Spiritual Politics – A journey from insanity to saintliness

As Krsna is all-pervading, the Krsna consciousness movement also should be all-pervading.   It should touch everything, even politics, sociology, everything, if required. That is the aim.   – Srila Prabhupada

Politics refers to the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.  Spirituality refers to the quality of being more concerned with the human spirit or the soul rather than material things.  Spiritual politics therefore refers to the system of administration where the goal of all diplomacy, resource allocation and power plays is to ultimately bring about spiritual upliftment of the masses keeping God in the centre.  Such a system of politics acknowledges the supreme proprietorship of God over all the resources and sees everyone else as rightful heirs to their fair share of these resources for their maintenance and not for their sense gratification.

Politics without spirituality would result in destruction

Politics without spirituality is characterised by a valiant attempt towards increasing one’s sense-gratification.  Because one’s sense-gratification is the goal of such a society and its leader, neither the leader nor the society is bothered about the suffering caused to others due to such sense-gratificatory behaviour.  Such behaviour arises due to ignorance of one’s true spiritual nature and the real source of unlimited happiness.  Powerful rulers like Hiranyakashipu, Ravana, and Duryodhana were undoubtedly great administrators whose kingdoms were materially opulent but their lack of spiritual understanding and practice led to ultimate destruction of their kingdom.  Even the history of the West beginning from the time of Greek and the Romans down to the modern atomic war-is a continuous chain of sense gratificatory materialism and the result is that the Westerners were never in peace within the memory of 300 years of historical records. Neither it will be possible for them at any time in future to live in peace till the message of spiritualism just suitable to the present age does not reach their heart.

Material well being follows spiritual well being

Spiritual politics is not something new but is well entrenched in Vedic history.  A study of the Vedic literature shows that kingdoms that were ruled by saintly kings called rajarishis like Lord Rama,

Ambarisha, Yudhishtira, Prthu, and Parikshit under the guidance of astute spiritual guidance of personalities like Chanakya were materially prosperous, free of all vices and provided an atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth.  Therefore, spiritual politics is not an oxymoron but is indeed the right prescription for an ideal welfare state.  In the Srimad Bhagavatam there is a description of the material

standard of living during the rule of Maharaja Yudhishtira.  Under his rule, there was never a shortage of rain. The earth produced abundant crops and supported countless cows, which moistened the ground with the milk that dripped from their full milk bags. The people felt they had everything they desired and were free from anxiety. They were not afflicted by disease, mental agony, or excessive heat and cold.  This is because such saintly kings were well trained in the universal system of management called yajna, by which the basic necessities for society could be easily met and at the same time enable spiritual progress of all sections of society.

Spiritual politics is all inclusive and non-sectarian

The goal of spiritual administration is to give all citizens a chance to achieve the highest perfection of life

i.e. relief from the four miseries of birth, disease, old age and death.  Rajarshis like Yudhishtira and Ambarisha were expert in organising society as per Varnashrama dharma to achieve this goal.  Such a system provided equal opportunity for spiritual growth to everyone based on their qualification and work and not based on their birth.  Spiritual politics does not mean affiliation to a certain religion or sect.  In the current context, Srila Prabhupada says, “Secular government means impartial to any religious system. But the government should not be so callous that in religious principle, let people do whatever he likes. No. The government cannot do so. You can say that “You are Hindu; you execute your own system of religion. You are Muslim; you can execute your system of religion. You are Christian; you follow your system of religion. You are Buddhist; you follow your system of religion.”

The role of a spiritual administrator The Srimad Bhagavatam 4.20.14 declares, “To give protection to the general mass of people who are citizens of the state is the prescribed occupational duty for a king. By acting in that way, the king in his next life shares one sixth of the result of the pious activities of the citizens. But a king or executive head of state who simply collects taxes from the citizens but does not give them proper protection as human beings has the results of his own pious activities taken away by the citizens, and in exchange for his not giving protection he becomes liable to punishment for the impious activities of his subjects.”  Therefore, the king, or in modern times the government, should act as the guardian of the citizens by teaching them the proper goal of life i.e. realization of one’s self and one’s relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The duty of the government, therefore, is to take charge of training all the citizens in such a way that by a gradual process they will be elevated to the spiritual platform and will realize the self and their relationship with God.