Swami Balendu. 2011.08.25 (Jaisiyaram Blog): In India the issue of corruption is very much in the focus of attention and Anna Hazare is still fasting in his fight against corruption. Here we talk about political corruption and corruption in bureaucracy which is in everybody’s daily life. Normal things don’t get done without bribing someone and this is what everybody talks about at the moment.
What unfortunately does not get seen these days very openly is another area where there is a lot of corruption: religion. Corruption in religion is much worse because the most corrupt people there show themselves as the purest of ideals that everyone else should follow. Additionally it is very difficult to actually prove that someone is corrupt in this field.
In a country like India, religious corruption starts because the people of the country have very strong belief. They get cheated because of this belief and corrupt people can take advantage of them in order to enrich themselves.
It can start very small, with the illegal acquisition of land. Someone would like to own some land and property which actually belongs to the government or perhaps to someone who is not around very much to guard his property. This someone who wants to own the land just places a statue and a little altar onto that land and makes it a temple. In a country like India, nobody will remove this altar or temple because it is holy! The person can now start building around that place and have a whole house there in the name of making the temple bigger and better.
In general, temples are the reason named for a lot of corruption in India. There are again and again gurus like Kumar Swami who claim that they want to build enormous new temples and need a lot of money for them. Apart from the question of how useful it is to build more and more temples, the real question is often where does all the money go? Nobody ever sees any temple really being built or, if it is, that it is really as expensive as claimed! A lot of money goes into private pockets and not to the purpose that people donated for.
A different way to get money out of believers’ pockets is to promise them all kinds of things. Nithyananda says he can make you levitate, Baba Ramdev once said he would heal AIDS through yoga, and Kumar Swami even claims to have healed brain tumors with nothing other than his mantras. Do you really think any of this works in the way they said it would? Is that not corruption, taking money for such promises and thus cheating hopeful believers?
The best promise that I have heard in this way is that a Guru could liberate you from the cycle of reincarnation. Who can prove that one way or another? But the guru makes his money…
This very year we had the nicest proof of how really rich such gurus can get. When the famous materializing magician Sathya Sai Baba, whose birthday celebration was attended even by India’s Prime Minister, passed away, they found so much money and gold in his private rooms that everyone was amazed to see how wealthy he really was! And he got that way by making people believe he could materialize gold and jewelry!
In modern times, you not only see posters and pamphlets as advertisement for such gurus, but can also see them on TV channels. They spend a lot of money getting their face onto the best spots on television so that people see them right after having watched an astrology show where a caller is told how Saturn will have a bad influence on their future. Creating fear and then promoting the solution through the same channels brings these corrupt people a lot of business, too. And all that happens on the same channel where at other times you will see talk shows condemning corruption.
All this corruption starts when people have a strong belief and others try to take advantage of that belief. Just have a look at how much money those babas, gurus and temples in India have. And imagine if this money had gone to the support of the needy and poor instead. Corruption may exist in many areas and we need to fight it not only in politics, but also in religion.
Latest posts by admin (see all)
- Krishna Theme Park in Braj :: Fossilizing a Living Tradition? - October 19, 2015
- Did Hema’s Mahotsav recast Krishna lila in promiscuity? - October 7, 2015
- Petition to UP CM opposing Vrindavan-Mathura merger - October 19, 2014