Power. That’s what motivates most politicians today. Because they usually have worldly values and goals, they imagine that worldly power is their gateway to happiness. They may talk love of people, but they mostly walk love of power.
Gita wisdom unveils before us political leaders of an entirely different genre: leaders who are philosophically illuminated and devotionally motivated. The Bhagavad-gita (04.02) calls them rajarshis, which is translatable as saintly kings or royal sages. Either way, the designation indicates that they embody an intriguing harmony of worldliness (conveyed by the word raja, king) and other-worldliness (conveyed by the word rishi, sage).
The Gita indicates that these saintly kings are connected to a disciplic succession that traces back to the source of all wisdom and love, Krishna. Through this disciplic connection, they become educated, trained and realized in the spiritual purpose of the world. They understand that the world is ultimately an expression of Krishna’s love – he has provided it as an arena for us to redirect our love to him and thereby attain eternal life and happiness.
Such devotional vision enriches the worldly administration of these saintly kings with an otherworldly aspiration: the power of love. They recognize that their own – and their citizens’ – well-being lies in channeling the power of love from the human heart to the divine heart. So they don’t labor under the illusion that worldly power brings happiness. Consequently, their talents and energies become free to be utilized for implementing sound, scripture-based policies that herald the all-round good of everyone.
We are all in our own way leaders, big or small. If we start embodying the power of love instead of the love of power, then we can set off small but significant ripples of influence that will contribute to restoring our polity to moral integrity and spiritual sanctity.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 04 Text 02
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.”