Listen! I am defining two words: HARD POWER, SOFT POWER.
“Hard Power” means, the political power, where the administration, bureaucracy, the Law, Court, punishment, reward, all this exists – ‘You HAVE to do this or you will be prosecuted and put in jail!’ ‘You should not do this or you will be prosecuted and put in jail, tortured. You may even be hanged!’ This is “Hard Power”.
“Soft Power” is the spiritual power. Thousands of people, I can say, in a way, even millions of people do whatever I am saying in the morning satsangh. I don’t have any “hard power” over them. Sometimes I am just sitting in this hall in Bidadi and saying, ‘Please close your eyes. Start inhaling and exhaling, and chant Shivoham.’ I can see, all over the world, thousands tying the eye-band, and closing the eyes, and inhaling and exhaling, and start chanting Shivoham.’ There is no “hard power”. If they don’t do, there is nothing like they are going to be prosecuted, punished. No! It is a “soft power” where, if they do, they raise themselves out of their own inspiration; voluntarily they come and learn to evolve themselves, raise themselves.
In Vedic Tradition, Mahadeva is not “hard power”. He is a “soft power”, sitting in Kailasa and teaching. Indra is “hard power”; not Mahadeva, understand. The concept of “God” in Vedic Tradition is so beautiful, so subtle! Because the concept of “God” is a “soft power”, we also had always “soft power” all over the world. We have not sent a single soldier, but we are ruling the whole China for the last thousand years culturally! We have not sent a single soldier across the border, but the whole China is living for the last thousand years as we want! We just sent one young man from Kanchipuram – Bodhidharma. Over! Understand? Because, our concept of “God” is a “soft power”! Understand, even now the world’s largest-practised religion is Yoga. The world’s largest-practised religion is Yoga! And it does not have any “hard power”!
We don’t have our own State. We Hindus don’t have our own State, be very clear! We don’t have any “hard power”! We don’t have our own bank! We don’t have our own country! Wherever we are majority, we always declare that as a “Secular” country, because, our religion is built on the structure of “soft power”, not “hard power”. Because, we have not portrayed our gods as “hard power”, we always portrayed our god and believed our god as “soft power”, anybody who wants to play the role of God has to be only the centre of “soft power”. In our society, if somebody has to reach the highest ladder of society, highest respect, he just has to retire to “soft power”. “Hard power” was never our ambition; it was never part of our ambition, understand?
Buddha ruled practically the whole Asia, not because of “hard power”. If he was having “hard power”, he would have been ruling just his kingdom….just his kingdom. But, he left that and took up the “soft power” and he ruled the whole Asia! I tell you, Buddha was ruling a larger area than Krishna! Buddha was ruling a larger area than Rama! Buddha was ruling a larger area than even Meenakshi! Because, he took “soft power”, not “hard power”!
Understand, our concept of “God” is never: He comes and sits in the seat of the Judge, and there is Judgement Day, and all the souls come, and the judgements are delivered. No! No! No “hard power”. It is completely “soft power”.
And, even now, the largest-practised religion of the world is Yoga, understand? People may be born in many religions; but, the largest-practising religion, the religion being practised every day all over the world is Yoga! But, never it was spread through “hard power”. Never it was spread through political power. Never it was spread through political clout.
Understand, we were slaves to some countries as far as “hard power” is concerned; and they were living what we were saying as far as “soft power” is concerned! Understand, what we should do as far as the legality and political things are concerned, how much tax we should pay, all that the British was deciding. But, what he should do as far as his body and mind were concerned, we were deciding! Understand? So, our tradition was never dependent on “hard power”. That is why we never cared about “hard power”. We let anybody rule this country for thousands of years. I am not saying that is right; I am saying, the root of that thinking setup, the root of that thought-trend. Originally, anyone who starts thinking in Vedic Tradition, comes only to the conclusion of “soft power”, please understand. Finally, I am not going to judge whether “hard power” is right or “soft power” is right, all that. I am just explaining to you the mental setup, the mental setup, all the conclusions we come, when we study the Upanishads, when we dive deep into the experience of Upanishads.
God is not “hard power”. He is the source of “soft power”. See, Mahadeva, he sits in Kailasa. He does not control all the Akhilaanda, Andaanda, Brahmaanda, Bhuvanaanda, all the universes, worlds, planets. No! He just sits in Samadhi. Once in a while he opens his eyes and teaches in silence. And, again, when people have a problem, they come to him, and he blesses them, attends to it. And, again, relaxes into Samadhi. The very description of God is “soft power”. In the western religions, the very description, concept of God is “hard power”. That is why, anybody who wants to play God, they have to become the centre of the “hard power”. And, if I go a little deeper into it, that is why the clash between the politicians and priests always was prevalent in the West. In the East, it was always together. Always the Rajas and Rajagurus were together, because they know their zones are different. Kings never felt threatened by the priests. Kings never felt threatened by the Gurus, because, whether the very way of thinking and acting, the Guru was settled in “soft power”, and the king was always secure.
There are thousands of stories in India about the kings. There are tons of stories where the brother takes over the kingdom, where the son takes over the kingdom from the father, ministers take over the kingdom from the king, but not a single story where the Guru takes over the kingdom from the king! And, among the son, brother, minister, guru, Guru knows more secrets about the king and the kingdom, more information about the king and the kingdom, than the brothers, ministers, the army Commander-in-Chief, and all of them. We have tons of stories where the Commander-in-Chief suddenly imprisons the king and takes over the kingdom, where son imprisons own father and takes over the kingdom, where brother imprisons the king and takes over the kingdom; but we don’t have a single reference to say the Rajaguru imprisons the king and takes over the kingdom! Because, we are settled with the “soft power” and “hard power”! The king feels completely secure!
The very thinking of the Guru is all about “soft power”; it has nothing to do with “hard power”.
A little understanding about this “hard power” and “soft power” will give you a lot of clarity about Vedic Tradition and even about how to handle yourself. See, if you always handle yourself with “hard power”, you become insensitive to life. If you all the time think only about the law and move only with that, then your whole life will be controlled only by law. I am not saying breaking the law. All I am trying to tell you is, let the “soft power”, the spiritual understandings and power decide many things in your life than the fear and greed of “hard power”. If you allow more and more the fear and greed of “hard power” to decide your life, you are a slave! But, “soft power” is always inspiration-based; it is not fear-based or greed-based.