Some years ago for the first time I saw Tulsi Gabbard speaking, and after few minutes of the video, it was clear to me: this devotee has the capacity, the charisma to become the president of the United States of America. Then, just few days ago, here her words:
“This Saturday, in my home state of Hawai’i, I will be officially announcing my candidacy for President of the United States, and kicking off the movement we will build together. Will you join me?”
Who is Tulsi Gabbard?
American media are speaking a lot about her, she is the first Hindu ever elected to the US Congress. She will be 39 on Inauguration Day in 2021, and if elected that would make her the youngest president in American history.
She spoke to CNN about her candidacy, “There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve.”
She mentioned health care access for all American citizens, criminal justice reform and climate change and said a central issue for her is that of “war and peace.” Tulsi Gabbard describes herself as a “Vaishnava Hindu” and is a devotee of Lord Krishna. In 2013, she was the first Congresswoman to swear on the Bhagavad-gita (Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita as it is).
“I chose to take the oath of office with my personal copy of the Bhagavad-gita because its teachings have inspired me to strive to be a servant-leader, dedicating my life in the service of others and to my country,” said Gabbard after the swearing-in ceremony. “My Gita has been a tremendous source of inner peace and strength through many tough challenges in life, including being in the midst of death and turmoil while serving our country in the Middle East.”
In her annual greetings for Janmashtami and Diwali, she mentioned the importance of spiritual values. “Diwali is a time of spiritual renewal, observed not only as a fun holiday, but as a time to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, truth over untruth and righteousness over wrong. As we gather for the beautiful Festival of Lights this year, we reflect on the opportunity each of us has to overcome our differences with one another and find ways to be of service to others.”
In her Janmashatami 2018 address, she said, “The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna is the reservoir of all happiness. So if we want to be happy, we need to be connected with Him. And he gives us so many ways to do this. By hearing His instructions through Scriptures, we can be connected with Him. By hearing of His pastimes when He appeared in this world some 5000 years ago, we can be connected with Him. By hearing and glorifying any of His countless names, we can be connected with Him. And by engaging our time, energy, and skills in the loving service of God and all His children, we can be connected with Him. So if we want to be truly happy, all we need to do is think about how can we dedicate our actions, our lives, to pleasing God. Then we can actually achieve the highest happiness – a happiness that’s impossible to attain in any other way.”
On September 13th, 2016, Tulsi attended the ISKCON 50thAnniversary Gala Event in Washington D.C., along with many other vips including government representatives, political leaders, religious leaders, and academics.
A courageous move was her 2017 Syria meeting with Bashar al-Assad followed by various interviews:
“I have seen this cost of war firsthand, which is why I fight so hard for peace,” said Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran. “And that’s the reality of the situation that we’re facing here. It’s why I have urged and continue to urge President Trump to meet with people like Kim Jong Un in North Korea because we understand what’s at stake here. The only alternative to having these kinds of conversations is more war.”
While noting that the American mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS, Gabbard said, “Many troops I hear from express frustration at the fact that our country continues to wage senseless, costly regime-change wars followed by nation-building missions leading to situations like we see in Afghanistan. So many examples of our troops being deployed, their lives put on the line, without understanding what the clear mission or objective is and how that mission actually serves the security of the American people and the United States.”
by Prema Gopinath das