Well, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s
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
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
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.