of the Kaurava camp, Karna, is a tragic hero in the Mahabharat. Though a noble being, he ends up on the wrong side because of his sense of bitterness towards the Pandavas. His hatred is born of the fact that they looked down upon him because he was not of royal birth. Though he rose from being a charioteer’s son to become a king, his bitterness never left him and proved to be his downfall in the end.
Never Underestimate the Power of One
One person can make all the difference. In the lead up to the Kurukshetra war, Krishna offers both the Pandavas and Kauravas a choice. They can each choose either Krishna or Krishna’s large army to join their side. The leader of the Kauravas, Duryodhana chooses Krishna’s army. The Pandavas choose Krishna. Duryodhana’s choice costs him the war and ultimately his life because it is Krishna’s political acumen, battle tactics and personal capability that finally brings the Pandavas victory.
Whether it is love or hate, brotherhood or enmity, peace or war, they all find a place in the Mahabharat’s verses. The characters themselves represent the varied hues of humanity. The noblest and the most evil are present, as are the courageous and the deceitful.
The Mahabharat offers an opportunity to learn several lessons in management and life without having to go through all the terrible situations portrayed in the story.