Three Sets Of Friends And Enemies Created In Politics

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Politics involves accepting one group of men as enemies and another group as friends. Everything in politics is based on this philosophy, and the entire world, especially at the present, is engrossed in it. The public is concerned with friendly countries and friendly groups or enemy countries and enemy groups, but as stated in Bhagavad-gita, a learned person does not make distinctions between enemies and friends. Devotees, especially, do not create friends and enemies.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.3 Purport)

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Prahlada Maharaja patiently heard. He recited, when necessary. Though he did not agree with the philosophy being spoken, though his interests were elsewhere, he did not cause any disturbance. This was the edict of the crown, to teach the future generations in a certain way. Become versed in the intricacies of politics, which at its foundation involves drawing lines of distinctions, creating groups of friends and enemies.

1. Rich and poor

One of the more popular forms of government in modern times is democracy. Either direct or through what is known as a representative republic, the citizens vote. There isn’t a central authority figure who makes the decisions unilaterally, without accountability to the people.

Though the benefit of such a system is a wider distribution of the decision-making process, and thereby a lower risk of a single bad actor spoiling everything, there are also many issues. The definition of success in a democratic-style system is swaying public opinion. The actual benefit to the people of the policies is irrelevant. As long as there is majority support in the upcoming election, then everything is okay.

One of the easiest ways to guarantee that support is to spend. Take from the government treasury and give to different groups. If there isn’t enough money, simply borrow it. After that take from a group that won’t garner much sympathy from the majority of the people. The rich are the easiest target.

“It is time they pay their fair share. Do you see what kind of houses they live in? Some of them are so wealthy that they can’t even remember how many homes they own. We’re asking that they pay a little more, that they invest in the future of the country. This isn’t too much to ask.”

[taxes]There are counterarguments, for sure, but only heard in certain circles. If a rich person actually came out to publicly defend themselves, they risk severe backlash.

“The rich pay the majority of the taxes that flow into the treasury. This is indisputable. However you want to calculate fairness, if only five percent of the people fund something like ninety percent of the government, that doesn’t seem fair to me. We should help the poor, but they already receive so much. Moreover, at some point you are encouraging idleness and destroying work ethic by telling people that they don’t have to earn for themselves in order to eat and sleep properly.”

2. Men and women

In present times politicians rely heavily on public polling for directing future policy. If there is a dividing line on an issue between men and women, it is not surprising to hear the following:

“Men have been suppressing women for centuries. It’s about time they stood back and kept quiet. Let women run things for a while. Their predatory behavior, their uncontrolled desire for domination has caused so many problems in society. Let us empower women today.”

3. Law-abiding and criminals

Wherever a politician can find votes, to that place they will go. If a certain group of people can guarantee them power in the government for many generations, then that option will be taken into consideration. It matters not whether the people propped up happen to be criminals, those who don’t obey the most basic laws of the state. The law-abiding risk demonization if any objections are raised:

“We are a compassionate nation. We don’t turn our back on foreigners. Anyone who wants to come here should be allowed in. How cruel it is to refer to these people as criminals. They are not. They are simply looking to improve their lives. Let them participate in our system. They are just as much citizens as the people that arrived here through legal channels.”

This is just a sampling, as the practice of division has been going on since before anyone can remember. In terms of working with other nations, there is an advantage to forming alliances and treating well those groups identified as allies. With enemies it is good practice to employ the threefold strategy known as charity, division and force.

द्विविधम् त्रिविध उपायम् उपायम् अपि सेवते |
विजिगीषुः सुहृत् कच्चिन् मित्रेषु च परम् तपः ||

dvividham trividha upāyam upāyam api sevate |
vijigīṣuḥ suhṛt kaccin mitreṣu ca param tapaḥ ||

“I trust that the chastiser of the enemy [Rama] employs the twofold strategy in behaving friendly with friends and in His desire to conquer the enemy employs the threefold strategy.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.17)

Devotees generally don’t take an interest in creating such divisions. Such was the case with Prahlada Maharaja. He had jnana at the highest level, understanding the spiritual equality of all beings. He considered everyone to be a friend in the sense that it is in the nature of the soul to serve the Supreme Lord. Something like atheism is also devotional service, when viewed a certain way.

[Krishna's lotus feet]For instance, Prahlada’s father Hiranyakashipu was paying homage to God by displaying just how powerful the illusion of maya can be. It fools an otherwise capable person into thinking that there is no intelligent controller behind the amazing creation. It makes them think that they can remain in their temporary situation forever and that the presence of God can simply be removed by the application of force.

In Closing:

When higher tax policy to state,

Group of wealthy target to create.

The men and women divide,

Criminals and laws those who abide.

Friend and enemy in this way making,

But Prahlada a different course taking.

Since devotion to Bhagavan directed,

Knowing that all to Him connected.

Categories: the story of prahlada, the three

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