Have Become a Shame
Editorial in The New Indian Express,12th August 2015
(The BIG question is whether there is much difference between God men in secular society and in various churches. In the Catholic church they exhibit their godliness through glittering royal dress and decorations in gold and silver they put on. Pope Francis rightly described them as Peacoking Bishops. These Godmen have a field day because there are any number of illiterate blind believers. This can be remedied only by teaching people how to listen to the voice of God in one’s own commanding good Conscience, not in any Godmen. james kottoor, Editor)
The hall of shame is acquiring bulge at breakneck speed with new self-styled godmen and godwomen crowding in, each more bizarre than the other. Only a week ago Odisha’s Sarathi Baba was God to lakhs, venerated as Lord Krishna incarnate. An expose on his alleged escapades with a young woman in a Hyderabad hotel set the empire crashing and he now finds himself in jail, charged with cheating and forgery. Mumbai-based Radhe Maa, also worshipped by astonishing numbers of people, has come under a cloud following images of her posing seductively in a mini skirt and videos showing her prancing around, hugging and kissing others. Sarathi Baba and Radhe Maa are just two faces among a long line of self-proclaimed godmen and godwomen who continue to take the gullible masses for a ride with trickery and base conduct.
Reverence for sadhus-sants, ascetics and yogis has been ingrained in Indian culture from the beginning. They were looked upon as enlightened beings who lead the ordinary mortal on the path of righteousness and spiritualism. The very definition of such terms stand turned on their head today with charlatans taking over with a web of deceit to trap people. Simple tricks such as producing vibhuti out of thin air or showing honey dripping from the feet as done by Sarathi Baba are enough to draw the worshippers who, surprisingly include ranking politicians and well known celebrities.
How can the people be so gullible as to surrender themselves to the guile of these tricksters in the hope of solving their problems and enjoying good fortune? Such is the pull of the godmen that even when they are arrested on charges of law-breaking, the followers attribute it to conspiracies. Plenty of details have been published and televised to show that Asaram Bapu was arrested on charges of rape, that Swami Nithyananda had several charges of immoral activities against him. Yet, Asaram has many followers and Swami Nithyananda is back to full-house pravachans. The worst of their misdeeds is that they bring disrepute to genuine spiritual leaders as well. There is a need to separate those who work selflessly for the uplift of the people and those who cheat for personal gain, a need to recognise that many of today’s godmen are in fact devilmen. Unless the good is separated from the bad and the citizenry made aware of the difference between the two, the values we consider precious may be threatened.