In our country we have seen many old politicians, seventy-five years old, eighty years old. Not only in our country, in other countries also. In your country, Great Britain, Mr. Churchill, unless he was forced to death, he would not give up politics. Our Gandhi, he was killed by another political group. Then he was forced to retire. When Gandhi attained independence, I requested him in a letter, "Mahatma Gandhi, now you started your struggle with the Britishers, that they should go and Indians should have their independence. Now you have attained independence and Britishers have gone. Now you preach Bhagavad-gītā. You have got some influence. You are known throughout the whole world a very great saintly person, and you also pose yourself that you are a great scholar of Bhagavad-gītā. Why don't you take up Bhagavad-gītā and preach?" There was no reply. And he was still meddling with politics, so much so that his own assistants became disgusted. And it is said that he was planned to be killed. Just see how much intoxication of this materialistic way of life. He was considered a mahātmā, a great personality, and he got his svarājya. The Britishers left India. Still, he would not give up politics. Still, he would stick—unless he was forced to give up, he was killed. Similarly, Jawaharlal Nehru also. Nobody would retire voluntarily—unless he is killed by somebody or he is killed by the laws of material nature. This is the disease. He cannot give it up. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14). The māyā is so strong that even an old man advertising to be very pious man, he cannot give up politics. Because māyā is so strong, he's thinking, "If I leave political field, my countrymen will suffer, and so many disaster will happen." He's thinking like that.
But actually, things will go on. Many politicians came and gone. In your country there were many, many great politicians; they came and gone. But your country people are still living and they are going on. In Germany also, many Hitlers came and gone. Similarly, in India also many Gandhis came and gone. But things are going on. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā:
- prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
- guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
- kartāham iti manyate
- (BG 3.27)
Everything is being done by the laws of nature. You cannot change it. There is a plan, God's plan. It will go on. You don't have to bother yourself, that without you, everything will be topsy-turvied. No. You cannot do anything. You are falsely thinking that your leadership is very much needed. No. I was thinking. When I was householder, several times there was indication given by my Guru Mahārāja that I should give up family life and become a sannyāsī and preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. In several way there was hints from my spiritual master, but still, I was not willing. I was thinking, "If I go away, then my family, my sons, my daughters, they will suffer." But actually, I have left my family connection in 1950. Actually '54, but introductory in '50. For the last twenty years. But they are living; I am living. They are not dying in my absence, and I am not suffering without being in my family. On the other hand, by Kṛṣṇa's grace, I have got better family members. I have got nice children in a foreign country. They are taking so much care of me, I could not expect such care from my own children.
So this is God's grace. We should depend on Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is kind, wherever we go, everyone will be pleased, everyone will be kind. And if Kṛṣṇa is unpleased, even in your family life you'll not be comfortable. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, at a certain age, it is indicated that one should retire from family life. So this Ṛṣabhadeva Mahārāja, He was retired. Although He had one hundred sons, all obedient sons, He was emperor, anything was at His command—still, He was retiring. That is the Vedic system. He had no disadvantage. He was personally the incarnation of Godhead, an emperor, very obedient sons, and opulence, everything complete. There are many instances. His son, Bharata Mahārāja, he also retired. You have seen Parīkṣit Mahārāja. After his retirement, this Bhāgavata was recited before him. His grandfather, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, they voluntarily retired. So that is the system. In the early age, either you become a son of a king or you are son of an ordinary man, you must go to the āśrama of spiritual master and live there as servant. That is called brahmacārī. Brahmacārī's life means to serve the spiritual master as menial servant. Whatever he will ask, the brahmacārī will do. It is so much strict that brahmacārī, whatever he collects, he gives to the spiritual master, the spiritual master's property. It is not his property. And the spiritual master, if he forgets to call one disciple, "My dear son, come and take your prasādam," then he will not take prasādam even, without being called. He will starve. Of course, spiritual master does not forget, but these are the injunctions, that if he does not ask you, "Come and take your prasādam," then you should not touch, yourself. There are so many strictures.