“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”– Lord Acton (1834-1902, a British politician and writer)
As the powerful tiger majestically roams through the forest or stealthily prowls seeking a prey, all animals flee in fear. Yet ironically, the tiger is as frustrated as anyone else. A tiny bird, weak as a pea in relation to the tiger sits comfortably on his back and with a loud shrilling voice, sings a song, “The tiger is coming”. The smaller animals make good their escape, while the tiger is helpless. He can’t even quiet the bird, nor hunt his prey. His attempt thwarted, he’s as meek as the others.
So are the power hungry politicians. Many have followers, wealth and position, yet their ambitions soar and desires remain ever unfulfilled. The DNA carried a news report of how not satisfied with his untiring malicious speeches, Azam Khan now seeks more power. The article said, “Claiming to be the “fittest” person to become the Prime Minister, senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said that he aspires to take up the top job and that “if Narendra Modi resigns and all MPs elect me the PM it will send a good message across the country and India will progress each passing day”
People seek power to taste success or feel secure, or they imagine that would make them happy. And a politician’s nasty mind could camouflage this desire as a noble ‘service’ to the nation.
But whom is he fooling? As the American environmentalist Edward Abbey said, “Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best”
History is replete with leaders like Azam Khan who sought power and thought they would be happy. Kamsa had everything his way, yet he lived in fear because he heard the yet unborn eighth child of his sister, who was just married, would be the cause of his death. Each day he waited to kill his enemy, and finally when the child was born, eluded him and that maddened him more. The more you have the more you fear losing what you have. Kamsa was aware of the truths of life; the reactions that would accrue for his heinous acts was well known to him. Yet his attachments blinded him and also made him vulnerable to fear.
Instead of seeking power for self-aggrandizement when one seeks to serve and love God, he becomes truly fearless and happy. The demon Hiranyakashipu had everything except that his child loved God. Interestingly, the demon possessed all power, yet devoid of connection to God he was miserable, while his innocent child who was brutally attacked by him had nothing, yet was peaceful because he lovingly remembered God.
Srila Prabhupada was in the middle of air strikes in Kolkatta during the Second World War. The sirens blasted, and fear gripped the city. He however peacefully cooked kachoris for Krishna and knew since there’s nothing that could be done now, it’s prudent to see the imminent death as Krishna’s loving embrace. I knew a young and ordinary householder named Stoka Krishna who was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. We saw him live his last six months and then leave the world with grace and gratitude. Not a sign of fear or insecurity. His mind absorbed in Krishna, he showed us the way to face challenges in life.
He had no power but was more powerful than the power seeking politicians and the ever greedy billionaires who live in constant fear of losing their positions and possessions. The greatest possession is God, Krishna, and the safest position is to be His servant.
If Azam Khan and the men of his ilk learnt this lesson, they’d stop spewing venom at others and focus on tangible service to the society.