The recent elections in India have been termed historic, heralding a new era. But they were preceded by a bitter campaign, filled with vitriol and hyperbole. Faced with this, I felt the need to pray to understand what constitutes true government, for my own peace of mind as well as for my country as a whole.
For me, peace came when I thought of this description of the spiritual idea of Church, which I believe is also applicable to the spiritual idea of government. It’s by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. She described Church as “the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 583).
With God, Truth and Love, providing the structure of government, I could trust that it would be stable and all-inclusive, resting on divine Principle, or the laws of God, and not merely dependent on personalities or politics.
True government is about being governed by God, by all that is good. When we allow good to have control over our lives, allow God to develop good in us, it allows us to grow spiritually, resulting in better human conditions. Because God is ever-present, the laws of His government operate in every place to consistently correct any discordant situation with justice and mercy.
My prayer during the electoral process included thinking about each voter as a son or daughter of God, expressing the wisdom of his or her Creator. It must follow then that each one would have the ability to think clearly about his or her choice without being swayed by words. Each would have the God-given wisdom to see through false promises, question the standpoints of candidates, and make an informed decision.
Development and secularism were the new buzzwords that seemed to cause a political divide. Easy access to basic amenities, better infrastructure, and better living conditions are rightful aspirations. They are the result of true progress.
But true development for the country can come only with equal rights for every citizen to progress, irrespective of religion, as provided for in India’s Constitution. Real progress comes only when every citizen progresses individually, breaking the limits that society has set on us or that we have set on ourselves. If the power of Love, God, does undergird true government, we can begin to break the limits imposed on us.
Thought must also progress beyond oppressing others, pushing others down to push oneself up. Adequate supply precludes the need to take what belongs to others. God’s love for His creation is an inexhaustible source that provides everyone with sufficient opportunities for progress, coupled with the ability to do so.
What of the fearful suggestion that women and minorities could face oppression? The Bible rejects that with the question: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” It goes on to reassure us that neither “principalities, nor powers ... nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35, 38, 39). The divine Parent, as both Father and Mother, is constantly watching over us all. No one is outside of this care.
The power of this ever-present love provides freedom for all, irrespective of gender, religion, or social or economic standing – freedom from oppression, domination, discrimination, or injustice.
Before, during, and now going forward after the elections, I have found these words from Science and Health to be my constant prayer: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars;... annihilates ... whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes;... and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (p. 340).
I am grateful to see that almost all citizens appear to be giving the new prime minister a chance to make good on his promises for a better India, whether they voted for him or not. It’s a small step toward that unity under the government of Truth and Love, which annihilates whatever is wrong and leaves nothing that can suffer. It gives me hope for my country – that the only way we can go is forward together.