I met him in my morning walk. He is employed in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation as a sweeper.
Every time I enter the municipal park I see him collecting trash and keeping the walkway clean. This time he saw me and said, “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.” I too responded, “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.” The next day he decided to change his greeting and seeing me enter the garden shouted, “Jaya Hanuman.” I responded, “Jaya Hanuman.” Our wavelengths matched. He came over and asked in a very friendly tone, “Is Hanuman a real person?” I smiled. I walked up to him and explained in as easy terms as possible about the evidence for Hanuman’s existence. Then we discussed about the glories of Hanuman’s love for his lord, Sri Rama. How once Hanuman tore opened his chest in order to find the enshrined lord of his heart and His beloved consort inside, and also how he jumped all the way up to Lanka to find Sita and wreak havoc on Ravana’s evil city. As we are chatting one security guard unexpectedly (or expectedly, for it is common for us Indians to take part in an informal chat) asks me about rama rajya or the way in which Lord Ramachandra ruled over his subjects.
Indians continue to wax over the bounties of having a glorious king like Rama but seem oblivious to the conditions which have to be fulfilled before we can have such a king.
Srila Prabhupada talks about the disadvantages of democracy and the shortcomings of tyrannical rule by despotic tyrants. Don’t get me wrong democracy is the most popular form of governance today, but it is hopelessly inadequate to stop criminals from abusing it. I was under the impression that it is actually difficult to convince the general populace about the importance of having a good king rule over us. I asked both of them that how can we complain about the lack of good politicians when we (the voting public) are the ones to place them in office? Isn’t it a fact that in a democracy the masses have nobody to blame but themselves. But to my surprise the security guard said matter of factly, “Actually society is happy under a good king?” I exclaimed (to myself, of course), “How right Srila Prabhupada is!” In a poem of eight stanzas (called Vaisistyastakam) Srila Prabhupada paints a perfect picture of rama rajya. He begins by asking the paramount question: Why do people cry for rama rajya?
Rama rajya means a happy, perfect life. But the only cause of such a rama rajya would be a God centered kingdom. During Lord Krishna’s times he sat Yudhisthira on the king’s throne and the whole world became full of wealth and fortune. The rivers, streams, trees, fields and hills were all producing abundantly. And the cows were so full of milk that they floated in the abundance. The birds, beasts and animals were all free of envy. All this happened only because of the personal qualities of the king. Even a cursory glance at the headlines today can give us an idea of how far are we from such an achievement. Today’s leaders have personal assets matching their country’s foreign debts; the leaders’ ill gotten wealth is stashed away in some secret bank account (the account is so secret that sometimes even his own family members are not allowed to access them, and as a result after the leader’s death the whole thing is transferred to the banks’ assets). Why such madness? Where will it all end?
In his Bhagavad gita purports, Srila Prabhupada suggests a formula for making a positive change. First and foremost is the training imparted to future leaders that the royal order is meant for the protection of inhabitants. More specifically this protection is from material bondage to lust. Secondly, human life is meant for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. And the most important component of any kind of spirituality is to understand the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord. The royal order has to utilize three kinds of methodologies to impart lessons to their masses—education, culture and devotion.