“Azam Khan, a respected leader of Samajwadi party calls RSS leaders as homosexual” read the Zee News headlines. Tejaswi Yadav, the deputy chief minister of Bihar ridicules the Prime minister as a foreign travel freak who comes to India to only get his clothes washed. It was heartening to note that the PM on his part was gracious during a parliament debate; he pacified the defiant opposition members by appreciating the works of all past and present leaders. He even invited the former PM for a discussion over tea, to understand better the opposition party’s concerns over the government’s policies. However the opposition remained adamant with virulent personal attacks on government leaders.
With unabated mudslinging by prominent politicians, the country of India is witnessing a tragic phase. Leaders in their desperation to seek power are going bonkers; they assassinate characters and charge others with terrible accusations. Personal vendetta seems more important than discussing issues of national importance. Why is this wrong?
The Vedic scriptures describe the culture of respect as critical for the growth of any society. Where respect is conspicuously absent, and people revel in vilifying others, grace and decency disappears. What to speak of active humiliation as our present politicians are doing, even ignoring those worthy of respect is a grievous offense. Indra, the king of the demigods was busy watching a dance performance in his assembly when his spiritual mentor Brahaspati entered. It wasn’t the first time he was coming inside but Indra, in a moment of inattention, lost himself in pleasures, and disregarded the arrival of this noble sage. Disgraced, Brahaspati, quietly left, without making a scene of it. However Indra lost it; his arrogance and familiarity with his guru caused him dear. Soon he lost all of his power and the demoniac forces took over. Another learned sage Romaharshana was a renowned speaker of the scriptures, yet he refused to acknowledge and respect Lord Balarama and the Lord immediately recognized his faulty mentality and with a tiny blade of grass bought an end to his life. The Srimad Bhagavatam also reveals that generally when one is blessed with good birth, education, beauty and wealth, pride and the resultant offensive behavior follows suit. Unless of course if we are careful to weed out these dangerous inclinations.
Through these instances the scriptures teach how respect of superiors is not a detail but a crucial limb of a civilized society. The Supreme Lord Krishna personally practiced this principle and his hospitality to his dear friend Sudama is part of legendary folklore. Sudama was a poor man and was visiting his childhood friend Krishna who was living as an emperor. He was no match to Krishna in terms of external opulence or position, yet the Lord not only welcomed him befitting a royal guest, He also offered him His own bed for rest. When the Lord appeared as Rama, He menially served his teacher Vishwamitra, doing his every biding. As Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who appeared five hundred years ago, the Lord honored his spiritual master Iswara Puri with utmost care and respect.
Lord Chaitanya even protected the honor of the arrogant scholar Keshava Kashmiri who had come to challenge scholars of Navadwip, the town where Lord spent His childhood. Although the Lord effortlessly defeated him, he ensured none of his students made fun of Keshava Kashmiri; in fact the Lord presented himself as a fool and wished to learn from him. Not only was the scholar humbled, but also convinced that he had confronted the Supreme Lord. He remained ever grateful. Another of Lord’s senior Ramachandra Puri always found faults in Lord Chaitanya; he criticized Lord’s eating habits and insulted Him. When others were angry with Ramachandra, the Lord forbade them from retaliating. He accepted his own faults and reduced His eating.
We wish our esteemed politicians learn from these examples and challenge the issues and decisions rather than assassinate characters.