Blog: Listen to 1 head instead of 10: The Ravana lessons


Listen to 1 head instead of 10: The Ravana lessons

Since Dusshehra will be celebrated, it's enough reasons to know why leaders/future leaders should be able to subtract the Ravana-desires and should emphasise on putting their knowledge to practice.
Listen to 1 head instead of 10: The Ravana lessons

There cannot be a more astute example of a great leader who couldn’t put to practice what he learnt/acquired. Ravana – depicted as the King of Rakshasas in the Hindu mythology Ramayana, could have been a great example of a successful leader. Instead, he became the slave to his 10 excessive desires which ultimately led to his own downfall. There are 2 ways to look at what exactly were Ravana’s 10 heads:

  1. The 10 heads symbolize the 6 Sastras, and 4 Vedas which he knew by heart. He was also the master of 64 types of knowledge – an avid worshipper of Shiv. And no one would be able to deny that his learnings were on par with Lord Rama.

  2. The other way is: the 10 heads signify the 10 distorted forms of feelings/desires.

Since Dusshehra will be celebrated, it’s enough reasons to know why leaders/future leaders should be able to subtract the Ravana-desires and should emphasise on putting their knowledge to practice.

Shun the following desires to raise yourself as the leader or future leader who will be celebrated the world over for years to come – just like Lord Rama.

Letting go off ego (Ahamkara)

In the simplest possible term it means, it’s always better to be humble and be ready to help your subordinates, colleagues when they require you. Just because you have managed to get promoted and can now dangle the senior position desig in front of your colleagues doesn’t mean you should be snooty to even consider your colleagues as colleagues. Do away with this pride of designation, position or even your qualifications – all these will matter when you are a team-player who not just ideates but executes with same panache.

Let go off attachment (Moha)

So your manager gave away the most prized project to someone else in the team? Since you had worked on the project for some time, you have developed a certain kind of fluidity in which you could express it, execute it or even make it actionable for others. But now, it’s gone. Instead of fretting over it, simply let it go. And assist the team-mate who got the project. It might be there is some bigger challenges that your manager thinks you can handle. Any desired attachment increases bitterness, and then team synergy is lost.

Let go of self-perfection which leads to regret (Paschyatap)

Nobody is perfect, and in every situation – be it events, projects, deliverables – there can be some issue which is absolutely beyond your control. What matters is you had given your 110%. Regretting over an already done project only leads to mistakes later on. Instead learn from the situation, and take care of it proactively to avoid any sort of damage in future.

Conquer anger (Krodha)

It’s difficult to measure others’ ways of working by measuring it with your parameters. A person’s working style can be entirely different than yours, yet he/she will deliver the projects. Getting angry on someone just because the person is not following the mandatory steps/rules is something a leader should avoid. Anger only complicates a situation. And it’s absolutely possible to not like someone (personally), but having a compatible working relationship is what you should aim at.

Shun hatred (Ghrina)

In life or otherwise, just because somebody has come from a different caste, class, race, religion, as a professional you don’t have a choice to hate someone because of the same. Like you, they are also trying to create a niche for themselves, and are working hard to earn their daily dose of income. They have families, and they also look for a better future. Hating them, and refusing to work with them will only increase the problems for you as a future manager and also for your organization.

Get rid of fear (Bhaya)

There is no way success can be guaranteed if you fear taking that risk – with believing in people who work for you, believing in the projects that everybody thinks is a failed-attempt already. No one can see the other end of the spectrum, but you can always try to push your limits to the extreme so that fear of failure won’t scratch your conscience later – that you didn’t try.

No way for jealousy (Irshya)

There is always a tinge of jealousy when your colleague gets promoted over you – that too when you think your hard work was never rewarded with a similar promotion. There can be innumerable factors for the same. Yes, of course there can be some sort of preferences. But it’s not the reason why you should be jealous of your colleague. If you are right, then no matter what, you will be rewarded substantially. And if you keep the jealousy, what will hinder is your own growth as a professional.

Let go off greed (Lobha)

The desire to succeed, the desire to get the best, the desire to want more out of nothing – these are sure shots for downfall. There is a thin line between wanting the actual success and what measures you take to get that success. There are things like hard work, planning, team-work, humility among other virtues which will help in organizational success. There is a proverb: “The more sugar you will put, the more sweet it will become.” But too much sweetness is also not good. So you should limit your excessive expectations from anyone around you.

Fight the lust (Kama)

In an organization, it’s but obvious that both the genders work together bringing in at least some sort of diversity. You should be absolutely aware of your behaviour, conversations, over-the-top favours from your colleagues from the opposite gender/or even same. There is a reason why organizations nowadays have sexual harassment cells in place. Keep your lust at bay when you are working.

Stop being insensitive (Jaddata)

There is no way to think that if you are not worried about timely delivery of your projects (since you have planned it well), then none of your other colleagues are not. Don’t be insensitive to your colleagues’ problems or challenges. While you may think that he/she is not really making any productive work, look beyond the surface. Check if he/she is undergoing any sort of stress or tension. Being insensitive to a weakling is not something that is a characteristic of a great leader.

Ravana could not control these 10 desires, not only he ruined himself, but also his entire clan. The Kingdom which he was so proud of, was completely lost. He has said to have lamented by saying that, "Though I was the master of all knowledge, I did not put them into practice. O people! Do not get spoilt like me. Though I had all the wealth, I could not enjoy anything because of excessive desires." Dusshera is celebrated on the tenth day (after 9 days of Navratri). Burning the Ravana with 10 heads on the 10th day symbolizes the destruction of these 10 negative feelings. And that is also a reason why Dusshera is also known as Vijaya Dashami, ie, winning (Vijaya) over the 10 (Dashami). 

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