Totalitarianism, Secular Communism, and King Vena

Scholars headed by Bhṛgu always look out for the welfare of the world. They had seen that humans become just like animals when they are without guardians, so those spiritualists called for the heroic mother, Sunīthā, to coronate Vena as the guardian of the world – even though he was not really qualified for it.

So it does seem reasonable that sometimes substandard people have to fill leadership posts. But it leads to serious problems, as we will see as the story continues

Like rats terrified of snakes, criminals vanished when they heard that the very fierce punisher, Vena, had ascended to the throne.

So it seems that even an oppressive government with a cruel leader has advantages over a completely weak and disorganized government, or ungoverned lawlessness. Specifically, at least the people have only one harasser, who is rather predictable – the state/king, instead of fearing bandits and theives from any direction and any time.

Nonetheless oppressive leaders cause problems and therefore cannot remain in control for very long before being hated and overthrown.

Vena’s pride inflated with the wealth and power he gained over the eight directions by his royal ascension. Thinking that he had become the strongest and most glorious person, he disrespected everyone, even the most exalted. Blinded by his intoxicating pride, he roamed in a chariot like an unbridled elephant making heaven and earth tremble. His entourage beat drums everywhere as he prohibited religion by declaring, “Worshiping anyone but me is banned! Charity to anyone but the state is forbidden! And the priests can never again offer sacrifices!”

This sounds exactly like secular communism.

Watching all the misadventures and wrong-doings of Vena, the compassionate scholars who had been band from their sacred duties, considered how to save the people from disaster. “Aho, like a log burning from both ends, the people face disaster from both sides. The king harasses them, but without a king, criminals will harass them. Even though he was not fit to be king, fearing what would happen to the kingdom with no leader, we enthroned him. But now we fear what will happen to the kingdom because of the leader! What can we do for the welfare of the people?

“A snake fed milk is dangerous to the person who feeds it. Vena is naturally just as wicked as a snake, since he came from the womb of Sunīthā. Like a snake biting the hand that feeds, he punishes and harasses the people who have appointed him king and the citizens he was appointed to protect. Since we appointed him, we share the blame for what he does. We must therefore find some way to calm him down.

“We made a great mistake by appointing him king, when we knew what sort of wicked person he was. If we will not calm down and heed our advice, we will burn him with our powers. The people have already burned him with their condemnation.”

— Translated  from Śrīmad Bhāgavata 4.14.1 ~  12

By Vraja Kishor dās

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