If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear
will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.
When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English )
Lao Tzu warned the rulers of the nation not to become the leader of the robbers. No matter how thoroughly Lao Tzu understood the Tao and how well he applied Tao in his life, he still worried and feared how he could introduce Tao to the rulers well.
It is because Tao is broad and flat but people prefer footpaths.
The rulers have a palace, wearing luxury garments and enjoying life themselves, whereas the field is uncultivated, the granaries are empty. They possess more than they need. Lao Tzu gave them harsh words and called them the head of the robbers. He told them that this is contrary to the Tao, not Tao! We can feel from this text how heavy a burden he felt from the rulers and how much caring he felt for the people.