“Swamiji when will it rain?” the pretty foreign reporter asks Raju(Dev Anand) a jail returned criminal turned Sadhu. Fasting under the scorching heat of the sun for past 12 days to appease the rain God, on behalf of his ardent faithfuls, the Baba becomes weak and emaciated and dies just as the rain drops from the sky moist his lips. A touching scene from the film ‘Guide’ adapted from the novel of the same name, written by one of our loved novelist RK Narayan.
I suppose it is with the well intended juxtaposition of blind faith that we turn to a human turned saint to fulfil or mitigate our desire and sufferings. However, our vulnerability due to insecurity, fear, cravings and lust make us juicy preys to predators and vultures who exploit and rejoice through our weaknesses. We see in them that we have bowed to, with awe and reverence ever since we have prayed in a temple, mosque, church, synagogue, gurdwara, God, the unknown and omnipresent. To us he is the path leader, the beacon, the illuminant who is blessed by God. He has supernatural powers vested in him as he can levitate, explode rocks by sprinkling water, lighting fire by pouring ghee on wood, eating or carrying flames on palm, walking on burning coals, materialising sacred ash (Vibhuti), and other objects like watches and jewels and so on. Through these controversial acts added with sweet verbal outpourings and a put on sympathetic charitable insouciants, we the gullible accept them as Godmen and become their ardent followers. Not realizing that their popularity and fame extends as we continue to offer them with monitory offerings and vocal support. They become Godmen, exercising in and extending to interference in our daily lives through their exculpations and ramblings. The high and mighty flock to them to seek and gain from them which is strictly on quid pro quo.
The origin of godmen and their popularity today can be traced back to Guru Shiksha practice down the ages. Godmen were revered as special human beings and often worshipped by their followers for their spiritual and holy preachings. They came from established schools of spirituality, but often they did not belong to any religious order. They were charismatic personalities, bestowed with wisdom knowledge and human values. They lived in their own ashrams leading a peaceful and simple life. Many of these godmen acknowledged having had a guru themselves but avoided interference or patronage from their rulers and kings. They imparted knowledge both spiritual and worldly. They did not resort to sorcery or fake miracles for spreading their message, which alas is considered normal and necessary by most. The Bible and the Quran have this to say on the need of Godmen.
The Apostles Before the Council.
28. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.”
29. But Peter and the other apostles replied “We must obey God rather than men.”.
30. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree.… Berean Study Bible
“I am God, there is no God but Me. Therefore you shall worship Me and observe the prayers to commemorate Me.” Quran Chapter 20:14.
In India, in the Statutory Law, we have no specific Act to deal with such cases. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 which is quite broadly worded provides for punishment for cheating and related cases.
Case Law (Common Law) in India a judgement on a question of law decided by the High Courts and the Supreme Court has a very high persuasive value and sets a precedent. If a question of law is decided by the Supreme Court, it becomes binding on all Courts within India under Article 141 of the Constitution of India.
Do we let the Godmen play with our lives leading to tragic loss of lives and property or is it opportune now for us to seek justice from the court of law to examine and restrict the the institution of Godmen from causing further misery?