Working It Out: Management lessons from the Ramayana

Be a curious student and see what you should learn from Ramayana to take your professional life to the next level. The characters of Rama, Ravana, Kaikeye and Dashratha, among all the others, have much to teach, if only you know where to look.

Written by Siddhartha S | Singapore | Published:July 31, 2017 7:54 pm
ramayana, life lessons from ramayana, ramayana lessons, business lessons indian mythology When the King Janaka organised the wedding of his daughter Sita, fearsome warriors were invited to participate in a ‘Swayamvar spardha’- the competitive act of choosing one’s husband’. As a business owner, expect strong competition and learn whatever it takes to win what you want ethically.

History teaches if we are willing to learn.

As an Indian, like most of my friends, I grew up listening to stories from epics like Ramayana and the Mahabharata. I personally believe that there are lot of things today’s 21st century managers and corporate leaders can learn from these wise pieces of literature. I suggest reading this article without any religious biases as the intent is just to learn from the historic or the mythological characters. Read this as a student of ‘history’ and you will gain the most out of it. If you have not read the Ramayana, I advise you to read a few pages about it on the Internet, this will help you get the most out of this article.

1. Never have too many controlling stakeholders in your business:

King Dashratha had three wives – Kaushalaya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Thus, when you have too many stakeholders in decision making, it becomes difficult to control your business. Kaushalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat and Sumitra gave birth to Laxmana and Shatrughana. Power dilutes when too many stakeholders take charge of any business.

2. Never sign a document without reading the terms and conditions:

Once queen Kaikeyi had saved King Dashratha’s life in battle. Dashratha was very pleased with his queen and thus in order to repay the favour, the king told her that she can ask for any two boons from the king. When Kaikeyi’s mind was influenced by her maid Manthara, she used these boons against her stepson Rama and tried to make her own son Bharata the next crowned king of the kingdom. She asked the king to send Rama on a 14-year-long exile to the forest and to declare her son Bharata as the next king of the kingdom. In business, you cannot trust anyone. Make sure, you have all the your contacts in black and white.

3. Learn from the experts:

King Dashratha sent his son Rama to sage Vishwamitra for learning the art of warfare. As the promoter or owner of the business, learn to send your children to the most suitable teacher. Raise your next generation of leaders by putting them in challenging situations. Help them develop the skills they must learn to face a challenging business environment.

4. Be willing to compete:

When the King Janaka organised the wedding of his daughter Sita, fearsome warriors were invited to participate in a ‘Swayamvar spardha’- the competitive act of choosing one’s husband’. The king organised a competition in which Rama defeated all other warriors and emerged as the most suitable candidate. As a business owner, expect strong competition and learn whatever it takes to win what you want ethically.

5. Do not covet what does not belong to you:

If you see the entire story plot of Ramayana you will realise that it is made up of storylines where human greed took charge. Kaikeyi wanted her son to be the next king; Ravana’s sister Surpanakha wanted to marry Laxmana, who rejected her evil advances and ended up cutting her nose; King Bali abducted the wife of his own brother Sugreeva. Likewise, Ravana wanted to possess Sita, who was the rightfully wedded wife of Rama. Ravana – blinded by his desire to possess Sita – ended up abducting her. The entire battle of Lanka was fought to free Sita from the shackles of the evil king Ravana. In your business too, learn to play ethical. Do not do anything illegal or overlook laws to secure a quick win.

6. Keep wise counsel:

Queen Kaikeyi kept an evil maid Manthara as her counsel. Over time, the woman managed to poison Kaikeyi’s mind against Rama. King Ravana avoided the counsel of his wife Mandodari who told her to return Sita respectfully to her husband. He did not listen to his own brother Vibhishana and kicked him out of his kingdom. Do not have subordinates who always try to flatter you. Surround yourself with a team of people who tell you what you need to know and not what you like to know.

7. Choose your joint venture alliances carefully:

Rama, in order to win, needed a powerful ally. Yet when it came to making an alliance, he choose Sugreeva over his powerful brother King Bali. Bali was a very powerful man who had already defeated Ravana once, and yet Rama did not join forces with him because he was an immoral man. He kicked his own brother Sugreeva out of the Kishkindha kingdom and abducted his wife. If you partner with wrong and unethical people you may win in the short run, but in the lose run will lose your reputation.

8. Negotiate and do not fight disruption:

Before declaring a full-scale war, Rama tried to negotiate with King Ravana by sending Angada as his emissary. Later on, even Hanumaan offered peace to Ravana, but he was so blinded in his ignorance that he failed to see a more powerful force. Innovate on your strategy regularly. Choose innovation over ignorance. A low of businesses die because their leader could not negotiate and adapt well to a powerful force of disruption. The businesses which do not change with time, eventually get destroyed.

Be a curious student and see what you should learn from Ramayana to take your professional life to the next level.

Siddhartha S is an author of 5 books — '60 Keys to Success with NLP’, ‘Thank God it’s Monday’, and many others. He calls himself a ‘weekend writer’ and writes on how to attain peak performance in personal life. The views presented are strictly his personal views and cannot be attributed to any organisation he is or will be part of.

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  1. Y
    Yogesh
    Aug 1, 2017 at 5:35 am
    Peak of mental ation of Brahmin piglets!
    Reply
    1. I
      Israeli.Dik.for.brahmins
      Aug 1, 2017 at 5:22 am
      0.0 ALL BRAHMINS SHOULD SUK THE DIKS OF ALL MALE ISRAELITES. 0.0.0. Israelites may run away from brahmins. Brahmins should not be deterred. Run behind them and forcefully suk their DIK. 0.0.0.0. Then brahmins should howl "Israeli DIK is sweeter than all Indian diks"
      Reply
      1. A
        Antony
        Jul 31, 2017 at 9:58 pm
        You can also learn from Christian Bible. How Bible teaches to slave. How Bible allowed Christian naazi HItler and Faschhist Mussolini to kiII millions of Jews in the name of Jesus who was a Jew. How Christians slaves millions. How Christians priests rapes children in the name of Bible. It's all there in old and New Testament. Amen.
        Reply
        1. A
          Antony
          Jul 31, 2017 at 9:55 pm
          You can also learn from Bible. How Bible teaches to slave. HowBible allowed Christian naazi HItler and Faschhist Mussolini to kiII millions of Jews in the name of Jesus who was a Jew. How Christians slaves millions. How Christians priests rapes children in the name of Bible. It's all there in old and New Testament. Amen.
          Reply
          1. T
            Truth
            Jul 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm
            Management lessons from Modern Ramayana characters ----Modi (Lord Ram) ,,,,Yashodaben (Sita),,,,Advani (Dashrath),,,,,,,Nitish (Vibhishan),,,,,,Fatty-Shah ( without a tail !!!
            Reply
            1. T
              Truth
              Jul 31, 2017 at 8:49 pm
              Fatty-Shah ( H A N U M A N - without a tail )
              Reply
              1. A
                Antony
                Jul 31, 2017 at 9:57 pm
                You can also learn from Christian Bible. How Bible teaches to slave. How Bible allowed Christian naazi HItler and Faschhist Mussolini to kiII millions of Jews in the name of Jesus who was a Jew. How Christians slaves millions. How Christians priests rapes children in the name of Bible. It's all there in old and New Testament. Amen.
              2. M
                Murthy
                Jul 31, 2017 at 9:49 pm
                And you are Valmiki with an immodest User Name ??
                Reply
                1. D
                  Dc
                  Jul 31, 2017 at 10:11 pm
                  Yogi - monkeyman
                  Reply
                2. R
                  Rajeev Pandey
                  Jul 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm
                  You are not allowed to publish such article, for you are not qualified to do so. You are reading and encouraging others to read the Epics through the prism of modern misguided education. Through that prism you will see whatever you want to. I don't want to be very rude unless you got the signal.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    bitterhoney
                    Jul 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm
                    What is meant by god in Hinduism? Why do Hindus regard Rama as god? Is Ram the same god who created the universe or he is something else? What attributes Rama had to become god? I request the learned writer to please answer in detail. Thanks,
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Antony
                      Jul 31, 2017 at 9:57 pm
                      You can also learn from Christian Bible. How Bible teaches to slave. How Bible allowed Christian naazi HItler and Faschhist Mussolini to kiII millions of Jews in the name of Jesus who was a Jew. How Christians slaves millions. How Christians priests rapes children in the name of Bible. It's all there in old and New Testament. Amen.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Murthy
                        Jul 31, 2017 at 10:11 pm
                        'Bitterhoney', Can I have a try?? As a Hindu, my meaning of God is, It is a "Superior Intelligence" Nir-Guna Brahman, Who Alone Knows. You understand It at the Mystic level.. But Hinduism says, humans can Know Him at a Personal, direct historical level through extraordinary Figures like Sri Ramachandramurthi or Krishnaji It / He / She... all three pronouns are used in Hinduism...is considered present INSIDE every human, present in the phenomenal Universe as well. Everything is part and parcel of God. Nothing can be other than God, except IGNORANCE and enslavement to human Ego, Greed and human sense organs. God must be UNDERSTOOD not merely PRAYED TO. God is NOT a big Khaliffa sitting in judgment over each and every human. To Hindus, God is a Protector, Corrector and not a mere Punisher. Humans gain by KNOWING Him, Her, It.... God simply Is, Hindus admit He / She has many Names. Hindus are free to use Any one of thousands names of him / her. All refer to only ONE God.
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          bitterhoney
                          Jul 31, 2017 at 11:49 pm
                          Mr Murthy, what do you mean by ONE GOD? Does this ONE GOD have any power? Is Ram that ONE GOD? Is Krishna that ONE GOD? Is Vishnu that ONE GOD? Is Saraswati that ONE GOD? Is Kali that ONE GOD? How can so many gods be ONE GOD? All Hindu gods are human beings and have weaknesses of an ordinary human being. Whereas Muslims believe God is ONE and ONLY. He is all powerful, all knowing, omnipresent. He has always been there and He will always be there. He alone governs the world, He has no partners, no helpers. He alone is sufficient. He chose His prophets from among the human beings only to guide the people towards the right path prescribed by God in holy books. Those who would follow the commandment of God will be rewarded and those who would not follow them will be punished at the day of judgement. All deeds of every being are being recorded by angels minutely. Prophets themselves had no power. For details please consult Quran.
                        2. A
                          adesh
                          Aug 3, 2017 at 8:17 am
                          bitterhoney, TO ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ON GOD IS ONE OR MANY, RAM/KRISHNA WERE GOD OR NOT, ETC ETC, THERE IS ONLY ONE REPLY - READ CHAPTER 59 OF QURAN AND YOU WILL FIND ANSWERS TO ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS FROM QURAN ALL OF WHICH EXACTLY MATCHES WITH THOSE IN HINDUISM BUT INTERPRETED WRONGLY BY MUSLIMS. PROBLEM IS NOT WITH ISLAM BUT WITH MISINTERPRETATION BY MUSLIMS. most people claim of having read quran but not knowing it thoroughly. AND THOSE WHO HAVE READ IT, MISINTERPRETED IT. SO BE CAREFUL IN GIVING SUCH STATEMENTS IN PUBLIC DOMAIN WITHOUT DOING THOROUGH HOMEWORK
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