Should a devotee vote in elections and select wrong candidates?
Actual Question from a male devotee:
Whether we should be politically active or not….Prabhuji, We have been studying in both Bhagwadgita and Shreemad Bhagwatam that in this age of kaliyuga,The so called politicians almost have mentality of unhealthy vision and mission…I want to ask a simple question…being krishna conscious, should we take interest in politics of today…should we not boycott it totally and never vote…by voting we are anyways selecting that candidate who is a highly materialistic guy who has nothing to do with kc as well as real poor people…
What are your views on it… should we totally abstain from voting and also talk about them….and how to get rid of people who ask us about our political views every now and then….
We can not remain without voting.
Actually, In India, now a days, there is an option of NOTA in voting that means None Of The Above.
If you do not like to vote any of the listed candidates, you can choose to vote for NOTA.
Instead of doing so, if you avoid voting, it may lead to bogus voting by some body else.
Every devotee has two responsibilities:
(1) Responsibilities for Krishna.
(2) Responsibility for country.
Responsibility for Krishna means, serving Him in all the possible ways, following the devotional practices, spreading the glories of Krishna, etc.
Responsibility for the country means, earning and paying all the taxes properly, getting the identity card, getting ration card, getting tax card, registering your business with the government departments, abiding the traffic laws and government laws, abiding the social rules without causing unrest in the society, paying fees for schools/ colleges, electricity charges, etc.
If you are a working/ earning devotee, how can you get exemption from the above responsibilities just because you are a devotee of Krishna?
If you avoid them, you will be caught by the government authorities.
If you take sanyasa and desert all your properties and live with the daily biksha from the grahasthas, you need not follow any of the responsibility for country. Even then, you may have to pay building taxes, electricity charges, etc, for your ashram if you have an ashram.
If you take Srila Prabhupada, who was a sanyasi, had to get passport, visa, plane tickets, etc, whenever he travelled all over the world to spread Krishna Consciousness.
Thus, everyone is bound to abide by the rules of state.
However, this is just a respect for the laws to maintain the social order.
Even Krishna, who does not have any compulsion to follow the systems of earth, came to this world by taking birth through the womb of mother. He spoke in many places about the preachings of scriptures, though He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Rama performed rituals for the ancestors.
Everything is to show that everyone should abide by the systems of the planet they are living in.
You have to see the voting in the elections with the same perspective.
You are living in a democracy. Democracy is the best system because no one can rule till he dies. He has to face the people once in every four or five years. If the activity of any politician is not good, the people can select another person next time.
However, since the people are expecting only the short term benefits like freebies, they are selecting wrong persons as their representatives.
We can not say that all the politicians are wrong. In kaliyuga, three fourth of the people will be double faced and one fourth will be good.
If you take four politicians, atleast one will be straightforward even now.
During elections, you have to evaluate thelist of persons who are contesting in your constituency. Do not think on the basis of party, religion or caste. See if anyone seems to be better compared to others. Vote for him.
That’s all you can do as a voter.
And, you can not expect a politician like a sanyasi. Their Kshatriya rules are different. They have to follow certain way of approach in their dealing with the opposition. For example, Kshatriya dharma says that one should suppress an enemy even in the bud and he should not allow the enemy to grow in strength.
Thus, they have to follow certain techniques to reduce the strength of the opposition. It is allowed for them.
But, no politician is allowed to commit frauds and mismanagement. They should have the sole aim of serving the people.
You have to evaluate which person is better than others during every elections, and then vote to him.
Again I say, do not expect sanyasi like qualities from a politician. He can not be like that. But, a ruler/ politician should give all honours and protection to the sanyasis, brahmanas, devotees, religions, etc to perform their services safely and comfortably.
Never vote to a person who is against the devotional way of life of the people. Vote anyone who do not atleast disturb the genuine devotees, genuine sanyasis, religions, etc.
Do not vote expecting that you can do illegal activities if you choose an ignorant politician.
Try your best to select a better person among the list in your constituency and vote for him.
Never brand yourself as a supporter of a particular party or person all thye time. Decide based on the trend during every election.
Thus, you can be relieved that you have done your constitutional duty in a responsible manner.
What else you can do?