Sunday, 20 December 2015

“Leadership Lessons from Duryodhan’s Death - Vinaash Kaale, Vipreet Buddhi (Destruction Time is Soon to Arrive)” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.” — Carl Gustav Jung

There are several interpretations to a famous Sanskrit proverb — ‘Vinaash Kaale, Vipreet Buddhi’. It means one’s days are numbered when one doesn’t follow the sage advice given by elders and experienced people. It means one’s destruction time is soon to arrive when one treads the wrong path. It means living in a fool’s paradise when problems are round the corner. It means one is under the negative intelligence just before the destruction. It happened to many mythological leaders including Ravan, Kamsh, and Duryodhan to name a few.

Duryodhan’s Vipreet Buddhi Led to Vinaash Kaale

Why Duryodhan was killed in Mahabharata? Everybody knows that Duryodhan was on the wrong side. Besides, he didn’t listen to the sage advice given by others. His father advised him to avoid battle. Elders advised him to give the share to Pandavas they deserved. He didn’t listen to them. He knew that he was on the wrong path. But he stuck to his guns. His excessive ego, arrogance and autocratic behavior led to his downfall and death. Nobody was in a position to help when he was bleeding to death on the battlefield except Ashwathama who promised that he would return after killing all Pandavas.   It was the most painful day in Duryadhan’s life who lived like a king and led a royal life until his end. If he had listened to Lord Krishna’s message and warnings, he would have lived like a king and earned name in the mythology as a great king. He would have lived along with Pandavas amicably and the mythological epic would have been totally different.   

Lessons for Leaders

The reason behind writing about Duryodhan’s autocratic leadership is to caution other leaders to learn lessons from his downfall and death. Excessive ego and hubris can lead to death of your organization or institution. It is rightly said that a wise person learn from the mistakes of others whereas a fool learns from his own mistakes. Leaders must not act foolishly. They must be intelligent enough to identify the threats by taking feedback from all sources because lives of many people and the organization depends solely on them.  A minor mistake will not only adversely affect the destiny of the leaders but also the people around them.

Take Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Feedback helps leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses. It helps assess their limitations and understand the people around them. Feedback helps leaders become better leaders. Hence, taking feedback from all sources is an imperative to resolve the issues earnestly and amicably. Individuals come and go but institutions must survive. Hence, leaders must heed to the advices of experienced people and advisers to resolve the issues amicably in the larger interests of institutions and organizations.

Listen to Sage Advice

During the time of one’s destruction, one goes against one’s intelligence due to excessive ego and hubris. Kurukshetra battle was an outcome of Duryodhan’s overconfidence. He didn’t listen to sage advice. He followed wrong path. He overestimated himself and underestimated others especially Lord Krishna’s powers. Hence, leaders must listen to others’ suggestions without any hubris and ego to lead effectively.

Leaders turn blind eye to the feedback given by others, if their end is near. Institutions and organizations act against the interests, if their end is near. Hence, it is always advisable to pay heed to others and elders when they repeatedly declare that the days are numbered. Become a wise leader, not a foolish leader.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead


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Life is great!

Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Recipient of 10th International Prestigious Sardar Patel Award―2015
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL:

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  1. A message oriented article on leadership lessons. A very creative article connecting mythology with reality leadership. Proud to be your follower.

  2. Excellent article with sage advice. Looking forward to reading more such articles.

  3. Young leaders must listen to the sage advice given by elders to avoid pitfalls.