Oh my God!
Authors: Jai Das and Vikram Thapar
Just recently has a motion picture film titled “OMG” released and I would like to acknowledge the spirit of the film to the extent that it clearly mentions the nexus between many rich and famous religious places, the bogus pujaris at such and many other places and the politicians of this country. It vividly signifies that faith has the largest”market” in this world and exploitation of faith is probably the largest industry ever!! Clearly it also helps you join the dots that the Indian money lying in the Swiss banks is not only tax payers’ money but also bribes given by people to God for getting work done!! The film very clearly highlights the “Agency of Lordship” that is claimed and encroached upon by self proclaiming God men and pujaris promising success and progress by some havan or vidhi. Truly Hinduism has suffered because of the ego of the brahmanas who have made it a family business!! A true brahmana is identified not by his birth but by his qualities.
IS HAVING FAITH WRONG??
Faith and Trust is like oxygen for all, none can live without it. And the Supreme Lord knows the corruption by “dhongi babas and devis” more than us. But we as living entities have a level of free will that we have to exercise rightly to develop right level of God Consciousness. This free will, though infinitesimal, is never violated by Him. He only shows the path, we have to walk it. And it is obvious that if in a box of 100 mangoes, we check 17 mangoes and if 10 of them are spoilt or decayed then we will be less inclined to buy them altogether. But that is how the age of Kali works. It corrupts the authority so that we are handicapped and we either become one of those blind followers or reach the other extreme – become an atheist. Atheists also might just have problems not with God per se but with the society’s sometimes misguided conception about God. Even they would hold at least something good in their heart as divine or valuable to the extent of treading that path in their life. Everybody, either an atheist or a theist, only believes in such a concept of God that enlivens their heart and makes them internally happy and satisfied.
One may ask that why a Kaliyuga is there and why is it so hard on us?? The answer lies in the nature of this temporary and miserable world. Of all the research that man has done, he has questioned a falling apple and developed hi-tech devices at his disposal through a lot of deep research. He has understood the importance of reflex actions in protecting our delicate body organs and taken surprise at the network of veins that God has developed in our body. He has been grateful for life and has promoted the cause of organ donations. But the most unasked and the most obvious question that he might have missed is that if God has created such marvels, why has he given us a temporary body?? If all other things had logic, what about this? And the answer to this question is what the Vedas give!! The material world is like a University college and each and every temporary life we get is like ATKT (Allowed to Keep Terms). When we haven’t cleansed ourselves internally how can we Go Back Home Back to Godhead?? And over a period of millions and millions of years, we have not cleared these KTs!! The cycle of birth and death is the only problem of every living entity and if that wasn’t the problem for few, then Kaliyuga will prove by us wrong by force. It is only in this age of Kali that religions having the concept of fear for God have come alive. Because as rightly mentioned in the above film, God only wants us to develop true and genuine love for Him. And essentially in His Kingdom, that is the only business of devotees. Where we do not have a temporary material body that requires “maintenance” and the only need is that of the heart – the hunger of heart and thirst for love which we all try to look for in this material desert. But we have wandered in this desert for so long that all we have is mirages and bigger mirages!! Because the real “oasis” lies inside our heart as a long slept love for something real, concrete and permanent. And the Supreme Lord has made a path for us to walk on without any “copyrights or trademark issues”, one where we can approach Him directly with our all repentant and all yearning heart. And that path is the path of Sankirtana Yagna or the chanting of the Holy Name. Because in this Kaliyuga, the Lord ONLY comes in the form of His Holy Name that we can ourselves chant and develop self realization and awaken that long lost love within our hearts!!
THE HARE KRSNA MOVEMENT:
The Hare Krsna Movement or Sankirtana Yagna – started by Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not installed in the entire world by Him. It was meditated upon by the 6 famous Goswanis of Vrndavan and a lineage of self realized souls like Bhaktivinoda Thakura among others who themselves reached the transcendental platform. The list of these great souls include the Prime Minister and Home Minister of the erstwhile Bengal state, A multi billionaire, A judge of a High Court in the British times, etc. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who installed the movement in New York formed The International Society for Krishna Consciousness and not International Society for Prabhupada Consciousness – meaning he didn’t proclaim himself to be anything but a servant of God. One of the most popular statements by Prabhupada to his followers was that “If you want to please me, then distribute my books”. And the books that he wrote mainly included the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita. Following the principles as mentioned in these books has been the main idea in the above film. It is also a shame that most Hindus have hardly read the Bhagavad Gita which is so rightfully exposed. Furthermore, Bhagavad Gita is not just a Hindu religious book; it is a Universal Truth. This also reminds me of a popular line from the movie – “That where there is religion (as a business), there cannot be Truth and where there is Truth, religion is not required”.
WHAT ABOUT THE SELF – PROCLAIMING GODMEN??
Many or almost all self proclaiming God men have proclaimed their so called divinity by some cheap parlor tricks that even magicians do better. And it is not that there aren’t advanced Yogis who cannot perform “miracles”. Those who lose themselves in advanced Yoga do attain “Yog Siddhis” but they aren’t looking for cheap publicity in this temporary world. Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami has very nicely and logically explained in one of his interactions that there is an entire planet called “Siddhaloka” where all the residents of that planet are so advanced Yogis that they can produce anything at their will, walk on the sun beams, make themselves lighter than the lightest and heavier than the heaviest!! The existence of such siddhis is also narrated in the book “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Whereas it may be difficult to digest this for many, the only point in the reckoning is that anybody who can perform miracles is not God. To reiterate, in Kaliyuga, the Supreme Lord will come only in the form of His Holy Name. The only avatar of Him that will follow is the Kalki avatar which will come at the end of Kaliyuga. Following are the links to the videos in which Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj speaks regarding the above topic:
TEMPLES AND DEITIES – HOW NECESSARY ARE THEY??
Another very important topic that has been touched upon in this film is regarding Idol worship – that whether it is Idle Worship or Ideal Worship?? If folding hands in front of idols are considered just a ritualistic routine with no heart involved, then it is definitely wrong. If an idol is kept at home or in a temple just for offering bribes and exchange offers to God, then it is definitely wrong. If you have an idol in each and every room of your home, in office and in your car; but God doesn’t live in your heart, then it is only right that we call it “Idle Worship”. But a deity is not just a piece of stone, it is the reflection of what image of God one wants to install in their heart and what you want to look at before you start and end your day. Each and every deity has a detailed form for us to meditate upon and related past times for us to enjoy them in our heart. And deities are required for common people like us because we are not so advanced that we close our eyes and we can see God. A person without sufficient knowledge or a mentally retarded person wouldn’t know the difference between a piece of plain paper and a currency note. He might tear them both. Similarly, only a spiritually retarded person would say that a deity and a stone are no different. Srila Prabhupada very nicely gives an example – That if we want to post a letter, we will only put in the red or green box labeled “Post Office”. And that will ensure that the message reaches the desired destination. But if we put it in any box anywhere on the street, it will reach nowhere and the entire process will seem futile. Thus whenever Deities are installed in temples, an elaborate ceremony is held wherein the Lord is requested to manifest Himself in the Deity so that devotees can offer obeisance unto Him & worship Him.
The same concern may be regarding temples – why spend lacs and crores on temples?? They should be distributed to the poor and needy. People who hold such ideas must focus on how many multi-billion dollar industries like liquor, cigarettes and even drugs are flourishing without any concern or restraint!! The turnover for the anti depressant drug market was $ 11 billion way back in 2008. Imagine how hypocrite multi nationals make money out of peoples’ miseries and still claim that they do social good! For further answers on this topic, a very renowned speaker Chaitanya Charan Prabhu has written a short book titled “Why do we need a Temple”. The main reason is that temples provide tranquility. Just as we have food, clothing and shelter as the basic needs of the body; peace is the basic need of our mind. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the greatest medical challenge of the current century will not be AIDS or cancer but mental health problems. Also in order to find such a feeling in absence of temples, people of modern culture go to all kinds of places like discos, bars, pubs, etc. which causes the loss of cultural and family values. An article on this website provides further information regarding this:
And as far as poor and needy are concerned, they can be given food but not as a means to make them careless and lazy. Most poor people do not look for opportunities to work but look for excuses not to. No act should be to induce and further such behavior. And as far as money to be given to poor is concerned, it is a strict no-no as in 99.99% cases, it is either used for cigarettes, bidis, liquor or drugs. Apart from that, begging is a well established industry with turnover of crores. In Mumbai alone the annual turnover was about 180 crores way back in 2006.
The main motive behind clarifying on the temples and deities is that not believing in them at all is another extreme we might take ourselves to, after all the dirty secrets we learn about religion as a business. But a few hundred years ago or maybe even a few decades ago, our parents and forefathers worshipped deities correctly. There were people of honor in the brahmana clan. So the problem was never with deities but with the people who act as ‘intermediaries’. And in reality the brahmana culture may be falling apart, but that’s why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has accorded all an equal status to serve and worship deities directly. Mahaprabhu was one of the biggest social reformers at that time. He advocated and followed the idea that love for God isn’t only few people’s right, it is available to all.
THE TWO FESTIVALS CELEBRATED WITH DOWNRIGHT MADNESS:
And to end it all, the main essence of the film was to expose the wrongdoings that happen in the name of God and religion. And two festivals, especially the way celebrated in Mumbai, that fall in this category are Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav and Navratri. Ganeshotsav, at most places, is now famous shaking down neighboring people for money and using it all for stuff like liquor, cigarettes, sound systems that play such songs which would make Bappa feel he had small ears!! All this is through a donation trust which get tax exemptions and no accountability as all expenses are in cash. Just recently a film star visited the most famous Ganapati Pandal in Mumbai and one of the top newspapers had a headline that gave more importance to the film star than Bappa!! Whereas Navratri, at most places, is now famous for having a chance to dance with many of your opposite sex partners and not just that – abortion clinics have heavy duty traffic after those 10 days of Navratri!! Well this trend is now being replaced by a 25-50% increase in condom sales!! All this unwanted progeny and sense gratification is all that is there – there is no remembrance of high ethical values and carry forward of religious principles which was the main intention in starting these festivals. The government should at least ban selling liquor in these 20 days of festival so as to arrest such behaviour. But no wait, the government already is tied up in stealing crores from us (And paying it to the industrialists for a lot more moolah in return)!!
So to sum up, the film favors a theistic perception, but somehow, they have only shown an extreme scenario that “generalizes” all. Just like thinking that if all the politicians are corrupt, not voting at all may be a better option. But that will not solve the problem, rather aggravate it. In the same way, in case of acharyas and genuine transcendentalists; we have to judiciously select the non corrupt from the rest. So if the film could have shown an in-depth essence of spirituality as is given in our scriptures, as has been portrayed by our great acharyas, it could have done a lot more good to the society. “Blind faith” is dangerous but “reasonable faith” using our own intelligence is the only life line that we are left with.
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