The focus of learning of leadership or something to emulate is from heroes of great stories/life. However I find that there is a lot to learn from non heroes too. As a case in point I take two example from Mahabharata (the great Indian Epic..I quote this too often as this epic is the mother of all epics as per me).
The first one is Vidhura-he is a brother of Dhirurastra and Pandu. He has profound knowledge matched with strong ethics to speak out the truth irrespective of whom it may affect. He is not bound by any Oath (unlike Bhisma) but remains loyal to the King. He expresses his views with a dispassionate and a strong fervor. There are places in which he epitomizes Gita rendered by Krishna much later. He is sharp to read political dimensions and unravels plots at early stages. For example he senses the plot of Dhuryodhana to kill Pandavas by burning them alive and warns Pandavas in a very smart way. He shows maturity in dealing with greed and anger throughout the Epic. He never wants to be a hero but becomes a hero if you want to think him as one. If there is a more detailed version dwelling into the life of Vidhura I would definitely like to read it.
The second one is Ekalayva. A smart, aspiring young hunter from the forest who wanted to excel in the art of Archery. He would not settle for commoners as Guru and wants the best of best. He watches Dhrona teaching the Pandavas and Kauravas from a distance and is happy that his search has ended. He approaches Dhrona with folded hands and requests him to teach him. To his agony, Dhrona refuses. He says he will not teach him as he is not from the right social standing. A normal student of this age and background would have promptly become angry and shouted abuses at Dhrona. But Ekalayva was one of a kind. He says to himself "It is my Guru's body which refused but his soul accepted me as his student and I can feel it". So saying he takes mud from the feet of Dhrona and walks to his forest. He makes a statue of Dhrona and everyday practices in front of the statue. He gets insights in his dream on the improvements of his technique and new skills in archery. He thinks that it is Dhrona who is providing these. Slowly and steadily he becomes an archer equal to Arjuna without he knowing it. As we know that fire cannot be hidden in cloth for long his superiority is exposed when Dhrona with his royal students visit the forest. There is fox which runs and Arjuna aims for it using Dhrona's newly taught multiple arrows in one pull technique. But before he releases the bow the fox is down stuck with multiple arrows. There comes Ekalayva with an innocent smile on his face. Arjuna is amazed as he was at a much farther distance and a more difficult angle to have executed the perfect shot. He looks at Dhrona with disbelief. Dhrona recognizes Ekalayva and asks him who is his new teacher. Ekalayva says" There is just one Guru and that is you". Drona is surprised and so are the other princes. Drona is taken to the place where Ekalayva trains. At this Drona shamelessly asks for "Guru Dhakshina"(salary to Teacher). Ekalayva is surprised at this but recognizes that this is a must and should be given to the teacher. He agrees to Drona that he can ask for anything(including his life) and he will give it happily. Drona asks for the right hand thumb of Ekalayva. Drona's evil intention is to make Ekalayva loose the edge as an archer as Thumb is key to Archery. Without any hesitation Ekalayva gives it. Drona looks at Arjuna with a smile. Arjuna smiles back as his place is assured as the Best Archer in the world. At this point Arjuna ceases to be a hero and Drona ceases to be a Guru. Ekalayva overshadows them with his glow and he becomes an unsung hero. What if he is not the best archer...he is epitomizes everything from passion to learn, excel and give even when asked with evil intentions. Maybe we learn from such non-heroes as they stand silent with their experiences which teaches more than heroes we sing praise of.
- ▼ August (6)