It’s the truth, that’s all you can hear from heads that don’t have anything to support their claims on. It’s the truth. That’s all they can manage.
I think a lot of us might have come across religious chauvinism before. There is always that one person in our lives who has such a huge thing for it, no matter how hard you try to reason he/she will never back down. Ultimately you give up realizing you have been talking to a wall.
Disheartened you can’t help but look at the root cause of it all. Why is its imprint so hard? Why is it so hard to budge them? Weren’t they born knowing nothing? How come they claim to know everything now?
Fear and Religion: It’s the Truth
There are ardent supporters of the artificial, chauvinists who will do anything to prove what’s been written. Sadly they are advocates of it too. It’s the truth, they claim. Well, the fact is they know life’s abysmal truth that it’s nothing but fear that brings you closer to religion. That’s why they use it; they use it in profusion. They claim to explain the unexplained, and that’s why it lingers in our heads. So, instead of running towards the rational, it’s their doors that we knock first.
To make sure you never stop believing, they put up acts. That’s one of those channels that I abhor immensely. But how else will they ensure you keep believing? If there is nothing miraculous going on, nothing mystical to thrill you, then you are bound to lose interest. They know this, and so they make sure there is always something to look forward to. Also, let’s not ignore the obvious – that very pursuit feeds them.
The Advent of Mataji
When I was made to attend a Swami fest once when I was quite young, one of those chants had got a lady all worked up. She was breathing heavily, acting weird, abnormally. With curious asking eyes I looked at my devout Dad, as he bowed a tad closer to whisper.
“Mataji! It is called Mataji! At times, the Goddess Durga enters the body of people. That’s when and why they react like that.”
Since I was a kid back then, I couldn’t even say:
“What a load of bull!”
It eluded me back then. I was intrigued and curious at exactly what must be happening, and wondering if it was a complete sham. The latter made me think: Why would anyone do such a terrible thing deliberately? Does it give you a lot of attention? Yes, probably. Does it help you achieve something? Well, to be candid, yes again! It lets the world believe its true.
Then I heard my mother confess one day,
“I think they overact or something, I don’t believe them.”
She told me how she was busy chanting their hymns with her group one day, and then a couple of ladies at the back went unhinged. A lot of her friends became scared and concerned all of a sudden. When things sieved down to normalcy, they silently whispered to each other.
“Let’s not go public anymore. We can do the rituals at our own home amongst our friends. We don’t know these people. What if something happens?”
So they stopped making their little ritual public just because they were scared of all that nonsense.
Once I was in a cab heading home. I didn’t realize it was a festive season. Emerged a lady draped in a red saree who was acting all weird, and drunk. She was walking on the middle of the road, had some little kids around her trying to make sure she didn’t get hit by a car.
The cab slowed down, and I looked at her and said,
“What the hell? Is she drunk?”
The cab driver meekly replied,
“No after a ritual where…”
I cut him short as I laughed pointing,
He nodded glumly. His silence told me I shouldn’t have laughed. The city still looks down upon those who mock the unexplained.
One Funny Anecdote
There was once this misleading Pandit who had a couple of disciples with him; cheats I assume. A sick woman went to him as a last resort. She was sick but she wasn’t a fool. So, this Pandit went with a chant that was supposed to summon the deity into their room.
When the chanting began, one of his disciples went into the same madding trance we talked about earlier, and he stood up dancing and singing as the hymns went in the background. Soon he stopped and then the second one rose. He too did the same thing as if he was stuck in a Mexican wave. Then, the third one stood up. Meanwhile the learned impersonator tried doing a commentary of what was going on.
“The Goddess has entered their body. She is in this room, I can see her. She is circling around choosing bodies after bodies.”
Amidst all that ruckus, the poor old woman wouldn’t stop laughing. She gawked at them, how the disciples would stand up, dance and make noises and do weird things with their hair.
Then out of the blue, that sage turned toward the lady pointing:
“I have redirected Her towards you. Now you will feel Her too.”
The woman failed to wipe that grin from her face, then waited for it few minutes and then gave the Pandit a shrug.
When the impersonator realized it wasn’t working, he decided to act as if the Goddess had him instead. He stood up and started dancing and hooting.
All that clumsiness was enough to burst her into uncontrolled fits of laughter. I guess she found her medicine too.
Education: The Colossal Contrast
The other day I asked one of my friends, looking at the IT crowd that surrounded us.
“How come no one acts like those people here? How come nobody, all of a sudden, starts behaving as if something has entered their body? So many true devotees walking down the street here, I am sure the Goddess is remembered here too with immense faith. Why does she not think about entering someone’s body here?”
I knew the answer to that. It’s education. It’s the truth. That’s the only truth. It’s the only primal difference that separates impersonators from logic. It is important you learn, and not believe what you see. It is crucial you stay well above the line that tries to show you what is not here. It is important you stir them up with your dose of knowledge. Those who act such are trying to lead the uneducated towards an erroneous path. What they are trying to do is book slots in their religious benches. They need you there, and so they work upon that timid psyche of yours.
It makes me sad that there is so much pretence all around us even when the real truth is – nobody knows anything. It is important we accept, just accept when we don’t know. And never steer them towards a one way road. Never force the common multitude into accepting the unacceptable. It’s the truth we need to bide by. It’s the truth we should always stand by.