Self-styled godmen and mental darkness

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Samarjit Kambam

Have you even seen a God in your life?
Since the dawn of human civilization, religion has been running collaterally with human lives. The mammoth question is “Did God made religion?”. A question which nobody in this world can answer for religion of all kinds and hues are made by man only according to his way of life, ambience, way of being brought up and established norms.

Now, there are religions galore in the world with deities innumerable practiced by different sects of people. Great minds of the world, through ages have created religions which are not based on facts but on faith. Incidentally, all religions of the world practice goodness based on compassion, humanity and universal brotherhood, tolerance and to maintain a set of ideals, principles and self discipline. In fact, religions were created for the goodness of mankind. Ironically, religions are creating more harm than good to humanity. The sole reason is malpractice or abuse of religion.

We are now witnessing chaos and deaths of innocent lives due to religion in different parts of the world. Buddhism preaches utmost tolerance. But in Rhongya, a small province of Myanmar, the sects who practice Buddhism are carrying out ethnic cleansing of Myanmarese Muslims making Buddhism a farce because the religion is being misused leading to its mutation. The ISIS which has become a phenomenon is on a killing spree with the aim of total domination of the world by the Muslims using violence as the paramount means. But did Prophet Mohammed propagated violence in Islam? India is also getting polarised due to malpractice of religion. It is pertinent to mention that Hinduism is considered as a religion which can evoke spiritualism within oneself and is being embraced by many from western countries. But in the name of Hinduism different elements are cropping up which practice violence to people practicing other religions. Mention may be made of “Gau Rakshaks” or “Cow Vigilantes” carrying out acts of violence towards Muslims with impunity from law.
Another unwanted facet of discrimination of religion in India is the mushrooming of self-styled godmen. In the name of bridging the gap or acting as a medium between God and humans, these self-styled godmen are brainwashing innocent lives and creating empires of their own. They preach philosophies for a virtuous living such as getting rid of lust, freeing onself from anger, freedom from desire, ego etc. and to transform one from a mere mortal to an enlightened one whilst in reality they themselves are practicing just the very opposite of what they are preaching. They are easily taking the common people for a ride by thoroughly brainwashing them in the name of religion.

The recent issue of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Chief of Dera Sacha Sauda Cult who has a huge fan following within and outside India comes as a shocker to the nation where 34 lives are lost when he was charged of raping his own women followers years back rocking many states with violence by his followers in several states of India. As he has connections with politicians, celebrities and big shots, there may be some political influence so that he could do away from the long hands of law. However, the main reason of all the chaos and death toll is that his followers have turned to religious fanatics to such an extent that their minds get devoid of reasoning. Thank God, he has been blessed with 20 years of rigorous imprisonment by the CBI Court.
This is not the first of its kind happening in India. We have witnessed how Baba Rampal whom many of his followers looked upto him as a demi-god had killed many of his disciples with starvation and malnutrition while he enjoyed the godly privilege of bathing in milk and conveying in a bulletproof SUV. His Satlok Ashram in Haryana literally went at par to a Nazi concentration camp which grabbed the attention of the media nationwide. He is a living example of a thug that generates enormous wealth from the poor masses by idolising himself as a godman. Mention may be made of some tainted godmen such as Baba Asaram Bapu accused of sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl. Swami Vikas Joshi was arrested from a city hotel in Jabalpur in 2006 with three women and a teenage girl. During a search in his ashram 60 CDs with obscene contents were found by the police. Baba Mahendra Giri was arrested in 2013 for raping a 24 years old woman disciple at his ashram in Sehore district.
Since religious ashrams have been taken as charitable organisations, it is considered a public charitable and religious trust and its income is entitled to exemption under Section 11 of the Income-tax Act, 1961. The self-centred godmen then start to use religion as a domain so that their religious ashrams get institutionalised at par with industries or branch of a private company and try to establish an empire by building more ashrams and accruing more and more money. The honest truth is that they reside in posh bungalows possessing large acres of land and lead a life to the peak of materialism with an extravagant and despotic lifestyle where they are supposed to lead a spiritual, unornamental and chaste life by renouncing worldly pleasures. The common people are easily befooled by these self-proclaimed godmen and they are usually used as a platform or launching pad for their meteoric rise to stardom or great fame. Now-a-days, the religious temples, churches and the likes are almost tantamount to big retails or franchises.

Appearances can be deceptive. Shaving heads and cladding on saffron cloths and chanting ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna” doesn’t necessarily mean that they are purely going the path to spirituality. Some of them are wolves in disguise, they are agents of some tycoons who really squeeze out money from the common people as much as they can. Some smear dirt to religion as some of them are involved in drug trafficking, carrying of weapons as they are given the privileges to go anywhere they please provided they are clad with their saffron coloured apparels. Some of them are agents of shrewd businessmen and these are the people who have dual characters so as to make the best out of their investments. Course, many seek spiritual awakening, spiritual strength and closeness to the entity which we call God but if you think all of them are honestly worshipping the religion of their liking, then you are wrong. Temples, mosques and churches are in fact becoming money churning institutions by exploiting the God fearing innocent and decent people. So, the question arises, “Why do religion have to always transcend down to money?”

The real way of worshipping God in any form or image is listening to our inner conscience, for God is ‘Truth’ and our inner conscience tells us only the Truth. Prophet Mohammed must have stirred in his grave at all the killings of Muslims by their brethren Muslims for creation of separate Islamic State, establishment of a Caliphate and domination of world deviating the holy war called Jihad and gradually mutating it to carcinogenic level. Lending money by taking interest is forbidden as per Islamic law. But isn’t it more pernicious to purchase weapons of mass destruction by money meant for development of the people especially the poor? Many Islamic scholars and observers believe in jihad having two meanings – an inner spiritual struggle considered the “greater jihad” which means striving to live a moral and virtuous life, a commitment to work hard and achieve one’s goal in life, promoting peace, harmony or cooperation, assisting others and defend Islam by fighting the ‘evil’ that exist within oneself. Another refers to an outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam using weapons through brute force usually resulting in violence, known as the “lesser jihad”. Prophet Mohammed preached the greater Jihad the goal of which is to attain a harmony between islam (submission), imam (faith) and ihsan (righteous living). However, in the contemporary Islamic world jihad has tilted more towards the lesser jihad which been interpreted as “Holy War” and has become one of the mostly used words. Whether the Quran sanctions defensive warfare only or commands an all out war against non-Muslims or whoever they consider anti-Islam or goes against Islam (even if they are Muslims) depends on the interpretation and opinions of different Islamic scholars or Islamic theological heads. Decades back, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by his own group of jihadis for going against lesser jihad movement where he was considered as “near enemy” or apostate.

“Religion is the opium of the masses” as was opined by Karl Marx is getting truer, realistic and getting more rationale with each passing day. Even in this highly advanced world filled with technological marvels, many are not able to free their mind from blind faith which was inculcated by religion. Religion paralyses and darkens the mentality of a person, in fact a wrong turn in religion is a mental blackout, a mental darkness, leakage of reasoning, absence of truth, falseness overshadowing truth, hatred overshadowing compassion while the sole purpose of propagating religion is compassion and universal brotherhood. Well, nobody’s perfect for “to err is human” but what about God? Is He also not perfect? The colour that runs through the vein of every human is same but is the difference in caste, creed, sect, religion and the differentiation of humans into Mongoloids, European, Dravidian, Aryan and skin colours into black, white, yellow, brown et al a God’s divine intervention to make the “world a stage” so that all the hatred, wars, killings and fightings maketh a perfect drama of His liking? Ask that question to yourself and bring out the answer by yourself. But go easy on yourself in delving and trying to seek the truth otherwise you’ll find yourself going nuts.
To me the only true godman is Mahatma Gandhi even though he did not proclaim himself as a godman.

(The writer may be reached at [email protected])

Source: The Sangai Express

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