Yoga and Total Health
Mahabharata Image Credit: Yoga and Total Health
Mahabharata Image Credit: Yoga and Total Health

Deliberations With Devdutt Competitors And Collaborators

In a wolf pack, we find collaboration and competition.

Devdutt Pattanaik

The wolves collaborate to hunt a deer. After the hunt is complete, they compete for the flesh, with the alpha taking the biggest bite. In a deer herd too, we find collaboration and competition. The deer collaborate to protect the young from predators. But they compete as to who is at the front of the herd (safest spot), who is the laggard at the back and who is in the flanks.

Management today gives us mixed signals. What is better? To be collaborative or competitive? There is talk of how employees should collaborate with each other, yet there is reward and recognition on the basis of meritocracy, which evokes intense competition amongst colleagues. Why would I collaborate with someone who will eventually take the credit as a team leader and become my boss?

In the Ramayana, Ram does not compete with his brothers and gives up all claims to the kingdom, something that is mirrored by his half-brother Bharat too. Ravana, on the other hand, competes with his brother Kubera, eventually drives him out of Lanka, and lays claim to the city.

In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas collaborate with each other, sharing kingdom and wife, and standing up against Kauravas. They are unable to collaborate with the Kauravas. And there is a hint of resentment at being forced to collaborate with each other, for Arjuna gets only 20% of the wife he wins as a trophy in an archery contest. No one asks Draupadi, wife of the five Pandavas, what she wants. Whether she wants the winner of t

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