I don’t understand unquestioning faith.

How do we get so awed with religion/faith/belief/spiritualism/custom/tradition/culture/god-men/etc that we stop using our own minds?

I was curious about Art of Living. I had liked most of the things Shri Shri Ravi Shankar recommended – kindness, global brotherhood, respect for all religions, a good deed every day. But  I remember feeling disappointed when I heard – “Leave your doubts outside that door. Come with total faith. Do not question. Just believe.” Isn’t that blind faith or ‘andha-vishvaas‘?

Was it faith that made someone agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement like this?

Volunteer understands that these activities (tantra sex) could be physically and mentally challenging, and may involve nudity, access to visual images, graphic visual depictions, and descriptions of nudity and sexual activity, close physical proximity and intimacy, verbal and written descriptions and audio sounds of a sexually oriented, and erotic nature, etc.

God-men helping women conceive is nothing new. ‘Bhaskar Bharti‘ on Sony TV touched upon this. ‘Sister of my heart’ by Chitra D Banerjee shows it works. In ‘I take this woman‘ by Rajinder Singh Bedi, Sarupo who was a god-men’s disciple, says she had no choice but to conceive or her husband would have brought another wife. (‘Ek Chadar Maili see‘ is based on this book).

Did the male and female disciples of celibate Nityananda never consider the possibility of his being err… of his not being celibate?

Nithyananda Swami was reportedly running a sex racket from his ashrams… “He lured these women, most of who were divorcees, under the guise of tantra and promised that they would inherit his divine powers if they had a physical relationship with him,”

“…he so impressed his devotees with his ‘powers’ that many of them even donated their property and wealth to him.”

Such gurus and swamis are many. I would suspect foul play if someone accepts money, or lives in luxury without working to pay for it.

My mom’s driver says large portions of land were seized by his disciples, for a guruji, who started a kitchen where the ghee for pooris never finished. I asked him why doesn’t he make sure nobody in those villages ever goes hungry. He thought I was being a non-believer. (And that’s blasphemy.)

An educated,  wealthy family I know also lives their life according to their special guruji. They spend many hours every morning in a puja room, and were delighted to find their neighbors believed in the same guru.

Another spiritual organization fed poor children, I had volunteered with a believing friend. Their focus was a video film that was being made, the children were treated with an almost disdain.

Why do some of us need gurus?

I can understand respect for someone whose ideals one respects. I can’t understand why we feel the need to worship, belief, obey, never hear a word against…

Nityanand says, “In a way this defamation has taught me lessons about society… It has made me more responsible. Now, I have decided not to experiment with anything that is not accepted by society widely…”

He compares himself with other ‘masters’.

“This has happened to all masters, even to Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. When the masters are in the body, they have to go through this. It is inevitable.”

I am sure there are those who believe when he says, “When that video was taken, I was in a state of trance. My personal life has been misrepresented and my privacy has been invaded.” [Videos available on You Tube]

Modi said  Nityananda ‘was committed to the traditions of Adi Shankaracharya and the principles of advaita’. He ‘also accepted a donation from Nithyananda’s organisation for the state’s Kanya Kelavani programme.

Either Modi couldn’t see through this guy, or he saw through him.

Now this god-man has a case against him ‘for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.’

Related Posts:

How do women benefit from religion?

Should religion be seen as a personal matter?

Religion Makes Us Kind and Good!?

Narayana! Narayana!

Some doors are different… they are closed for fifty percent of the population.

63 thoughts on “I don’t understand unquestioning faith.

  1. I think there’s something very appealing about giving yourself over to another entity. I mean if you do that, you’re not responsible for your actions anymore and no guilt can be attached to you.

    I think that’s what blinding faith is about. It’s about not wanting to take responsibility for yourself and your own life. Everything becomes dependent on the actions or sanctions of the object of faith.

    Looking back at history, I think it’s quite obvious that we humans have an inbuilt tendency to believe in god, worship other entities and have blind faith. If this wasn’t so, then religion would never have survived the onslaught of science.

    For example, the christians believe (and I was born as a christian) that the day of judgment is around the corner. From what I’ve read, every single generation of christians for the past 2000 years has believed that special event will take place during their own lifetime. Even now, christians interpret disastrous events as heralding the day of judgment. If the power of faith wasn’t inbuilt in us, humans would never have allowed themselves to be deceived for so long.

    I think that some people’s brains are specifically designed to “reject” the notion of god. Those are the atheists. Also, our brain treats beliefs as facts.

    Given all this, I’m sure that religion and blind faith have an evolutionary component that makes our brain receptive to this sort of junk…

    Me – I had all this in my mind while writing this post… specially the bit about some people wanting to give themselves to another entity. It’s difficult to understand how we won’t use our own judgment. And this isn’t the first case of this kind!

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    • Agree totally that it’s all about not taking responsibility, but about ascribing everything done to religion and God. I too can’t stand the word Godmen…God is in all of us…and anyone who tries to elevate himself/herself above others should be looked at with suspicion.

      I really like the theme of your post…that we must question and each follow our own path and principles, not what these fakes tell us, nor what outdated scriptures tell us.

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    • Agree with Bhagawad. I think our human mind is predominantly programmed to have faith in certain things or call it a degree of impulsive behaviour over acceptance of some notion. Religion falls under this radar. So some may be designed to have faith in religion while some may be deisgned to have faith in no religion. And when you have complete faith in something it removes the rational analysis of that subject or rather it restricts the analysis of the subject in an unidirectional way.

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    • I agree with Bhagawad that there is “something very appealing about giving yourself over to another entity”. But

      I will not agree that some ppl’s brain are programmed to become religious or atheist. The programming takes place in our family and society. A child living in a family where children are not allowed to ask questions or are given the ‘solace’ of blind belief by the parents tend to grow up as religious with blind faith.

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  2. I really think that false claims of any sort should not be clubbed with religion or faith. That makes such an unholy mess. Why cant sex and money be kept seperate from religion. I know I am not making much sense but …..

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  3. Recently I came across a episode of “Crime Petrol” where the so called Swami was abusing the lady and her two young daughters. Since it was dramatic conversion of real story; I don’t know how true it was. But it really shook me. How can people give in blindly. When you know someone’s demands are unreasonable; you need to question them No ? Same holds true in case of Swami Nityananda.

    I have been to AOL and I like the ways they teach there to lead life. I have seen many benefiting from them. ( including me ). That does not mean I endorse everything that carries AOL label.

    Me – I admire that BlueMist!!

    I understand that sometimes when troubles become unbearable people seek out some way to get out of it. Like someone I know whose life has become standstill after particular illness. So the stage has reached where the person wants a single ray of hope that can make life normal. But this does not mean not questioning the hidden agendas.

    Me – I have seen this too, and it’s heart breaking – I feel it’s better to go to a psychiatric, because no matter how much faith we have in a psychiatric, we know he/she is just a trained person, someone who is intelligent, reliable,respected, loved etc… but very unlikely to become god.
    Ultimately it is up to us; what we want to choose from. The result and consequences are also part of our choice.

    Very well written IHM.🙂

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  4. Faith is when you stop thinking… when you don’t want to think sensibly and logically.

    It’s horrible to see that such (or for that matter any kind of) godmen thrive in India.

    Me – Yes Haresh, it’s really horrible! Don’t people read the newspaper? !😐 These things are common, and still we don’t understand..

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  5. Exactly..

    Teachings/sayings of all great men are quite inspiring, but that’s all. What is required is how we make use of these teachings in our life. Instead people place God-men on high altars and start worshipping them.

    Where then is the absolute faith in God.? Intense/Absolute faith in God means, one should have such faith that he be ready to jump off a multi storyed building, knowing very well he will die, but believing God will save him. DO WE HAVE THIS? If Yes, then do we need any religious teachers at all..?
    Pains to see intelligent, learned people believing and worshipping these God men. But this is also fake..! its not the teachings we are interested, but the personal lives of all these so called gurus..!! we are so bothered who does what.. SO WHERE IS THE FAITH..? When people are generally successful in life, they attribute this to self will.. its the ‘I’ who does it. again if the same person fails at any point in life, blames it on the destiny, questions God, why did it happen to him? He/She is not willing to say its the ‘I’ who is responsible..! SO WHERE IS THE FAITH? WILL IT COME BY FOLLOWING / WORSHIPING THESE GURUS?

    Me- Nandini I also feel that if we really believed in God we’d never believe in god-men😐

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  6. I was eqaully disturbed when i picked up the morning paper and thoguht would blog… but then decided againt it because somewhere i felt equally responsible for all this. Yes you read it correctly, I hold myself responsible along with each and every person who calls himself/herself a lawyer! Read the TOI today to believe that Nityananda got women to sign contracts with him agreeing sexual activities!!! I was repulsed… shows how little we have knowledge about enforcement of such illegal contracts and also how people like me misuse their acumen to frame such deals. Power, money yes I agree they allure us all – but then again to what level such that we completely abhore everything that it humane?
    I agree with Bhagwad when he says that there’s “something appealing about giving yourself over to another entity” – it has always been – right from Kunti’s giving over her womb to the Sun God for dealing with her barren womb or the widows who are still sent to Vrindavan to appease Gods (read flesh thirsty dogs!)
    But then again in this world of exposure today why does everything need to be bent to suit the Satan more than the good. why can’t knowledge and spirituality be used in a positive way to really cleanse lives rather than being just mere preaches!

    A man sitting at the Patanjali Asharam is known to bend his body using yoga – marvelous – but the same man planning to run a political campaign – seriously it should raise eyebrows and not invite more donations!

    I still believe in Gandhi when he says hate the sin more than the sinner – but somewhere I also agree with Krishna that the accomplices to the crime are equally to be abhored and hence i feel dejected today!
    Am sorry if I sounded to harsh, but am really disturbed!🙂

    Me – If it wasn’t a contract, they would have found something else Sagarika, those who believe will do anything… Yes it is very disheartening but the only accomplice is the system that forgives and forgets such things. We don’t learn from example!😦

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    • True IHM … that “those who believe will do anything” but then again that is based on their presumption that their target audience doesn’t know the truth… and it is we who are professionals who owe a duty to the society to make people aware… when

      I took an oath it said “for the justice of whoever I meet”

      … when a doctor takes his/her oath its for the “betterment on mankind” yet all that betters is our bank account and yes donations also – two criminals like these for they make us feel we are connecting to God big time to attain Moksha!!!

      Me – You take an oath like that?!! That’s an amazing oath!!
      “for the justice of whoever I meet” !

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      • Yes I did and so did the lawyer who stood by the “God Man” as he made women sign those agreements! *Sigh* Anyways I owe a big thanks to you for inspiring my own blog post today – THANK YOU!🙂

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    • Nicely put.

      Sagarika,

      …Kunti’s giving over her womb to the Sun God for dealing with her barren womb… This story should stop here with us educated women. Kunti was asked by her father to appease Durvasa who was known for his raging temper and cursing people left and right. Later she slept with two other so called sages until she got marriged to her impotent husband.

      Me – Desi Girl, I am not aware of this… could you provide some links to substantiate this?

      Yesterday, in a conversation with some Sikh gentlemen the topic came if humans are responsible for their actions then what is the role of the God? One of them gave an example from the life of hazrat Muhammad. A man approached Hazrat with the same question and was adament to learn the role of God in human life. Harzat asked him to stand on one leg. The man chose to stand on his left leg. Then Hazrat asked him to lift his other leg too. The man was taken aback, he said that is not possible, if I am to lift the left leg I have to bring down the right leg down or I’ll fall.

      Hazrat said that is your answer, you are responsible for your actions but God’s job was to give you the wisdom to differentiate between good choices and the bad ones.

      The externality of God and lack of options to question and break away from stratified social structure- where age, gender, caste, class etc. are all enmeshed people are overwhelmed with oppression and burden to carry forward this dysfunctional system. They look for answers from others and shrugg their personal responsibility in the name of faith.

      My friends at the AOL are just blinded with the faith in Sri Sri. Sometimes, I wonder if AOL gives them socially acceptable respite from their unhappy marriages or troubles with in-laws or they are externalizing the respect they want to give to their spouses. Two of them even swear on AOL for saving their marriages.

      Peace,

      Desi Girl

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  7. It’s amazing what people will do for sex and money: some harass, some stalk, some blackmail, some bully. Some become gurujis.

    I’d say it’s the stupidity, ignorance and brainless thought of the people who go to them that makes these human-gods thrive and multiply.

    If they are gods, then why don’t they preach sense? Instead of having intercourse with a female devotee to ‘gift’ her a child, why not talk to her about artificial insemination? Or surrogate motherhood? Or adoption!? Am sure a blinded-by-faith devotee would listen, and agree, if these so-called Gods tell them to. But Na! “They” will “gift” it.

    In this day and age, if people can’t use their brains to figure out that God doesn’t come down anymore like Jesus, Krishna and Rama all did! I am in NO WAY supporting these psychotic swamijis, but i do feel there won’t be fire without fuel!

    God is in all us: in how we behave, how we treat others, how we spread love and contain hate, how we live…

    Me – It almost seems like we are looking for someone to agree to become our god, I am sure it’s a very tempting situation for any con man😐

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  8. Part of this is because of our defective education. We are literate but not educated. We learn Science but we do not “believe” in it.

    Yet, we are perfectly willing to believe a Godman when he says he will give us mysterious powers.

    I have seen extremely well educated people espousing illogical, irrational belief in gurus, deities, protective tokens, zodiacal gemstones and what have you. Often this is in the name of our “Hindu culture and religion”.

    If we understand that religion is the realm of faith and belief in God and not concerned with corporeal powers and events, we will be alert to the hoaxes that people attempt to perpetrate on us.

    Me – I agree!! And we do seem to think of god as someone who can perform miracles! But then our mythology also stresses on gods performing miracles…

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  9. I don’t understand unquestioning faith either…What scares me is religion’s terrifying capacity for blind faith…But IHM, look at it this way, if religion had not been challenged by reason and free-thinking, we would still be languishing in the dark ages…Eeks!

    I agree with Bhagwad – blind faith is about not taking responsibility for your actions…

    “Faith means not wanting to know what is true.” – Nietzsche

    Me – I agree with Bhagwad that too Sraboney. He expressed it brilliantly!

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  10. In my opinion, I feel that ppl are being misled and misguided by religion and faith. Hinduism propagates the presence of many Gods. But there is nobody who claim to have seen them, against the Jesus or Mohammad or Buddha or Mahaveera for other religions. So, these Hindus, in the desperate need to see a God, start blindly following ppl, who tell that they have powers.

    Aren’t men and women who are born into this earth, should keep the life going on, by reproducing ???? Isn’t this been told to all the Hindus in their Vedas ???? Yes it is.

    Then why does someone come to preach celibacy ???? And why are ppl trying to go against nature ????

    And the general public believe stupidly in the powers of these ppl (I hate to call them Godmen) !!!

    When all through childhood, Science teaches you to question anything and everything.
    When we get married, we lose the power to question our husband and our in-laws.
    And when we go to ppl for believing in religion or to put our faith somewhere, they ask us to stop the trait of questioning !!!

    Alas !!! Its a tough time around here !!!

    Me – Loved those lines Uma!! If we could teach every child to question, and always use their own minds – this won’t happen.

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  11. I was also thinking on this curious case of faith that drives us without allowing any space for rationality. And regarding AOL, I don’t know so can’t comment on it. Still will say : Even Swami Vivekanand did not accept Ramakrishna as his guru initially and revolted against his ideas. And here we are made believers first…

    Me – Yayaver I feel some of us are looking for someone to guide us… some of us just don’t want to use our own minds😦

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  12. Hurting Hindu sentiments? This creep has hurt humanity itself! Jail him along with Kasab. Atleast the latter had a mission and risked his life for it. The former is just a creep who deserves to be hanged in public!!!

    Me – I think he has been arrested, I hope he is tried and reported by the media, well enough to discourage others like him.

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    • Pal, I believe the people who believed in him to the extent of not being able to differentiate between truth and falsity or real and perceived or fact and fantasy are in my view equally culpable. It is like being partners-in-crime. Though we may know they were innocent and gullible, we should also understand that it is important to make an example of what happens when people believe blindly and totally turn their backs on reason and sanity.

      IHM, reading this post reminded me of that super-cute and very sensible ad that used to show recently. A little kid used to ask plenty of questions to his parents, and his mother reprimanded him for the same. The boy turned to his mother and asked, “Mumma, if we don’t ask questions, how will we learn?” How I wish they show much more of this ad than the ones which claim to make you ‘white’ (eeks!).

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      • To an extent, that is true, Surbhi.

        Which makes me wonder – WHY DO PEOPLE GO TO GODMEN?

        I guess it is because they are emotionally disturbed or upset or confused. In that case they are not in their proper frame of mind, or they are mentally a little ill. Not in the wrong sense, ofcourse.

        So, in such a case, it seems like fake Godmen like these are taking undue advantage of a woman who in her normal state of mind, would NOT consent to having sex with him. And, if they are getting an underwriting SIGNED by the ‘disciples’, then doesn’t it mean, that they KNOW they are doing something that is NOT correct? I mean, if he were to just give, say Prasad to a devotee, he will not take an ‘agreement’ or ‘consent’ from her right? He was evidently giving and taking much much more.

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  13. Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
    -Lord Buddha

    Lets make this our guiding principle.

    Me – Those are amazing inspiring words!

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  14. Lovely post, IHM. I attended the Art of Living course about 15 year ago, and while what they taught was indeed beautiful, I could see, even at that young age, that there were sexual undercurrents between the Guruji and a couple of female disciples. And the Guruji’s wife sat through all this, no reaction at all. I’m not trying to defame the AOL course here, but I just feel that by asking people to ‘NOT QUESTION’, what are they trying to achieve at all?

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      • That is right. This was the ‘local’ guruji, and he was a former drunkard and illiterate guy, who just happened to get into this. He met his wife also through the course. And I had a friend in the same batch, who was so in love with him, that she agreed to have sex with him. And this is a TRUE story. I remember, once there was some cake-cutting, and he asked us to feed him, and then to LICK THE CAKE OFF HIS CHIN!!! I pointedly refused, but there were other girls/women who DID IT GLADLY. And his wife watched through all this.

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  15. I don’t believe in God-men, their so-called rituals, powers etc etc
    All done for money, power and free “pleasures”, if you ask me!!
    most of these so-called God-men have way too much money and politica-power!!!

    Their wiring in their heads must be wrong – all those people who believe such things!!! (Me thinks)

    Me – Why doesn’t any follower notice that their favorite guru has too much money?

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  16. How can some men get the courage to stand up and say I am a Godman and you have to believe in me blindly. The worst part is that there are people ready to follow such dhongis. I will take with a pinch of sait all claims of being god by ordinary human beings. We are all equal in the eyes of god so why should some loser be more godly than me? Also, if the guy is making you sign documents that have stuff like the one Nityananda made people sign, why would you even go back to him? You dislike it when you are cat-called on the roads, but you are ok with this man in orange abusing you? All in the name of god? Human beings do weird stuff in the name of god.

    Me – I also just don’t get it… 😦
    I think maybe somebody is really lonely/depressed and needs a counselor/shrink/friend and this person is shown as the only one who can help? This baffles me.

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  17. Talk of Godmen really increases my BP. Without naming names, there is a certain ‘mutt’ down south that many south indians revere. I dont. Ever since its current head said that the Vedas should not be revealed to women, I’ve turned totally against it – not that I ever had belief. Seems the chanting of the vedic mantras will cause some vibrations that will adversely affect the woman’s womb. Have you ever heard such bull crap?

    Me – A statement like this must have convinced many pious Hindus who think a woman is no more than her womb, and then she must bear many sons.

    A few years ago, the current head suddenly went missing for a good number of days and finally turned up in eastern India with no word of explanation about his disappearance. And was jailed a few years back and asked for (was probably given) a separate cook because he could not eat food cooked for the other jail inmates. Sub text to be read: the caste factor. Belonging to a mutt that owes its origins to a medieval reform movement and practicing untouchability!!!

    Me – And then we talk about how we have no untouchability any more!

    And all this mumbo-jumbo about surrender does not appeal to me at all. God did not send us into this earth to be some sort of vessel into which humanity, destiny, call-it-what-you-will could chuck stuff and you lapped it up like some docile lamb. God expects us to seize the opportunity that our birth has given us and leave a positive mark in this world. So there!

    Me – I agree… Well said Deepa!!

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  18. Even I don’t understand this unquestioning faith in Godmen errr…conmen! I am amazed that despite so many scandals involving these Godmen coming to light, every now and then, still sooo many people have unshakable faith in them!!😦

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  19. Hi,

    I personally feel we have no necessity in knowing the guruji’s personal life … whether a guru is celibate or not shouldn’t be of much concern so long as his effect on others is considered. By effect, I mean the good deeds he does/the bad he does to others.

    Of course, there are a lot of ‘fake’ swamis, but that is not to say that all are bad … Even some of the fake swamis probably bring relief to troubled minds … It is when they bring about suffering/hurt due to their ignorance or self interest that it is crucial to delve into their lives.

    And about blind faith: I feel those who are ready to believe blindly are doing it because they need some kind of a security somewhere.

    I blindly believe in God too … and I know why I do so ….. but of course, I’ll never again be able to blindly believe a human. Likewise, those who do believe in God-men etc probably have their own reasons too …

    People wrote articles on the ‘Aghora’ sages (saw some articles and videos on BBC an year ago) .. they were claimed to be frightening etc etc … if they are going about hurting women and others, then it is serious .. but otherwise, if they are just following their belief, I feel no-one should have a right to interfere. They might walk around naked, but except tor on certain occasions, they don’t expose themselves to public (I took this example for one which illustrates how they too keep their limits and try to refrain from hurting public sentiments).

    So, I feel rather than intruding in someone’s personal life, it is better to focus on their deeds towards society.

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  20. I had done the ‘Sudarshana Kriya’ course of Sri Sri Ravishankar. It was a 5 day course. In our class the Guruji started mentioning Sri Sri’s name from the 3rd day. On the last day, they showed some videos which were taken in a private house in California. During the question answer session when people asked a question, Sri Sri gave a bigg smile and repeated the question…over! It was funny, how people followed him blindly and most of them were highly educated and were working in reputed firms! They attended the 2nd and 3rd course too! But I liked the breathing exercise of Sri Sri, that is good, if we get it from a good Guru.

    I don’t know much about Nithyananda. My sister who is in Bangalore used to say that his speeches are very good and she wanted to visit his ashram once, thank god, she didn’t do it! His speeches were published in a Tamil weekly, ‘Kumudam’ which was quite popular.

    One more ‘guru’ of Tamilnadu – Kalki Bhagwan is running an ashram, which looks like ‘white house’ where the inmates are in a trance – all are youngsters. When I saw the videos in TV, I was shocked. They showed the faces of the youngsters, some of whom were software engineers, they said. How will the parents and other people who know these youngsters will react?

    All these days I was thinking that people who have got problems turned to the ‘godmen’, just to forget their pains. Normal sensible people who are atheists, just do poojas or just pray to god in their homes.

    People like Nithyananda and Kalki should be paraded naked and caned in public like they do in Arab countries.

    ‘Why do some of us need gurus?

    I can understand respect for someone whose ideals one respects. I can’t understand why we feel the need to worship, belief, obey, never hear a word against…’ I too wonder why we need these types of Gurus, IHM.

    Very well analysed post, IHM. Some of the comments also are very thought provoking, here.

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  21. Any mediator between God and us is not at all necessary according to me.We don’t need mediators to talk to our Mother! then why do we need these guruji’s to reach God? “Seek me and you shall find” is what God has said.I hope this incident is a warning to all the other criminals disguised as God-men. I only believe in this “Hamsa Soham Soham Hamsaha” A big applause to you IHM for writing on such a sensitive topic…this is my first time to your blog&i thoroughly enjoyed it!

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  22. I would like to believe i am spiritual. But I am not religious, I am not a bhajan-singing, temple-visiting, prayer-offering Hindu. When i criticise fascism in the name of religion or these ridiculous god men/self-proclaimed leaders , people call me an atheist (like it’s an abuse). I am not an atheist either.
    I want to talk about AoL alone, or I’d not leave this comment space.

    “Leave your doubts outside that door. Come with total faith. Do not question. Just believe.”

    Well, I know the followers go out of that door with the same blind faith. So many of my friends have become distant and detached from their families. The movement demands it. If both husband and wife are in it together, it’s not an issue. But when only one of them is involved, 9 out of 10 times, a difference in outlook ends up becoming an unbridgeable rift.
    This Sri Sri person (how many Sris does he have at the moment?) who is talking about detachment and faith, has made a speech against MFH (and so the Muslim agenda) that is obviously meant to incite people.

    Now if you are talking belief, you are talking about security in what you believe, right?. So why are you threatened by perceived insults?
    There should be a law that religion cannot leave a person’s home. That should solve a lot of problems.

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  23. To be fair to the believers, I think it usually starts as a crutch. A lot of people turn to religion , godmen and so on because they need some kind of emotional support. Usually these people are more gullible than others. And of course do an unquestioning reverence for religion is socially ingrained in us- how many times do even he most skeptical keep quiet in the face of ridiculous religious sentiments or rituals.We mostly do so to keep peace ( and possibly also to distinguish ourselves from the virulent followers of some religions who try to take down any other faith). So is it really surprising that when some godman or representative of a god ( am talking priests and so on) makes demands which may be excessive. We try to keep away from controversy by not questioning their claims too closely, after all there is just that chance that they may have access to a higher power( or so we are trained to think). Otherwise,

    if you consider the kind of abuse, mental, emotional, sexual that has been done in the name of religion( and the Roman Catholic Church is not the only body at fault here) or the ways in which these religious entities have exploited people for generations without much outcry( or even if that takes place, it is usually swept under the carpet). Had any other organization- say a government or a business done these tings, it would have been obliterated a long time ago. And skeptical thinking is not really encouraged much- helpign perpetuate the cycle of sheep that can be led by canny masters.

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  24. I think Bhagwad pretty much covered the comment I was going to leave. There is something I do want to add to it. Bhagwad mentioned about the history of religion:

    “Looking back at history, I think it’s quite obvious that we humans have an inbuilt tendency to believe in god, worship other entities and have blind faith. If this wasn’t so, then religion would never have survived the onslaught of science.”

    If you look at the other side of this equation, that is, the existence of various religious institutions since the beginning of time, you will discover another side of story.

    We the people, don’t want to take responsibility for our action and these religious institutions always encouraged that notion.

    What did they gain from it, you ask? Power. Bigger the institution, more the power lust. Ever since the beginning of dawn when we first discovered religion, priests or so called protector of religion have been the most powerful class in the society. In any society. And this is the class in the society that resists the change in society the most whether it was abolishment of Sati in India, or change in the notion that Earth is flat, in the west. How did it really affect any one? Or how does any change in the society we are working for now, affect them? It affects them because it shows the lack of faith. It questions what they have been teaching. Even if it is as minor as whether Earth is flat or round, it’s unacceptable.

    There are political parties in all the countries in the world (the so called conservatives) who exploit the notion of religion to get themselves in power as these are the biggest source of power one can tap into.

    If you think about it, the concept of God or any belief is one’s personal matter. Prayers are supposed to be your monologue with the almighty. Then why do we have so many religious institutions in the world telling us who to pray and how to pray? What give them a right to interfere in a personal conversation? Who are they to teach right or wrong? Aren’t they human just like us, with all the fallacies of a human? Yet religious institutions exist and do exactly the same: tell us how to lead our life. And in return they gain power over the masses.

    Wish our society open its eyes and see them for what they are…

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  25. this was on my blog a long time ago.. Ur post reminded me of this:

    What is it in you that brings you to a spiritual teacher in the first place? It’s not the spirit in you, since that is already enlightened, and has no need to seek. No, it is the ego in you that brings you to a teacher. – Ken Wilber

    My Take: What is it in you that makes you a spiritual teacher? perhaps, it is the ego again.

    And if the ego of the learner seeks the ego of the teacher, where is the spirit in that?

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  26. Pingback: Because I say so? « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  27. easy way out ,
    about tantra sex, its a part of ancient India just like Vedas , and they got very detailed procedures regarding that tantra worship and it involves sex.

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  28. In this case more than the Nithyananda, I will blame the people for keeping their faith in somebody who claims himself as god… what’s with these people roaming without their brain.. if they don’t have a common sense of there can be no one who can do magic and claim themselves as god….

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  29. Good post. Spirituality in contemporary India is a product on sale. There are several players competing for a potentially large market. I wish it is declared as an Industry. New players should be encouraged by giving some tax breaks to prevent monopolizing by a few Ramdevs,Sri Sris,Ammas or Sais. Good thing if it is recognized as an Industry is that all laws will be applicable to this business also.Then we may be able to stop fraudulent practices and tax evasions.

    As Karl Marx said religion is the Heart of a heartless society,the spirit of the spiritless situation and the Opium of the masses.
    Religion is a set of ideas, and ideas are expressions of material realities. Religion is a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself.
    The problem lies in the obvious fact that an opiate merely helps you forget pain and suffering. This may be fine up to a point, but only as long as you are also trying to solve the underlying problems causing the pain. Similarly, religion does not fix the underlying causes of people’s pain and suffering — instead, it helps them forget why they are suffering and gets them to look forward to an imaginary future when the pain will cease. [From About.com]

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  30. Good post. Any human being with common sense can figure out how ot lead his life and its consequences. Nature and life are filled with simple truths that any reasonable person can undertsand.

    I have observed that people use god men, gurus and religion to make life easy for them. They can justify any isnane activity of theirs by saying this guru already did that or this religion approves of it. It is just another excuse to do insane or hurtful things and escape its consequences.

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  31. The problem in our country,IHM, is that no matter howsoever many god-men are caught doing such abhorrent acts, they will continue to have a strong hold on our lives and psyche because we dont question blind faith.

    Seriously I was boiling with rage when I saw that idiot Nityananda flashing a smile all through while he was being taken out of some hotel in HP. Morons like him have made a joke out of God,beliefs and religion.

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  32. well, I do not follow any religion. Being an atheist I never had any inclination towards these God men. I guess people have lost faith in their Gods to follow God men.🙂 ..My views. Some day an alternative to this will also come. wait and watch

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  33. This is something I cannot understand. I think people resort to blind faith when they feel the need for some sort of support in their lives and these so called godmen, just take advantage. Either way, believing without questioning, is something I find difficult to accept or understand..

    Me – I agree, maybe it is a void somewhere, they just need a leader… our society raises all children to be obey and to follow.

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  34. Pingback: Narayana! Narayana! | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  35. Pingback: “Nine out of ten families in my colony worshipped Asaram like he was Lord Vishnu’s avatar in Kalyug” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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