Humans have always believed in powers greater than themselves; be it fate or their faith in God. But, since eons, we have been collectively placing our beliefs in wrong people such as Godmen or Godwomen, only to be later cheated and exploited.
I would like to open up the context of my today’s subject with this slightly modified version of a borrowed Winthrop Mackworth Praed’s great poem.
Mister Faith is a fickle gipsy,
And always blind, and often tipsy;
Sometimes for years and years together,
You’ll be blessed with the sunniest weather,
Bestowing honour, pudding, pence,
You can’t imagine why or whence;—
Then in a moment—Presto, pass!—
Your joys are withered like the grass;
Faith, in the right places, people and powers, can move mountains, can cause miracles, it can bestow honor, pudding and pence. It can give us happiness we never would have dreamt of. But, at the same time placing our faith in the wrong people can lead us to great pitfalls, all our joys can be withered like the grass.
There are numerous reasons due to which we tend to believe in Godmen or rather I should say imposters. Today, I would like to list down a few such reasons which I compel us to believe in Godmen.
1. We don’t hang onto things?
Humans are gullible beings. Our need for faith, for a belief system which ensures that there is an entity greater than us, looking after us, gives us great satisfaction & relief. This desire to be looked after, to believe that our worries, our troubles will soon pass away as they are just a test of character. This has been well documented throughout centuries and transcended beliefs, races, castes, creeds and categories which have actually divided us. Although, the belief in God may be justifiable, what is befuddling is this belief in Godmen; most of whom could be better known as crooks, thugs, rapists and murderers.
Why are we so susceptible to fall for such scams even when we watch such Godmen being exposed on an almost fortnightly basis? We, as a culture, have a rich history of staunch belief in God. When we face problems, we like to think that taking God’s name will help us sail through. But, when that does not help, we feel riddled with insecurities and despair. The vicious Godmen feed on our insecurities, vulnerabilities and promise to help us make it through our troubles. And, when everything else has failed us, it seems worth a shot to give such Godmen a try, hoping that they will achieve what they promise. We find something to latch our belief onto so that life becomes easier to live.
2. Why do Godmen enjoy so much popularity?
Along with a misplaced sense of faith, other reasons these Godmen garner such great popularity are poverty and illiteracy. Although these factors may not seem very obvious factors, they are in fact great propellants for blind faith. Most of our large country is living, rather surviving, barely scraping by, below poverty line and is facing terrible hardships on a daily basis. Living a life where they are unaware, unsure of where the next meal will come from or whether it will come or not, the poor mostly, live their lives by faith. They believe that in this cruel world, where they belong nowhere, God is with them. And, as is human tendency, we are at our most susceptible when undergoing hardships. And, when the going gets tougher and more unmanageable, they turn to Godmen, who claim to have a quicker passage to God.
3. Political Power
Along with popularity, it won’t be wrong to assume that these Godmen are are armored with political power. India i