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 is rife with corruption and these Godmen mulct us out of our money and quite an exorbitant amount might go into the pockets of some politicians. What else explains why these crooks have become such forces in society? Why are they not put into jail on cheating charges? It is because every crook is an accomplice to each other. They fool innocent public and support each other promising either money, political power or police protection.
How can we stop believing ?
It is imperative that this blatant blind and misplaced sense of faith end. What will begin this end is literacy. We need to develop a scientific bent of mind. Only education of the masses will help us develop an attitude of self-dependence. More and more people will realize that these Godmen are only making faking their powers and enforcing their control over people with hollow promises.
There is also a need to increase self-confidence in ourselves. We need to start to believe more in ourselves rather than such self-styled Godmen. We need to realize that Godmen are no more human than us. There is no miracle that they can perform, no stunt they can pull off that will change our lives. Only we ourselves are in control of our future, our destiny and one day, our hard work will pay off.
We saw scores of the so called Godmen and Godwomen being unmasked this year. Ram Rahim Singh’s accusation and proven guilt explains it all. We saw what heinous acts they were capable of and yet there are so many people who continue to place their belief in such monsters. These Godmen have made a business out of our faith and vulnerabilities. It is high time we stop putting our faith into such crooks and believe in ourselves.
2017 has ended and it is high time now for a new beginning; a complete swearing off from placing our faith in crooks, monsters who least deserve it. Literacy and an increased belief in self will bring this change.