Today there are 26 monarchies functioning in the world. This is a fascinating network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors and emirs who rule or reign over 43 countries in all. With the media giving excessive attention to Britain’s newest royal baby, you may think that the UK had a monopoly on monarchs, infant or otherwise, but that is not the case. It is true that most royal families have a considerably lower international profile than the Windsors, the house that rules over the UK. Sixteen countries, including Canada and Australia, are still technically subjects of the British monarchy. Today monarchs either rule – who have real, direct political power as in Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Kuwait and the Vatican (yes, the Pope is considered the monarch of this city-state), and those like the Windsors, who merely reign as titular heads, with no real independent powers over their subjects.

Talking about India, we had something like 565 princely states at the time of independence in 1947. The British were careful enough to not call them kings lest they think themselves equal to the British monarch.

Now we come to the issue under discussion: Is it possible to be happy under a king? No, says the modern historian, as monarchs have horribly abused their power and thus it is safer for subjects to be under a republic. Democracy is sometimes compared to a brick which is much softer than a stone, to quote an old Indian saying. But what about kings like Yudhisthira? His younger brothers were acting as his ministers and commanders of state. And there was full cooperation between these perfectly religious brothers. But the most important qualification was that which King Yudhisthira possessed: He strived to be the ideal king by qualifying himself as the representative of Lord Krishna on this earth. Yudhisthira had one more important qualification: He always accepted good counsel from Bhismadeva and the infallible Lord Krishna.

The modern elected executive head of a state is just like a puppet, because he has no absolute power which the king wields. Even assuming that he is enlightened like Yudhisthira, he cannot do anything out of his own good will, due to his constitutional position. Therefore, there are so many states on this earth quarreling with other states because of ideological differences or other material motives. But a king like Yudhisthira had no selfish ideology of his own. He had but to follow the perfect instructions of the infallible Lord and the Lord’s representative and authorized agent, Bhismadeva. The Vedas instruct that one should follow the great authority, the infallible Lord, without any personal motive and selfmanufactured ideology. Therefore, it was possible for Yudhisthira to rule the whole world, including the seas, because the principles he espoused were infallible and universally applicable to everyone.

The conception of one world state can only be fulfilled if we are enabled to follow the infallible authority. An imperfect human being cannot create an ideology acceptable to everyone. Only the perfect and the infallible can create a program which is applicable at every place and can be followed by every person in the world. It is the person who rules, and not the impersonal government. If the person is perfect, the government is perfect. If the person is a fool or a demon, the government is a fool’s paradise. That is the law of nature. There are so many stories of imperfect kings or executive heads. Therefore, the executive head must be a suitably qualified person like Yudhisthira, and he must have full autocratic powers to rule the world. The conception of a world state can take shape only under the regime of a perfect king like Yudhisthira. The world was a happy place during those times because there were kings like Yudhisthira to rule over it