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Part 1 – Pickpockets or politicians?

The temple's main preaching focus is the race for Mayor of Atlanta. Balavanta, the temple president, is running for public office. He has already run, unsuccessfully, for the state legislature. Srila Prabhupada approves of this policy and is encouraging him to be a candidate for the office of Mayor of Atlanta.

I am very pleased that you are running for Mayor of such an important city as Atlanta. Now you present to the populace the perfect example of a Krishna conscious person, and always be very clean and neat. You may present the simple program to the citizens for becoming purified and regaining their lost happiness by meeting together frequently to chant Hare Krishna, that's all. We have no complicated political platform. Politicians today are simply pick-pockets, tricking the voters to pick their pockets. They make promises to gratify the public's senses, but then they only gratify their own senses and the public throws them out, repeatedly. So we can promise perfect peace and happiness, and we can fulfill our promise very easily. You and the other devotees are the practical demonstration, and whenever you speak in public they may be also present and hold kirtan and give speeches also. [Letter to Balavanta - February 18, 1972]

Far from being ideal leaders, modern-day politicians are generally of low character, which Prabhupada likens to pickpockets. His solution is strong Krishna conscious leadership. "If we are able to establish Krishna conscious leaders throughout the country in important posts, we will be able to save everyone from the present dangerous position of the world. People in general are being guided into hellish conditions of life by the rascal leaders, so we must establish qualified brahmanas at the head of the society, and widely distribute Krishna conscious principles." [Letter to Balavanta – June 17, 1972]

Reference: Altanta, Georgia, September 1973, Letter to Balavanta - February 18, 1972, June 17, 1972