[Epics For Entrepreneurs] Where Is The Sage?


Pandya king Jeevakan was under the strong influence of his chief minister Kudilan.

He had a spiritual guide, Sage Sundara. But, the king was meeting his minister on a regular basis, which gave the cunning minister the chance to slowly convert him into his puppet.

Hence, all decisions related to the kingdom were taken by Jeevakan only after consulting with Kudilan. The minister's power was so much, he could force the king to do anything and everything that he wanted.

Kudilan's plan was to kill Jeevakan someday and become a king. He was strategizing his moves carefully.

First, Kudilan wanted the capital of Pandya kingdom to be changed from Madurai to Thirunelveli. This will give him a chance to use his local powers to easily overthrow the king.

When Kudilan proposed this change, Jeevakan hesitated first. But he had full faith in his minister. Kudilan also showered sugar coated reasons, and finally the king agreed to switch his capital to Thirunelveli.

Sage Sundara heard about this and he could clearly see the motive behind Kudilan's proposal. He became really upset that the king is making a wrong decision favoring a bad person.

But, if Sage Sundara mentions this to Jeevakan, he won't believe it. After all, there is no proof for Kudilan's wrongdoings.

So, the sage decided to distance himself from the royal family. He went to his hut and bolted the door from inside. He told his disciples that he is going to perform a penance that will take many days of religious ceremonies, and instructed them not to allow anyone to disturb him.

Few days later, king Jeevakan had to face a big war. He wanted some guidance from the sage and came to his hut.

But, the king was denied entry and he couldn't meet the sage, based on the instructions from the sage himself.

The cunning minister used this opportunity effectively. He spoke in such a way that the king gets a doubt about the sage.

Later, Jeevakan also thought about this, 'When I need the sage most, he has disappeared. Why? What should I do?'

'Thankfully, I have my trusted aide, minister Kudilan. I will consult him and take decisions, as always.'

Hence, Kudilan continued to influence the king. He directed him towards a near defeat in the upcoming war.

Jeevakan may be a bad administrator listening to a wrong minister, But, he is a brave warrior. He fought vigorously to save his kingdom and people.

During the battle, an arrow hit the king and wounded him. Kudilan was rejoiced that he could finally become the king.

But the king's elephant was more loyal to Jeevakan than his own minister. It saved the king and handed him over to Sage Sundara, who treated him and saved his life.

'Where were you all these days, Great Sage?' asked the king.

'I was making a secret passageway for you to escape from here' told the sage, 'Come on, You can leave now, and come back later to win your kingdom.'

Hearing this, Jeevakan was both happy and sad, 'Guruji, Please accept my apologies' he told, 'When you locked yourself in a hut and refused to meet me or anyone else, I assumed you are running away from the war, without helping me.'

'But, in reality, you were thinking about me all the time, making this secret tunnel all alone! Why didn't you tell me?'

Sage Sundara would have thought to himself, 'If I mentioned it, you would've told it to Kudilan and he would've spoilt all my plans!'

This story is from Tamil Epic "Manonmaneeyam", written by P. Sundaram Pillai. Kudilan's true colors were finally shown in the climax, and Jeevakan banished him from his kingdom.

What will you do today, if you are in the position of Sage Sundara? What if your friend or colleague or boss or a partner is under the influence of someone else, and not listening to your (good) advice?

  • Option 1: You can decide to quit : No point trying to save him now, Let me walk out
  • Option 2: You can tell him he is listening to a wrong person : But he will see it as your opinion only, there is no proof whatsoever. He may even assume you are just jealous
  • Option 3: You can decide to win him by logic : Do a POC (Proof of concept) as a secret project, don't tell him till the results are there, which proves beyond doubt that the other person is wrong

Someone will choose option #3 only if they care for the other person. Else Option #1 is a lot easier and less messy.

Also, there is a risk in choosing option #3, Like Jeevakan, your friend may misunderstand your motives, and they may even assume you have chosen option #1.

But, that is a known risk we take. After all, our intention is to save a friend or colleague from bad influence. If it means our reputation is spoilt for a short term, it is fine, as long as the long term goal is achieved.

About the author:

N. Chokkan is the Co-Founder & Director at CRMIT, Bengaluru. He was previously the director at InFact Infotech before which he was the principle Consultant at BroadVision. He blogs at http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/ (English) and http://nchokkan.wordpress.com/ (Tamil).


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