Sama, Dama, Bheda and Danda

In classical India there were four ways of getting things done: sama, dama, bheda, and danda. Danda means punishment – which is not a good approach, unless you happen to be extremely powerful. Bheda means diplomacy, which you can employ if you are really clever; but in dealings with gods and goddesses, diplomacy does not usually work very well. Dama means offering, and offerings are a good way to go. Sama means appeal to reason and rationale, which is also wise.

Now in my first job when I walked out of college filled with dreams of making the world a little better place to live in (in my own way of course) I was stuck with a boss who believed that danda was the way to go. And considering that this person had quite a reputation for being the toughest taskmaster in office, plus the fact that I was gullible enough to believe that danda would do me some good, I worked under him for quite a while in the danda mode. While that instilled a sense of discipline in me, I realise now that was holding me back from performing to my true potential.

Post IIM Indore, now that I have a clearer idea of my potential and how to harness it to the best of my abilities, I guess I have moved out of the danda mode of doing things now.

I’ve been truly lucky enough to be working with a person who totally believes in the sama way of doing things. All he does is give me a target to aim at, the weapons to fight with and teaches me the techniques of war. All the fighting has to be done by me while he stands by and provides me with adequate coaching to fight and even win the battle. And it is only now that I quite realise what I am truly capable of.

Now I guess it is your (all the readers of this post) turn to figure out which way works best for you, sama, dama, bheda or danda.


2 thoughts on “Sama, Dama, Bheda and Danda

  1. There is another interpretation of this. You start with Sama – i.e. appeal to the rational, then Dama make some offerings, then Bheda i.e. through diplomacy and trying to get others to influence what is to be done, and if nothing works at all Danda!!

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