THE NEW LEAM VIEWPOINT
Here is a perceptive reflection on the phenomenal growth of ‘god-men‘ and their unholy practices.
The inevitable has happened. The notorious ‘godman’ Aasharam Bapu has been sent to jail. He seems to be an embodiment of all that is ugly–crude business in the name of faith, sexual perversion and aggression in everyday life.
However, he is not alone. We keep producing all sorts of babas; they engage in an ugly act of mass hypnosis; they become close allies of leading political personalities; with lavish ‘ashrams’, constant appearance on ‘devotional’ channels, and all sorts of ‘religious discourses’ they look like ‘miracle makers’. And in a society with its heightened inequality and absence of basic facilities for a dignified living, there is a constant search for ‘miraculous’ solutions.
When politics fails, bureaucracy remains insensitive, the state is dissociated from the struggling people, and education further reproduces inequality and privileges the privileged, religion loses its religiosity, transforms itself into some sort of magic, and babas reinvent themselves as ‘godmen’ with ‘miraculous’ power to solve everything–my wife’s impotency, my husband’s blood sugar, my child’s failure in a competitive examination, my mother-in-law’s joint pain!
As all sorts of devotees in this terribly insecure society assemble with a search for instant solutions and give a sense of power to these self-proclaimed ‘godmen’, they begin to show their true colour: a sinner in the grab of a saint, an act of sexual perversion in the name of a religious rite.
You send one baba to jail; it does not take much time for the other baba to emerge. And there are political forces that support these ‘baba producing’ machineries for their vested interests. Is there any way can come out of this trap? For this there are three things that we need to understand.
Nobody can perform a miracle for you. There is no miracle except existence, the continual flow of life and death, substance and void, light and darkness.
First, education as it exists cannot fight this pathology. In fact, formal degrees/diplomas have no relation with emancipatory consciousness. You can find IIT/IIM ‘educated class’ bowing down before sophisticated/ English-speaking babas who also perform the science of ‘inner engineering’. What is needed is true awakening that enables one to distinguish truth from falsehood, spirituality from magic.
Second, we need to be absolutely clear that these ‘godmen’ have nothing to do with any positive spiritual tradition. Have you ever heard Ramakrishna performing a ‘miracle’? Have you ever seen Rumi assuring your child’s success in the IAS examination? Can you imagine Kabir appearing on Kapil Sharma’s show and demonstrating yogic postures?
And herein lies the third point. Nobody can perform a miracle for you. There is no miracle except existence, the continual flow of life and death, substance and void, light and darkness. A flower is blooming; with sunset the western horizon is radiating amazing colours; a child is playing and laughing without any ulterior motive; one is finding all the oceans in the eyes of the beloved; after taking the dead body of your loved one to the crematorium you suddenly see the full moon in the sky; a leaf falls from a tree; a poor man cracking a joke, and listening to an old Kishore Kumar song–friends, these are the only miracles possible. And true religiosity is to receive these miracles, and live with the totality of existence.
No, babas and notorious ‘godmen’ are incapable of understanding these real miracles. No wonder, they exploit, they rape, they cheat. Save religiosity from these goons.