Convincing People with Virtue (2/2)
Convincing People with Virtue (2/2)
Upon returning, Meng Huo joined forces with King Mulu. The army camp of King Mulu was situated in an extremely remote location. Leading his army, Zhuge Liang went through many difficulties to arrive there. Plus, King Mulu’s army trained wild animals to fight. As a result, the Han army was defeated. After returning to the army camp, Zhuge Liang made fake animals that were several times larger than their real counterparts. When they fought again with King Mulu’s army, the real animals were frightened by the size of the fake animals. The Han army was victorious and Meng Huo once again was captured. Although he was still not convinced, he did not have any reason. Zhuge Liang perceived Meng Huo’s state of mind so he still let him go.
Meng Huo then joined forces with the Wuge nation. The king of Wuge nation had a brave and veteran army fitted with rattan armor that was impenetrable by swords and spears. This rattan armor was made through a special technique using rattan only available in the southern region. Zhuge Liang prepared accordingly and won the battle by using fire as part of the strategy. Meng Huo was captured for the seventh time. He knelt down on his knees in front of Zhuge Liang’s tent. Zhuge Liang ordered him untied and treated to wine and food in another tent.
Meng Huo was drinking with his brothers, wife and advisors when someone came and reported, "The Prime Minister is reluctant to see you. He ordered me to release you. You can prepare once again for battle. Now you can leave."
Meng Huo shed tears and said, "It is unprecedented for someone to be captured seven times and released seven times. Although I come from a small country, I also know about justice and righteousness. How could I be this shameless?" He then led his people and knelt down. He apologized, "The Prime Minister is powerful and mighty. The southern people will no longer attempt an invasion!" Zhuge Liang said, “Are you convinced now?” Meng Huo cried, “Our future generations all thank you for your grace and generosity!” Zhuge Liang then invited Meng Huo to the banquet to celebrate. He returned all the invaded lands to Meng Huo. Meng Huo and his officials were all very grateful and left graciously. When Meng Huo returned, he also convinced other tribes to surrender.
The officials asked Zhuge Liang, "Now that we finally conquered the South, why didn’t we send our officials there to govern instead of letting these current leaders?"
Zhuge Liang said, "If we send our officials, we have to also send soldiers. It not only wastes manpower and army supplies, more importantly, it would cause distrust of each other. We let every tribe govern itself and we make peace with each of them. Isn't it better this way?" They were all convinced.
Zhuge Liang was ready to return to the Shu nation. Meng Huo led all of the officials and heads of all tribes to accompany him. Zhuge Liang asked him to care for his people and tend to agriculture. Meng Huo and others shed tears and said good-bye. Along the way, Zhuge Liang gave local farmers crop seeds and irrigation tools. The southern people were very grateful. They built temples and worshiped him as the compassionate father. They also sent medicine, paint, cattle and horses to support the military.
Many years later, Zhuge Liang passed away in 234 AD. Emperor Wudi of Jin dynasty, Sima Yan (236 – 290 AD), unified the three nations. The head of Shu nation Liu Chan was abducted to Luoyang. Meng Huo was still grateful for the generosity of Zhuge Liang. Every summer he would lead his soldiers to Luoyang to visit Liu Chan. He also asked the emperor to kindly treat Liu Chan and the people of Shu. The emperor was also deeply moved.
Using his superior wisdom and tolerance, Zhuge Liang had captured and released Meng Huo seven times and eventually convinced him willingly not to fight. Throughout history, all wise people won support with virtue. One first has to be a proper human being before doing anything. It is the same principle for officials. The priority is to establish their virtue. One needs to be righteous to govern the country and secure his people. One should be devoted and selfless. This is what people would appreciate and the whole world would be in peace. For those who took power through violence, they could never exist for long and will eventually be eliminated by history.