My upbringing in a mixed scenario must have made me a less devout person afterall. For I don’t pray much, nor do i frequent temples a lot. More than half of my academic years were spent in Christian Missionary Convent School, which nearly had converted me into a Christian, I had started loving attending mass etc. Then in the later part of my childhood, after my dad’s retirement, we shifted to a pre-dominantly Marathi Locality, where, i re-converted to my original religion. But, not a staunch follower of it though. Not that I do not believe in god, or his omnipresent existence, but, i do not buy the argument that you require a medium to reach to him. Not atleast the present medium of Spiritual Gurus or Babas.
This cult of Spiritual Babas, healers, Gurus have mushroomed like anything of late. And it is not the case that they exists in Hindu religion only. Switch on the television in the morning and you will find their counterparts in Christians, the so called evangelists, the healers as they claim to be, cure the people by merely touching them !!! The blind gets vision, the leper gets cured, the crippled, by mere touch starts sprinting back to life !!! How can a rational person, with little bit of gray cells in his brain believe ? But unfortunately, these healers, babas and spiritual babas have a huge mass followings. Herd Mentality, is this one ? 24/7 Cable TV and Spiritual Channels have further accelerated the growth of these babas i presume.
There is no unanimity in the discourses of these so called spiritual leaders, one will tell you to leave behind the worldly pleasures and seek that unseen heavenly bliss, that ultimate reality, ironically, these very gurus don’t practice what they preach, they stay in palatial ashrams, lead five star lives. Why then preach what you yourself don’t practice, is this not the kind of duping gullible people who repose faith in you ? The Other will tell you the exactly opposite of what the first one told, the next one will claim that don’t pray to God, pray to me, for I am the re-incarnation of Lord. The Other will instill fear in you claiming that the world will end in near future and he is god-sent to be your savior. What a joke these people play.
One baba recently was caught recently a sex scandal, another was caught dealing in girls, one baba with huge mass following is accused in murder of two kids in black magic, other one is caught in misappropriation of funds. One baba who was a former CA in London came back and entered into this profitable venture, he was caught on camera helping people convert their black money. Back home in Maharashtra, this is a hilarious tale of a Baba from Konkan, who was a small time government employee and was removed from job because of some corrupt practices, announced that he is re-incarnation of a big saint and today he calls himself Shankaracharya with his followings in some millions.
If only these babas kept to their domain, it would not have mattered, but with increase in their following and their wealth, they start thinking that they are empowered to do anything. They advise not only on spirituality, they become, your de-facto doctor, they run their own pharmacies which deal in millions. One baba’s pharmacy generates income of whopping 11,000 crore/- . Recent happenings, show how the babas can exceed their limits and start indulging into politics, governance etc leading to disastrous results.
But how does this crop of babas grow? They initially cultivate their small fan following, spread rumors of their mystical powers, powers of curing and healing and then the rest is history. Once their following increases, the vote-bank conscious politicians of all hues and shades start cultivating these babas. Babas involving themselves in politics, acting as middlemen for politicians is no new a phenomena. In 70’s, 80’s and even today they continue to do so unabated. Reason why their fortunes are never checked, they are not held accountable for any taxes etc. Many top leaders, politicians are often seen sitting near the feet of these gurus, singing pangs about their virtues.
I often question myself how this level of fan following they acquire, the reason behind it. I recently got an answer in one research article on this growing crop of babas. The article said that the growing stress level, with loss of structured joint family system which helped to absorb the pressure have shown a trend among even the well educated ones to seek asylum with these people. The article further stated that India lacked well trained clinical psychologists and that people are not comfortable visiting them, for they believe that only mentally unstable persons visit them.
The uncertainties of modern life, is taking a great toll on all of us, and we are seeking refuse to these people, who exploit our plight in return of unseen and unheard of happiness, well being and eternal peace and of course a ticket to heaven, for these babas are the custodian of these tickets.
Thankfully, i have stayed away from these babas, till date, that is..