BBC News – Oct 13, 2011
Jigme Wangchuk was educated in India and Britain and took over after the abdication in 2006 of his father, who began the country’s democratic transition.
In March 2008, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy and the king relinquished his absolute powers.
“The royal wedding has ensured the continuity of the monarchy,” Tshering Tobgay, Bhutan’s opposition leader told Reuters. “And monarchy has helped strengthen our democracy.”
Tourists were only allowed into the isolated nation in the 1970s. People in Bhutan are still required to wear traditional dress in public.
The kingdom is also well-known for its “Gross National Happiness” index – an alternative to GDP – which measures personal happiness as opposed to economic growth. Go to story
SFGate.com – SIMON DENYER, Washington Post – Oct 13, 2011
Wangchuck’s father, the country’s revered fourth king, introduced to the world the philosophy of Gross National Happiness, the idea that spiritual and mental well-being matter as much as money, and that material gain should not come at the expense of the environment or culture.
Then, in 2006, he used his absolute power to force democracy on his adoring and reluctant people, before abdicating in favor of his son, a move that looks ever more visionary as the years go by. The country’s first elections and the young king’s coronation followed two years later.
It was a tough act for the young son to follow, but he has more than lived up to the task, observers say. Where the father is reserved and austere, the son is warm, natural and engaging. While the elder king’s subjects would not dream of looking him in the eye, they find themselves laughing and joking with the son.
To the constant exasperation of his security detail, the young king never misses the chance to mix with people at public events, playing barefoot soccer with schoolchildren or hugging and comforting an old woman so overcome at seeing him that she burst into tears.
His looks once earned him the nickname Prince Charming when mobbed by female admirers on a trip to Thailand. His personality has earned him the more lasting title of the People’s King. Go to story
Qualifications of an ideal king
My dear boy, the Lord, who carries the wheel of a chariot, is represented by the monarchical regime, and when this regime is abolished the whole world becomes filled with thieves, who then at once vanquish the unprotected subjects like scattered lambs.
According to Srimad-Bhagavatam the monarchical regime represents the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead. The king is said to be the representative of the Absolute Personality of Godhead because he is trained to acquire the qualities of God to protect the living beings. The Battle of Kurukshetra was planned by the Lord to establish the real representative of the Lord, Maharaja Yudhishthira. An ideal king thoroughly trained by culture and devotional service with the martial spirit makes a perfect king. Such a personal monarchy is far better than the so-called democracy of no training and responsibility. The thieves and rogues of modern democracy seek election by misrepresentation of votes, and the successful rogues and thieves devour the mass of population. One trained monarch is far better than hundreds of useless ministerial rogues, and it is hinted herein that by abolition of a monarchical regime like that of Maharaja Parikshit, the mass of people become open to many attacks of the age of Kali. They are never happy in an overly advertised form of democracy. The result of such a kingless administration is described in the following verses.
Duties of the king
excerpt from purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.22.45:
In this verse it is very clearly stated that a kingdom, state or empire must be governed under the instructions of saintly persons and brahmanas like the Kumaras. When monarchy ruled throughout the world, the monarch was actually directed by a board of brahmanas and saintly persons. The king, as the administrator of the state, executed his duties as a servant of the brahmanas. It was not that the kings or brahmanas were dictators, nor did they consider themselves proprietors of the state. The kings were also well versed in Vedic literatures and thus were familiar with the injunction of Sri Ishopanishad: ishavasyam idam sarvam—everything that exists belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna also claims that He is the proprietor of all planetary systems (sarva-loka-maheshvaram). Since this is the case, no one can claim to be proprietor of the state. The king, president or head of the state should always remember that he is not the proprietor but the servant.
In the present age, the king or president forgets that he is the servant of God and thinks of himself as servant of the people. The present democratic government is proclaimed to be a people’s government, a government by the people and for the people, but this type of government is not sanctioned by the Vedas. The Vedas maintain that a kingdom should be governed for the purpose of satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should therefore be ruled by a representative of the Lord. The head of a state should not be appointed if he is bereft of all Vedic knowledge. In this verse it is clearly stated (veda-shastra-vid arhati) that all high government posts are especially meant for persons who are well conversant with the teachings of the Vedas. In the Vedas there are definite instructions defining how a king, commander-in-chief, soldier and citizen should behave. Unfortunately there are many so-called philosophers in the present age who give instruction without citing authority, and many leaders follow their unauthorized instruction. Consequently people are not happy.
The modern theory of dialectical communism, set forth by Karl Marx and followed by communist governments, is not perfect. According to Vedic communism, no one in the state should ever starve. Presently there are many bogus institutions which are collecting funds from the public for the purpose of giving food to starving people, but these funds are invariably misused. According to the Vedic instructions, the government should arrange things in such a way that there will be no question of starvation. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that a householder must see to it that even a lizard or a snake does not starve. They also must be given food. In actuality, however, there is no question of starvation because everything is the property of the Supreme Lord, and He sees to it that there is ample arrangement for feeding everyone. In the Vedas (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13) it is said: eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. The Supreme Lord supplies the necessities of life to everyone, and there is no question of starvation. If anyone starves, it is due to the mismanagement of the so-called ruler, governor or president.
It is clear therefore that a person who is not well versed in the Vedic injunctions (veda-shastra-vit) should not run for election as president, governor, etc. Formerly kings were rajarshis, which meant that although they were serving as kings, they were as good as saintly persons because they would not transgress any of the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and would rule under the direction of great saintly persons and brahmanas. According to this arrangement, modern presidents, governors and chief executive officers are all unworthy of their posts because they are not conversant with Vedic administrative knowledge and they do not take direction from great saintly persons and brahmanas.
Civilization based on spiritual understanding
excerpt from Letter to Rayarama, Seattle, October 17, 1968:
Next—regarding your point: program for a spiritual world civilization—it is very nice suggestion. And practically our Krishna Consciousness movement is built on this idea, that we want to make a world civilization on the basis of spiritual understanding. So I am giving you some points which you may expand or do it for understanding of the people in general. But the point should be as follows: 1st point, that any civilization devoid of God consciousness or Krishna Consciousness, is no civilization at all. It is simply a polished type of animal society. This is the first point. So at the present moment, the modern civilization on the basis of so-called scientific knowledge and economic development is trying to avoid God consciousness, or Krishna Consciousness—that is the defect of the modern civilization. Therefore, in spite of all advancement it is zero. So zero has no value. And millions of zeros put together does not make any value. But one is put on the left side of the zero, it increases the value. Then one zero becomes 10, two zero becomes 100, three zero becomes 1000, so it is very nice. This point should be clearly discussed, that without God conciousness, Krishna Consciousness, any attempt of human civilization so-called philosophical or political or economical or labor, they are all zeros.