Well, here we go again, it’s smelling more and more like Election Season every day here in the U.S.A. Every day I hear (or read in the blogosphere or on Facebook) people say they are not going to vote for “either candidate” – that they are going to write someone in or not vote at all. That’s fine with me, everyone has their choice who to vote for, or whether to vote at all in a “Democracy.”
I think we all wonder at times what difference our votes even make. Some of us take this quandary to an existential level. Upon becoming a Hindu, one of the first things that I really had trouble with was a a scenario that I couldn’t get past, involving prayer. It goes like this: Two people running for President. Both pray to God that they will win. Both pray to the same God (as if there is any other way, but I just wanted to be sure to close that loophole for you). Who wins the election? I now know there are many more factors involved than that simple prayer. Like the karmic reflux of the candidates involved. And, the nature of the intentions of the voters, I believe, is a big factor. Voter apathy is tamasic. True love for country and concern for it’s future is at least rajasic (passionate) and at best sattwic (pure). Unfortunately intentions of the voters cannot affect the heart of the candidate and his/her actions once in office. That is why informed decision is most important.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of Karma yoga, it is one of the three major pillars of spiritual life as taught by Bhagavan Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. Simply put, Karma Yoga is taking action, hopefully spiritually guided. Any action, with good intentions, is better than inaction. But spiritually guided action (action in Divine Consciousness) of course is better than mere good intentions. It holds a kind of power. So, coming back to Election Season, we do karma yoga by, firstly shedding our apathy regardless of whether we think that all we are going to get out of the candidates is lies. We do karma yoga by taking the time to ensure we make an informed decision at the polls. Unfortunately this means doing the research on candidates from U.S. President all the way down to City Hall. It is a duty. One that I have failed at repeatedly. So this is the rubric for a new project for me too, not just a screed to society at large.