“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
Friend1: I’ve read that people tend to follow a good leader.
Friend2: There is no doubt about it. It’s also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita.
Friend1: I’m assuming the instruction is there so that the people in charge will understand the responsibility they have.
Friend2: Right. You can’t dismiss the fact. You are a role model; there is nothing that can be done about it.
Friend1: I remember that famous basketball player saying way back that he didn’t want others to look up to him.
Friend2: It only makes sense. They are enjoying life. They are not trying to lead, anyway. They don’t want people to expect exemplary behavior from them.
Friend1: I’ve also heard today’s leaders described as demoniac many times.
Friend2: It’s difficult to conclude otherwise.
Friend1: Aren’t they trying to help people, though? How can you be demoniac if you have the people’s interest at heart?
Friend2: Let me ask you this. What is the general opinion of politicians?
Friend1: They lie. They say one thing on the campaign trail and then do something entirely different when in office. They listen more to their donors than to their constituents.
Friend2: There you go. You are basically agreeing that they are demoniac; just the description you’re providing is more elaborate.
Friend1: I see. How do we get better people into office?
Friend2: It’s difficult.
Friend2: The leaders are mostly demoniac, as you nicely put it. But it’s actually the system, if you think about it.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: I compare it to complaining about the players in basketball being so tall.
Friend1: I’m not following.
Friend2: Well, what would you say to someone who lodged that complaint?
Friend1: I don’t know. I’d say they are being silly. The game is made in such a way that the tall players perform better. You almost have to be tall in order to play in the professional ranks.
Friend2: There you go. In the system of democracy, you almost have to lie, cheat and steal in order to get ahead.
Friend1: I never thought of it that way.
Friend2: Democracy means that everyone has a voice, even the bad people. The elections come down to which side will get favoritism from the government. Favoritism is the opposite of how government should run. In vox populi, the very basis of elections is immorality. If that is the foundation, then surely you’re going to get people who are good at bending the truth, at sweet-talking their voters and destroying the opponents.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: Notice how the majority of the office holders are lawyers. A lawyer’s job is to bend the rules as much as possible, to see how they can cheat in a legal way. These politicians are known to flip flop because they can take any side of the issue based on who is funding their campaign. To call a politician a hypocrite is to almost compliment them.
Friend1: How do we change the system? Are you advocating an overthrow of the government? Do you want to replace it with a monarchy?
Friend2: I’m not saying that. I’m just giving you the explanation for why the leaders today are the way they are. At the very least, this knowledge helps in deciding who should be looked up to. You shouldn’t take leadership from a person who is duplicitous. You shouldn’t take counsel from someone who is bought and paid for by a special interest.
Friend1: Someone who is free of duality would be the ideal candidate, then?
Friend2: Right. Someone who has seen the Absolute Truth. They can help the person sincere in their desire to advance in consciousness. The word in Sanskrit is guru. This translates to “spiritual master” in English. Find a guru who is equal in their vision, who treats the animal and the human being with the same compassion. Find a spiritual master who is not bought off, who is not attached to sense gratification. They will make the ideal leader.
Friend1: Does Krishna mention any good leader in particular in the Bhagavad-gita?
Friend2: He references King Janaka at one point. Janaka was the leader of Videha, and he had many responsibilities to fulfill. He was also an advanced yogi. He did not allow for one to get in the way of the other. He fulfilled his duties with detachment. He remained in transcendence despite working. Fortunately, there is something called disciplic succession.
Friend1: Where the knowledge comes down in a chain so you don’t have to necessarily look to a person who is no longer on this earth?
Friend2: Exactly. Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. That conversation then got passed on to wise souls who then continued to pass it on. Today the same teachings are explained by people appearing in the line of succession. Those people make the ideal role models. They are free of the four principal sins: meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. Their sole focus is on serving the Supreme Lord, who is a person. They teach others to follow the same service, knowing that it will bring true happiness. They don’t make false promises. They don’t speak lies. They give others the Absolute Truth through sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
In vox populi to donor beholden politician,
Responsible for on positions vacillation.
To fix country vote for them you must,
But once in office quickly to break the trust.
Acharya the one by example leading,
In every action on right path proceeding.
Not making false promises abound,
Revealing Absolute Truth through sound.