Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Religion
    Dated: 1/6/2003
Many have opined that politics and religion should not be mixed. Such people have no idea what religion is all about. Religion is a set of instructions given by God and such instructions cover all aspects of human life, of which politics is a very important part. Politics is not just about acquiring or exercising power within a group or an organisation or a nation. Politics is actually the process of good governance and therefore, it is the highest occupation and there are detailed instructions regarding the duties of a king in bonafide scriptures.

Lord Krishna instructs in the Bhagavad Geeta : “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession and the saintly kings understood it in that way" (4.2). Mark the words “saintly kings”. The leaders are supposed to be saintly and not rogues and thieves, who get themselves elected by fooling the gullible public. And such kings should be well-versed in the knowledge of the scriptures. Politics should not be the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and funds from the rich by promising to protect each from other, as the famous saying goes.

True religion requires the leaders to be "rajarsi" that is raja and risi. A Raja who is a rogue is not permitted by true religion . All leaders are supposed to be well-versed in the injunctions of true religion. When we speak of true religion we don't mean irreligion. There are five types of irreligion. Any instruction which has not come from God that is, not mentioned in a bonafide scripture, is the first type. Any new religion which contradicts the bonafide scripture is another type.

Any religion which just plays on words and sounds impressive is the third kind. Any amendment to the instructions given by God to suit one's individual convenience is the fourth

And lastly, any religion which prevents one from carrying out one's prescribed duties is also an irreligion. There is in reality only one religion since it came from the one and only God. God directly or through His son or His Prophet has given instructions at different places in different era according to time, place and circumstances and they are all bonafide instructions. They do not contradict if one does not intentionally misinterpret them. God who is all knowing cannot give contradictory instructions ; that is not possible. The fault lies in willful misuse of religion. God has not given much importance to where or from whom someone is born. He says in the Bhagavad Geeta, "According to the qualities and the work associated with them the four divisions of human society are created by Me" (4.13). He has emphasised on the work done and not so much on where someone was born. Making divisions, according to where someone was born or to whom, is the handiwork of human beings. And seeking votes in the name of religion and caste is the work of politicians.

Religion guides about principles of good governance and not about vote-gathering. As stated before, the leaders are supposed to be saintly which translates into not being a thug. Saintly persons follow the religious principles and govern ably and there have been countless such examples. The details of proper behaviour for everyone are given in bonafide religions and that includes instructions for the leaders also. Dividing people on the basis of different rituals, that they may be performing is dishonest.

We became slaves earlier due to willful wrong use of the religious principles to gain some material advantage over our fellow citizens. The same is continuing even now with our politicians attempting to divide the society in the grab of religion. This is precisely what is wrong with us today ; there is nothing wrong with religion.
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