Especially for SME’s – 57: Examples of selecting whom only Mahabharat.

14 September 2022


SME 1: Can we now go onto the fourth step of strategy formulation?

Mr. Lowe: Yes, and that too involves choosing only but here in this step choose who or whom?

SME 2: A very critical parameter indeed! Let us start with Mahabharata examples.

Mr. Lowe: Mahabharat bristles with examples of choosing “who” and brings to light the criteria that we should have in mind and the criteria we should not have in mind in every example.

Karna, born to Kunti and the Sun god, was endowed with an arrow proof shield as part of his chest to protect the vital organs inside the chest, so that killing him would be a near impossibility. But Krishna knew that Karna was one of the vital few four in the Kaurava army to be taken special care of, if Pandavas had to win the war. Krishna wants to get this shield out of his body much before the war. What is critical is to get this shield out of Karna’s body, else killing him would be impossible later in the war if need arose.

But who will get the shield out of Karna’s body of which the shield is a part? Krishna, being an avatar that used his godly powers on so many other occasions, could have got this job done, easily himself. But let us see how Krishna goes about getting the shield from Karna. Krishna sent Indra, the king of the Devas, to Karna to get the shield out of him. He simply told Indra” As long as Karna is alive, Arjun is endangered. So go and get the shield out of his body.” Indra did all the strategizing how to get the job done. Indra knew that Karna was a great philanthropist. Particularly when Karna completed his daily worship of the Sun God, in the early morning, and turned back whosoever asked whatever from him, Karna used to give away. He has not denied such help to anyone to date, especially if the person asking for help is a Brahmin. So Indra dressed like a Brahmin, went to Karna one early morning and as Karna turned back from his prayer to the Sun, this Brahmin asked for his shield.

Just the day before, Sun, the father of Karna, appears in Karna’s dream and cautions him that Indra, disguised as a Brahmin would come the next morning to him immediately after Karna completed his prayers to him and would ask for the shield. He advised his son karna to say no to the Brahmin, Indra. But Karna refused to do so, and the Sun advised him then to get Indra’s Sakthi (energy) ayudh, a powerful weapon that would take the target’s life certainly once the weapon is released. After advising his son Karna, the Sun vanished from Karna’s dream.

When Karna saw this brahmin, he told “my respects to you” and asked what he wanted from Karna. The brahmin asked for his impenetrable shield protecting vital organs of Karna’s body. Karna told him: “But the shield is part of my body. How can you expect me to take this out of my body and give to you? You ask for anything else, and I would give to you”. But Indra was firm. He said he did not want anything else except the shield. So, Karna tore the shield out of his body, gave it to the Brahmin and blood pouring out of his chest, again said “My respects to you”.

The Brahmin, Indra, then asked Karna: “you have already paid your respects to me once, why are you paying respects for the second time?” Then karna says: “The first time I paid respects to the Brahmin and now, the second time to Lord Indra”. Then Indra took his true form and extremely pleased with Karna’s philanthropy, giving away the shield knowing fully well he was putting his own life to danger, asked Karna to ask for any boon and he would give to Karna. Karna, as per the advice of his father the Sun god, asked for the Shakthi ayudh and Indra gave the weapon to him. Karna did use the Shakthi ayudh in the war against Arjun, but Krishna the charioteer pressed the chariot down a few feet into the ground and the Shakthi ayudh took Arjun’s crown instead of his head. …………………contd.


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