Toastmasters Storytelling Project 5 : S.D.D.B.

American author John Hammond once said,

“The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese”.

Toastmaster of the day, fellow Trailblazers and welcomed guests, life is nothing but a struggle. A struggle to get things done, in the way we want. We try to convince our boss to give us a better salary. We try to convince our kids to not to spend too much time on mobile phones. We try to convince our partners to give us the remote. We even try to convince ourselves to get up early in the morning and do something about the continuous weight gain. Convincing yourself or anyone else is certainly a grueling task indeed. How do you convince yourself or anyone can define how much desperate or passionate you are? What techniques do you use to persuade others and make them follow what you want to convey?

Today, I will tell you the story of Mahabharata, which is a story about convincing and eventually not getting convinced. Through this story, I will try to tell you about the sure shot way of convincing others. Today, I will tell you about the concept of SDDB or Saam Daam Dand Bhed through one series of stories from Mahabharat. Most of you might be familiar with Mahabharata and its characters.

The state of Hastinapur had 2 parties in a headlock against each other. On one side we had the Kauravas headed by Duryodhana, a powerful man who had too much ego and greed of power in him. Totally acceptable politician and warrior we can say. On the other hand, we had Pandavas headed by Yudhishthira, another powerful man who was the rightful heir to the Hastinapur crown but also had a problem with gambling. Another totally acceptable politician and warrior. Although Kauravas had more military strength, Pandavas had Lord Krishna with them who was an expert in the concept of Saam Daam Dand Bhed.

So that the war could get averted, Krishna went to Duryodhan and tried the first technique i.e. Saam.

Saam literally means convincing by giving logic and diplomacy.

Krishna said ‘O Duryodhana, why do you want to have a war which would lead only to death and misery. Let your elder brother Yudhishthir, as he is the rightful heir apparent, be the king and let there be peace’.

Duryodhana said ‘Nope!’.

After a while, Krishna tried the second technique of convincing i.e. Daam or Daan.

Daam means bribe or a price. Sometimes it is also called Daan, i.e. sacrifice to gain something.

Krishna said ‘O Duryodhana, I understand that you don’t want to lose your seat. Who doesn’t? But, can we settle it so that everyone is happy? Can you please give 5 villages to Pandavas. Just 5. It is nothing!’.

Duryodhana said ‘Nope!’.

Now, the war was looming at the head and situation was getting tenser. Krishna, being the master of tricks he was, tried another technique of convincing i.e. Bhed.

Bhed means Difference. Sometimes it is also called Divide & Rule. And it can also be called using the technique of Blackmailing or using Secrets to have your way.

Now instead of going to Duryodhana, Krishna asked Karna, who was the actual eldest brother. But he was born out of the legal wedding system. Karna was close to Duryodhana.

Krishna said ‘O Karna, Do you know that actually there is no need of the war itself. You will get to know soon who is the actual King. Go convince Duryodhana to understand this and don’t let this war thing go out of hands. More so, you can even marry Draupadi, Pandava’s wife’.

This time Karna said ‘Nope!’.

So, Saam i.e. requesting by logic had failed. Daam i.e. convincing by a price had failed. Even Bhed i.e. creating a difference didn’t work out. So, the only thing possible, the last resort, Dand i.e. Punishment remained.

Krishna helped Pandavas as much as possible by giving them crucial advice and war tactics and we know what happened in the end. Pandavas, even when they were less in number, won the war. Although a huge loss of property and life happened.

Friends, the concept of Saam Daam Dand Bhed was furthered ahead by Chanakya in his text Arth Shastra. This concept can be used to get anything done. But, there’s a caveat. We should remember that it works properly only when it is used against the right person.

“सज्जन को सम्मान देकर,

लोभी को धन देकर,

विद्वान को तर्क देकर व

दुष्ट को दंड दे कर

पक्ष में किया जा सकता है ।”

Well, as it happens always, this speech was not perfect. Instead of one proper story concentrating on one event. I tried to tell the story of how the battle eventually came into place. Although I cut down on so many other characters and events. After all, Mahabharata cannot be told in a speech as such. My intention was actually to tell Chanakya’s story but I decided to go with the oldest possible example of this.

Feedback which I got stressed on to enact the scenes better, use much more voice modulation and spend some time in character development.

I will try to incorporate them surely in my next speech. For now, Storytelling Manual is complete and I will be ACB shortly.

*pat on the back*

Header Pic from