Lindsay Pereira: No questions for gurus, please

Published: Nov 18, 2017, 06:15 IST | Lindsay Pereira

It's amusing how so many spiritual leaders in our country want us all to sit in silence and blindly accept what they do or don't tell us

I was blocked by a famous godman on Twitter a while ago. This came as a huge surprise to me, because the godman in question had spent the last few months urging the millions who follow him to find their inner peace and not allow the outside world to ruin their peace of mind. I struggled to try and understand how an unenlightened non-spiritual being like me had managed to upset his equilibrium and annoy him to such an extent that he or his social media marketing team (all gurus have them these days) wanted to make sure someone as insignificant as I would never be able to question him on Twitter ever again.

It's easy to see why the godmen in our country are so touchy about anyone questioning their practices. Representation pic
It's easy to see why the godmen in our country are so touchy about anyone questioning their practices. Representation pic

This has upset me to such an ext­ent that I am seriously considering becoming a paying member of the godman's organisation. I have to pay, of course, because everything he does involves a fee. If I want to learn something important that supposed­ly came to him while he was sitting under a tree; I don't see why he will impart that piece of knowledge to me for free. If I want to study what he has to say in detail, I will have to buy one of the hundred books he churns out with the kind of regularity that would put Stephen King to shame. He has his own line of products too now, a never-ending stream of consumer goods that are all supposedly superior to any other product manufactured by any other company with links to the West.

The West is a huge problem for our country's godmen. They have figured out in their infinite wisdom that the West exists only to shame India and keep her down. If it weren't for the presence of the West, our country would have been the best, most astonishing, most powerful and most respected country on Earth a few centuries ago.

I humbly tried reasoning with one of this particular godman's acolytes, pointing out that the only thing keeping India from becoming a better country was Indians themselves. After all, it isn't people from the West who run our government offices and ask for bribes for just about every reason under the sun.

The acolyte responded by calling me an anti-national, obviously, and then proceeded to block me too. I assumed healthy debate and dialogue weren't being encouraged in any of the guru's classes.

It's easy to see why our godmen are so touchy about anyone questioning their practices. I can't blame this particular one for being annoyed, because I had the temerity to point out that many of his messages to his followers were so blatantly designed to obfuscate that one could read anything one wanted into them. What does this really mean, I asked, time and again, when faced with yet another cryptic message that was retweeted by a million of his followers, who usually struggled to understand the simpler concepts, such as the fact that Harry Potter wasn't real.

Being a godman is big business in a country like ours, where literacy rates are abysmal and where morality and basic human decency often take a backseat the minute we are born. For proof, try having a child at a government hospital, and watch as orderlies pester you for money even before your child is transferred from womb to cradle. With millions of blind followers comes millions in hard cash, all thrown generously at one's feet in the hope of spiritual salvation, because we are a country that would rather give to our gods in the hope of a comfortable afterlife, than to the poor who desperately need our charity in this one.

I intend to spend the next couple of weeks trying to recover from the loss of received wisdom from this godman on Twitter. I will no longer be able to keep track of the many public events he graces, and will be uninformed of the many peace deals he constantly brokers between warring factions everywhere on the planet, with the help of his many Air Miles. I will have to sleep the sleep of the unenlightened, with no access to my Inner Being, because the Godman has kicked me out of his social media kingdom.

Maybe it's all for the best though. Maybe I can now focus on things that really matter, get in touch with that elusive soul of mine and understand the workings of the universe. Maybe I'm finally ready to quit my day job and become a godman myself.

When he isn't ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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