Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with “Babas”.
Over the years I have had great affinity with the so called “learned” or “Spiritual” sect, and people who foretold fortune. Having now turned 60, I look back on my life, and try to decipher events that moved me, or things I tried to do to move things with the help of the “occult” and supernatural.
I remember visiting a baba some 30 odd years ago who used to live in a tiny temple opposite the old Indian Airlines office at Safdarjung, New Delhi. I remember the baba telling my mama that his life was upside down. When queried the baba said, you are with your hands on the ground with your feet in the air, and thus the baba was coined the “taang wala baba”, which became a moment of mirth.
As the years wore on, I became very closely associated with a “tantric” panditji or aka astrologer. Panditji & I would sit and drink hard alcohol together, and he would regale with me “stories” of people and events and time.
Panditji told me that anyone approaching an astrologer virtually “mortgages” their mind to the Pandit. He said that anyone who approaches an astrologer essentially has 3-4 issues that could trouble them, be it their children, or monetary / business matters or Health or love / marriage.
All questions / issues revolve around these four large issues or areas.
So whenever someone asks any question in any one specific area, the astrologer has a clean 50% chance of being correct, in their answer or advice.
So is it astrological advice or the principal of probability ?
From an early age I often would debate with various astrologers, god man and spiritual gurus whether “fate” could be turned on its head, or was fate pre-ordained as was drilled into my head from an early age.
If fate was pre ordained, then what would be the benefit of conducting pujas, and wearing rings to appease the planets circling the solar system. Could intense puja change the course of life ? Or is this just juice to the august and learned baba industry.
In my taxi ride home this afternoon, I struck up an interesting conversation with the cabbie. He remarked that roads should not have traffic lights, but indeed they cannot be done away with because they are a source of income. How so I asked, well there is money to be made from dispensing the contract for traffic lights construction and maintenance. It feeds the traffic minders a ready and steady stream of income from so called traffic violators.
I would often debate with my, “guru” of the moment, the difference between religion and spirituality. I often have my guru visit me at Ranchi, Delhi & Goa, where we spend countless hours talking of the universe, and all the ills that befall it.
My guru does not forbid me not to eat meat, or drink alcohol, all he says is that whatever one does, one should not allow any external factor to overwhelm and overpower us, be it Politics Alcohol or Sex.
One evening at Goa, while we were having dinner, my guru asked me what I was eating, to which I replied I was eating Pork; Guruji exploded, “you are eating “suar ka meat” in front of a baba he screamed. Well Swamiji I said, “suar ka meat” is common place at Goa, it’s the, “bhang” of the people.
If religion is man made, what is spirituality ?
Wikipaedia says, “Spirituality may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity, personal growth, or blissful experience Traditionally, spirituality refers to a process of re-formation of the personality but there is no precise definition of spirituality”
Is spirituality the discovery of one`s “soul, vigour and breath” ? It could well be as there are preachers across the religious divide preaching the art of breathing to spiritual salvation and the holy grail. Heck that would make all athletes and swimmers supernatural spiritualists.
In the many years that I lived in New Zealand, I came across and became very closely acquainted with several people who had, “No Religion”. Yes no religion, none whatsoever.
When I first went to New Zealand in 1989, & met someone who told me they had no religion, I fiercely contested it, “how`s that possible, everyone has and must have a religion”.
Karl Marx years ago famously said, “Religion is the opium of the people” Be that as it may, I think this does find strong resonance in a Country like India.
Its perhaps the very faith of the populace, of every religion, class or creed, the opium that is perhaps keeping India whole, if there ever was or is a God, it surely must be in India. We as a Country universally qualify to have a god.
From what I know most spiritualists aver to attaining to know one self, and preach that there is one god, but more often than not they promote their own god, in deference to other gods and religions. Its not only Christianity which professes that Jesus is the Savior, from what I know, all religions lay claim to that tag.
I have often said there is no business like the sex business and the god business, this particularly finds a place of high strata in India.
Here we have god man doubling up as sex gurus, all in the name of god. Goodness knows they both provide vast sums of money and endless excitement.
One of the intrinsic elements of spirituality I was told is the infinite search to find ones self, and to acknowledge what one can do & to know what one cannot do.
If everyone was to thereby sit down & not push the boundaries of human endurance, and spirit, then life would be rather dull and boring.
I come from a school of thought which says, push and push and never give in, I revel in that.
In the mad quest to promote ones god, or faith or preachings, god man and god woman like politicians who venerate them; go to any length for self promotion over their god man colleagues. At the end of the day they are all fighting for the Spiritual TRP`s of the masses, and the masses money, and power that flows, which helps them to maintain their, “Charitable” NGO business.
Political sycophancy and spiritual and astrological refinement have great affinity, all heavily lean on each other for support.
The ever increasing number of so called spiritualist`s has increased exponentially in India, to the point of an explosion.
Funnily enough in the recent years that I have been associated with babas, my own baba would bemoan the lack of people wanting to know about god. People only want to ask astrological questions, no one asks me about god & spirituality.
On the other hand most foreigners, & I largely refer to the anglo saxon, white / blonde populace who tend to ask more spiritual questions related to god, and much less astrological questions.
Bottom line people will query what afflicts them.
There are multiple so called spiritual events taking place at Delhi right now. The whole of Delhi was in the midst of Spiritual Traffic Jam. At a point I did not think I would make the dinner I flew all the way from Goa to attend. To me it was my dear friends 60th, spirituality be damned.
Sex, politics, spirituality and astrology rules; lets face it, it’s a savage cut throat business.
Sanjiv T Lall