The success of a democracy depends on the charter of its people. Democratic character has four main pillars:
1. To submit or eself to collective discipline
2. A tendency to reconcile oneself to the leadership:
3. Renunciation of such selfish considerations as tend to subvert national integrity; and
4. Capacity to sacrifice what is secondary for the sake of a more important thing.
It is the strength of these pillars that sustains the edifice of democracy.
It was the summer season. The tank lay empty. The king expressed a wish to see the tank filled with milk. The prime minister was consulted. He was worried if it would be possible for him to get such an enormous quantity of milk. On the contrary, the king had every hope and showed no sign of anxiety. He had faith in collective life. As desired by the king, the prime minister issued a proclamation “Every citizen shall pour a pint of milk into the tank this evening”.
The night passed. The king got up with a desire to see the tank full of milk. Accompanied by his ministers he drove straight to the tank in a jovial mood. Every body saw that the tank was everflowing its banks but there wasn’t even a drop of milk in it. The king’s hopes were shattered to pieces. How did it all happen? One of the people thought what difference it would make if he poured a pint of water into the tank in stead of milk. Another man came and he too was carried away by the same wave of thought. Thus all the people thought in the same direction. The result was that every person of the town came with a pint of water and emptied it into the tank. The king who had all along lived on a able to see the truth. false notion was able to see the truth.
Once a king felt the need to increase the strength of his army. He bade his minister take necessary steps in that direction. Meanwhile it so happened that a group of soldiers arrived there. The minister devised a scheme to test them. They were ushered into a big hall where they were required to stay for the night. They were five hundred in number but there was only one cot available in the hall. It gave rise to a fierce con- troversy as to who should occupy it. Each of them advanced arguments in his favour and claimed that he had a right to use it in view of certain qualities he possessed. The whole night passed but the controversy could not be resolved. All quarrelled among themselves for the possession of the cot and none of them was able to make use of it. The next morning when the sun rose, they received an order which read, “The door to our army is closed for those who happen to be many for one.
“Some days later, there came another of five hundred soldiers. They were lodged i same hall with the same cot lying i Unlike the scene of an unruly mob presented by the former group, they vied with one another in showing mutual courtesies. Each offered the cot to the other but none displayed a desire to avail him- self of it. At last they reached an agreement. It was decided that the cot should be placed in the centre of the hall and all the soldiers should lie down to sleep with their heads towards it. The next day as soon as the sun rose, they received the orders of appointment in which it was stated, “The door to our army is always open to those who happen to be one for one.”
There were four priests. One day a devotee came to the temple when they were performing puja. Before departing, he presented the priests with a milch cow. There was one cow whereas the priests were four. They were confronted with the problem of dividing it among themselves. After long deliberations, they reached an agreement which authorized each of them to milk the cow in turn. The first priest had milked the cow but gave it nothing to eat. He thought to himself, “The cow belong to all the four of us, why should I alonge bear the expenses of its food? Moreover he whose turn comes tomorrow is certain to feed it. If it does not eat anything today, what difference will it make?” Next day the cow was taken to the second priest. Like the first priest he too milked it but when it was time to feed it, he also thought in the same way as the first priest did. The third and the fourth priests also followed suit. Consequently the cow was starved to death. The priests selfish tendency not only cost the cow its life but it also deprived the priests of the privilege of milk, Had they renounced even a part of their selfish desire, they could have gained more than what they had expected? The secret of the fulfilment of one’s desires lies in its renunciation.
This truth is further borne out by an incident from the life of a businessman who I have known is an adept, courteous and disciplined person. He is not guided merely by future considerations but he learns from the past as well. He knows what his acts are likely to result in. He holds that the more he remains away from selfishness, the more he finds his desire fulfilled. On the contrary there are some people who think that their interests are served more if they are self-centred. He regards it to be a mis- taken concept. A high ranking Government official who to be his friend died unexpectedly. He went to the residence of the deceased to offer his condolences to the bereaved family. As soon as the widow saw her husband’s friend, she began to sob bitterly. In soothing words the merchant asked her to tell him if there was any thing he could do to help her at such an hour of grief. She requested him to arrange for her removal to her native town as it had become difficult for her to pass even a movement there. The merchant readily accepted the responsibility and proposed to send her to her house the same day and told her that he would make the necessary arrangement for the transportation of her belongings the following day. His sympathetic tone was so natural and forceful that he won the hearts of the tens of officials who had collected at the residence of the deceased. He who continues to maintain relationship in this way even when he knew that there is no possibility of his using it to his own advantage is really great. The renunciation of selfishness is an easy way to the accomplishment of one’s desire. But the selfish people are still unable to realise this truth.
The story dates back to the ancient times. There was a king who had four queens. Once he went on a visit to another country where he happened to stay for a long period. The queens awaited his arrival impatiently. They were already in correspondence with him. When they received the news of the king’s arrival, they wrote separate letters to him expressing their joy at the news and placing certain demands before him. At last the king arrived. There were great rejoicings in the capital. Now he was in the midst of the queens. His presence filled them with joy. They talked among themselves for some time and then the king distributed presents. The eldest queen received a necklace studded with pearls, the second queen received a bracelet and the third queen ear-rings. The fourth queen got all that he had brought with him. This made the other queens jealous of her. The three queens were unable to restrain their anger and in one voice they told the king about the injustice done to them. But the king just smiled in reply. This brought another retort from the queens who said, “the man’s deceptive smile is the cause of jealousy among women”. The king again smiled at the queens’ -mark. They burned within and could no longer bear this sort of injustice from a lesser queen. They were aflame with anger. The king apprehended the delicacy of the situation and left them saying that the question would be settled in presence of the members of the Royal Council. The Council was in session. The members were filled with joy to see the king in their midst after the spell of a long period. When the formalities of protocol were over, the king occupied the chair. He placed his private dispute before the council. They were all astonished. Various thoughts crowded their minds. The three queens were overjoyed at their success. Silence pervaded the atmosphere. People held up their breaths. All the members of the council were in contemplative mood. The king motioned the secre- tary to stand up. He broke silence by reading the letter written to him by the chief queen during his stay abroad. She had requested the king to bring her a necklace studded with pearls when he returned home. The second letter was read out. The second queen had asked him to bring her a bracelet. The third queen had expressed a desire for ear-rings. Now it was the turn of the fourth letter. The fourth letter read, “You are everything for me. I desire nothing but your presence. I beseech you to return immediately.” The mystery was resolved. The silence of the hall was broken. Every one present, except the three queens, was talking.
1. What are the four pillars of democractic character ?
2. What moral do you draw from the short stories illustrated in this lesson ?