Qualities of a King stated in Ramayana – Part 1

Rama speaks to Bharata about the qualities of a great King in Ramayana (Ayodhya Kanda: Chapter 100). Even though these qualities were spelled out in the Treta Yuga, they are still very relevant today. The “King” mentioned here need not always be a National Political Leader. Any one in a Leadership position can be considered here – be it in Business, Arts, Education or Military.


(Image Credit: Global Panorama)

Right Ministers

The King should appoint the right kind of Ministers or Top Management to ensure success. These Ministers should be fit to be in the company of the King. Those who are not great to be associated with due to character or ethical standards are best to be kept away from Ministerial positions.

Ministers should be brave by nature. They should be fit to take tough decisions in difficult circumstances. There would come a time to take a decision which may look not so popular among the masses or office staff. But the choice to take the right decision should be exercised. Ministers should also be quite learned and knowledgeable about various sciences such as Economics, Law, Psychology and so on. In the ancient periods, they were part of Shastras such as Niti Shastra (Law), Artha Shastra (Economics), Dhanur Shastra (Weapons) and so on.

Ministers should have strong will power and not be easily influenced by their senses. Ramayana says Ministers should be “Jitendriyas” – ones who have won over their Senses (Indriyas). If a minister can be influenced by money, sex, material possessions and such, he should not be entertained to hold that position. Ministers should also come from good backgrounds. People with questionable past that is tainted with violence, corruption, links with negative elements of the society and such should not be entertained.

Quality of Decisions

The success as a King lies in the quality of decisions he makes. A king should never take a decision alone. Neither should decisions be discussed with too many people. The people with whom the King choose to discuss should be very trustworthy. They should not leak the decisions to the public or media. The commitment to secrecy is very critical for King’s men. There would always be circumstances where a Minister would be influenced by alcohol, women or other factors to leak out information. This should be carefully guarded.

A King is not expected to get too sleepy. Every night he should think over the affairs of the day and prepare himself for the right actions the next day. There are many ideas that can be started easily and yield great results. These can be simple practices or checks to be executed by the King. Such practices should be executed without much delay. In the present day, certain Project Management Techniques such as Stand up Meetings would fall under this category.

Once a plan is made, neighbouring kings or spies should not come to know about it till the final phases of execution. Strategic Public Relations Management and secrecy are key to success for any leader.

Quality of People

A great leader employs the right person for the right job. More than getting hundreds of not so smart people, one excellent employee can deliver great results. WhatsApp still employs less than 60 people and is valued over $19 Billion. They realise the value of right people. Many companies and nations fail due to sheer size of their bureaucratic set up. Too many people in the payroll does not always mean the best of results.

The most demanding jobs should be entrusted with the best person. Normal jobs should be given to people who can handle just that. It is necessary to look at a man’s capability while entrusting a responsibility. Small responsibilities should be given to those who can handle just the small stuff. This may look very logical and self evident. But, right from the period of Ramayana, this principle was held with a lot of weightage.

If you are selected to be a King or a Leader, do you have any checks and balances with regards to your actions?

Here is Part 2 of this article.

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