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We Have a Country – How Are We Going To Run It?

Wednesday, 03 April 2019 / Published in Articles, Kesava Krsna Dasa / 5,485 views

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

Let us say we won a general election. A majority vote sweeps us into power. All state resources are at our disposal. There will still be a democratic opposition in place, but they will want to see how we give all citizens of the land a Vedic alternative. Where do we start?

Sometimes devotees in their exuberance will say, “We’re going to take over the entire world.” Lord Chaitanya’s prediction has to materialise, but the sombre realities of actualising Vedic models of civilisation with VAD in mind, may prove complex or simple, depending on what opposition or social factors impede us.

In this sample, we shall use a small nation like Mauritius or Uruguay and similar countries that have little or no natural resources like oil and gas to potential fund an envisioned national transition to a Vedic model. This is to give some idea of the magnitude of the task at hand considering how a total civilization and its conditioning has to be undone, then replaced, with expected social upheavals and testing international relations.

This depends of course on how quickly we want to implement changes. It may be gradual. But if we only have a four or five year term in office to prove ourselves, there will not be much time, especially when opinion polls register initial public displeasure. We could do away with democracy altogether, in which case the political backlash will be even greater.

Whether a disaster happens, or a devastating economic collapse or we win a general election, many unthought-of matters will confront us. A nation with millions of multi-ethnic and religious people and complex institutional and constitutional mores, will present challenges far greater than what we expect in an average temple.

Since many of our solutions are quite extreme by modern standards, we’ll have to present our case without causing fear and apprehension, otherwise ideas of backward out-dated connotations will hinder us. We have to be futurists with a heart.

Our Manifesto

One of the first intentions may be to dismantle the four pillars of Kali-yuga — (Meat and fish industries and all subsidiaries, Brewery, drugs, tobacco and general intoxication links, Casino and gambling outlets, and illicit sex related enterprises). A high percentage of citizens will depend on these four for their livelihoods. Such will cause widespread and massive unemployment, and has to be met with solid viable and workable alternative replacements.

An economic plan must explain how, when the four pillars are dismantled – and along with that, a major withdrawal of substantial financial investments both local and overseas, from the stock exchange – will leave government coffers almost empty because all tax revenue from them will be lost. What economic alternatives are there besides having an agrarian revolution?

If the big revenue earning four pillars are gone, so does a lot international investments. Our Stock Exchange will hardly function because most, if not all corporates will withdraw finances. How are we going to earn substational revenue to maintain national infrastructures like the military, education, hospitals and the salaries of all personnel? So we try and become self-sufficient – another democratic test.

Agrarian earnings alone will not be enough to replace lost tax revenue required to maintain the defence force, police, civil workers, national maintenance like roads and the rest. If we choose to break off from world trade deals and go local or national, an economic plan that ensures parity of national income must be in place.

Democratic Workings

First off, the running of the country will be closely monitored by independent watchdogs, media outlets, diplomatic corps, NGO’s and of course, the opposition. If at present we are unused to opposition checks and balances, we’ll be sorely tested during parliamentary proceedings and constant public scrutiny.

If this is undesirable and we wish for a theocratic/monarchist setting, then an enticing referendum for the public might be needed, to know if the majority wants this, along with controlled access to information and “The right to know,” with restricted media and opposition politics – an unlikely outcome.

Unless otherwise stated of our intentions during electioneering, any move to get rid of democracy will meet with vehement protests both at home and abroad. We’ll have to go the democratic route. Otherwise, other nations will see us as no different from other totalitarian states. It’ll be bad preaching. To have a King as Head of State will require major constitutional changes. Is there such a thing as an electable King? A good two or three term in office may lead to this, if the populace is still happy by then. The constitution will have to be drastically revised pending Vedic changes.

Bear in mind that whoever runs the country as Prime Minister or President elect – until a monarchy is installed, will not want to earn the 10% or so of national karmic reactions. Social and democratic change, and weaning the populace away from the four pillars may have to be gradual. If not, then expect international pressure to bear, along with possible economic sanctions and the like.

Social Changes

This area of concern may initially raise more questions than answers. After a year or two, public opinion will gauge our performance. If Krishna consciousness is the panacea for the ills of society, then we had better make it truly attractive so that mid-term elections are won. People have to feel they are not being deprived of their human rights. Human rights cover many aspects of social life and are normally liberal. Are we going to break that mould?

We probably informed potential voters of our intentions for mass Harinama Sankirtana. Will this be compulsory broadcasting over the airwaves on all TV channels? What type of content is to be allowed for TV and cinema? Will journalists be free to report on inconsistencies and transgressions in the ruling party? Will the death penalty be reinstated? How radically are we going to change the education system?

Will the state monopolise all national communication and information? Will there be a drift towards communism with God at the centre? Will abortion be made illegal, even in the case of women being raped with unwanted pregnancies? Are sporting activities to be discontinued because some will say they are frivolous? Will the judiciary remain independent from government control? If the military are not happy with affairs, is there a guarantee they will not revolt or attempt a coup?

If people use satellite TV to watch illicit overseas entertainment, how will they be dealt with? The four broken pillars will go “underground” or operate on the black market, how will our law and order respond? Will the engaging in any or all of the four pillars earn tough punishment, except for some minorities? Not everyone will have the sukrti to appreciate Harinama Sankirtana and will prefer mundane pursuits, so will this be allowed?

Filling State Coffers

With major revenue loss from the absence of the four-pillar supports, it would be a matter of urgency to relace it. We’ll likely start an agrarian revolution. But would agriculture produce earn enough? Unlikely. We’d have to rely on existing manufacturing sectors and jack up exports. To diversify into “Green” technology would help. But time is all important, because people are generally impatient. Four or five years is too short to earn the benefits of manufacturing changes.

We would have to lobby friendly nations to invest with manufacturing zones. Are we willing to mass produce vehicles, electronics and other technological items for export? Money has to come from somewhere.

By this time the infrastructures will start to feel the strain. If we are unable to compete and trade as per WTO compliances, we’ll have to plead our case at the UN and begin self-sufficiency models of sustenance. This is after we have paid off all debts to creditors, thanks to the previous government leadership – another drain on state coffers. Other nations will begin to view us with suspicion as we isolate ourselves more. We wouldn’t want to degenerate into a Banana Republic.

If we have oil and mineral resources, are we willing to invest in exploration to extract these through mining and drilling? Are we going to prohibit all fishing industries? If we do, then other nations will send their shipping fleets to take over our “economic zones.” By this time, our increasing isolation will enable other nations to stake a future claim over this nation, because we’ll hardly be able to afford a defence force. We need only observe how competitive is the future claims for arctic territory to understand this.

Foreign Relations

If other nations suspect we may be marginalising religious grouping for dietary purposes and other “human rights” infringements, we can be sure our diplomats in those respective countries shall be invited for meetings to hear of concerns. Besides, numerous overseas diplomats will be stationed in the country to further observe our progress.

If we retain or develop certain manufacturing or trade possibilities, we can still do business with established economies. Provided our national leadership is seen as fair and equitable there shouldn’t be any preconditions for normal trade. We shall need alliances, especially with permanent UN security members at least.

And on it goes. This is a small and incomplete sample, but it is enough to help us think and plan. Any blueprint for a future Vedic society including VAD will have to incorporate the above scenarios.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa – GRS

The Graduate
The Flag of Devotion

15 Responses to “We Have a Country – How Are We Going To Run It?”

  1. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dear Kesava Krishna Prabhu

    You have a prolific imagination… ! That’s great !

    It was a bit like reading a science fiction movie… or as if some type of fundamentalists, like the talibans, had taken over power and had decided to impose some type of dictatorship, trying to turn everything upside down within a fortnight, or a couple years or so…!

    Actually, what if we started with the definition of a vaishnava given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur…: a vaishnava is tolerant and broadminded…

    Besides, let’s hope that mature, experienced and competent people would be in charge (having the profile of ksatriyas, administrators) … and not some type of fundamentalist extremists who should rather remain in their Mosque or Matha to preach to their handful of followers !

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was a judge, Ramananda Raya was a governor, Rupa and Sanatana were ministers, Maharaja Prataparudra was a king… not to forget Maharaja Bharata, Maharaja Ambarish, and all others, and all the more the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Ramacandra…

    We have enough examples of great personalities to draw inspiration from, not to fall into some catastrophic scenarios, where fanatics would run the show.

    If we were to take an example you can certainly relate to, as per the story of Nelson Mandela coming out of jail, becoming the first black president of South Africa and overseeing the organization of the rugby world cup to be held in South Africa soon after, as it is related in the movie Invictus, we can see how this great man, imbibed with wisdom, could reconcile the rainbow nation and gather all ethnic groups behind their national team, beyond any discrimination and any spirit of revenge !

    This is this type of wisdom, broadmindedness and tolerance, which we have to draw inspiration from, and not some type of unpractical fundamentalism, which would only bring about more discord and havoc…

    In the process, we shouldn’t forget that bhakti-yoga is the yoga of love… Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu didn’t preach with a sword in the hand… They preached with love and compassion, in a spirit of forgiveness…

    Besides, Krishna in Bhagavat-gita already declares that all “everyone is following My Path in all respects”.

    So, if Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Paramishvara, the owner, proprietor of everything, and beneficiary of all sacrifices, can be so broadminded and tolerant, who would we be to create a remake of the inquisition…?

  2. Puskaraksa das says :

    So, let us keep showcasing some good functioning within our ISKCON Society, let us cultivate some good relationships as devotees, amongst each other, as well as with the outside world…

    Let us prove how much we can become part of society, so that society may wish to become part of us…

    There is no shortcut…

    When Krishna sees that we are ready, both individually and collectively, He will grant us with more and more opportunities to contribute to the welfare of society and our fellowmen, up to the point where they will wish to entrust us (or at least some of us) with more and more responsibilities…

    But before that, we have to graduate and step up, raising our scope of concern beyond the “I and mine” circle (my liberation, my family, my position, my name and fame, etc…).

    A good example to study and draw inspiration from could be this eco-valley project in Hungary, where devotees have become part of the village council… Siavarama Swami met with the representatives of the European Community… Saunaka Rishi Prabhu does a great service at Oxford department of Hindu Studies… The Bhaktivedanta Hospital near Mumbai combines both medical and spiritual concerns… ISKCON Food for Life distributes millions of meals around the world and is highly acclaimed for its welfare work… Vrindavana FFL educates thousands of children… etc…

    Good examples are numerous to prove that we can gain confidence in ourselves and in our capacity to score and perform well…

    Why would we do worse than the “karmis” if we are less/not greedy and more selfless…

    When I read the title of your article, I thought you were about to elaborate on the situation in the US where they are so indebted that they have to bail themselves out, by granting each other the permission to contract more debts…! Indeed, let’s say one has a country like the US to run. Is one supposed to run it like that ?!

    So, let us be more optimistic, with your kind permission, dear Kesava Krishna Prabhu…

    And let’s not forget that our preaching model is “by example”, alike the acarya…!

    So, provided we can set a good example, both individually and collectively, people will become attracted and will want more of what we have, which can turn bell metal into gold and martya loka into vaikuntha…

    After tasting Kurma’s food, they will want the recipe…!

  3. Puskaraksa das says :

    After seeing how equipoised vaishnavas render justice and administrate the affairs of the country, keeping in mind the welfare of the citizens in this life and the next, as well as the satisfaction of Govinda Dev, why would they want to return to greedy-for-power and corrupt leaders, who most often place selfish interests first, may they be individual or collective, rather than common and global welfare…

    In conclusion, I would say that we have to pray so that we may qualify to be able to render such valuable service.

    For doing so, we have to accept to prepare ourselves by experimenting on a smaller scale and undergoing some training…

    It is a great mission…

    Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Name will be chanted in every town and village… So, surely we’ll have vaishnavas in charge, the same way that we have christians, jews, muslims, buddhists, hindus or atheists nowadays…

    Where is the obstacle…?

    I’ll end by offering you these words of wisdom from Marianne Williamson, which Nelson Mandela liked to quote:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    So, let’s not think of just doing it…

    Let us move forward towards the liberation of humanity, by putting into practice Krishna conscious principles into all spheres of life and showcasing how they bring about success, for:

    yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo
    yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
    tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir
    dhruvā nītir matir mama

    Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.
    Bhagavad-gita 18 – 78

    Thus ends the Bhagavad-gita, not with fear and the promise of failure !

    Hare Krishna

    Param vijayate Sri Krishna sankirtanam

  4. I think that more likely what we will see is ISKCON devotees who also have a career in politics (remember high court judges wearing tilak?) being elected as competent members of conventional political parties in secular democracies.

    For example, in the U.S., the front-runner for Republican party presidential nominee is a Mormon, Mitt Romney. Why not an ISKCON devotee as Senator, or Governor?

    While doing a stint at the Q&A booth in L.A. on Sunday, one lady asked me whether I thought marijuana should be legal for medical uses with a physician’s prescription (as it is in California). I answered that not every Hare Krishna devotee necessarily agrees, but that as long as it is used as a medicinal drug I do not see the problem.

    The public policy concern is whether medical marijuana will be used as a way of increasing access to recreational use, which has a bad effect on smokers, especially young users who lose their ambition, lose their focus in school, and often do not mature emotionally.

    I said the bigger public policy controversy is whether marijuana should be decriminalized or legalized, given its widespread use and the drain on stare law enforcement, judicial and corrections department resources, the creation of a huge black market and the general weakening of respect for law, similar to the reasons why the American experiment with prohibition of alcohol eventually was abandoned. I said that personally I was against legalization, but that other Hare Krishnas might disagree.

    One thing we can all agree on is that marijuana is not good for making spiritual progress. There are some men in India who smoke ganja and say it helps them meditate, but we categorically reject that proposal. Serious Hare Krishna devotees vow to give up all forms of intoxication, including not only alcohol, marijuana and recreational drugs, but even coffee, tea, and tobacco.

    I do not see why there cannot be Hare Krishna devotees who serve as Republicans or Democrats or Greens or Libertarians or Socialists or other elected officials. I expect such politicians to use their fame and notoriety to discuss Krishna consciousness and Vaisnava philosophy in some manner, but not necessarily as a political platform.

    Bhaktivinode Thakur was a judicial officer working for the British Raj. He did not insist that a Vaisnava in politics must be a radical Hindu fundamentalist.

    Hare Krishnas can be pillars of their communities who also practice KC. Why not?

  5. (1)
    Puskaraksa Prabhu,

    The widespread prevalence of Human Rights watchers in the form of Amnesty International, and other bodies, along with the libertine middle ground of democratic spread, has helped peoples of the world realize that there is a nicer way of governance and cooperation.

    Problem is, this Niceness tends to be presented as a package that includes feminism, false equality and similar abuses of human values. This can lead humanity astray from their desired spiritual goal of life. In comparison with this, the Vedic tradition appears extreme and revolutionary. Srila Prabhupada hinted at this right at the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam.

    The art of preaching Krishna consciousness is to make this revolutionary intent attractive and Nice. A sudden introduction of VAD and general Vedic societal standards will seem at present to be an extremist cultural agenda. That is why there is some realism in this article that seems pessimistic. It is not quite a ‘worst case scenario,’ but more like a, ‘little bit better scenario.’ Society is simply not ready. But I would love to be proved wrong.

    As for the accommodating broadmindedness of Nelson Mandela, I bet there will be the “purists” among us who will say that, “Yes, this is very nice. But remember my friend, that one should not be a leader, parent, King… if cannot deliver the dependents from samsara.” So being Nice and popular may not help others’ spiritual advancement.

    An envisioned Vedic model of society may have to introduce unpopular social policies to benefit all spiritually. For instance, King Vena cleared the streets of rogues and criminals to the delight of right thinking people, before he went off the rails. Expect Human Rights commissions to harp on about this. But if we be nice about crime, we can think of the ramifications of this. Besides, the 10% or so of national karmic reaction will not be very Nice at all.

    It appears that any introduction of Vedic societal standards will best be done without democratic opposition to slow or impede progress. For this reason, the populace must have utmost faith and confidence in our ability to deliver without fear or uncertainty. To this end, continued book distribution, Harinam Sankirtana, and efficient preaching has to help develop the required mass sukrti for gradual acceptance.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  6. (2)

    -In other words, people in general need to acclimatise to Vedic standards. We can help them acclimatise by developing their Sukrti. When mass sukrti has developed it will become easier to implement VAD, and be much less extreme and radical than it presently seems. True, we have many positive things going on like FFl, but there is still a long way to go yet.

    Akruranatha Prabhu,

    I agree that devotees can be members of political parties, but I wonder about their effectiveness in a democratic dispensation. With so many political opinions voiced during Parliamentary proceedings, this hardly helps gather expeditious momentum, like with the debt crisis for example. Imagine if we wanted to implement Vedic ideals this way… We may have to wait till the end of Kali-yuga!

    Here on Dandavats, we have our own ‘other worldly’ proceedings. Our liberals and conservatives are like the democrats and labour voices, and republican and Christian/Krishna Democrat and blue opinions. We devotees also share opinions just like lawmakers do, and it is a healthy sign.

    Although democracy affords us the chance to practice the religion of our choice, for which should all be thankful, this may not help in the full implementation of Vedic society standards. The same democracy may actually hinder on many fronts, like crime fighting and illegal drug dealing etc.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  7. pustakrishna says :

    While the ideal of simple living and high thinking is intended to promote Krishna consciousness, it is obvious that the world is much more entangling. It is not the place of brahmanas to actually run the affairs of the world. Their obligation is to teach others and practice spiritual life. The idea of a vedic model is to promote a God-centered society and individual lifestyle. However, the demonic souls exist side by side with the godly souls in this world. Idealism is one thing, pragmatism is yet another. Therefore, it is not simply a matter of implementing ideals. There will always be an anti-party. Even within our experience of spiritual culture, we see this happening…too often. Therefore, dependency on the goodness and Guardianship of the Supreme Lord is required.
    When we read the Psalms of David, we can see that even though he is the king, he still is praying for protection, and even praying for the Lord to defeat his enemies. It is remarkable, isn’t it? In our Krishna conscious life, when the principle of false independence comes into the mix, the whole picture is muddy. Thus, surrender and dependence upon Krishna at every stage is necessary. Pusta Krishna das

  8. ramavijaya says :

    Wouldn’t it better to set create peaceful and loving Iskcon society first before dreaming to take over the world? As a devotee, can you live peacefully with other devotees who have similar faith? If you can’t live peacefully with them, how can you live with rest of the world.

    May be good start will be to resolve Iskcon Bangalore issue! Both parties are supposed to be sincere followers of Prabhupda.

  9. Kulapavana says :

    In the present world there are many religious societies which are well organized, effective in management, and performing good social programs recognized by the society in general. Take Mormons for example, Moravians, or Methodists. Yet people in general are not very keen on having them run the government. Why? Many reasons, all of them tied to historical bad experiences of theocratic governments. Of course we may claim that we Hare Krishnas would be different, but that is merely wishful thinking. After all, our internal history also has darker shadows and there is no guarantee that such mistakes would not be repeated in the future.

    I think that devotees should forget about trying to run countries or ruling the world and instead concentrated on delivering Holy Name and Krishna Prasadam to everyone. That is a very practical and realistic program.

  10. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dear Kesava Krishna Prabhu, dear devotees

    Yes, democracy offers many advantages… So, why should we be against it at this stage ?

    If people were willing to have a king, and we had qualified ksatriya vaishnavas to play that role, yes, that would even be better, but till then, we have to appreciate the freedom of speech, of religion, etc. which is generally granted in our democracies…

    Plus, there is the possibility to debate and search together for solutions… It becomes a collective effort, based on the fact, that the vote of each citizen of any gender is of equal value… In that sense, this may echo in our philosophy, with the equal vision of the sage, panditah sama-darsinah…

    vidya-vinaya-sampanne
    brahmane gavi hastini
    suni caiva sva-pake ca
    panditah sama-darsinah

    The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]. B.g. 5. 18

    So, yes, Nelson Mandela had some magnanimity to not want to take revenge over his past oppressors ! This quality of mercy is one of the symptoms of a brahmana and even, of a mahatma…

    In this way, we have to learn to appreciate the qualities in others, be they not officially declared (yet) as devotees of Krishna, or as it is, as members of our ISKCON Society…

    Let me tell you a funny story: Srila Prabhupada was in Paris (where I happened to take birth in this lifetime, by the way) and the devotees had cooked for him… Srila Prabhupada enjoyed the food and at the end of the meal wondered about the nice ice-cream he was tasting… He then asked the devotees if they had made it themselves, to which they had to confess, with both some embarrassment and apprehension, that they had run out of time and had to get it from a merchant… Srila Prabhupada’s answer came with a smile: “See, there are devotees everywhere…!”

    We may also add that within our democracies, there is still a strong sense of doing good, performing well, taking care of each other, protecting the citizens against insecurity, preserving some moral values, etc.

    So, what is lacking, but our capacity yet to prove to be right…

    Why…?

    Because on one hand, we have not ourselves fully understood the Vaishnava philosophy and implemented it to its full extent in our lives, and on the other hand, because we have not yet managed to properly and sufficiently showcase it through our organization and collective achievements…

  11. Puskaraksa das says :

    This is one of the reasons why we have to establish varnashrama, starting with our community of devotees…

    I was told recently that disciples of Srila Radhanatha Swami had started some business together in India, with the initial objective to donate 20% of their profit to the temple and some Krishna conscious project. They are so successful that they are now dedicating 50% of their profit to support Krishna conscious projects…

    Some devotees in England and particularly some disciples of Srila Bhakti Caru Swami are considering doing the same…

    This is daivi varnasrama… when devotees inclined or having the capacity to be involved in some business, do it together for the service and pleasure of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga…

    As Srila Prabhupada did put it (in the context of some of his Godbrothers and other Matha members who were not much involved in preaching), not everyone is meant for just ‘ringing bells and eating rice…” !

    To give you an example, I personally run a global travel business, providing chauffeured services worldwide and serving many an influential person of this present contemporary society, and I wish I could have devotees assist me in developing it for the pleasure of serving Mahaprabhu’s mission…

    Besides, I would like to salute the contribution of Akruranath Prabhu, who by the way, if I am correct, is acting as a lawyer by profession… which is another nice example of a devotee partaking in society and instilling Vaishnava values within it, via his involvement as a family man, a professional and a citizen…

    In that respect, he was recently asked around the LA Ratha-yatra, as he mentioned, to give his opinion about the issue of marijuana, within a medical context, etc.

    Yes, these questions which may seem irrelevant to many a devotee (“just chant Hare Krishna Prabhu”), are important to people, as well as contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc…

    In the Catholic hierarchy, as well as amongst doctors, there are ethical committees to discuss about bio-ethics (stem cells, etc), and define what we can or cannot do, should and should not do…

    I wish we also would further set up or develop such committees nationally and internationally to discuss societal issues, which would also give us a voice and put us on the contemporary world map (by opposition to people living in their own world), simply by the fact that we would address issues that are of interest to our fellow citizens…

  12. Puskaraksa das says :

    At last, in the context of the article of our friend Kesava Krishna Prabhu, and the interesting political perspectives he raised, I will provide my humble example…

    In the mid nineties, I wrote a few essays on some economical and societal issues and decided to send my intellectual contributions to the study group which was collecting ideas to set up the campaign program of future President Jacques Chirac… Surprisingly enough (at least to me), I was invited to join their chorus as an expert and got to voice an opinion and influence in different ways both within the study groups and during public debates… My contributions were also appreciated (modestly speaking, but revealed here just to show that it is possible) by the future Prime Minister Raffarin and many a political leader at the time…

    Later on, when there was some great turmoil in the country (featuring many strikes and demonstrations, which is known to be a French specialty) , due to some unpopular reform promoted by the next Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, in regards to the status of the youth while acceding to their first employment, I felt duty bound to again take my pencil (computerized these days) as one would take one’s pilgrim’s stick (not quite yet a danda) and wrote to all the deputes and ministers of the center and right wing in power at the time.

    I pointed out what was good in the spirit of the reform and what had to be amended, according to my knowledge, experience and understanding… Consecutively, I was invited to meet him by one minister, in order to discuss the matter further (as well as some other issues), meeting which he referred to later in a book he was writing at the time…

    So, I mean, when there is a will, there is a way…

    People in the outside world don’t have leprosy, and neither do we… and even if they had (or if we had), we know that it is not contagious after some time, as I experimented at some point while distributing prasad in a leper’s camp in Orissa…

    So, dear brothers and sisters, let us be bold…

    Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to conquer the world…

    In order to do so, let’s step up and preach boldly… let us exemplify how Krishna consciousness, makes one a better father or mother, a better employee or a better boss, a better citizen and a better human being…

    The world is waiting for us…

    So, let’s be gracious and not have them wait for too long !

    Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada
    Puskaraksa das

  13. I appreciate the enthusiasm of Puskaraksa Prabhu. It appears he has resources and has ventured into this area of policy making before. Though I may say how far away we are from actualising Vedic ideals in society, I would certainly be keen to help, if ever a committee or Think-tank is formed.

    In regards to having fixed policies on different social issues like abortion or drugs, there are wider considerations, which often escape scrutiny by devotees. For instance, a “trick” question may be raised about allowing abortion for women who were raped and have unwanted pregnancies. A formal “no” to abortion can be complicated by this, and require definitive answers.

    I have also seen GBC edicts on certain social questions posted here on Dandavats. It seems that this area is already covered. But if we are forward thinking, we do need to have as many aspect of society covered, even if, some day we are called to govern. This may be wishful thinking now according to some, but it has to happen. When it does, we must be prepared with solid blueprints.

    Previously a similar discussion on the Iskcon Constitution happened. There were some devotee forums. How they impacted on GBC decision making, I am not sure. The point is, it is easy to present a sort of Party-line response to every issue without thinking about grey areas that exist. A well-rounded approach to analysing social concerns has to be grey, and black and white.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  14. Another grey area we have to think of, as Akruranatha Prabhu alluded to – insofar as drugs go – are the many medicinal uses of drugs. Large numbers of poppies are grown to help in the production of morphine and similar benefits. Hemp has many uses as well.

    If we were to ever issue an all-encompassing “No” to intoxication of all kinds, we’d probably be infringing on the medical needs of patients. The populace would have to obtain a higher taste to prevent an abuse of these substances.

    There are reports that animals like goats and sheep take fondly to poppies, and it causes them to predictably go round in circles in stupefied states. If humans in the mode of ignorance also share this tendency then Vedic remedial help, and law and order would act as preventative measure.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  15. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you Kesava Krishna Prabhu for your response and to all others for their contributions…

    Yes, it would be great to have you, as well as Akruranath Prabhu an others, on such a committee or think-tank, so as to keep pushing forward our Krishna Consciousness Movement in different ways and expand its sphere of influence…

    But we need the blessings and permission of senior Vaishnavas and GBC members to do so… Maybe could you and others approach some of them to get things moving in this line… Maybe some of our readers and/or contributors are already amongst them and could play a vital role in making it happen…

    This could also possibly be included in the strategic planning committee’s vision, to part-take in solving our day and age problems and shedding some spiritual insight on contemporary issues…

    Let’s pray that this may happen, by Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga’s grace and mercy…

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