“The question may be raised here that if everyone engaged in spiritual activities to attain salvation and became indifferent to the activities of the material world, then how could things as they go on? And if things are to go on as they ought to, how can a head of state be indifferent to such activities? In answer to this question, the word sreyah, auspicious, is used here. The division of activities in society as arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead was not blindly or accidentally created, as foolish people say. The brahmana must do his duty properly, and the kshatriya, the Vaisya, and even the sudra must do the same. And every one of them can achieve the highest perfection of life–liberation from this material bondage. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (18.45). Sve sve karmany abhiratah samsiddhim labhate narah: “By executing one’s prescribed duties, one can attain the highest perfection.”

Lord Vishnu advised Maharaja Prthu that a king is not enjoined to give up his kingdom and the responsibility of protecting the prajas, or citizens, to instead go away to the Himalayas for liberation. He can attain liberation while executing his royal duties. The royal duty or the duty of the head of state is to see that the prajas, or the general mass of people, are doing their respective duties for spiritual salvation. A secular state does not necessitate a king or head of state who is indifferent to the activities of the prajas. In the modern state, the government has many rules and regulations for conducting the duties of the prajas, but the government neglects to see that the citizens advance in spiritual knowledge. If the government is careless in this matter, the citizens will act whimsically, without any sense of God realization or spiritual life, and thus become entangled in sinful activities.

An executive head should not be callous to the welfare of the general mass of people while he simply goes on collecting taxes. The king’s real duty is to see that the citizens gradually become fully Krishna conscious. Krishna conscious means activities free from all sinful activities. As soon as there is the complete eradication of sinful activities in the state, then there will be no more war, pestilence, famine or natural disturbances.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), Srimad Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, Chapter 20 – Text 14″

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