Sunday, July 10, 2016

Yudhishtira and Serena Williams

It was the saddest chapter in the annals of the Kuruvamsha, an event on which the entire clan was to be ashamed for ever. What started as a game of dice turned out to be the ultimate in gambling due to the evil designs of Shakuni, to satisfy the desires of Duryodhana. Yudhishtira went on placing bets despite repeated warnings from his brothers and duly lost everything he had. The game continued. He lost his brothers as well one by one. As a last resort he placed Draupadi as a bet as well and lost her too. Draupadi was not aware of the happenings at the event and was not a party to the goings on at the royal court. She did not consent to the events nor approved it. Yet she was drawn by fate to the hall and Dushasana, on the orders of his brother Duryodhana, dragged her by her hair as she was declared now to be the slave of the hundred brothers. The crowned Queen of the Pandavas was shamelessly brought before the gathering of gamblers despite her repeated commands, requests and appeals. None in the court except Vidura had the courage to protest. She stood there asking questions for which nobody had either the answers or the courage to reply, even if they had one.

The matter did not end there. The evil ones went a step further, a step which should have never been taken. They used abusive language and used filthy words questioning Draupadi's righteousness as she lived with five husbands. Duryodhana ordered his brother Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi. Draupadi appealed to her husbands, others and each one present in the royal court. The King Dhritarashtra was physically blind as well as to her pleadings. Other elders did not have the courage to speak out. Some wept silently as Draupadi cried loudly and repeatedly. Dushasana attempted to disrobe her, but some miracle saved her from further embarrassment. She came out unscathed and now the old King was afraid about the further wellbeing of his sons. He was forced to release the Pandavas. But they were consigned to the forests for twelve years and further one year of living incognito. If their identities were detected during the last one year, they had repeat the cycle. Ultimate aim was to deny them their rightful share of kingdom for ever. The Pandavas left with Draupadi and moved into the forests. 

Duryodhana was not content with the fruits of deceit. He was not satisfied with mere banishing Pandavas to the forests. He wanted to further add injury to the insults heaped on them. He planned to make a show of his great wealth and riches and make the Pandavas jealous of his position and enjoyment. He led his entire entourage to the forest. The group camped close to the Pandavas huts and made a lot of noise disturbing the peace in the forests. Pandavas kept quiet at the biding of Yudhishtira, but others had no such compulsions. Chitraratha, Gandharva King, commander and friend of Indra, was disturbed by the group and advised Duryodhana and his associates to leave the area and go away. Power having removed all sanity from their brains, Kauravas and their associates not only refused to do so but also got engaged in a war with Chitraratha's group. They were beaten black and blue by the Gandharva army and all of Duryodhana's heroes including Karna and Shakuni ran away. Chitraratha made a big bundle of Duryodhana by using "Varuna Pasha". The bundle was put in Chitraratha's chariot and driven away to their abode. 

The servants and the womenfolk of the Kauravas entourage now ran towards the Pandavas huts. They begged Yudhishtira to get the bundled Duryodhana released from Chitraratha's custody. Yudhishtira advised his brothers, Bheema and Arjuna, to fight with Chitraratha and get Duryodhana released. The two brothers were reluctant and felt that what Chitraratha did was to their own advantage. What should have been done by us is done by him, they said. Yudhishtira now commanded them to proceed. Chitraratha now had no alternative but to surrender Duryodhana. He brought the bundled Duryodhana and threw him at the foot of Yudhishtira.

Chitraratha had a question for Yudhishtira. Why do you interfere with the capturing of your worst enemy?, he asked. The reply given by Yudhishtira is legendary and gives an insight into his wonderful personality. He had his own arithmetic as the answer to Chitraratha's question. He said:

परैः परिभवे प्राप्ते वयं पन्चोत्तरं शतं|
परस्पर विरोधेतु वयं पञ्चैव ते शतं|| 

Paraih paribhave prapte vayam panchotaram shatam,
Paraspara virodhetu vayam panchaiva, te shatam!   

"In a dispute with outsiders, we are hundred and five. In a dispute between us, we are five. They are hundred." (Our dispute is purely between us. When an outsider confronts us, we are hundred five brothers. We will settle our dispute among ourselves. We do not allow others to take advantage of our differences. We are united when an external force attacks our clan).

Duryodhana had come to harass the Pandavas. He was now lying as a bundle at the feet of Yudhishtira. Yudhishtira asked Chitraratha to release Duryodhana from the pasha. Chitraratha said that it can be released only by the touch of a righteous woman who led a truthful life. All womenfolk tried to release Duryodhana, one by one. None succeeded. Now Yudhishtira looked at Draupadi. The one who was humiliated and insulted by the person lying as a bundle looked at Duryodhana with utter disregard. Draupadi kicked the bundle and Duryodhana was released! Duryodhana's questions and filthy words were duly answered in the most unexpected and emphatic manner. Duryodhana was now forced to live under the shame of Draupadi's kick for the rest of his life. It was poetic justice at its best.

*****
Serena Williams has won her 7th Wimbledon Championship and 22nd title at Majors, popularly called as Grand Slam events, at the age of 34 years. She also won her 6th Wimbledon doubles title today (It was Sunday in India when the match ended in London) with sister Venus Williams. She had only enough time to get her ankles re-taped in between her grueling Singles Final and Doubles Final. Each time the sisters won the doubles crown, one of them also won the singles championship. The sisters have 14 doubles titles at Majors in all. With 7 crowns in Wimbledon, 6 each at Australian Open and US Open, and three at French Open, she has a fair distribution of wins in all types of surfaces. She won her first major title at the age of 18 and now at 34 continues to chug on. She is the only one to win 10 titles in two separate decades. She is ranked at number 1 for over ten years. Injuries and family troubles have not deterred her quest for achievements.

She acknowledges that in Doubles games her sister Venus is the boss. They are two together against any other opponents. But when it comes to fighting in Singles matches, there is no unity. She fights tooth and nail despite her own elder sister at the other side of the net. At the peak of their intense rivalry, there were some who suggested that their father decided who would win the singles match between them. They were insulting their determination as well as did not understand their professional pride. 

In a fight with others during a doubles match, the sisters are one group of two. In a singles match between them, they are two fierce opponents. No quarter given and none asked. Just as Yudhishtira said: Five and 105. No outsider can take advantage.

*****  
Yudhishtira's reply to Chitraratha mentioned above is an excellent lesson in management of Organizations. When confronted by outsiders, the entire workforce has to rise as one united bunch, despite any internal differences. Internal issues can be resolved internally; outsiders should not be allowed to take advantage of internal bickering.   

The sloka mentioned above is also a piece of wonderful poetry. The choice of words is indeed excellent. It conveys the true meaning with punch. Simple words are woven with intricate skills. It thrills the lovers of good poetry. It makes one to think of the principle it enunciates again and again as well. 

23 comments:

  1. Thanks, Keshav Murthy sir, beautifully written

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  2. Not only Unity, righteous approach despite all odds to uphold Dharma & Justice will achieve the victory though belatedly. Your narration is excellent.

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  3. It was really learning and motivational story sir...thanx for sharing..

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  4. Dear Mr.Keshava Murthy,

    The principle involved is so nicely and interestingly narrated. A very good example of how stories to be told and how the inner meaing of teh stories to be related to the present day work and life.Excellent Murthyji.

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  5. Dear Sir, an awesome read once again.. connecting Yudhishtira and Serena Williams, is something that only you could think of, and then beautifully linked it to the present day scenario..

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  6. Thanks for such wonderful article.

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  7. Dear Prof KEshava Murthy,
    Its always a pleassure to read your write ups. This is piece is well articualted and highly insightful. Thank you very much .
    Regards
    Rajashekar

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  8. Nice analogy Sir & well narrated. What strikes to me immediately is the Indo-Pak relations. If only we were to have a relationship as good, when we could say.........among ourselves we are rivals and against rest of the world we are 'two'. But unfortunately the story is different.Lakshminarayana K

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  9. It's Wonderful and excellent article,sir

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  10. extraordinarily brilliant as usual

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  11. The common link between the two episodes has been brought out beautifully. As usual, excellent narration for which you are well known for. Thanks for the wonderfu article.

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  12. Superbly narrated. Thank you.

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  13. Superbly narrated. Thank you.

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  14. As always, a great narrative and beautiful analogy

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  15. Sir only u can narrate a story like this...waiting for more...

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  16. I repeat: "Sir only u can narrate a story like this..."
    Excellent

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