Voting In Elections Is The Social Responsibility Of Devotees
Speaker: Chaitanya Charan Das
Elections are integral part of the democratic process. They take up a fever of their own. During this time the media itself is filled up with ads, analysis, reports of elections, the trends and predictions.
From spiritual perspective there may be different responses possible to this social situation.
a) There is idea that all this is temporary and nothing is going to change in this world full of miseries. Ex. One may quote Srila Prabhupada here, when congress lost power in 1970, that time elections were coming up, at that time Srila Prabhupada told that ‘this is not going to make any difference. Adhyatmik adjustment is what is going to solve the problem. Not the social Adjustment.’ That may make some devotees dismissive towards the elections.
b) From Transcendental perspective it is true that the material changes don’t make much difference. But Srila Prabhupad himself was not indifferent towards the social situations. At one time Srila Prabhupada encourages devotees to form a political party called ‘in god we trust’. There were devotees who campaigned in America as well as Australia. Srila Prabhupada said that one advantage of this democratic set-up of elections is that you can freely criticize others. So as to bring the people towards the awareness of the core issues and make healthy choices.
Bhagwad Gita doesn’t endorse 1st and 2nd interpretations. However Bhagwat Gita supports the 3rd way.The way Democracy works is that the way citizens can express their power is through voting. There is a material level and there is a transcendental level to it. Within the material level (made up of Goodness, Passion and ignorance) there are things that are Pro-spirituality and there are things that are anti-spirituality. For example Excessive passion and ignorance would be anti-spiritual.