One of the important factor on which a king becomes a great ruler is the counsel which advises him. The fame and glory of the king depends upon many people and factors. Rishi Valmiki in the Ramayan mentions such wise counsel present in Maharaj Dasartah’s court. It is not an exaggeration to say that the qualities of his ministers were totally fit to be called as an efficient corporate team in Today’s world.
There were eight ministers in the court of Maharaj Dasarath. They were Dhristi, Jayantha, Vijaya, Sidhartha, Arthasaadhaka, Ashoka, Mantrapala and Sumantra. Just as Maharaj Dasarath was faultless, his ministers too, were with no fault. Rishi Valmiki mentions them as विद्याविनिता meaning they were learned, yet humble and conversed smoothly and smilingly with all. They were true to their word, brilliant and patient. They had the capability to keep calm in situations of crisis so that the mind would act, not react. They never spoke lies either in happiness or anger. They had an efficient network of spies through whom they monitored the whole things happening in the kingdom.
Rishi Valmiki also calls them कु शलः, meaning efficient and qualified men who had the capability of not only giving good advice, but in its implementation and efficiency to deliver. They presented themselves neatly, had good manners, spoke gently to the king and the people, and always respected elders. Rishi Valmiki defines them as नियतेन्द्रिय: as they had control over their senses which helped them maintain balance in all situations. They were knowledgeable in rules of war and peace.
Out of the eight ministers, Sumantr was close and a dear friend of Maharaj Dasarath. His loyalty and friendship was not only with the king, but also with the four princes, especially Shri Ram. Sumantr adored Shri Ram as his swami. Shri Ram respected Sumantr a lot and took advice from him whenever required. Sumantr was the enlightened one who realised that Shri Ram was not a mere mortal, but the incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. He very well knew that the purpose of birth of Shri Ram was to destroy evil and relieve the worlds of their sorrows.
But, Shri Ram’s charm is so enchanting that even a diligent minister like Sumantr also lost his calm at the behaviour of Queen Kaikeyi and rebuked her sending the three to the forest. On the command of Maharaj Dasarath, Sumantr accompanied Shri Ram to the forest and he himself rode the chariot. He stayed with them for a couple of days till they reached River Ganga. He in fact, gets ready to be with them for the whole of fourteen years, but Shri Ram reminds him of his duty towards Maharaj Dasarath and the kingdom and sends him back to Ayodhya.
A dejected Sumantr returns back, consoles Maharaj Dasarath and tries to get him back to his responsibilities. But, Maharaj Dasarath passes away. During this time of grief, Sumantr along with the other ministers acts in prudence so that the kingdom does not fall into anarchy. He guides Bharat in the administrative affairs and takes care of the welfare of the people. After Shri Ram comes back from the exile, he becomes one of his most able ministers and assists Shri Ram in establishing the Ram Rajya. His knowledge and forethought can become an inspiration to an efficient working system and governance for today’s corporate working world.