Overconfidence is a drawback that inflicts many selfless leaders and managers. However, the ensuing mistakes are not intentional as with corrupt leaders that hold power and positions. Unethical leaders purposefully misuse people and honest leaders may hurt individuals accidentally. Though one designs pain and the latter wounds accidentally, the resultant consequence of a damaged community is the same. Therefore, dharma sastras have their purpose in guiding leaders to make progressive decisions. Theology and sadhana is learnt from a Guru, sitting at his lotus feet, yet life and management skills entail a different learning process; a process that is governed by the unchangeable and universal laws of nature. The jurisdiction of these laws does not spare anybody, just as a blazing fire does not discriminate when burning a sinner or saint, an Einstein or a fool.
Correspondingly, there is an interesting historical conversation between Ravana and his ministers that took place after Sri Rama had entered Lanka. In the assembly of his trusted ministers, Ravana actually spoke wonderful philosophy that he failed to implement in his own life. He stated, “Three classes of people exist in human society, first class, second class and third class. A first class person is one who deliberates any future undertakings with competent friends, like minded kin with similar lifestyles, and well-wishing seniors with superior experiences. He sincerely endeavours towards the needful and yet has unrelenting faith in daiva (God and purva samskaras). A second class individual is one who while alone contemplating on dharma, takes independent decisions and executes them himself. Lastly, a third class man is one who makes decisions based on momentary emotions, disregarding pros and cons of a given situation. Additionally, his tasks never reach completion.”
“Similarly, there are also three types of decision making processes. First, is where the decisions are made by those involved in a task, while keeping universal principals of sastras in the forefront. The second style of decision processing involves conflicts in the beginning, yet a consensus is eventually reached owing to duty and obligations. The third process is ridden with competition and clashes amongst those involved. It involves passionate speeches against each other’s opinions, hopelessness and a breakdown of the decision process itself; no concrete conclusions are ever reached.”
Ironically, Ravana, despite being well versed in these concepts, never consulted anyone before kidnapping Sita. Rather, he rejected precious advice from Marica. Even when waging war against Sri Ram, he only consulted those who were fearful of him and would not dare suggest anything against his own nonsensical opinions. Additionally, when Vibhishana, who was a close relative and courageous enough to confront Ravana, offered valuable guidance, he was fired by the demon! Ravana was like google, full of information, but never applying it himself. He was like a telephonic call with a bad network reception, where one person can hear just fine, but the other does not hear when the first speaks. Ravana’s network was cut in a way that he can only make himself heard, but not hear others. Therefore he lost the war and died being condemned by the citizens of Lanka and his very own wife Mandodari.
Finally, it does not matter if one is Ravana, Bhishma, Yudhisthira or the great Gandhi, if they fail to follow Ravana’s advice in regards to constructive decision making processes, failure is inevitable. Certainly, those that are not criminals like Ravana, are forgiven, but only after situations are corrected. For instance, Krishna eliminated Bhishma and educated Yudhisthira. Ultimately it is our choice to only hear or speak like Ravana did, or truly implement what Ravana spoke in these critical conversations; we can choose to follow sastras or fall.