Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why Godmen become Godless

We have seen this happen far too often. Men of god switching sides. From god’s own people, they switch over to the league of his archenemy. Why does this happen?

Before ruminating over this distressful fact, let’s take a look at this category called god men. There are two types in this category.

Type 1- Scoundrels and fraudsters who don the robe and colours of godmen, capitalizing on 1. human gullibility, and 2. human greed and dissipation. These fraudsters partner with the latter and thrive on the former. The swamis who are hogging the media attention in Kerala at the moment belong to this category. They are petty criminals but perverted geniuses.

Type 2 – These are men with more power than ordinary human beings. Some have prophetic powers. They are, more often than not, full of words of wisdom. And all of them are magnetic personalities who attract people like magnet draws metal dust and shavings. Some of them display magical power like snatching objects out of the thin air. Some of this type usually carry on unscathed till the end of their lives, not getting embroiled in too many controversies, while some fall into disgrace.

It is the Type 2 that interests me. For they are people who have tapped the hidden human potential more than the average person has. It requires considerable discipline, commitment and a deep- rooted faith in the self to acquire that level of control over human faculties. Their methodology of achieving the seemingly superhuman feats can be emulated for personality building or offered as a structured package in schools where the future of a nation lies, or in civil service personnel training institutions where the custodians of the nations administration are trained, or in all in -house training programmes. For, what this type does is to address that flaw in human personality referred to so pithily in that saying ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’. Their forte is the realization and conviction that with rigorous discipline spelt out by our forefathers in the yogic and similar practices, the weakness of the flesh can be overcome.

It is sad that these men (Type 2) who have succeeded in conquering that insurmountable obstacle to human progress called flesh, should eventually use their power to gratify the flesh. That is when they become corrupt, lose their transparency and become surrounded by coterie and start indulging in anti social and anti national activities.

Why does this happen? After turning this over in my mind for a long time I found the answer. Power corrupts, ever power over the self, unless this power is drawn from a spiritual source. Disciplining the mind should go in tandem with spiritual growth. The empowered mind divorced from the spirit will tip the equilibrium in favour of the flesh, causing a craving to gratify the flesh. The spirit is the conscience that should ideally guide the empowered mind. The spirit is God. Mind power in a spiritually unsound person can be dangerous. It makes these ‘Godmen’ drunk with their mind power. Display of magical powers in the presence of devotees is an effort to ensure large fan following – to keep the herd in their trail.

I wonder if Mahatma Gandhi would qualify to be categorized as a true Godman. At least he made an honest effort to simultaneously develop his mental and spiritual powers. Perhaps he did not succeed fully, but the effort was genuine. This should convince us that true godmen are not available a dime a dozen.

I think I have met a true Godman. Met him a few times. I was a middle school girl then and did not know or care about this godmen phenomenon. He was a priest, must have been in his seventies, skinny as skinny could be, with a long long pepper and salt beard. He wore round Gandhi glasses. The minute I saw him, I felt I was in the presence of untainted goodness. Don’t ask me what gave me that feeling. Was it that smile so full of peace and love for mankind(?)?. I didn’t know anything much about him then. Today I hear his canonization moves are afoot! People who knew him say that he always kept a low profile, lead a simple life and walked miles and miles to see people, no matter what their station in life, to give a word of solace, a healing touch to the wounded heart.

Can’t remember having met another like him.

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