The Four Kinds Of Diplomacy

[Sita-Rama]“I trust that the chastiser of the enemy [Rama] employs the twofold strategy in behaving friendly with friends and in His desire to conquer the enemy employs the threefold strategy.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.17)

dvividham trividha upāyam upāyam api sevate |
vijigīṣuḥ suhṛt kaccin mitreṣu ca param tapaḥ ||

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Better get the right person for Secretary of State. The President is one thing. All eyes are on him. But usually negotiations occur through surrogates. The professional athlete has an agent. The union has its leader. It’s an easier way to fight hard for what you want without hurting anyone’s feelings. In direct talks sometimes the other side might not like what you have to say.

As the Vedas are the original knowledgebase for basic living in the material world, it is not surprising that diplomacy is included. The written instructions cover basic principles. As the works are so old as to have no known date of inception, modern day examples are lacking.

The principles, being valid, stand the test of time. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana the wife of Shri Rama makes reference to the four basic kinds of diplomacy. These are means to an end, ways for a king or leader to get what they want.

Sita’s statement is noteworthy since she is not running a kingdom. It is her husband who is a prince. She describes Him as parantapa, which means “one who chastises the foe.” Sita is separated from Rama at the time, and she is not concerned entirely with her own plight. She trusts that her husband is behaving properly, not swayed by the downturn of events that separated the two of them.

In this way Sita is the ideal wife, and Shri Rama continued to prove that He is the ideal king. Rama is Bhagavan, which is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Playing the role of the son of a nripati, or protector of men, the Supreme Lord gave the best example for others to follow. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita in His form of Shri Krishna, people tend to emulate great men.

“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)

1. Sama

The wife is upset. Bad news in a sequence have combined to make her behave irrationally today. What she is yelling at you about does not make sense. It is illogical. Objectively speaking, you have done nothing wrong.

In this situation one of the best approaches is to simply pacify. Say nice things. Don’t get upset. Eventually things will get back to normal. No need to escalate the matter, to increase the tension.

Pacification is one of the more common means of diplomacy. If you need something from another nation, just flatter them. Say nice things. Hopefully they will feel less threatened as a result.

2. Dana

This is gift-giving, and it looks strikingly similar to bribing. As a good gesture, a token of affection, give something nice to the opposing side. Hopefully the hostilities will lessen as a result. If you have an enemy working inside the government, give them something of value. This person might not deserve it, but it is just easier to buy them off.

Sita Devi trusts that Rama is employing these two strategies with respect to His friends, or allies. Indeed, such interaction had already occurred. Through the help of the minister Hanuman, Rama made friends with Sugriva, the leader of the Vanaras in the forest of Kishkindha.

Rama exchanged pleasantries with Sugriva, who was suffering from a similar loss, namely that of his wife. Rama also offered a gift in helping Sugriva fell his rival brother Vali. In return the alliance was strengthened. One obvious indication of this was Hanuman’s presence before Sita. He technically worked for Sugriva, but this daring mission to Lanka, the place where Sita had been taken against her will, was done to please Rama as well.

3. Bheda

This is division. Why go through such great effort when you can create dissension amongst the ranks? Make the enemy fight itself. Stir up some trouble and watch everything fall into place for your benefit. This can be done through surrogates implanted within the foreign territory or simply by messages disseminated widely.

4. Danda

This is force, and is usually the last resort. The stronger party is more likely to take this approach, as they don’t have much fear of losing. It is the other side which needs to rely on pacification and other non-violent means.

[Sita-Rama]The last three strategies are a collective with respect to one desirous of gaining victory over an enemy. Sita trusts that Rama has this desire and is employing the proper means. Since He is Bhagavan He has complete strength. Danda would be enough, but to set a good example Rama does not raise weapons without cause. Ravana had so many opportunities to avoid war even after taking Sita. The king of Lanka never realized that he was the weaker party, and so in the last resort of danda he ended up losing everything to Rama. One way or another he had to surrender to God.

In Closing:

Ways with hostile enemy to deal,

One through pacification appeal.

Another lavish gift or post to give,

Then together in peace to live.

Another within ranks sow dissension,

Through words violence’s prevention.

Danda, in last resort using force,

For Ravana awaiting in due course.

Categories: hanuman giving ring, the four

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1 reply

  1. Very clearly explained in easy to understand manner.

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