The Next President of the United States – Who will it be?
In November, millions of Americans will go to the voting booths to elect the next President of the United States. Americans have been given only two candidates to choose from, one a Democrat, Vice-President Al Gore and a Republican, Gov. George Bush of Texas.
I would like to take a moment to reflect on what the ancient Sanskrit texts of India known as the “Vedas” have to say in regard to the duties of an executive head of state or king and the REAL role of government. But before I do, I think it is important for those who may be unfamiliar with the Vedas (which means knowledge), to acquaint themselves with exactly what the Vedas are and how they manifested.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
All people desire leaders who will protect their interests, that is, role models that they can look up to or emulate who possess integrity, honesty, sound judgement in times of crisis and the ability to protect the citizens. All peoples of the world truly desire peace, prosperity and well-being both individually as well as collectively. However, in regard to the people of the United States, due to ignorance of the actual facts, they may be voting for the candidate of their choice for all the wrong reasons. It is in this light that the following is written. One may contemplate its import.
While most world religions in general have their own books of supposed knowledge and moral codes, be it western or otherwise, the ancient Vedic texts are not only authorized in that they are passed down through a system known as “parampara” or disciplic succession, but the texts themselves are far-reaching about every aspect of human society and how a human being is to conduct themselves within that society. They are therefore “lawbooks” in the truest sense of the word. The Vedas in that respect are transcendental and have at their source or “root” a divine or Godly incarnation. Just how the Vedas are introduced into human society, their ultimate purpose and how man can incorporate the instructions enunciated within the Vedas that will benefit ALL of human society regardless of class or creed is the essence of this article.
THE ETERNAL VEDAS
While the Vedic texts are considered “eternal” amongst the devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), as well as ancient seers of the truth, and while other religions profess to have their texts written through “divine intervention”, we will discover how the original Veda may be at the root of those texts themselves. Some religious scholars today as well as historians are now coming to grips with the fact that the so-called “Hindu” texts of India are at least 4,000 to 5,000 years old. Be that as it may, the Vedic literatures themselves (also known as sastra or revealed scriptures) were originally passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition and finally compiled by Veda Vyasa or Vyasadeva 5,000 years ago on the banks of the famed Sarasvati River. I would also like to add that this is the very same Vyasadeva who wrote the world famous “Mahabharata” (Great India) of which the epic “Bhagavad-gita” (Song of God) is considered the fifth Veda.
Perhaps one of the most profound books written in Vaisnava history, (a Vaisnava is a devotee of Lord Krsna. Krsna is considered the Absolute Truth, God almighty Himself and the origin of all that be), is the Sri-Krsna-Samhita composed in 1888 by Srila Bhativinoda Thakura (1838-1914) when he was just fifty years old. Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote more than 100 books on the subject and he also functioned as a court Magistrate in the latter part of the 19th century. He himself, a great Vedic scholar and devotee of Lord Krsna in the disciplic line, gives an elaborate and electrifying discourse on the evolution of Vedic thought throughout the centuries to the present day. Below is but a sampling of those writings. Source: Sri-Krsna-Samhita By Bhaktivinoda Thakura translated by Bhumipati dasa-Vrajraj Press 1998.
He opens with:
“The constitutional duty of the living entity is to inquire into the Absolute Truth.”
He then gives an astute elaboration on the Srimad-Bhagavatam that is unrivaled. The Bhagavatam, known as Puranas (Vedic histories in relation to Lord Krsna) is 18,000 verses, 355 chapters and complete in 12 cantos and regarded as the summum bonum of all Vaisnava thought:
“Srimad-Bhagavatam has no birth because it is eternal, without beginning or end.”
“I have thus described the modern opinion on the dating of the scriptures that we are concerned with. There is no need to analyze all the scriptures of the Aryans. There were many other ancient scriptures studied by the Aryans. Astrology was current in Aryavarta 1000 years before the beginning of Kali-yuga (the present age of quarrel, hypocrisy and anxiety), prior to that the Vedas existed in the form of sruti, or hearing.
The Thakura expounds on even deeper realizations:
“We believe only in the statements of the scriptures. I have presented the modern conclusions for the benefit of the concerned people. According to them, the Aryans began their rule of India 6,341 years ago. (from the book’s writing in1888). We have thus established the incomparably long history of India. No other civilization can compare with it.”
Even more startling, the Thakura continues:
“It is said that Egypt is a very ancient country. It is estimated from the descriptions of Menitho, a historian from Egypt, that people started living in that country in 3553 B.C. The name of their first king was Minis (Menes). It is calculated that his rule began when Hariscandra was ruling India. The strange thing is this: There was a king named Maniscandra who was a contemporary of Hariscandra. It may be noted how similar the names Maniscandra and Menes are. It is also said that King Menes came to Egypt from
some Eastern country. The great pyramid was created by the Suphu dynasty. A king named Hyksos from the east attacked Egypt about 2000 B.C., or about 200 years prior to the battle of Kuruksetra (in which Lord Krsna enlightened Arjuna known as Bhagavad-gita). A religion similar to “varnasrama-dharma” (the four social and spiritual orders of human life), was previously practiced in Egypt. From these facts it appears there was some kind of connection between Egypt and India. Let future scholars research more about this. According to the opinion of the Hebrews, their kingdom was created 4000 B.C., probably from the time of King Sravasta (of India). It is difficult, however, to prove these things nowadays. Descriptions of incidents prior to the time of King Menes of Egypt are uncommon. The past history of India and the age of various scriptures are thus described according to the modern scholars opinion. Everyone has a right to decide whether or not these should be accepted as facts. The advancement of Vaisnavism does not depend on this type of conclusion. We know that Vaisnavism, the Vedas, and devotional scriptures such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam are eternal.”
The Thakura then gives a graph depicting the time frames for the sake of those scholars and religionists curious about India’s history:
|RULING DYNASTY||DURATION OF RULE||BEGINNING DATE|
**Srila Bhativinoda Thakura wrote Krsna-Samhita in 1888. The British ruled India for 183 years. India became an independent republic on January 26th 1950.
THE VEDIC ADVENTURE
The Thakura then goes on with the “spiritual advancement of knowledge” from ancient times to the present that is a tour de force of wisdom, enlightenment and knowledge. Here is one of the more incredible excerpts:
“If the reader carefully considers, it will be found that the spiritual science (Vedas and rasa) gradually evolved from ancient times and became more simple, more clear and more condensed. The more impurities arising from time and place are removed, the more the beauties of the spiritual science (also bhakti yoga or love and devotion) brightly shine before us.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura then gives a run down of the various geographical locations this science rests according to time, place and circumstance and which of course reaches it’s maturity in Navadvipa 500 years ago on the banks of the sacred Ganges River and it is here of course that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu (an incarnation of Lord Krsna Himself) promulgated His sankirtana movement, the chanting of the Lord’s holy names, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare. Therefore, the chanting of the holy names of God is not a new-age concoction. In Navadvipa, the spiritual science known as bhakti-yoga and the establishing of the five rasas (mellows) took form and reached it’s peak or zenith. The five rasas or loving relationships with God (Krsna) are as follows:
- santa-rasa: Relationship of neutrality
- dasya-rasa: Relationship based on service
- sakhya-rasa: Relationship based on friendship
- vatsalya-rasa: Relationship of parental affection
- madhurya-rasa: Sweetnes; relationship of conjugal love. Regarded as the highest.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura now pulls out all the stops:
“If we go through the histories of these five rasas, it is clearly understood that santa-rasa was seen in the beginning days of India. When the soul was not satisfied after performing sacrifices with material ingredients, then transcendentalists like the four Kumaras, Narada and Mahadeva all became detached from the material world, situated in transcendence, and realized santa-rasa. Much later, dasya-rasa manifested in Hanuman, the leader of the monkeys. That dasya-rasa gradually expanded to the northwest and manifested in a great personality named Moses. Long after Hanuman, the leader of the monkeys, Uddhava and Arjuna (two stalwart devotees of Lord Krsna) became the qualified authorities of sakhya-rasa. They preached about this rasa throughout the world. Gradually that rasa expanded up to the Arabian countries and touched the heart of Mohammed, the knower of religious principles. Vatsalya-rasa manifested throughout India in different forms at different times. Among the different forms, vatsalya-rasa mixed with opulence crossed India and appeared in a great personality named Jesus Christ, who was a preacher of Jewish religious principles. Madhurya-rasa first shone brightly in Vraja. It is extremely rare for this rasa to enter the hearts of the conditioned souls, because this rasa tends to remain with qualified, pure living entities. Till now (1888 when this book was written), this rasa has not crossed beyond India.”
The Thakura continues to elaborate on this theme:
“I hope, by the grace of the Lord, they will become attached to drinking the intoxicating nectar of madhurya-rasa. It has been seen that any rasa that appears in India eventually spreads to the western countries, therefore madhurya-rasa will soon be preached throughout the world.”
While Sri-Krsna-Samhita was written in 1888 it foreshadows the arrival of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to American shores in 1965. It is he who is the Founder-Arcarya of the modern day International Society for Krishna Consciousness more commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement.” It appears that Bhaktivinoda’s vision is a prophecy fulfilled. I might also add in this connection that it was Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself who predicted, “The chanting of the holy names will spread to every town and village.” It was at this time (late 1400’s) explorers by the name of Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci were in search of the “new world”. America had not been born as yet.
The Thakura then gives a final elaboration of the four different holy names of God to deliver the people according to the four yugas, (ages). Needless to say, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the mantra for this age of Kali as has been fully expounded upon by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada as well as all other previous great and grand acaryas within the disciplic succession as the only “peace formula” for suffering humanity. These men were colossal spiritual geniuses well versed in all subjects both material as well as spiritual. It is essential that if the world is to progress to a higher consciousness or God consciousness, the hearing and reading of the Vedic literatures are vital for the well-being of any human society as they emanate from the breathing of Maha-Vishnu Himself. Thus, they are free of any material inebriety. Lord Krsna says to Arjuna (Bg. 15.15) “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”
CITIZEN – HEAL THYSELF
One is probably wondering what all this has to do with the election of the next President of the United States. By now, I hoped to have established some degree of authenticity as to the nature of the ancient Vedic texts of India and how they have absolute relevance for today’s modern, high-tech or “digital” man. If the people are truly serious about voting for an executive head of state who will not commit a breach of trust, that is, one who can live by the laws of God as enunciated in the ancient Vedic texts and can therefore bring the people in general to such a consciousness by education, then it is very important that the masses be made aware of the actual qualifications of a king or President and thereby choose only those leader/s that have sufficiently imbibed and can understand the real purport of the Vedas. But before I quote from the Vedas, and while there may still be some doubts in the hearts of those who still think the Vedas are folklore or myth, let’s see what Srila Prabhupada and other acaryas have to say about the validity of the Vedas and more importantly, the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
“Imagination does not find a place in Vaisnava philosophy. In it, or in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the highest scripture for all men in the universe, has been described the topmost ontology about God, millions of times better than what the most civilized races of humanity five thousand years old, nay, as old as several millions of eras, can conceive of even in imagination.”- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta-Ray of Vishnu by Rupa Vilasa Das 1988.
“The authority of the Vedas is unchallengeable and stands without any question of doubt. And whatever is stated in the Vedas must be accepted completely., otherwise one challenges the authority of the Vedas.”- Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Intro. SB. 1.1
“The eternal duty of a king is the happiness of his subjects, observance of truth and sincerity of behavior.” -Bhishma to King Yudhistira in Mahabharata; Leadership Secrets by Meera Uberoi-1994
“This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.” Suta Goswami-SB.1-3-40
In Srila Prabhupada’s purport on the above verse he further illuminates:
“Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of Lord Sri Krsna and is therefore nondifferent from Him. One can derive from the study of the Bhagavatam all benefits that are possible to be derived from the personal presence of the Lord. It carries with it all the transcendental blessings of Lord Sri Krsna that we can expect from His personal contact.”
And in his purport to text 41 of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada answers any doubts one may harbor within the heart:
“Men with a poor fund of knowledge only accept the history of the world from the time of Buddha, or since 600 B.C., and prior to this period all histories mentioned in the scriptures are calculated by them to be only imaginary stories. That is not a fact. All stories mentioned in the Puranas and Mahabharata etc., are actual histories, not only of this planet but also of millions of other planets within the universe. Sometimes the history of planets beyond this world appear to such men to be unbelieveable. But they do not know that different planets are not equal in all respects and that therefore some of the historical facts derived from other planets do not correspond with the experience of this planet. The great rsis like Vyasadeva had no business putting some imaginary stories in their literatures. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that the purpose of all the Vedas are to know Him (Lord Krsna), and Srimad-Bhagavatam is Lord Sri Krsna Himself in the form of recorded knowledge. Therefore, it is the cream of all the Vedas, and it contains all historical facts of all times in relation with Sri Krsna. It is factually the essence of all histories.”
“This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krsna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in this age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.” Suta Goswami. SB: 1-3-43
In the purport to that verse, Srila Prabhupada again comments:
“Except for God, no one can establish the principles of religion. Real religion means to know God, our relation with Him and our duties in relation with Him and to know ultimately our destination after leaving this material body.”
Again he states:
“And Srimad-Bhagavatam is the summum bonum of life, Lord Sri Krsna personified. We must therefore accept Srimad-Bhagavatam as the direct representation of Lord Krsna. One who can see Srimad-Bhagavatam can see also Lord Sri Krsna in person. They are identical.”
And finally, Srila Prabhupada makes this profound prediction some years before his passing in 1977 in Vrindavana, India:
“My books (referring to his translations of Srimad-Bhagavatam and many other books) will be the lawbooks for mankind for the next 10,000 years.”
KINGS RULED THE WORLD
Again, while the Srimad-Bhagavatam delves into all facets of human life, military, medicinal, sociological, psychological, culinary, political, anthropological as well as artistic, it also elaborates on the duties and qualifications of kings known as “rajarsis“.
were not ordinary kings but rather, God conscious or Krsna conscious kings whos characters were impeccable as will be described. One may ponder the current state of affairs in this age and how it has degenerated.
In Vedic times, kings ruled the earth as is evidenced in this statement of Srimad- Bhagavatam:
“Maharaja Prthu was an unrivaled king and possessed the scepter for ruling all seven islands on the surface of the globe. No one could disobey his irrevocable orders but the saintly persons, the brahmanas and the descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (the Vaisnavas).” SB: 4-21-12
Srila Prabhupada enlightens us with his purport to this verse:
“Sapta-dvipa refers to the seven great islands or continents on the surface of the globe: (1) Asia (2) Europe ( 3) Africa (4) North America (5) South America (6) Australia and (7) Oceania. In the modern age people are under the impression that during the Vedic period or the prehistoric ages America and many other parts of the world had not been discovered, but that is not a fact. Prthu Maharaja ruled over the world many thousands of years before the so-called prehistoric age, and it is clearly mentioned here that in those days not only were all the different parts of the world known, but they were ruled by one king.”
There are many references to these facts within the Vedas themselves. But for our edification, let’s look at some samples of the spotless characters of some saintly kings and read what Srila Prabhupada and the Vedas themselves say about them:
THE REAL DUTY OF THE KING OR PRESIDENT
“Those who are devoted to the cause of the Personality of Godhead (Krsna) live only for the welfare, development and happiness of others. They do not live for any selfish interest. So even though the Emperor (Pariksit) was free from all attachment to worldly possessions, how could he give up his mortal body, which was shelter for others?” Saunaka- SB: 1-4-12
Srila Prabhupada gives his purport (excerpted):
“A devotee of the Lord automatically has all good qualifications. And the Emperor was a typical example of this. Because he was a devotee of the Lord, he knew perfectly well how to conduct his administration for everyone’s happiness–men, animals, plants and all living creatures. He would not allow slaughterhouses or killing of cows. His interest was to please the Supreme Truth, Personality of Godhead. The king is the representative of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the king’s interest must be identical with that of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord wants all living beings to be obedient to Him and thereby become happy. Therefore the king’s interest is to guide all subjects back to the kingdom of God. Hence the activities of the citizens should be so coordinated that they can at the end go back home, back to Godhead. Under the administration of a representative king, the kingdom is full of opulence. At that time, human beings need not eat animals. There are ample food grains, milk, fruit and vegetables so that the human beings as well as the animals can eat sumptuously and to their heart’s content. If all living beings are satisfied with food and shelter and obey the prescribed rules, there cannot be any disturbance between one living being and another. Emperor Pariksit was a worthy king, and therefore all were happy during his reign.”
After reading that purport, one can only cringe at the current state of affairs within today’s corrupt governments. Not only in America, but around the world. While one could go on forever quoting from the Vedic perspective about the essence of good government, the task facing anyone today trying to implement or execute these moral standards seems almost Himalayan in scope. The key of course, is to immediately bring an end to all slaughterhouses. As Srila Prabhupada once said, “There can be no justice in a slaughterhouse society.” I think that speaks for itself.
HYPOTHESIS AND CONCLUSION
A devotee of Lord Krsna may sometimes ponder how a system of government and more importantly Krsna conscious leaders will emerge according to Vedic standard. Since it is prophesied that this will indeed take place in the future, I would like to share my thoughts on the subject.
The modern world is seemingly vast today with so many cultural and religious ideologies that are deeply imbedded in the social fabric of any given nation. In addition, there are hostile forces at work, leaders whos stance is one bordering dictatorship and for their own self-aggrandizement will bring down a whole nation in the name of wealth and greed. Too many “isms” in the name of organized religion, albeit, millennia old are covering the real nature of the living entity from breaking the bondage of repeated birth and death. Many will come forward and challenge the devotee as to why their religious beliefs are diametrically opposed to what they believe in and therefore, the situation at times seems almost hopeless. Many will try to discourage one from their beliefs in God, but ironically, the opposition cannot give any concrete knowledge about God. Nor, can any of the world religions at present tell you who and what God is. Like Bhaktivinoda Thakura praying that one day madhurya-rasa will spread from the shores of India to western countries, we too pray for a speedy installation of Krsna conscious leaders who will lead us and guide us for that which is our true well-being both materially as well as spiritually. For Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his prayer came true 77 years later with the arrival of the greatest living spiritual leader of our time in the person of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Facts are facts. His biography by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami is self-evident. While the world has heard of the Dalai Lama, hardly anyone that you may meet in the street will have heard of Srila Prabhupada although the name “Hare Krsna” has become a household word.
In my humble opinion, this will all change soon. Until there is the re-establishing of Vedic religious principles as enunciated by Lord Sri Krsna Himself, we cannot expect to live in a world with peace and love. At any moment, the economic prosperity and so-called freedom that is the hallmark of the American way of life may be ripped away from us. Not only here in America, but around the world. “padam padam
yad vipadam” means danger at every step. We must never become complacent thinking we will live forever in the slumber of illusion.
Perhaps the best solution would be to appeal to the heads of state, members of congress and the people in general about the importance of spiritual life that is at once concrete and tangible in a bold, new way. As Srila Prabhupada once pointed out, the Vaisnavas do not seek political posts but rather, should be consulted. To illustrate this point, I will end by quoting from the Srimad-Bhagavatam once again. The real lawbooks:
“King Nabhi understood that his son, Rsabhadeva, was very popular amongst the citizens and among government officers and ministers. Understanding the popularity of his son, Maharaja Nabhi enthroned Him as the emperor of the world to give protection to the general populace in terms of the Vedic religious system. To do this, he entrusted Him into the hands of learned brahmanas, who would guide Him in administrating the government. Then, Maharaja Nabhi and his wife, Merudevi, went to Badarikasrama, in the Himalaya mountains, where the king engaged himself very expertly in austerities and penances with great jubilation. In full samadhi he worshipped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nara-Narayana, who is Krsna in His plenary expansion. By doing so, in course of time Maharaja Nabhi was elevated to the spiritual world known as Vaikuntha.” SB: 5.4.5
It may be noted that King Rsabhadeva, the son of King Nabhi, was none other than an incarnation of Lord Sri Krsna Himself just to teach us how a king or executive head of state should behave. Srila Prabhupada gives his purport (excerpted):
“In addition, Maharaja Nabhi wanted to entrust his son into the hands of the learned brahmanas. This means that a monarch was to govern strictly according to Vedic principles under the guidance of learned brahmanas, who could advise Him according
to the standard Vedic scriptures like Manu-smrti and similar sastras. It is the duty of the king to rule the citizens according to Vedic principles.”
We can only hope that the day will come in the not-too-distant future when today’s leaders will consult Krsna conscious devotees and thereby bring peace and prosperity for which the world yearns for. Then the people will be able to vote for a REAL President.
Those interested in reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam may contact their local Hare Krishna bookstore or obtain the Complete Works of Srila Prabhupada CD-ROM which contains the Srimad-Bhagavatam along with all of Srila Prabhupada’s other books, classes, conversations, morning walks, letters, etc.
Bhakta Vaikuntha (Wallace Dorian) has been a devotee of Krsna since 1979.