During an appearance on Off The Cuff with Shekhar Gupta, audience members posed their questions to Sadhguru on a variety of topics from social issues to experiencing the divine. In this excerpt, Sadhguru addresses democracy and when to support or criticize our elected leaders.
Q: Sadhguru ji, there are different political leaders in the country. Some seem to create communal disharmony, others speak a more peaceful language. Which stance should be adopted?
Sadhguru: Once someone has become an elected leader in a democratic society, then what he thinks and believes within himself should be irrelevant to you. What you must pay attention to is: are political leaders doing the right thing for the nation? If they are, we must support them. If they are doing the wrong thing for the nation, there are different instruments in a democracy through which we can stop such things, although maybe not immediately. This is what we should do, as responsible citizens.
You should not have a pet politician of your own. Is the politician that you have elected working for the nation, or is he working for himself? This is the first thing you have to see. The second thing is, does he have the breadth of mind, intelligence, and competence to create what the nation needs? And does he understand the heartbeat of this nation? If these things are present in a politician or a leader, it is our business to support him. If this is not there, it is our business to replace him.
Democracy not a Spectator Sport
Participating in the democratic process does not mean you just cast your vote once in five years. Democracy is an active sport, not a spectator’s sport. You cannot sit back and say “Let somebody do democracy.” Democracy means you are the boss, you can’t sleep on it. You have to be active to everything around you. If you do not bring that consciousness, awareness and activism in people, it will not work. At the same time, if you protest for everything and call a bandh for everything, that is the technology of how to stop the nation. But how to run the nation is a different technology.
At least once a month, in your street, in your region, make a list of the sticking points in your area, get a few people together, call the councilor or MLA for a meeting and talk to him or her about what needs to happen. A leader is just a citizen who is on temporary employment. Casting your vote once in five years is not good enough. That is like employing someone and you don’t see that he works – that doesn’t make sense.
It is very important that everybody understands this properly in its right perspective, because at least fifty to sixty percent of the last few generations of people in this country have had such a bad deal. Today, you and me will eat well. There is a whole bunch of people, almost four hundred million, who cannot do that.
If we handle the next five to ten years right, we can change this. Every Indian should understand this. This is a tremendous possibility on our threshold. If we conduct this right, we can change their lives, those people who have not eaten properly, those children who are malnourished, those who are not educated, those who don’t have opportunities, those who are in that horrible social and economic pit, their lives can change in the next five to ten years if we conduct our act right.
Editor's Note: Sadhguru looks at the past, present and future of this nation, and explores why this culture matters to every human being on the planet. With images, graphics and Sadhguru’s inspiring words, here’s Bharat as you have never known it!