Bakasura ( Literally meaning the crane shaped demon ) seems to be rather common demon name( or perhaps cranes were Asuras favorite birds) – for there are two of these who find mention in Mahabharata- one who was sent by Kansa to kill Sri Krishna and the other who tried to kill Bheema . This story refers to the latter.But before connecting the dots between Bakasura and hostile takeovers – here is a quick summary of Bakasura’s story .
Pandavas had escaped the burning Lakshagrih (The house made of lac) and were hiding in a city called Ekchakra .They were sent to Lakshagrih by their jealous cousins Kauravas who had made the palace of wax with the full intent of burning alive their unsuspecting cousins . However , with the timely advice from Vidura –and their own careful observation coupled with the most important factor – Sri Krishna’s grace- they noticed and had escaped – themselves setting fire to the place.They didn’t want the world to notice them so they were living as poor brahmins in the city as guests of another brahmin family (atithi devo bhava was the prevalent sentiment- and absolute strangers became revered guests – something hard to believe today) One day Kunti heard mourning voices from the next room. She enquired about the cause of grief . The headman explained – there was a demon called bakasura who lived in a cave nearby and ate once a month . The citizens had to send a cart full of food for him and he ate not just the food but the delivery man too. There had been no exceptions and any intransigence was punished severely . The headman’s wife and daughter-in-law were wailing loudly since it was the turn of his son to go deliver Bakasura’s monthly groceries .Kunti reassured them and told them she will ask her powerful son to go instead . The headman was reluctant – he could not put at risk the life of his guest ( Atithi Devo bhav – remember) but on Kunti’s insistence finally agreed . Kunti asked Bheema to go with the food cart – and take care of the issue . Bheema went up to the cave – set the bulls tied to the cart free and started enjoying the delicacies meant for Bakasura. The hungry Bakasura – heard the burping noises – and came out to see a stranger eating food meant for him. He attacked Bheema – Bheema used trees as mace and fought back . The rest they say is history . Bheema plucked out Bakasura’s horns and killed him with those . Ekchakra was forever indebted to Bheema and the Pandavas .
The real place
As a matter of fact 70 km from Bangalore there does exist a never drying blue pond and temple in Bheemabakasura betta which commemorates Bheema’s victory over Bakasura . There are even footmarks on the rocks which are supposed to have been formed in the battle . Its a scenic place – do visit when in Bangalore.
So whats the relation between Bakasura and hostile takeovers? Hostile takeovers are when a company gets acquired against its wishes – as some shareholders help an invader acquire majority shareholding . This was lately in news for the possible acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk and the company trying various options to prevent the same .
Bakasura is a symbol of unlimited greed and hunger . He didn’t just have the food – he consumed the person who delivered it as well .He is also a symbol of the hunger of those in power. That’s exactly what we see in cases of hostile takeovers. The limitless hunger for power , authority and wealth .Consider the United States hostile takeover of Afganistan or Iraq or the British plunder of India . They went in the express objective of plundering the wealth and utilizing all of the resources of the country for their own selfish benefit without a thought for the ravaged country. They didn’t just take the resources – millions were slaughtered in the process (not unlike Bakasura’s case)
The limitless hunger for more (power , wealth and fame ) isn’t just an attribute of organizations or countries – it’s a core trait of most of us too in the competitive corporate world. The culture promotes cut throat Bakasuras, who instead of showing kindness and compassion to those around ,will try to gobble up everything around them . Bakasuras will think only for themselves ,consider only their own needs and feed only their own greed . I would probably go a step further and say – that thinking for your own self only ( the me- me – me syndrome) is a reflection of the modern Bakasura . Have you met any of these Bakasuras?
I have met a few . Singularly driven by their own ambition and greed – they have absolutely no care about their teams , their stakeholders or partners. Their teams are typically terrified of them , hate their guts and lose motivation . Predators – both emotional and sexual at workplace would also probably fall in the same category of the modern Bakasura.
I have a senior colleague – who I respect a lot for his sharp intellect , energy and experience . His very astute thinking has got the organization through a number of crisis situations .However ,in his ambition fueled by self centeredness and greed – he moves his team like pawns on a chessboard .He plots the downfall of others to put himself in the lead for limelight and promotions. For 15 years he climbed up the ladder in this way – until it was pulled from under his feet – when some of his team members complained of harassment – and with that 15 years of accumulated fame and power came crashing down .He has now shifted to another organization – and one sincerely hopes he doesn’t create a Bakasura empire there .
How do you comfort those who are being held at ransom like the people of ekchakra ? You may not be a Bheema yourself – but random acts of kindness – listening and comforting those in pain, being available as the shoulder your friends can cry on and giving the right advice( to those in power and those below) can alleviate the pain of those in need – and give you the power like Bheema to help them out of their suffering. Atleast , thats how I have tried thus far .
Would love to hear from you my dear family on your experiences and thoughts on your experiences with Modern Bakasuras and confronting them