RABBI: In the Torah, Moses describes to the people some of the requirements of a king. One of the requirements is, "When [the king] is established on his royal throne, he must write a copy of the Torah as a scroll edited by the Levitical priests. [This scroll] must always be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life. He will then learn to be in awe of God his Lord, and carefully keep every word of the Torah and these rules. He will then [also] not begin to feel superior to his brethren, and he will not stray from the mandate to the right or the left. He and his descendants will thus have a long reign in the midst of Israel." [Torah, Duet., Shoftim 17:18] Do the Vedas give any description of the qualities of a king similar to these?
DEVOTEE: The Vedic kings were known as Rajarsis, or saintly kings. The Vedas describe the qualities of a saintly king. A saintly king rules the citizens on behalf of God, his primary goal being to help his citizens gradually elevate themselves on the path of spiritual life. The saintly kings were very learned in the scriptures, and, although very powerful, they always felt themselves to be the insignificant servants of God. One very good example of a saintly king was Dhruva Maharaja who is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam. "Dhruva Maharaja was endowed with all godly qualities; he was very respectful to the devotees of the Supreme Lord and very kind to the poor and innocent, and he protected religious principles. With all these qualifications, he was considered to be the direct father of all the citizens." [Bhag. 4.12.12]
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