Monday, October 24, 2022

The Ramayana: The Values of a Righteous Leader

In the fourth book of the Ramayana, Kishkindha Kanda, Bhagwan Hanuman contemplates the values of a righteous world leader—these values include eight kinds of intelligence, four kinds of forces, and fourteen qualities.

The eight kinds of intelligence are: attentiveness, capacity to listen, capacity to grasp, capacity to remember, ability to discriminate, ability to ascertain the truth, deep understanding, and the wisdom to distinguish between good action and bad action. The four kinds of forces are: sama (the ability to develop conciliation and alliances), dana (compassion, altruism, and the habit of giving gifts and grants to the needy and the deserving), behda (logic and strategy), and danda (force and argument; the ability to deploy the four weapons of war—infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots—to punish the evil entities). The fourteen qualities are: knowledge of the place and time, courage, endurance, capacity to think of all the consequences, skill, self-defense, the ability to keep one’s counsel secret, avoidance of pointless debates, ruthlessness, the wisdom to detect the strengths and weaknesses, faith, the ability to shelter those who seek refuge, the ability to display anger in the right way and at the right time, and the resolve to pursue the just course of action.

The political and moral thinking of the Hindu Puranas (Itihasa), the Dharmasastras, even the Buddhist and Jain texts, and Sanskrit kavya have been influenced by Hanuman's approach to the values that the righteous world leaders should possess. Happy Deepavali.

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