Well, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s deplorable.
We all haven’t heard or seen Gods.
And we have more than enough and valid reasons to believe that no one, including those who claim, has heard or seen any God – ‘any’ God because we are routinely told there are many Gods – because we are also told that all Gods lead to the One – everyone, in fact, most, cannot and never reach to that spiritual high to realize the ‘oneness’ of this ‘many identities’.
Anyway, that is not the concern here. The concern is – we all haven’t seen or heard Gods and yet, we, so shamelessly, keep on claiming Him (or Her) or claim in His name (or Her name).
It is saddening and maddening to hear the divisive rhetoric on ‘Sai Baba with Hindu Deities in temples’ these days that has gone well beyond the words to mobilize the religious factions, followers and fanatics on the ground – and the line between a follower and a fanatic is in imminent danger of losing its relevance.
On one side is a godman, claiming to represent the religious tradition of Shankaracharya, central to the Hinduism of the day in many aspects – who, in spite of his advancing age, has not been able to collect the spiritual essence of Hinduism (or of Vedas or of Shankaracharya’s teachings, who was just 12, when he did it all) and is targeting a saint, who has come to be treated as a God by his followers – a saint who never claimed he was a God – an ascetic who spent his life for others – a Messenger who never wanted to be worshipped as a God, as the literature says – and all the big temples and the growing religious infrastructure in his name are not serving his cause, are not spreading the message of his life – his Godliness was in his simplicity and access to all.
It is sad that Swaroopanand Saraswati’s rants on ‘unGodliness’ and religion of Sai Baba have found takers from both the spectrums – the believers of the Sai Baba tradition speaking against and mounting their protests – and the people ready to take Swaroopanand Saraswati’s agenda ahead.
Being religious and following a God is a private affair but the fear psychosis on God’s ways to control or run the lives of His followers, as proposed and spread by the men (the cults of godmen, the tradition of religious opinion leaders) has distorted and is distorting the real purpose of religion and God – making man a better man – making society a social amalgamation – making humanity more humane – making civilization more civilized.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – http://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/