Ever wondered why the two most proverbial ancient epics of India- Mahabharata and Ramayana even centuries after they were written still hold so much attention? This is because the answer of various day to day conundrums, spiritual or work (Karma) lies in these two holy books and the solutions mentioned in them are still as useful to people today as they were eons ago in the bygone era of Lord Krishna and Lord Ram.
The above statement is not aimed at advocating a specific religion. You have all the right to read the epics with a neutral and objective point of view and draw conclusions as per your observation. But as an entrepreneur, you should give a wide berth to the “religion” factor and take part in reading and exploring new possibilities that can mould your business and give it a new lucrative direction.
Diwali-the festival of lights marks the triumph of good over evil. It marks the end of a long, troublesome Vanvas of Lord Ram. Man is perpetually plunged in darkness which can in the form of greed, anger, frustration, desire or depression. How many times have you sat down and pondered over the fact that you are working more like a Robot than a human filled with resplendent dreams? Are in you a fixed mindset or do you still think embarking on the path of entrepreneurship was a mere folly? It’s the time of the year when we must look at our inner selves and have a look some enlightening lessons from the glorious depiction of Lord Ram’s life.
The only way to get other people to care about you is to care about them first
Lord Ram exemplified the perfect person, the ideal man or Maryada Purushottam. He was not only an ideal son, brother and husband but also an ideal king, an ideal leader. He knew what was in the best interest of his people and was never tentative to place his footsteps on any path that could shape their future positively. He had all the powers in the world but was still filled with humility and generosity. His kingdom and the Vanar Sena did not revere him because he embodied the divine on Earth but because he was the embodiment of compassion, gentleness, kindness, righteousness and integrity.
How many times have you paid attention to the needs of your team? Do you have a good communication with them? Or are they reluctant to share their ideas and strategies with you as they believe it would be considered worthless? And do they get the credit and appreciation they deserve?
You can never be a great leader if you can’t understand your team and motivate them to do better. A leader is not a speaker but a doer. Different petals come together and form a beautiful flower. Each one contributes to enhancing the attractiveness and beauty of the flower. The same way, each and every member of the team contributes to the success of a startup. Many realize the importance of a good team but few tend to make efforts to create a wonderful team! Just like Ram, you must put the needs of the team ahead of your personal needs.
Always be open to learning
After shooting Ravan with the fatal arrow on the battlefield, Ram asked Lakshman to go to Ravan and request him to share a few words of wisdom before his death. Ravan was a great scholar who wrote numerous works on scriptural philosophy and so Ram believed he could share some insightful knowledge with Lakshman.
Lakshman rushed across the battlefield and saw Ravan lying on the ground. He said, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins”. On hearing this, Ravan simply turned his head away and did not utter a word. Lakshman saw this as an insult to him and returned back to Ram. An angry Lakshman said, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything”. Ram comforted his brother and asked, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” To this Lakshaman replied that he stood near Ravan’s head.
Ram smiled at his answer, placed his bow down and knelt at Ravan’s feet. He joined his palms to pay his respects to the Demon king and said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.” Ravan opened his eyes, saluted Ram and praised him for his humble act. He also shared the following 6 lessons with Ram:
1- Do not be an enemy of your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook and your brother, they can harm you anytime
2- Even if you are winning always, do not think of yourself as a winner
3- A minister who criticizes you should be trusted
4- Never think your enemy is small or powerless. A time will come when they will be mighty enough to crush you
5- Never think you can outsmart the stars, they will bring you what you are destined to
6- Either love or hate god but both the feelings should be immense and strong
Many times we tend to fall into the traps of complacency and develop a know-it-all attitude. But just like mesmerizing skies, knowledge is limitless. There is no end to learning. We learn new things every day. If we keep our eyes and hears alert, we can learn new strategies which when implemented can give us the desired results. But the evils of complacency and short-sightedness often prevent us from moving forward in life. Ravana was a great king too but overconfidence and pride spifflicated his kingdom. In the end, Lord Ram was at peace whereas Ravana was in pieces.
Develop attachment to service and not position
Lord Ram was willing to accept the throne and become the King of Ayodhya for his father Dasarath’s sake. But He was also willing to forgo the responsibilities of a son and abandon the comforts of life to help his father fulfil a promise. Fulfilling our duties and putting other people before yourself is Lord Ram’s message to us.
Is your startup just a pathway to fulfil your dreams of turning a millionaire? Or is it really aimed at solving a grave problem that is faced by many? Greed is never satiated and often engenders ignorance and arrogance. Are you willing to put your heart, mind and soul in your startups just because it will someday give you back a considerable amount of revenue or because it is the fervour of your life that makes you happy?
The difference between success and failure is just a decision to keep trying
Shabri was told to wait for Lord Ram by Guru while the other disciples and the Guru himself returned to the Godhead. Every day she worked hard to clean the place, pluck the flower and fruits for Ram in the belief that he will soon come and sit next to her. This went on for years but Shabri did not lose lope. She kept cleaning the place each day with a new, revived enthusiasm and one day Lord Ram came to Shabri’s ashram because of her sincere devotion.
In your topsy-turvy entrepreneurial journey you might face many difficulties. Your parents might not approve your decision, friends might mock your ideas, the market might not prove to be favourable for you, the season might turn slack, the team might lose interest or worse, you yourself could lose interest. But are you willing to give up on your dream so easily? Failure is not a badge of shame but a pathway to success. Are you ready to stand up once again and just like Shabri have faith that you will reach your destination with time?
This Diwali, kindle the lamps of courage and take a second to sit back and observe your own actions. Diwali doesn’t just mean lightening diyas and physical fire but it also means illuminating the heart and devising ways to understand yourself in a much more comprehensive way, which will not only benefit your life but also your business and everyone related to it.