“O sinless one, certainly, how can any king accomplish his objectives if he doesn’t have such a messenger working for him?” (Shri Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.34)
एवं विधो यस्य दूतो न भवेत्पार्थिवस्य तु।
सिद्ध्यन्ति हि कथं तस्य कार्याणां गतियोऽनघ
evaṃ vidho yasya dūto na bhavetpārthivasya tu।
siddhyanti hi kathaṃ tasya kāryāṇāṃ gatiyo’nagha
1. Reading the stitches on the fastball
Referring to the game of baseball, there are variations to this saying. Maybe not just the fastball, it could be reading the baseball itself. The pitcher initiates every play. They are on the defensive side, but nothing can happen until they throw the baseball towards home plate.
The batter is on the other side. They are on offense. The pitcher’s objective is to get the batter out. The easiest way is to throw the baseball in such a way that the batter cannot hit it. If they make an attempt, a swing, they miss entirely.
The art of deception is in the pitcher’s favor. Change speeds. Vary locations. The first pitch might be up and in, a high hard one. The next one will be low and outside. A fastball to set the table, and then an off-speed finisher to fool them.
The stitches are one way to help the batter. Since the baseball is made in a certain way, the orientation of the stiches during the flight of the ball gives an indication as to the type of pitch. Of course, this is not an easy skill to master. The expert hitter can read the stitches of the incoming pitch and adjust their strategy accordingly, within a split second. As one successful pitcher of the past likes to say, professional hitters could put wood on a bullet, if they had to.
2. Know when to hold them and when to fold them
This refers to the card game of poker. There is the chance element with the cards that are distributed by the dealer. As a player in the game, I might not have received a good hand. I was dealt a bad set of cards.
The easy option is to fold. When the time comes for placing your bet, simply bow out of that round. Yet there is a saving grace. No one else knows what kind of cards I have. I don’t know what the other hands are like, either. It could be that my set of cards isn’t as bad, in comparison.
The expert player knows when to hold their cards, to play forward, and when to fold. They understand their own risk tolerance. They have studied the temperament of each competitor. They can adjust accordingly, and thereby be successful in the game.
3. This is not the hill to die on
While the reference is to military combat, the common usage is in relation to argument and negotiation. As an employee in the office, there is something which bothers me about one of the other employees. It could be something trivial like what they wear.
I have the option to approach the human resources department. Lodge a formal complaint in order to set the table for an eventual battle in the future. The truth is, I would rather wait for something more important to wage such a serious conflict. This is not the hill to die on, since there is a risk to my status of employment. If I am going to put my own job in jeopardy, the fight must be worth something of value.
4. Live to fight another day
Another reference to armed conflict, the meaning here is rather obvious. Go in with guns blazing, but don’t jeopardize the mission. If you spend too much time in a specific area, where the reward is not that great, you run the risk of spoiling the entire operation.
A person trading stocks professionally remembers this principle on a daily basis. If they entered a day-trade that suddenly went extremely south, they could try to hang on. They could hope that the stock rebounds the next day, but the more prudent approach is to simply accept the loss and move on. Keep yourself in the fight for the future.
5. Read the room
This refers to proper discernment in speaking within social circles. The best illustration is in the extreme cases relating to emotion. For example, you are at a funeral. The mood is somber. People are sad because of the reason for being there. They have gathered to pay their respects. Cracking a joke and acting in a goofy manner is not appropriate.
The same with the opposite situation, where you are at a party. To suddenly break into a dissertation on the principles of life and death and other serious issues is not appropriate. The room is not ready to have that conversation and forcing the issue will only make you look out of place.
Reviewing these sayings highlights the difficulty in accomplishing complex tasks. Not everything is straightforward and simple. Complicating matters is representation, i.e. working on someone’s behalf. You have to apply proper discrimination, knowing the proper way to act, without a personal investment in the outcome.
Shri Hanuman described in the Ramayana is the ideal representative in this regard. He works for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama, and instinctively applies the principles of negotiation and persuasion in order to meet the highest objectives.
He also is within the realm of greatest difficulty. Alone. No reference points. No experts to guide his path. Scant information about the person being located. A hostile, foreign territory. Conspicuous in presence, both in terms of physical appearance and loyalty.
He is up to the challenge. Hanuman represents Rama so well that the role continues to this day. Rama notices the exceptional qualities in their very first meeting. Rama told His younger brother that no leader would be able to accomplish their work without having such a representative.
It is our great fortune that the relationship continues, that Hanuman can open the door to the spiritual world, to where we originally belong, returning to the life of liberation and seeing the end of the cycle of birth and death.
Hanuman rightful plaudits to earn,
Since proper course to discern.
And acting in efficient way,
Knowing silence and when to say.
How the objectives to meet,
Not phased in pressure’s seat.
Can help even unqualified like me,
Rama’s kingdom again to see.
Categories: the five