FALL OF THE DEMIGODS – DEGRADATION OF SPIRITUALISM IN INDIA
“This is an ancient land where wisdom made its home before it went to any other country. Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived. Look back, therefore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountain that are behind & after that, look forward, march forward & make India brighter, greater & much higher than she ever was.”
- Swami Vivekanada
India, the cradle of learning of human civilization, a land that has been home to the greatest sages that ever lived, has been a home for spiritual gurus & demi-gods for a very long time. We, Indians have always been spiritual in the outlook to the extent of even being a little superstitious. So, the rise of demi-gods in India was obvious and we saw many great demigods like Swami Vivekananda, Lord Buddha, Swami Dayanand & many others. Swami Vivekananda took his status of demi-god to a new height & played a major role in the spiritual enlightenment of Indian masses. Founder of the Arya Samaj, Swami Dayanand was one of the few great personalities who sacrificed everything for the emancipation of mankind. In greatness, like the highest peak of the Himalayas, Buddha is second to none. His life & work show to what sublime heights human compassion, thoughts & feelings can rise. What the “enlightened one” practiced & preached is a proud possession of our ancient heritage. These great and inspiring personalities really deserved the title of demi-gods.
All of us should remember the famous words of Winston Churchill which these demigods forgot in their lust for greed. Today, unlike the glorious past; the standards of demi-gods are degrading steadily. And the credit for this degradation is taken by these so called demi-gods who hide behind the mask of holiness, but in reality they are no better than those criminals who rot behind the bars. Spiritual charlatans like Asaram Bapu, Swami Agnivesh, Chandra swami, Sathya Sai Baba & many others like them are the primary reason that the spiritual face of India is being dirtied.
Asaram Bapu, one of the most popular leaders of our developing nation is said to be courting controversies – sexually abusing a 16year old girl, land grabbing cases, etc. An Arya Samaj scholar & social activist, Swami Agnivesh, came under attack over a controversial video posted on Youtube, not only this, he has hurt the Hindu sentiments time & time again by his offensive remarks. “The Controversial Tantrik”, Chandra swami, has been accused of several financial irregularities & he was also arrested on defrauding a London-based businessman. The list will remain incomplete without a mention of Sathya Sai Baba. There have been allegations that Sai Baba used to indulge in sexual abuses and pedophilia. The biggest ever controversy to have haunted Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram was when four persons were shot dead by the police after they had allegedly stabbed four devotees in Baba's bedroom. Moreover, even after the Baba’s demise, trustees found cash of Rs 11.5 crore, 98 kg of gold and silver articles weighing 307 kilograms from his private room, which again raised eyebrows.
The question that stares us in the face here is – why are these so called demi-gods successful? One reason will be that these demi-gods emerge because Hinduism is not a structured faith with a central authority or a chain of command. So there is always room for spiritual freelancers. Another main reason would be the superstitious uneducated population of our nation. But today even the educated are presenting them with a ready market for their business because the insecure stressful life we lead makes us want to listen to someone who will say what we desire to hear.
It’s high time that we be the modern & educated Indians that we claim ourselves to be, prove ourselves worthy successors to our glorious and wise heritage. The nation’s people should no longer allow anyone to treat them like dumb driven cattle that can be led by nose by any charlatan posing as demigod. If all of us come together & join our hands to stop this degradation of spiritualism, only then Indian spiritualism standards will rise. Also, one should always remember that everything that shines is not gold and be discerning enough to separate chaff from wheat to identify the fake and corrupt persons who tarnish the image of all real holy saints and demigods. I would like to conclude with the motivating lines by Swami Vivekananda, “All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark”.