Friday, 5 March 2010

Swamis - Famed first, framed later... How true is this?

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Godmen come and Godmen go, for we are all mere mortals - True faith should be placed towards God alone. Godmen are mere facilitators. They hold a map pointing you towards your goal. If you don't like one, go to the other. Even if you don't go to a Godman, you will ultimately still reach your goal. All roads ultimately lead to Sri Krishna"

The recent scandal of Swami Nithyananda resulted in quite a lot of hullaballoo. For those who are unaware of what we are talking about, a famous Swami was allegedly caught on video whilst performing certain sleazy acts. The Swami and his loyal aides say that the video is fake, and that his image was morphed. Should we really believe whatever is shown at its face value? Let's just see how this works.

Let's analyse this case by case, by making certain assumptions. One case would be the obvious one, where the Swami on tape is the real Swami and he was in reality performing sleazy acts. This is the simplest case to analyse, and everyone can do this. So, let's not proceed much into this. If this is true, then we can safely call him a charlatan.

Another case that can be taken, is where one of his jealous inmates, as was claimed, actually took his image and morphed it. Now, this is also possible - To be honest, this is not at all difficult nowadays. Even ordinary college students are quite good when it comes to taking photos and morphing them. Video morphing is just an extension of it. There are very powerful software applications such as Photoshop or Gimp available to do photo modifications which yield such excellent results, that the image that results after the morph looks absolutely real. You might have even seen images (usually email forwards) where a dog's head is put on a fish, or a bear's body having a cat's face. Why not extend the same thing here?

Now the next logical question that will arise is why? There are two reasons - One could be to get back at him at a personal level, that is, some jealous inmate couldn't stand him becoming famous, and thus decided to besmirch his reputation. The other, could be far more ulterior and far more dangerous than what seems at the outset - This could be done by evangelists through someone (possibly the guy who wanted to get back at him)

The second one may seem far fetched, but look at it this way. As it is, a large number of educated people hate Swamis and Babas. Let me call these people literate rather than educated for their knowledge is not truly high. A lot of people don't understand the depth of religion and simply shout out "God doesn't exist". But we shall reserve the discussion of theism for some other day. Why these people hate Swamis is because of the large number of people who cheat others posing as Swamis - In fact, it's only a matter of days before the word "Dhongi Baba" features in a dictionary. As a result of this, not many of the city-wallahs go to Swamis for anything. Sanyasis are simply seen as beggars who are lazy, don't want to do work and are seeking easy money. How true is this statistically is different (and unknown to me), but most people simply don't trust them.

And don't say this is not true. This is also the same reason why a lot of people don't donate money to people who come asking for relief collection. This is because many people simply siphon off the money and it never reaches the needy. The result of this, in the religious aspect, is a steady decline in the number of Hindu believers in cities. And to make matters worse, they call other believers as superstitious. They don't understand that their own knowledge is in reality incomplete. And since they don't understand it, they simply reject it. This is what an evangelist would ideally want. An evangelist wants you to reject your faith - And they don't want people to get organised and united. Division is the best way to break anything - We've learnt this from the "Old man, stupid sons and bundle of sticks" story as well as from the "Divide and Rule" policy of the British. As it is, Hindus are being called fragmented instead of diverse. So this would be the ideal situation for them. And subsequently when you are in a desperate situation, and you have already rejected you faith as false, they will swoop in and convert you.

People should have faith in God - If people have more faith in man than in God, then sooner or later, it will get faded away. There is a simple reason for this. God will never actually cheat you (Atheists will quickly agree with me saying - That which does not exist cannot cheat... So whether or not God exists, I am still right :P) - Whenever you feel cheated, it has to be because of your own actions (Karmic theory). You can alternately have a lot of faith in people who are dead. They can never cheat you either. Most people I know have more faith in Shirdi Sai Baba than the current one. Well, I don't dispute the religious abilities of either, but the former can never cheat you. And thus comes Swami Gulagulaananda's advice - Godmen come and Godmen go, for we are all mere mortals - True faith should be placed towards God alone. Godmen are mere facilitators. They hold a map pointing you towards your goal. If you don't like one, go to the other. Even if you don't go to a Godman, you will ultimately still reach your goal. All roads ultimately lead to Sri Krishna

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