6 A lesson to be learned from the story of "A confused ruler and his chaotic state" “अन्धेर नगरी चौपट राजा” .

A corporate lesson from the story of "A confused ruler and his chaotic state" “अन्धेर नगरी चौपट राजा”.

I belong to the Mithila region of India where there is popular folklore about a saint and a king. Being a fiction writer and a corporate researcher, I thought there is a corporate lesson from this story. Hence writing this story for connections.

This story advocates differential treatment to the employees based on their respective merits. This story also warns leaders that if you treat everyone equally, you will ruin your company as this king ruined his empire.

According to the folklore a saint lived on the banks of the river Koshi with his disciple in his Ashram. Most of their time was spent in worship of God, other religious activities, and the wrestling. After some time, Guruji decided to visit the countryside. The Guru-Disciple wandered into several jungles, kingdoms, and places for pilgrimage. They were enjoying at these places for a while and then moving ahead. Once they wandered into a strange country. He camped there in a hut. Once the Guru gave the disciple one rupee and asked him to bring some good vegetables from the local market.

One of his disciples was Gangadhar. He came forward to serve the order of his Guruji. This country was strange. The king loves the uniformity. Everything in that country was sold in one rupee. The salaries of everyone in that country was one rupee. Diversity of any kind was a crime.

Completely aloof from such rules, Gangadhar reached the vegetable market and started asking for a price for vegetables. He was surprised to see that all the items were being sold at the rate of one rupee. All types of vegetables were one rupee per kilo, ghee was one rupee per kilo, the sweets were also one rupee per kilo. Guruji and disciple had limited money and hence lavish dinner was not part of their routine. Gangadhar thought this is a country to settle in. In this country, they can eat all kinds of sweets daily. Though Guruji used to avoid lavish dinner due to spiritual reason, however, Gangadhar was not able to understand. He thought it is due to the lack of money that they were living in austerity. See so cheap prices of sweets, Gangadhar thought that Guruji would like his idea and hence instead of vegetables he purchased sweets for the dinner.

Gangadhar was happy that he will have lots of appreciation. He happily reached his hut with sweets. He explained everything to Guru Ji. Guruji said while meditating, “ My dear son Gangadhar, we should leave this place as soon as possible. It seems to be a dark city and the king here is confused. Our lives are in danger here".

But Gangadhar did not like the advice of leaving that country. Other disciples also supported Gangadhar. On the one hand, there was a simple and hard life, on the other hand in this country it was so cheap. He said to Guruji, Guruji, I have liked this place very much. If you permit, “we can stay for a few days, at least, if not forever”.

Guruji laughed at what Gangadhar said. He said, "Okay my dear sons, you can stay here for some more time. I want you to experience by yourself. However, whenever this confused king put you in danger, please call me". Learning by experience is better than learning by preaching. Disciples must learn the intended danger. Guruji started his travel once again. He started hopping from one country to another, from one jungle to the next.

The life of Gangadhar and his friends were seemingly very good. They would always buy sweets instead of vegetables. They wanted to enjoy it for some time now. They already knew the art of wrestling. In the morning they were practicing it and in the evening they were eating lavish dinner. Thus many months passed. Disciples, especially Gangadhar became very fat after eating so much sweet.

The king was still loving the rules of uniformity. Everything should be equal. One day the poor widow Kalawati's goat was grazing the crop in Pandit Deendayal's field. Deendayal got angry and hit him with a stick that killed the goat, accidentally. The weeping Kalavati reached the court of the king for justice. Hearing her words, the king who loved uniformity said, “only a life can compensate another life”. He ordered that Deendayal need to give his life because he killed the goat. He must die. King ordered that Deendayal must be hanged till death.

The Kotwal/police of the city caught Deendayal and presented him to the king. The king said to Deendayal, “either give back the life of the goat, make it alive or go to the gallows”. There was no way Deendayal would give back life to the goat. So the executioner took him to the gallows.

Deendayal was a lean man. The noose of the hanging rope was too loose for him. It was a public execution. The king himself was observing it. The king was also known for not taking his decision back. The rope was useless and could not be used for Deendayal. The execution was not possible. King could not take back the order. For some time the king kept contemplating and said to the executioner, go hang the most appropriate person, the thickest one in the vicinity.

The executioner set out with Kotwal in search of an obese person. While he was passing near Gangadhar's hut, he was massaging the oil and chanting there. Both stopped after seeing him. Kotwal said, "We found the person, we got the person with an appropriate neck."

Gangadhar was captured and brought to the court. He pleaded with the king, "What is my fault, why I am going to be hanged?" The king said, “Only a life can compensate life of the got. For me, everyone is equal, either you or Deendayal. Either Deendayal's life can compensate or your life. Since the neck of Deendayal is not suitable for the noose, and you are fit hence you need to die."

"No, this is not appropriate. I did not commit any mistake".

"I cannot take my order back. This is not allowed in this country. the hanging noose would fit into your neck, so you have to climb the gallows”.

Gangadhar remembered his Guruji's words. The executioner asked the last wish of Gangadhar. He said that he wants to meet his Guruji. Officials brought his Guruji from the adjacent village. Gangadhar saw in his eyes and admitted his mistake. He admitted the mistake that those kingdoms are dangerous where people are not treated according to their merit and where everyone is treated equally”.

Gangadhar was naïve and ignorant. It was the duty of the Guruji to save his life. Moreover, his disciple has already learned the lesson. The purpose of Guruji was solved. Guruji said to the executioner and the King, “I am also too fat, first I should be hanged”.

As per the plan, Gangadhar insisted that no he should be hanged. Guruji and Gangadhar had a continuous argument. To save a life, Gangadhar and his Guruji started beating each other. There was lots of commotion. The noose was fitting well to both of them. The executioner was confused about whom to hang.

Observing all of the commotions the king shouted angrily, “ Both of you are the idiots. Neither of you have any sense. You are beating and stabbing to each other to get hanged. What is the reason for this?

Guruji was looking for the opportunity. He said “O my lord, this is an auspicious time according to the special placement of stars. Such combination and orientation of stars occur only for a few moments in a thousand years. The person who will be hanged at this time will get five times bigger state and the glory than your state in the next life.

The king was not only foolish he was also very greedy also. He anticipated a five times bigger kingdom and glory. He said to the executioner, “Oh wait I will hang myself”. Saying this, he snatched the hanging noose from the executioner and put it in his neck and swung it to the gallows.

An empire was ruined, a kingdom was destroyed. Thanks to the policy of uniformity. In a successful empire, vegetables and sweets should not be sold at the same price. Gold needs to be expensive. Hardworking people should be compensated accordingly.


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