Chapter 6: Desire of Self-Mastery
So there is a type of power which is gained through outer means, but this is not real power - because you remain weak. You are surrounded by power, but you are weak. And this power may be snatched away from you at any moment: the man sitting on a throne can become a beggar at any moment. When those people whose names make the headlines every day in the newspapers no longer hold office, we don’t even know whether they are dead or alive. They leave no trace. Many politicians quietly disappear, and then one day, the day they die, some news about them appears in a small corner of the newspaper. Only then do you come to know that “Oh! He was still alive!” In between no trace is left. And when they were in power, in the seat of power, it seemed as if the newspapers wrote about nothing else except them.
So this means that power achieved through outer means does not get rid of your weakness. It only hides it, conceals it with veils. These veils are all beautifully decorated, but you - you remain as helpless as you ever were before.
That’s why once a man has reached a certain position he doesn’t want to let go of it. He holds onto it with all his might because now he has had a taste of power, he has enjoyed power - in spite of his remaining weak inside. Now, if he loses his position, he will once again become helpless. And this second type of helplessness will bother him much more than the first, because in the first instance he had not tasted power; now he has had a taste of it. In the first instance he did not know how helpless he was; now he does.
It is just like when you are walking on a road on a dark night. It is dark, but you can still find your way a little. Then a car speeds by with its lights full on. The glare of the bright lights shines in your face but still, for a moment, everything is lit up. But when the car has sped away, you find that the road has become darker than it was before; now you cannot see anything.
Once a man who holds high office loses it, he is left standing on just such a dark road, a road which has now become even darker. That moment of brightness did not give more light but rather caused even more blindness. That is why once a man has reached an important position, he doesn’t want to let go of it. He wants to hang on to it at any cost.
It is a very strange thing. First, people stake their lives to reach a certain position, then they stake their lives to remain there. And if you want to remain in an important position, there is only one way, and that is to keep trying for an even higher office. To maintain a position it is necessary to keep on making efforts in the race to get ahead, because people are trying to pull you down all the time. Hundreds of people are competing for that same office.
Politics is the search of the weak, the journey of the impotent. So the more impotent you are inside, the more you will try to gather ways of being more powerful on the outside. But please keep one thing in mind: I call all those things political which give you outer power. Then whether it is wealth or knowledge gained from the scriptures, you remain weak. You have learned the Gita by heart, and when the need arises you start quoting the Gita. But you are not a Krishna; this Gita is not something which has been experienced by your inner self. This has been poured into you from the outside, it does not come from within. If it did, you would be very strong. And if by bringing it in from the outside you think that you have become very strong, then it is only an illusion of power.
This sutra says:
Desire power ardently.