How strong is your faith?

Faith

Spirituality is an armchair money minting spinner in India. Turnover from religious activities in the country roughly matches those of drug peddlers and arms dealers abroad. Further, most of the money circulated in all these trades are either unaccounted for or accumulate untaxed.

In view of such facts and circumstances, imagine the conditions in which saintly souls live in the country, think of their pains in moving around from one place to other appearing for religious discourses, and picture their stress in listening to peoples’ woes.

Amidst this when a white robed preacher becomes a phenomenon rising to the position of an observable figure, he is bound to attract undue attention of the social order and more particularly of the bourgeois.

The sensibilities of the intelligentsia are then stirred by vested interests unwilling to appreciate the dissertation interspersed with bhajan, kirtan, stories based on scriptures like Srimad Bhagvad Gita, Upanishads, Vedanta explained in simple words, tips on natural healthy living, yoga and other jewels of wisdom including instances taken from day to day life.

Multiplicity of religious practices in the country as also overflowing politics from region to region make mockery of both the preachers and their disciples. The worst sufferer is thus the faith.

Million dollar question, therefore, is how does one preserve faith? Take for instance the arrest of Asaram following complaint of alleged sexual assault by a 16-year-old girl in the former’s resting place. This guru, endearingly called ‘Bapu’ – a sobriquet used by all Indians to describe their Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi – runs hundreds of ashrams, has followers in millions and is cynosure of the media.

Five years ago, Asaram was at the centre of similar outbursts after four children died in quick succession at two separate institutions run by him in Ahmedabad and Chhindwara. And now he is accused of sexually assaulting a teenager at Jodhpur.

The father of the complainant is stated to have said that even he would not have believed the charges against 72-year-old Asaram if he and his wife were not present near the scene of the alleged crime.

Under such heat, India is witnessing mainly two types of religious linesmen, if it is the right way to describe them – extreme haters and ardent followers; and this land of the Buddha is clearly seen to be missing the middle path.

It would therefore not be exaggeration to say that the institutions of religious gurus are under threat in India. What innumerable invasions over thousands of years could not plunder, is today being subjected to inexplicable humiliation.

Interestingly, the kind of debates demonstrated on national media by people playing tug of wars in all possible tongue-twisters is further shaking the conscience of the common man and his faith.

India is not oblivious to wars of succession in business houses, political families, ruling dynasties and even the vested interests, pregnant with damaging conspiracies. What if the allegations in Asaram’s case are proved and what if the charges do not come true, ultimately? In any case, the faith is under stake.

It is not the first time when devotees, disciples, followers of a creed or a religious leader are seemingly teed off. Neither it’s the final opportunity for the players that be. Must we thus learn to have faith in what we believe, and believe so strongly in, even without having seen the evidences.

May be it is the faith only that people have as their evidence, both for and against.

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Greater Voice seeks to read and report India-specific human rights stories.
  • hariom

    Playing with faith by materialistic world (especially by cheap Indian electronic media is extremely dangerous) for the society in any part of world. As a matter of fact, the whole social behaviour and relationship system are dependent on faith. Day to day crime and resultant wars among society and countries are being observed daily.

    Loosing faith is the main reason for increasing depression, crime, war and finally leading to the destruction of the society which is highly emerging in Western culture and that is the only thing which make India different from rest of the world.

    Appreciate that someone has raised this thought to the society.

  • Vijay Chawla

    “Spirituality is an armchair money minting spinner in India.” Neeraj, how succinctly you have summed up the pitiable state of our faith today. Here the irony is that the media and WE THE PEOPLE have developed a gargantuan tolerance for the fake gurus who set no example of leading a virtuous life for us to follow. Regarding your view that “the money circulated in all these trades are either unaccounted for or accumulate untaxed,” I would call this money as the Indian equivalent of undeclared treasures of Swiss banks. The only difference is that we knowingly allow these very treasures to accumulate before our own eyes. For me all the deep meanings of faith and virtue are there in Sant Kabir’s simple dohas, to follow which we don’t require elaborate rituals or attend mammoth satsangs. What we actually need is a craving and a strong pull to lead a virtuous life. But the absence of that craving in this land of ours, inhabited, I suppose, by the largest numbers of believers in the world, proves how hollow our adherence to our respective religions is. Isn’t a fake guru in sheep’s clothing targetting unsuspecting women and girls to satiate his lust more dangerous than a gun-toting terrorist? Because we very well know from the gun in the terrorist’s hand that he will kill us. But while listening to a fake guru’s spirituality-coated pravachans, we just can’t see through his sheep’s clothing. So we end up entrusting our women and girls to many a fake guru for his so-called healing touch. It’s time we simplified our religion, had true faith in God, developed self-confidence, and tried to live a virtuous life on our own. Our success in this endeavour will render fake gurus jobless and make us all a little enlightened.

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