Sunday, June 29, 2014

Society & One-Legged Dharma-Part 6- How Spiritually Right is Discontentment in Politics?

Nithin Sridhar

I will pen-down my comments and opinions on various social issues under the title "Society & One-Legged Dharma" pointing out how most of the ills of the society has been caused due to forsaking of Dharma by people. In Hindu scriptures, the Dharma represented by a Bull is said to stand on four legs in Satya Yuga, when most people practiced and lived life by Dharma. "Four-Legs" denotes that Dharma was firmly established in society. On the other hand, it is said that,in Kali Yuga, Dharma stands only on One-Leg. We have been witnessing this in our society, where qualities like truth, non-violence, compassion, honesty have lost their value and replaced by untruth, deviousness, corruption, violence etc.

The series of writings under this title is my humble attempt to revive Dharma by making people become aware of them.
-Nithin Sridhar

How Spiritually Right is Discontentment in Politics?

The ugly face of discontentment and opportunistic tendencies among the politicians gets exposed every time there is elections. The same was the case in the recently held Lok-Sabha elections as well. One Sunil Choudhary of Aam Aadmi Party reportedly shaved one half of his moustache and beard and toured around Allahabad on a mule to express his anger and displeasure against the party for denying ticket to him. Another example is ex-BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who filed his nominations from Barmer, Rajasthan as an Independent candidate after he was denied ticket from BJP. He had criticized the BJP leadership saying that one must differentiate between real and fake BJP (2).After his subsequent expulsion from BJP he went on record to state that he never supported Ram Janmabhoomi movement (3).

This phenomenon of discontentment is not localized to a specific party or a specific region. This phenomenon is not even unique to this election. After the announcement of every elections, one can witness the ugly battle of words, allegations and theatrics coming from those people who were denied tickets, or who were sidelined in the decision making process. The same people, who would be praising the party and the leadership till one day earlier, would start making noises and allegations the moment they are denied tickets. The allegations can range from frivolous charges of personal rivalry to serious charges of corruption and lack of internal democracy. Even if one were to assume that those allegations are true, it raises serious questions about the integrity of the candidates as such sudden U-turns clearly expose greed and opportunism. If a politician is really genuine and selfless and has service to people as his only goal, then why would such a person be discontent at being denied to fight an election? Lord Krishna in Gita (4) clearly instructs Arjuna, that one has only a right to perform his duties but never over the fruits of his action. Hence, a genuine and selfless politician whose only intention is to serve nation and its people will never become discontent. He would find other ways for serving people.

On the other hand, the very act of discontentment on the eve of elections exposes the presence of anger, frustration and jealousy. Manu Smriti clearly states that, a ruler should practice “Indriya-Nigraha (control of mind and the senses)” 24X7 (5). It further advices the rulers to avoid vices that arise from lust and anger (6). It states that the vices that arise from anger are eight in number- Tale-bearing, violence, treachery, envy, slandering, (unjust) seizure of property, reviling, and assault (7). One can easily witness few of these vices as being present in discontent politicians.

The root cause of this entire political discontentment, frustration and opportunism is the presence of Greed. This greed makes one to act against his own better judgment. It clouds the mind and hampers the faculty of discrimination (viveka) that differentiates between rights and wrongs. Hence, such actions that arise from greed are not only harmful to that particular Individual but also to society as a whole. It is for this reason Lord Krishna (8) describes Lust, Anger and Greed as the three gates to hell. Similar sentiments have been expressed in Manu Smriti that makes a comparison between choosing vices and choosing death. It declare that death is a better option as a person who lives a Dharmic life, upon death attains Heaven and enjoys peace whereas a person who lives through vices attains hell and suffers even after death (9). Hence, a person who is weak, ignorant, greedy, without discrimination of right and wrong and attached to sensual desires is declared to be unfit to govern (10). And if a nation is governed by such a person who is afflicted with lust, anger and greed, then it would only lead to destruction (11). This phenomenon is very much evident from the current state of affairs in India. The nation is afflicted with social problems be it rape, corruption or poverty. The political atmosphere is no better. The financial systems have been completely dismantled. The very word “culture” has been made an untouchable. At the very root of this crisis is the presence of Incompetent political class that has neither the vision of a statesman nor competencies of a good administrator. Much of the political class is filled with self-serving people who always put their own political ambitions and self-serving goals before growth and development of the nation and its people. They are devoid of any Intellectual and Spiritual competency that are necessary to effectively govern this country and take it on the path of progress and prosperity. And this section of political class becomes exposed every time they are denied tickets in the elections. 

  4. Bhagavad Gita 2.47
  5. Manu Smriti 7.44
  6. Manu Smriti 7.45
  7. Manu Smriti 7.48
  8. Bhagavad Gita 16.21
  9. Manu Smriti 7.53
  10. Manu Smriti 7.30
  11. Manu Smriti 7.27