04.02: From the love of power to the power of love
Power. That’s what motivates most politicians today. Because they usually have materialistic values and goals, they imagine that power is their gateway to happiness. They may talk social welfare, but they mostly walk their love of power.
Gita wisdom unveils before us political leaders of an entirely different genre: leaders who are spiritually illumined and devotionally motivated. The Bhagavad-gita (4.2) calls them as rajarishis, translated as saintly kings or royal sages. Either way, the designation indicates that these leaders embody an intriguing harmony of this-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 with 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: it is ultimately an expression of Krishna’s love, provided for us as an arena to redirect our love to him, and thereby attain eternal life and happiness.
This devotional vision enriches the saintly kings with an other-worldly motivation for their this-worldly administration: the power of love. They understand that their own – and their citizens’ – well-being lies in channeling the power of love from the human heart to the divine heart. As they don’t labor under the illusion that worldly power brings happiness, 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 leaders in our own ways, 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.