The Seat of Power: Pride or Service?

Ministership is to serve the people, not to take pleasure in power. When a seat is used for pleasure or prestige rather than as a means to serve, the whole society becomes infested with corruption, lacks growth, and undergoes moral degradation. Fear and insecurity grip the society and paralyze the humanness. It is natural for human beings to want to overcome fear and insecurity and will do almost anything to feel secure. Consequently there is struggle for the seat of power. However those who hanker after power are really powerless. They can accomplish very little even after coming into office. So don’t blame them! The irony is that even after assuming the seat of power, the fear doesn’t leave. In fact, it increases manifold. If you are in fear and tension you can’t come up with creative ideas or do much for society or yourself.

Often you hear ministers threatening to resign if they don’t get their way and their followers threatening to kill themselves. It is foolish to take pride in resigning from one’s post of responsibility as though one is doing a sacrifice. It is sheer irresponsibility to renounce a sacred duty assigned by people. Ministership is not a luxury which you can take pride in renouncing. Similarly, conferring a ministerial post on someone is demanding their best service and not conferring a reward.

If you realize your innate power, you don’t need a seat or position to serve people. You can do better without a formal post just as Mahatma Gandhi did.

Often a ruler is not a reformer and a reformer doesn’t rule.

The main motivating factor for people is their emotions, especially when illiteracy is high. This is misused by political parties and religious leaders for short-term gains. The only way to counter this is by providing broad-based education that is both scientific and spiritual.

Most political leaders lack education in true service. Few rise above the boundaries of race, religion and nationality. The remaining are stuck, with such political leaders who harm themselves and others. Like any other profession we need to have a system for educating politicians. A certain level of social education and maturity is needed to shoulder responsibility. Much effort is needed to bring about the concept of a global family: Vasudeiva Kutumbakam. Every minister must be able to ignore the sycophants around him or her and learn to listen to their own inner voice, their own divine guidance, what they innately know to be right and wrong.

We have to get out of the politics of hate and mistrust. True politics is to care for all people and not to hate a section of the society based on caste, religion, ideology or language. When service for people is the main aim of politics and not power or pleasure, any country will develop much faster as everyone will compete to serve better instead of concentrating on personal gains. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case. Today when parties come together, they do so because of common enemies rather than common goals. Then the basis is hatred and fear, isn’t it? My heart aches when I see the disgust and hatred among people and their leaders. Opposing parties must work together for the progress of the country. The politics of hatred should end.

A landlord employed two gardeners who had their duties on alternate days. They disagreed about how the garden should be. One would till the land and the other would come and undo the other's efforts. This went on for months. They kept undoing the other’s work and doing things their own way. At the end, the land was barren and infertile. All their efforts were in vain.

This is exactly what political parties do. Much time is wasted in mud-slinging and undoing what the other has done. When today’s parties complement and honor one another, the country will really shine. Satyuga (golden period) will be when opposing parties work towards one goal - making the poor self confident, the rich a generous giver, the educated not crooked and the innocent not foolish.

By Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. Read More