SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM INDIAN POLITICS?

By editor - 20.10 2017

As the Delhi election results are out, media is serving out lots of analysis on what went wrong or right for whom? Everyone’s an expert on political issues, as reader’s comments on election news would reveal. As I saw the fortunes swing for AAP, with the downslide of Congress and the thrashing BJP got, I couldn’t help share my thoughts on these events. 2004: Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party (AAP) was an unknown name. Narendra Modi was a villain and referred to as Maut Ka saudagar (a trader of death) by his political opponents who accused him of carrying out mass murders.

Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were popular, and at the helm of affairs in National politics, and controlled the central government. Ten years later in 2014, after National elections, Arvind Kejriwal became a joke, a national caricature whom everyone poked fun at. Narendra Modi became the Messiah. The same media that once severely criticized him now extolled his glories. But a year later, today in 2015, Kejriwal is a hero, and Modi is facing flak for his arrogance.

Rahul and Sonia, the leaders of once an invincible party are today dismissed as inconsequential. What do we learn from this? Time is supremely powerful! Bhismadeva, the great grandsire of the epic Mahabharata was on his death bed after the war. Lying on a bed of arrows, he tells the Pandavas, “In my opinion, this is all due to inevitable time, under whose control everyone in every planet is carried, just as the clouds are carried by the wind” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.14).

There were people who in their entire lives knew Congress party as the only party of substance, and no other political party had any sway over the masses. But today, cruel time has changed the face of Indian politics. The material world is replete with constant hopes and horrors; heroes become villains and the mighty bite the dust. In his commentary to this verse, Srila Prabhupada writes, “There is control by time all over the space within the universe…. All the big gigantic planets, including the sun, are being controlled…. Similarly, the inevitable Kala, or time, controls even the action of the air and other elements.” As long as we are in this world, we have to face the actions and reactions imposed by time. Therefore Srila Prabhupada instructs, “One should not be disturbed by the tricks of eternal time”. What do we do then? Bhismadev further says if we remain faithful to God, and lead our lives guided by superior and wise seniors, and adhere to timeless principles, we would be peaceful.

Therefore instead of grudging the cruel acts by time, one needs to work on living by these principles, and that assures success irrespective of the external upheavals in this material world. Another lesson I learnt was if you have a purpose in life, you wouldn’t be discouraged by reversals. After the last year’s elections where AAP was trounced badly, many thought they had heard the last of this party. But Mr. Arvind Kejriwal was not the one to buckle under pressure.

He persisted in his efforts and today he made it! The same with Mr Modi who went through intense pain as criticism was lashed at him on all fronts. He persisted and eventually a person with the most humble beginning of being a tea vendor became the Prime minister of the world’s largest democracy. There was a time in life, when I would take negative comments of even people who didn’t matter to me that much, very seriously. My need for approval and appreciation was huge, and somehow I never felt fully satisfied even if I got plenty of it.

And now I can see if these leaders had taken all the media attention seriously, they’d have been totally distracted from their goal. One day there is praise in this world, and don’t be surprised if the same people spew venom on you the next day. Daily, events beyond our control unfold in this world, and instead of being absorbed in it, we need to observe them dispassionately, learn lessons from it, and move on silently and steadily on our chosen path, pursuing our avowed goals. “Arise, Awake, stop not until your goal is achieved” –  Swami Vivekananda