मुख्यमेकं पुरस्कृत्य शून्यत्मानोऽपि साधकाः l
भवन्ति तं विना नैव यथा संख्यांकबिन्दवः ll
By sending (one) main person (मुख्यमेकं ) ahead (पुरस्कृत्य )(letting him take the lead), weak persons achieve gain for themselves(शून्यत्मानोऽपि साधकाः). They would not be able to achieve anything without him.
Just as the zeros after any integer– If the integer is there, then the value of the number is enhanced because of the zeros. If, however, the integer is absent (तं विना), the zeroes by themselves have no value (नैव यथा संख्यांकबिन्दवः).
The situation described in this Subhaashit is seen many times. Most people in society are followers. They do not have the necessary qualities to take a decision themselves and act on it. They would rather leave the responsibility of taking the lead to someone else, and then follow that person. By doing so, they benefit themslves.
That is not to say that they do not contribute anything. The zeroes in any number do increase its value. But a zero cannot ‘stand alone’. It has to have the support of an integer.
We read of revolutionary events taking place because of the vision of a single person.
During the rule of the tyrannical emperor, Aurangzeb, the people in Maharashtra successfully established ‘Hindavi Swarajya’ under the leadership, and due to the vision of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj .
Of course, he was assisted by many others and their struggles to achieve freedom from Moghul rule were successful during his lifetime.
However, this achievement would probably not have been possible without his leadership.