It is said that all power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. With an 80-seat majority, the Conservative government in the UK were close to absolute power. And now the corruption and stench are publicly visible in all its forms, and there seems to be no shame.
Our leaders do not seem to realise that they carry huge responsibility and honour, and their first duty is to protect the public interest and not the Tory party. We have many years of shambles and infighting in the mother of all democracies that is the British Parliament. Utterly shameful.
In the great Dharmic traditions of India, the limits of power OVER others were fully understood. We have timeless myths and fables to show the dilemmas and contradictions of statecraft like the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. However, what India has also shown the world is how to tame that power and instead of focusing it to control or rule others, we ought to tame our own vices and desires, and learn to become selfless and compassionate towards ALL living beings, not just human beings or fellow citizens of the village or the city or country. In the process we learn to EXPERIENCE inner joy and bliss, a peace and happiness which is sublime and everlasting.
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In the age of knowledge and technology, we have somehow forgotten the criticality of personal experimentation and reflexivity. In fact, technology and social media numb us against our own intuition and thinking and can occupy us 24/7 without stopping. Scientific research has shown that 30 per cent of people never have an inner conversation! Their lives are full of noise and clutter, and there is no silence. All thinking is reduced to existential needs and tasks. For such people calmness can be deafening. Dharma instead teaches us to be alert and reflexive. It helps us build a conscience of responsible leadership.
With this message I wish you all a very Happy Diwali and Peaceful New Year. May you learn to discover the courage and resilience that lies within you, and understand the true nature and limits of wealth and materialism. May you discover kindness and generosity to one and all - for it is in giving that we truly receive. May you learn to make inner peace and well-being your ultimate goal.
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My new book on ‘Inclusive and Sustainable Finance’, published globally by Routledge, comes out at Diwali. I hope and pray its wisdom reaches far and wide in these trying times for Planet Earth.