"The way of the Saint is different from the way of the politician"

H.H. Ganivariye Shri Rajendra Vijayji Maharaj spoke to India Empire Editor Sayantan Chakravarty on a range of subjects

Mahatma Gandhi was the last great Spiritual practitioner who entered the Indian political scene, but stayed away from holding any kind of political position. Your thoughts on that…

Today, they are battling for the kursi (chair). They have forgotten the meaning of Raj Niti (the just ways, the right path of the King). Rajniti is used for the political world, but they are undermining its meaning, the term is now grossly misused. Mahatma Gandhi wanted a just way. He did not want a chair, a position, and did not aspire for power. He wanted to free India of slavery and subjugation, and get people together. He had an extraordinary ability in connecting with the masses. Only great souls are able to do that, and that is why he became a Maha Atma (great soul). The job of saints is to bring about radical improvements in existing systems, they are not to become part of systems. Gandhi Ji used to talk about Gram Swarajya (self rule in villages, and freedom from British rule). He was acutely aware that once in power, one’s saintliness diminished. He once received a proposal that PWD rest houses be constructed for politicians across the board. He firmly rejected the idea. He said that they would turn into leisure homes for the political class, and make them lazy. Instead, he advocated that politicians and leaders should stay at Panchayat bhavans in villages. They could best work while being in the midst of villagers. He always said that his life was a lesson for others. Once he was invited to a school, soon after he had returned from London as a barrister. He asked to visit the washroom, but did not return. When the school staff went looking for him after many minutes had passed by, they found him cleaning the school’s dirty toilets. He told them that he was there to do good, not look good. We follow those very ideals. We try to uplift tribals and dalits in villages, and make them live a clean, peaceful life.

You mentioned about Rishi, Krishi and Kursi. How does our country fall back on that arrangement?

We have to be Rishipradhan, then Krishipradhan and then let the kursi follow. Rishi is a spiritual arrangement, krishi is an economic arrangement and kursi is a managerial arrangement. Only when these three arrangements work together in harmony can a nation become a world leader.

Do you think corruption can be curbed by punishing people, and putting them behind bars, or by bringing about a change in the consciousness?

Intellectuals and leaders have to show the way. Look at how our Prime Minister is showing the way. He will not tolerate corruption, and has made it amply clear to all. Our leaders have to come from high moral stock. Their conduct in public life must be completely above board. Corruption cannot be curbed by punishing people. By sentencing people, crime does not go away. It has to be a concerted effort from our leadership. Our younger generations are inculcating wrong values. Look at how they are drifting into the quagmire of wastefulness and listlessness by watching programmes on TV endlessly, and becoming slaves of the social media. Most of the time, they are chasing flashy things in life. You will find more comments on articles that promote negativity and glamour, than on articles that promote goodness, harmony and peace. What does this tell you? That is the way people are going, and it is certain to corrupt and pollute their minds. We need economic ministries, at the same time we need one for ahimsa (non-violence), peace and harmony.