“Lord Brahma, the greatest of all learned living beings, the greatest sacrificer, the greatest observer of the austere life, and the greatest self-realized mystic, advises us, as the supreme spiritual master of all living beings, that one should simply surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord in order to achieve all success, even up to the limit of being liberated from the miseries of material life and being endowed with all-auspicious spiritual existence.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.6.36 Purport)
Friend1: Do you get excited about politics?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: When there is a presidential campaign going on, do you follow?
Friend2: I watch some of the debates, though every time I tell myself I won’t. I do get sucked in by the hype and the drama surrounding the frontrunner.
Friend1: It’s the same with me. Though I’m starting to think that there isn’t much difference between the parties.
Friend2: That’s the flaw in democracy, you know.
Friend1: What’s that?
Friend2: With democracy, something that is wrong can become right. In Sanskrit the two words are dharma and adharma. Dharma is religiosity, righteousness, or duty. Adharma is the opposite.
Friend1: Stealing would be a good example of adharma. Protecting people’s property would be an example of dharma.
Friend1: You’re saying that democracy can flip the two around.
Friend2: We know that it is adharma to takes someone’s money from them if they refuse. It’s their property, after all. But if we get enough votes in the legislature, we can do that exact thing. The stealing becomes legal. It won’t be known by that name. It’s never a good idea to tell people that you’re stealing. You’ll come up with other terms like redistribution, charity, for the common good, and the like. The name of a bill is usually the opposite of what it does. If a bill has the word “freedom” or “choice” in it, it means that there will actually be less freedom and fewer choices as a result.
Friend1: Your description sort of dovetails with another thought I had. These candidates are all basically vying to see who will be in charge of the money.
Friend2: Right. I heard someone say that the largest collection of wealth in the world is in the treasury of the government.
Friend1: Yes! I heard that, too. Despite what they say on the campaign trail, these candidates want to be in charge of that large collection. They want to decide how the massive amount of money will be distributed. It’s great power.
Friend2: Yeah, every democracy is essentially like this. As a voter you assess which side will benefit you. Then you align with that side, hoping to reap the benefits.
Friend1: It kind of makes everything futile. The words are just empty promises. The politicians are not really interested in helping people.
Friend2: It’s good to juxtapose that practice with how the guru behaves. The bona fide guru has no desire to be in charge of money. They are not in it for a business.
Friend1: I would think it’s hard for people to believe that. Cynicism has justifiably increased after so many years of politicians lying.
Friend2: Plus, there are so many cheating gurus out there, who do indeed want money, fame and power. You can tell the ones who are genuine by what they urge you to do. If they want you to be with Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then they lack personal motive.
Friend1: Because God’s association is the best thing for you?
Friend2: Exactly. The guru doesn’t care if they are poor. In fact, often times they are in the sannyasa order of life, which is full renunciation. They don’t have a fixed home, a steady job, or any relations to hold on to. They are truly independent. This makes it easier for them to spread the message of Divine love.
Friend1: Yeah. It must be difficult to come up with a campaign-style attack against someone who has nothing.
Friend2: It is still done, for this is Kali Yuga after all. But still, if the guru is steady then these attacks won’t mean a thing to them. The spiritual master is interested in people advancing spiritually, where the consciousness elevates to the point of bringing tremendous bliss.
Friend1: What about the guru selling books and the like?
Friend2: Well, if you look at the prices, there is barely any profit. They take money because otherwise people would think the books lacked value. When you pay for something, you have some respect for the object. The books increase the scope of hearing. A person can make a speech in front of an audience, but they get a greater effect when the same message gets repeated in thousands of homes through a book.
Friend1: Good point.
Friend2: The guru is truly looking out for us. They don’t discriminate based on wealth, gender, or ethnicity. They understand that anyone who is in the material consciousness is suffering. They know that in this age the best way towards enlightenment, happiness and a fulfilling life is association with God through sound. That’s why they recommend most the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Greatest wealth collection treasury to hold,
So politicians vying over who will control.
Not for people’s benefit seeking,
Just for money to distribute reaching.
Compare to guru who bhakti to give,
Sacrificing so others with real happiness to live.
Wanting not honor, wealth nor fame,
Just that everyone with love to chant the holy name.