In the world of puppetry, Yudhisthira is the eldest of the Pandavas. He is the elder brother of Bhima, Arjuna and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva. He also has other names such as Dharmawangsa and Puntadewa. Besides, he still has many more names. Yudhisthira is the son of Pandu Dewabrata and Kunti. Actually, Dharmawangsa is the incarnation of Lord Dharma.
In terms of the name Dharmawangsa, it can be definitely ascertained that the heir to the throne of Astina Kingdom is always running dharma or righteousness and virtue. Instead, Yudhisthira in the puppet world is taken as a role model who rarely tells lies. If he ever does, it is not more than the finger counting of half pair of the hand. One of them is during the Bharatayuda or Kuruksetra war between the Pandavas and Kauravas.
Essentially, the story is rich in moral messages. One of them is regarding the honesty of a leader. He must be honest to himself as well as to the subject or honest to the people he leads. A leader is like a torch whose flame can enlighten the pathway in the darkness when leaping on the pathway of life getting more difficult. That’s what a leader for and he should be able to become anything that can calm down people.
He may not be deceitful, greed, corrupt and of course must be honest. In the Hindu concept of leadership, there are eight elements that should be understood by a leader. It’s called Astabrata. Asta means ‘eight,’ while brata means ‘behaving.’ On that account, a leader must behave like the eight elements of nature such as the solar (surya), lunar (candra), celestial (akhasa), marine (varuna), fire (agni), terrestrial (prathivi), stellar (kartika) and wind (vayu).
All the elements included in the eight concepts of leadership are so ideal. Many things can be learned and absorbed from the puppet storyline both in the Mahabharata and Ramayana epic. Yudhishthira and Rama are some examples. Shadow puppet is the reflection of our own in real life.
The problem is, have a lot of our leaders been behaving in accordance with the concept of Astabrata? We can see the reality today that many leaders and people’s representatives are sent to jail in turn for corruption and other unlawful acts. Thus, we also need to remind that the teaching and concept of Astabrata is never outdated. Perhaps, it’s no exaggeration if we choose a leader like Yudhisthira as an example of honest leader. At the moment, as the contextual implementation is that we need a leader of Bali who is truly capable of behaving like the eight properties mentioned in the Astabrata. Hopefully, it can be realized! (Gde Palgunadi/ palgunadigde @ yahoo.com)