Friday, 3 August 2012

Rich God, Poor Devotees



We Indians are an interesting bunch. There is never a dull day with us around and believe me, we are going to be around for a very long time! We are a very diverse bunch too. No, I am not talking about the diversity in unity and all that jazz. I am talking about the diverse ways in which we continue to shock and make fools of ourselves. 


India is a diverse country - we love this line very much. We chant it every time someone asks us to define/describe India. We feel proud and our chests puff up with patriotic love. Nevertheless, this love-shove is only for 'India' and not so much what makes 'India'.

We hate our fellow men/women/children. We happily look down upon everyone we think is not like us. We love caste/creed/race/wealth distinctions. In short, we love every divide there is to help us make better 'Indians'. However, there is one thing that we all love - RELIGION.

Yes, we love 'our' religion. Religion too, is diverse in India and definitely not unified. There is 'my religion', 'your religion' and of course, 'their religion'. In addition, to make sure we always remember this there are the preachers, the so-called sole karta-dharta men of god. 

While we continue to love our religion more than anything does, we also make sure that we make our gods richer each day. Yes, we are a poor country with rich gods. We have built many a fancy and opulent homes for our gods. We also religiously love to pay our respects to these deities each day and it is here that we stand united. 

Be it the rich, poor or destitute, the love for temple hopping is the same! While we may not think of them every day, we definitely stand in lines for hours just to get a glimpse and handout cash or kind generously. Of course, how will god ever grant any of our wishes if we do not bribe them? Oops, did I say bribe? Arre nahi, I meant donation is obviously required else kaise milega kuch agar hum kuch nahi denge toh?

It is all give and take, our lives, and religion is no different. Our faith and hope in religion strengthens each time we donate generously too. 

Now take for example, someone unknown follower of Shri Sai baba donated 2 diamonds worth 1.18 crore. Now Sai baba look wonderful sporting these diamonds, won’t he? Already cast in Silver, his aura continues to shine throughout and now the diamonds are going to make sure that those who have been standing in hour-long queues just to get a far off glimpse of him feel his presence getting stronger. Apparently, the temple trust is super delighted. These are the largest diamonds donated so far, making them 'shinier'!  

Now Sai baba is not alone. Ganpati bappa has a huge temple or rather temples just for him! He too is cast is various expensive metals where his devotees come flocking every Tuesday (everyday too!). They sing, dance and donate generously for him. It is little or no matter how much the residents suffer due to all the noise pollution and unnecessary security bubble built around bappa's abode. 

Jain temples are in a league of their own. Decked in fresh flowers and bathed in sandalwood, the gods are pampered every day! The daily donations in cash and kind are another matter altogether.

Our Sarvajanik festivals have budgets beyond one's thinking capacity. A festival is a festival and so celebrated in such grandeur as if it is a once-in-a-lifetime-event! It does not matter that we continue to ruin nature (through visarjan and other physical properties of pollution) in the garb of festivities.

In short, we shall continue to offer everything we can to our gods blindly. In a race to build beautiful religious sanctuaries, we have become deaf, dumb and blind to the very core essence of our faith. We have forgotten what Sai baba said to his followers, his principles and so on. We continue to pray to Ganpati bappa not ever really wanting to know what he really wants! Anyone who wishes to question me on this should first attend the visarjan activities at Shivaji Park, Mumbai. 

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Please note: I am not an atheist. I love Ganesh Chaturthi and my parents are very religious. I have been a spectator to many stupidities carried under the tag of religion. I only speak of what I know. 

35 comments:

Vector said...

This is exactly what I meant when I was tweeting the other day.. Awesome write up.. :-) Waiting to read more stuff.

kalyan inampudi said...

I think you Amazingly explained what many of us think about religion and money spent on it .

Tirupathi is the biggest example , daily the devotees give more than one crore .

In gods name there is so much stupidity going on . If all the money spent in the name of religion every day is used in Inclusive growth ,there would a one India with out so many differences .

@ncel said...

Very well written...

A Journey said...

well said. If we stop being blind (not literally) and hypocrites I don't think we can be called Indians :P

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Vector

Going to be writing more soon :) Thanks!

@ Kalyan

I second your thoughts here buddy.

@ Ancel

Thanks love!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ A Journey

Hahhaa yeah!

sujata said...

I agree Niki. We do a lot of nonsense in the name of religion. Charity is misused and no one benefits. Very well written.

SukKu said...

The generous indian can only be seen in the temples. They go blind on the sights of poverty and deaf on the pleadings of the needy. Their religion teaches them everything other than respecting other religions. At home the child gets more religion classes than moral classes. From schools to friends to life partner, everything is chosen as per religion. We are this religious…….. stupid indeed!

Sneha said...

Well, okay... this is going to be a long comment. I almost feel exactly the same way about all of this. You know, in our society, there are always people from adjoining mandals/pandals/any religious event who come to take daan dakshina and what's more, they insist on above 500 being a norm to pay. Now, I've been concentrating on something else and have not been working for the past over 6 months let's say. For that matter, even when I was, I'd always be wary of giving such donations.

What I've noticed is, during pandals, these people put up biases like 'VIP' 'VVIP' and so on; and they're allowed in to 'seek blessings' of the lord much before everyone else. I don't think God approves of such biases. Once upon a time a rugged, stubborn atheist, I'm a believer now since quite sometime. While I support special ques for senior citizens and pregnant women, I oppose the same for rich brickbats.

Like you say, its a case of they not understanding what God really wants. Look at so many of our Indian festivals. Lokamanya Tilak started Ganesh Chaturthi to surge a feeling of nationalism and patriotism in fellow human beings but now it's almost about 'whose pandal is better (Read: richer, grander) this year.' Sad state of affairs, this.

Thanks for writing on this! You've made me want to write something on this issue as well.

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Sujata

I am afraid that these things will only get worse!

@ Sukku

I wish we only knew one religion - Humanity!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Sneha

Ha! We get bappa home for 11 days. It has been a struggle to get dad to agree on a eco-friendly murti but we managed.

Sabyasachi Patra | Tales from Wild India said...

Very true. We donate to God, but we are never ready to lend a single paisa to a deserving person. Perhaps we believe that by bribing God, our sins will get washed away.

Jack said...

Nikita,

I agree with each word you said. We are a bunch of show off hypocrites. I firmly believe that God listens to silent prayers said by honest & pure heart.

Take care

umashankar said...

That is a sensible piece of prose. Believing in Gods per se is not a bad idea. But most religions are regression at best.

Roshan said...

totally agree.. people are too busy praying to/bribing the idols rather than actually following the path that the religion states.

Vasuta said...

Very well captured...especially the con of donations...we always give in hope of returns

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Sabyasachi

Yeah that is what we are made to learn as well!

@ Jack

Only if we listened to our hearts and stopped being so shallow!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Umashankar

Thank you buddy!

@ Roshan

We are blinded by false values and of course, the bling value!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Vasuta

Exactly. So the whole idea of Karm & Dharm is down the drain for us!

Sneha said...

Nikita, here's what you've propelled me to write:

http://www.induswomanwriting.com/surplus-extravaganza.html

Do check it out.

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Sneha

Wow! Fabulous:)

Haddock said...

Well written .... or rather well spoken. Many of us do feel claustrophobic with what is going on around us but dare not voice the concern in public.
If we look a little deep into it, its just that the children are following what the parents do and its a continuous chain which just goes on and on.

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Haddock

I have dared to voice this opinion in my very house and have been reprimanded! :| Is Desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta :(

Roshan said...

Congrats. This post has been chosen as Blogadda's Spicy Saturday Pick of the week.

http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/08/11/indian-bloggers-god-life-raksha-bandhan-gokulasthami

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Roshan

Thank you! I know I am a bit late but thanks nevertheless!

buckingfastard said...

but at the end of the day call it fear of god or simple bribery...some of those dubiously earned money are coming back in form of diamonds in hands of god...

its gods way for a payback! or watever

Modern Gypsy said...

Very well written. If only we would use the money flowing into temples and other religious institutions for public projects and inclusive growth, our growth story would be shiny indeed. Instead, we make a few trusts and religious institutions very rich and wage wars and riots in the name of our "gods".

ravindra rajput said...

I am a firm believer in God but at the same time I am against all these stupid rituals associated in the name of God.
I am so frustrated when I am asked to be precise threatened to shell out hundreds of rupees to offer on God else he may get angry with me.. what a bull shit this is.
If I raise voice against such acts we are termed as Paapis.. common get some life...
I totally and fully agree with each and every word written in this blog.

BENGAL SURPRISE said...

Brutally honest Nikita... Brutally honest! Knowingly, unknowingly... we too have got accustomed to these vices. In a country where discrimination is rampant, God will keep getting richer. Let me say,'This is one of the brilliant most on religion blog posts'

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Buckingfastard

I think we know that 'fear of god' or rather 'god-fearing' is vastly different than bribery. Bribing is not done for God here. It is done in the name of the almighty. Plus, do we know if the diamonds really lie in the treasury or simply some vile punditji is using it?

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Modern Gypsy

Yeah true that. And currently it should be temple trusts shining and not India shining!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Ravindra Rajput

:D I'd rather be a papi!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Bengal Surprise

Woah...that is huge! Thanks :)

Aishwarya said...

Touche to that.

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

@ Aishwarya

Thank you!

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