Whether it is a student looking for a genuine teacher or a teacher looking for intelligent students, whether it is a leader looking for competent followers or a follower looking for a magnanimous leader or whether it is in the search for deep meaningful relationships, the criteria to make the choice is simply quality.
In the Ramayana, Vishwamitra comes to Ayodhya and King Dasaratha promises to fulfil any desire expressed by the sage. Vishwamitra explained that he wanted to perform a sacrifice for the welfare of the world but was being opposed by two powerful demons Maricha and Subahu. He wanted the help of Dasaratha’s first son Rama to help him complete this critical sacrifice.
The panicky father Dasaratha said that Rama was not capable of handling such intense rakshasas, that too single handedly. Instead of sending Rama, he argued he himself would come to fight against the demons with the formidable army of Ayodhya. No matter how much the king squabbled, the sage was disinterested in the whopping Ayodhyan army and wanted Rama alone.
In the Mahabharata, just before the battle of Kurukshetra, both Duryodhana and Arjuna came to the palace of Krsna at exactly the same time to solicit his help in the impending colossal war. While Duryodhana came first and sat at a seat placed next to the head of Krsna, Arjuna who entered later sat respectfully at the feet of Krsna admiring his serene sleeping beauty. On waking up Krsna naturally spotted Arjuna first and gave the first choice to Arjuna since He saw him first.
Arjuna had to choose between the weaponless Krsna who wouldn’t participate in the war or the fully equipped insurmountable Narayani sena of Krsna. Without even thinking for a second, Arjuna chose Krsna. Duryodhan did not understand that the game changer is never an army but the wisdom behind the army.
Both Vishwamitra and Arjuna steadfastly chose quality over quantity. Vishwamitra was playing the role of a teacher and Arjuna was playing the role of a student. As a teacher Vishwamitra recognized great potential in Rama and wanted to train him.
The impact of that choice was enormous for the future leadership of Ayodhya. Whether in a war or in the battle of life, Arjuna realised what really matters is who is steering your chariot. In the battle of life, you need someone with a broad vision to see the imperceptible critical combats of life that catch you off guard. The quality of that choice determines the quantity of your progress.
The quality of our contribution is determined by the quality of our absorption. The quality of our absorption is determined by the quality of our action. The quality of our action is determined by the quality of our character. The quality of our character is determined by the quality of our value system.
Just like rapid growth of cells does not necessarily mean healthy growth of the body. It could mean growth of unhealthy cancerous cells. Similarly, quantitative growth doesn’t only mean healthy growth.
By choosing quality both upwards and downwards, we can make room in life for holistic growth.
Quantitative growth or qualitative growth - marks the difference between good living and great living.
Quantitative growth doesn’t only mean healthy growth; it could be cancerous as well.
Choosing quality never happens by chance. It has to be inculcated through character and value systems.
(The writer is an author, Tedx speaker, story-teller, corporate trainer and visiting faculty in several premier management schools)