The Power of Religion and the unscrupulous Godmen
For the last two days, we have seen many new revelations being made by "Aaj Tak" Channel where a few well-known saints are being seen giving assurance either to hide an American woman who has committed a crime there or to suggest ways to get a Hydro-electric project being passed through suitable commissions to senior politicians and bureaucrats or to convert black money from Mauritius into white money. While these facts may look startling and mind-boggling to some, to me it hardly comes as a surprise. I am of the very firm belief that this is only a tip of the Ice-berg. To me the facts go much deeper. Many religious leaders of different religions all over the world have openly and surreptitiously involved themselves in so many such activities which would be called abominable, extremely dirty, filthy and horrendous. And yet these people have been able to retain their complete stronghold over the society.
If we want to understand why and how these so-called religious leaders are able to indulge in all kinds of extremely disgusting, illegal and immoral activities and yet are able to get through with these, we will have to look into the basic concept of religion. Religion (which is quite synonymous to Dharma in India) is a phenomenon that encompasses almost every aspect of life in such a deep-rooted manner that it is impossible for anyone to get away from its stranglehold. This hypnotic and all-pervasive concept has such an ethereal, subliminal and intricate web of multi-dimensional world of magical intransigence that it has the capability of swaying away all the senses and logic of a human being. Thus the same person who might be a most rational scientist or economist or historian or a sculptor becomes a completely irrational creature, subservient to religion in the most servile manner that it becomes impossible for him or her to redeem one’s thinking abilities.
The origin and continued presence of religion can fundamentally be linked to the complete uncertainty of human life. While we know about our birth and the fact that we will die someday, we don't really know what lies before or after these two events. We are not even clear about what is going to happen with our lives in the next few seconds. Thus a situation of complete helplessness. And as we very well know, helplessness brings fear and fear leads to desperate search for some kind of dependence. The forum and the phenomenon that we get here to relieve us of our fear and helplessness is religion.
When religion comes, it brings with itself the concept of God or some other powerful external entity. The two generally go side by side. And what exactly is God. Well, He is everything that we are not. Thus He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He is all pervasive, all powerful and know-all. He is limitless and extremely Kind. In short He is the one whom we must bow before and whom we must accept as our redeemer. Next to God come the Godmen and the instruments of God. Thus we have all kinds of temples and mosques and Churches and Synagogues where we go and show our complete devotion and dependence for all kinds of alms and goodies. In short, we now have such a solid and impenetrable system which one can't even think of hitting at.
Yet despite this much intrinsic strength, no religion takes things easily. They are rather quite cautious of any happenings around themselves and don't hesitate for a moment to take any precautionary and pro-active measures to nip any harmful attempt in the bud. We can have thousands of examples of highly stringent, cruel, harsh and extreme persecution measures being taken for the sake of religion. A religion will not hesitate for a second before crucifying Jesus Christ; it won't think twice before displacing Mohammad Saheb from Mecca to Medina, it will not wince before burning alive Jan Has. Even today religion has not lost any of its fervour and deep intensity, thus we can find so many Taslima Nasreens around us whom religion is not going to tolerate, because they have committed what religion considers as the greatest crime-heresy or the basic refusal of the religious thoughts.
In sum I can say that when religion enjoys so much power and has such complete hold over a person's psyche, then there are bound to be people who are going to misuse it to their own personal gains. There have to a sizeable section of such people who will exploit this complete devotion and surrender of the followers to make all kinds of material gains. We are in police department and are often given a few powers when on duty. These powers are of much limited nature compared to the power being enjoyed by religion. But quite often we hear complaints of policemen misusing their positions and powers for self-gains in illegal and illegitimate manners. Think of the misuse that can be done by people who are connected to as strong power as that of religion, which extends to each and every realm of life.
Thus, what has been done by "Aaj Tak" is certainly praise worthy and is a step in the right direction. At the same time, I would personally request all the other News channels and print media to follow up this campaign so that all such "false", "crooked", "maligned" and "seedy" Godmen get properly exposed before the people. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is that such a phenomenon is not limited only to Hindu religion and it would be better if these media persons extend it to all possible quarters. This would be a true service to Humanity.
Currently at IIM Lucknow