The Game of Throne

Throughout history, the “quest for power” has frequently overshadowed the principles of dharma. Regardless of the religion one practices, without dharma, religion can be misused to gain an advantage over rivals and to rule, control and dominate.

The Mahabharata is the best example, where Duryodhana wanted to eliminate his cousins along with their mother for what reason? To seize power. Similarly, the Bhagavatam narrates the story of queens who killed their stepson – Chitraketu’s son, who was the only heir to their husband’s kingdom. Certainly, they must have come from a good family.

Dhruva Maharaja’s stepmother indirectly told Dhruva to die and be reborn through her womb to sit on his father Uttanapada’s lap. The king was speechless against the harsh words of his favorite wife.

What to speak of the story of the Mughal kingdom! Aurangazeb’s quest for power led him to kill his brothers to secure the throne—Dara Shikoh and Murad Baksh were brother, Shah Shuja, disappeared without a trace.

Of course, his father, Shah Jahan, was no less. Upon Shah Jahan’s orders, several executions took place on January 23, 1628. Those put to death included his brother Shahryar; his nephews Dawar and Garshasp, (sons of Shah Jahan’s previously executed brother, Prince Khusrau) and his cousins Tahmuras and Hoshang (sons of the late Prince Daniyal Mirza).

The Ottoman king Suleiman killed many people to capture the throne and went as far as killing his own sons and grandsons to maintain his hold on the captured kingdom. He did not even spare his closest friend.

Krishna Deva Raya almost lost his life because of his brother, but the minister Timmarusu tricked the brother and saved him. However, Krishna Deva Raya’s son was killed for the same reason—to capture the kingdom.

It doesn’t end there. The great Maratha successor of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ordered his stepmother to be trampled under an elephant for plotting against him. Of course, some will vehemently oppose this story but the underlying power struggle remains undeniable.

The British exploited this treacherous behavior, using one ambitious king against another. Similarly, the great Saudi king recently did the same thing against his relatives, resulting in many deaths.

In democracy, we witness how Sardar Patel, who was supposed to be prime minister, was sidelined by his own respected figure, Gandhi. The great Indira Gandhi and her son dislodged many contemporaries, though they did not kill them, they were effectively sidelined. The family of Sanjay Gandhi has lost credibility, and their nephew and cousin now rule the Congress party.

The 400 hundred figure would have granted unlimited power to the prime minister. Even if he is dharmik and tapasvi, it doesn’t matter. Democracy necessitates moderation and respect for others’ opinions.

One should always remember Chanakya’s advice: the king is always subordinate to the kingdom and its subjects. The subjects should never allow the king to become too powerful. It is crucial for the system to function smoothly beyond the king, president, or prime minister.

Sri Krishna wanted Yudhishthira to be emperor instead of Jarasandha. Jarasandha sought complete control and was about to perform Raja Bali, which means the sacrifice of kings. In contrast, Yudhishthira’s emperorship focused on empowering different kingdoms rather than centralized control. Of course, the opposition party is still managed by families, so their sustainability will be short-lived.

The followers of Sanatana Dharma must embrace greater responsibility instead of merely celebrating so-called victories or lamenting so-called weak performances. The History teaches us that true leadership stems from collective responsibility and a commitment to principles rather than the pursuit of dominance.

Sri Krishna’s philosophy is elegantly simple: the hero plays his part, and so do the followers. There are no mere spectators; everyone is an active participant. There are no cult heroes surrounded by a mob without sober brains. This is the story of Bharata—now, before and forever.

– Govinda Das