Thursday, 14 March 2013

Corporate Lessons from Mythology - 14

[Panchathantra Stories]

We all are clapping the movie “Life of Pi”. The same way there are Panchathantra stories which use animals, birds and human beings as the main characters to convey messages of worldly wisdom.
            These stories, 87 in all are dated back to the 2nd century BC. These stories are said to be a part of an educational curriculum for the two dull princesses, taught by Vishnu sharman.

            The stories adopt a case study approach of the modern schools of management. Each of them carries several lessons for us. Let us understand these stories.

            These stories present a case study method, currently popular in management education.Since these were lessons for preparing the princes for becoming a king, they are relevant for to-day’s managers. Let us look at some of these stories….

The Snake and the Frog

A snake lives near a pond, pretends to be suffering from the curse of a Brahmin.  His son was killed by snake, hence he cursed the snake that it will become the vehicle for frogs and could eat only what the frogs allowed it to eat.

Telling this story the snake allowed the pleasure rides for frogs in the pond. The king of frogs liked it and permitted the snake to eat the frogs of lower birth,when he saw the snake was less energetic, while giving pleasure rides.Quoting this permission the snake ate all the frogs.

We learn a few lessons on this. The desire for pleasure on the part of king was exploited, by the snake.

            The king did not bother about the sacrifice of his subjects for his own pleasure. Also we learn that one should not believe in the behavior of a person, which is not consistent with the character.

            A tiger will not become a vegetarian by our throwing steaks at it repeatedly. We have to be careful especially when we are offered free benefits by others. More Panchathantra stories to follow …. 

            Ancient Sastras says it all ….

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