In Hinduism, power equals legitimacy.
To attain power implies you have had enough good karma in previous lives to be born into a life in which you attain power.
How that power is obtained does not matter. There is nothing inside Hinduism by which to evaluate power and powerholdres objectively.
Agehananda Bharati was born in Vienna, survived the Nazi occupation, survived being in the German Army (his unit was fortunate in that it was stationed in France and sat out the war in a quiet zone).
Bharati was fluent in Sanskrit and Hindi and especially Bengali, and had close ties to the Bengal elite, and was welcomed into the household of Subha Chandra Bose's brother, on his arrival to India. Bharati had been a young protege in Europe of 'Netaji' Subha Chandra Bose, a resistance fighter who believed in taking arms against Britain. In Bengal, Netaji Bose was honored very much more than Gandhi--and he still is.
Here are some comments by Bharati about the Hindu attitude to power.
It may be that Tulsi is on her way to becoming a female hero. And here Bharati tells us how heroes, those gain power, their behavior is interpreted in a way different from that of the ordinary citizen who is the actual source of their power, something not recognized in Hinduism.
Hero-worship is in the Hindu tradition, and unless the hero is considered a direct enemy of the Indian cause -- like Churchill -- every dictator has the sympathy of mnay orthodox Hindus. This is a phenomenon of some complexity, but not really hard to explain. There is the avatara idea -- in every powerful man there is a segment of the cosmic power which manifested itself in the god-kings and heroes of the epic and of mythology. (Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Puranas-Corboy)
Hitler was particularly popular, especially with the politicaly aggressive, for he trounced the British, at least in the beginning; he proclaimed the superiority of the Aryan (this being a Sanskrit word denoting the Hindu as he sees himself) and he was a leader of the Sanskrit-knowing Germans.
(In his travels, on foot and by train through the subcontinent, travels that included attendance at the Kumbhmela of 1954 at Allahabad, Bharati met man very many Indians who were convinced that Germans learned Sanskrit in school)
"I argued against this enthusiasm" Bharati tells us "and have asked enthusiasts, both monastic and lay, how they thought Hitler's deeds and attitudes compatible with ahimsa (non-harmful behavior) and how they explained the dislike of Gandhi and Nehru for Hitler?
"The answers were always in the same jargon: When honour is threatened, when silence could be interpreted as cowardice, and when the inner spirit tells teh leader to act, then ahimsa takes on a different meaning.
"As in Krsna's counsel to Arjuna ( in the Bhagavad Gita - that text so beloved of the Krishnas and of ISKON) As in Krnsa's counsel to Arjuna, there is a higher sort of ahimsa, which that there is no killing even in killing, that is when the spirit has realized its oneness with the Supreme, and so forth.
(Agehananda Bharati The Ochre Robe, page 214. 1980 2d edition
Further on, Bharti tells us this. And..he had loved Hinduism enough to become an ordained renunciate in the Dasnami Bharati Order. But this tradition was one of intelligence and rigorous scholarship. What distressed Bharati was to see Hinduism dumbed down, and so pervasively that most Indians were left unaware of how much they were missing.
What Bharti tells us here is also important, for it describes the New Age mindset that has taken hold in large sectors of the West, as well as the mindset he encountered in India 50 years ago.
"In the Hindu mind (I would say New Age-Corboy) inspiration tends to eschew information. A Hindu of intelligence and integrity may be well informed for instance about the imbecility and cruelty of Leader X., but the leader is a hero, or perhaps a concealed avatara, who has the guise of cruelty to achieve a higher purpose, then this mystical possibly exonerates the despot and inspires the Hindu and inspiration supersedes information.
Bharati, The Ochre Robe
, pp 225
Finally, here is Bharati's descriptions of how his professors in the Ramakrishna Order responded to his doubts about certain portions of the Gita. Bharati, remember, had lived in Vienna during Hitler's takeover and had had Nazism intrude into his life in all kinds of obnoxious ways.
Sixty years ago, Agehananda Bharati, when a student in a Ramakrishna monastery, caught the professor making textual errors when teaching from a Sanskrit text. Unlike the other students, Bharati had enough background that he knew when the instructor was making a mistake and dared, despite being an underling, to point this out
I learned the stereotypical method of rebuttal common to all* traditions of religious doctrine in India: The moment discursive thought (that is, thought that is based on reaching a conclusion through use of reason and verifiable/falsifiable evidence) would jeopardize the axiomatic perfection of the text, the critic is given a simple line:
‘Your argument may be intellectually valid but what of it? Only those who have seen the light can see the consistency of the text. Only those who have experienced the truth from within can see that intellectual argument is of no avail in the end.’
"this would hardly be objectionable were the atmosphere among Indian scholastics purely non-discursive (that is if they were in a state of enlightenment 100% of the time and used intuitive, non-rational methods of thought 100% of the time).
But this is not true: the theologians avail themselves of refined scholastic argument all the time, but they jettison all of it the moment their axioms are impugned.’ (Bharati, The Ochre Robe pp. 132-133)
Corboy note) In other words, the evasiveness Bharati described seems analogous to losing baseball team suddenly declaring that they are actually winning, not losing, because all along they’ve playing football, not baseball—and the other team is unenlightened and does not appreciate this.
**What Bharati describes can be easily abused and twisted into the various ‘thought stopping’ techniques endemic to cults. What made Bharati’s observation so very radical was his discovery that this ‘shuffle’ was NOT perpetrated by just a few charlatans or rogue scholars; he found this particular evasion tactic was commonly practiced throughout the Indian spiritual scene.
And as you read this keep in mind that Bharati had enjoyed close ties to the elite of Calcutta. He also spent 3 years as a novice monk in the Ramakrishna Order, an organization closely tied to Bengal, and which venerated both Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. Bharati was eventually asked to leave--he could not regard Ramakrisna as an Avatar and found that the RO tended to cover up embarassing facts, a stance Bharati found unacceptble.
Two Bharati quotes:
"Facts must remain facts and their dignity must not be impugned, not even for spiritual motives"
"Esoteric truth cannot be had from esoteric falsehood.