As much as I want to stay away from this sensitive topic, I am unable to. I know religion, faith, beliefs are personal to people and commenting about them on a public blog is like slinging mud at a crowd. But, then its really really hard to keep quiet 😉 .
Recently I heard this new story printed in a local religious magazine (read out to me 🙂 ). So, heres this guy who is working in Detroit, USA. Due to some reason, he loses his job there (understandable). Then, he goes on a job hunting spree. But as he is an immigrant from India, He cannot stay in US for long without a job. So, here is our hero desperately trying to land a job. But with little luck. And he is sending out mails with resumes to job consultants and other companies. One day a message pops up on the hero’s computer screen – A message supposedly from Sri Shirdhi Sai Baba telling our hero to read the life story of Shirdhi Sai Baba completely and he will be blessed when he does that. (Please! tell me something that i can believe in. A message fro GOD popping up as a message on your screen? e-God??? The article doesnt really mention whether it was a popup webpage or an email. My first guess is that this guy has to invest in serious antivirus software.) So, now our hero finds a copy of this book and sets about reading it. And viola, within a few days he gets an appointment letter (no interviews, no offer letter etc!).
So, our hero (now enlightened!!!) calls up his dad in chennai and asks him to do the same. So, now daddy starts reading the book and before he finishes it, Baba appears in his dream and tells him to build a Baba temple in chennai. Baba tells him that the land for this temple and funds would be made available to him through various means at the right times. Baba also tells him to distribute small statues (i think the size was mentioned as 1.5 feet tall) of Baba to public. So, this Daddy starts manfacturing these statues (made of Fibre) and selling it to devotees at Rs. 2500/-.
This whole story was printed in the magazine with the part about rs. 2500.00 left out. The article just said that statues are being distributed. So, some devotees went there only to find that these statues are not being “distributed”. In fact these are being “sold” at the address mentioned.
My take on this? This is one hell of a marketing ploy. He is exploiting people’s faith and devotion. And he is selling his product without any expenditure on marketing and sales. He is most unlikely to pay any tax as officially the whole setup is supposed to be a religious “distribution”! The whole story about Detroit, USA was put in to bring in the people settled abroad. Also, mentioning the message popping from the computer looks like a badly tailored story targetted to the IT population of today’s India, who dont care to spend money at all – whether for good or for bad!
Somebody, please tell me what can be done about this? When I talk like this, my society shuns me out as an Athiest. I am NOT and athiest. I believe in GOD. But, i definitely don’t believe in people who call themselves Gods. and I hate people who come out with such ploys to exploit the gullible common man who just wants something to believe in.
The Hindu religion is more a philosphy than religion. It allows a lot of freedom to the followers. Maybe thats why these living gods get accepted rather too fast by the public. When we have more than 1000 different gods (Siva, Vishnu, Brahma… and the list goes on and on and on) in Hindu religion, why are people running around to find more?
Accept all great men as saints, phillosophers. Accept them as Great Men. Why accept them as gods? And from what I have read, all these living gods have the same philosophy to preach – Love and peace. It’s not a radically new thinking or innovative concept. Aren’t these right out of a 4th grade (in Indian lingo- 4th standard) Moral Science text book? Arent these the same stuff everyone has been telling each other (but not following) since time unknown? Then suddenly, why do people need these new living gods to tell them what they already know?