Is decision-making a feeling based art, or a logic-based science? When decisions are based on feelings and love is based on logic, both tend to meet with disappointments.
More important than knowing how to make good decisions is to know when to make those decisions. And more important than knowing when to make decisions is to know when not to make them!
Here are 7 circumstances in the Mahabharata that reveal when and how decisions ought not be made.
Fear driven decisions – The tortoise shell protects as long as the shell is above it, but as soon as it flips over, the shell makes it helpless and the tortoise flaps around helplessly.
Similarly, a person who takes decisions out of fear flaps around just like this tortoise, and takes stubborn abrupt steps.
In the Mahabharata, Ashwattama when cornered by the Pandavas, took the most foolish decision of unleashing the deadly Brahmastra capable of destroying the whole world. This decision stemmed from his intense fear and need for his own security. The brahmastra was meant to obscure his fear and create fear and insecurity for the Pandavas, which ultimately backfired.
Affinity driven decisions – A cloth hung on a hook, takes shelter from it. The same hook tears the cloth, when pulled away forcefully. Just like the cloth, those who take decisions based on unnatural affinity to people hooked to, get torn apart!
In the Mahabharata, since Karna’s each and every decision was based on his assumed affinity to his friend Duryodhana, he was torn apart between his loyalty to dharma and that to his friendship. The friendship hook gripped him tight and when decisions had to be taken, his dharma was torn apart.
Grief driven decisions – A drop of ink on a blotting paper spreads and pervades the paper. Similarly, grief too begins with a drop; but when it falls into the blotting paper of the uncontrolled mind, it percolates into every aspect of life.
In the Mahabharata, Gandhari made two decisions blinded by extreme grief and ended up with mass scale destruction.
The first instance was when she realized that Kunti gave birth to a son before her, she struck her womb in envy resulting in a hundred sons born to her carrying the spirit of envy in their lives. The second was when she felt that Krsna was the cause of death of her children, she cursed that His Yadu dynasty get destroyed.
Joy driven decisions – When a hilarious joke triggers uncontrollable laughter, at some point tears roll out from the eyes. The tears indicate that one has gone out of balance. Just like the body has a check and balance mechanism, life should also be based on a similar check and balance mechanism. Often the most crucial decisions of life are taken on a high when there is too much joy or success. When the head is in the clouds, it is difficult to judge ground realities.
In the Mahabharata, the king of Virata was happy beyond imagination on hearing that his son Uttara had defeated all the Kauravas alone in a battle. His joy was overflowing such that he disregarded and even humiliated Yudhishthir. When decisions are taken in a fit of joy, they bring sorrow into life.
(To be Continued)