Or in other words, religions and cults, are one of the most interesting organic entities that man has ever created. It amazes me to find people adhere, switch, juggle and denounce these MBSs with unabated conviction and zeal. I remember once mentioning this to a friend, “Anything which requires me to first believe in it before understanding it or realising it, is surely not the Truth.”
I was exposed to Jiddu Krishnamurthy at the age of 18 (you decide whether that is young or not). An uncle of mine read some of my essays (unpublished) and thought I was inspired by JK. Unfortunately, I hadn’t read JK till then and had only heard about him (spoken in hushed tones at home, because mom didn’t quite like him though dad, who in a way resembles JK, used to attend his discussions). Fortunately, the first piece of JK’s thought that I read was this: Truth is a Pathless Land. I clearly remember jumping out of my chair and exclaiming: “Jolly good, this man makes sense!” I have read him only sporadically after that, just to pass my time.
Why I recount this incident is to clarify what many people think: Eroteme is a follower/believer of JK (though you would believe in and not of). I am still to figure what I believe in. Even Taoism is something I realise and not believe in per se. Nevertheless, it would be safer to say that I am a non-believer or a pan-believer than anything else.
What amazes me (and I wrote a piece of fiction in Alvibest about this) is the cult movements that attract so many people from all over the world. Be it Osho, Sri Sri Ravishanker (SSRS) or Satya Sai Baba, they all seem to be doing or saying the same stuff which was told and done for centuries. For centuries, India has been the fertile bed of several schools of philosophy and religion. This is the land which also created the Samkhya Philosophy as well as the Bhakthi movement. But there never was a cult for Yajnavalkya, for instance. So why do re-hashes and packaging get so much attention?
Today, I read about SSRS on Atanu Dey’s blog. I enjoy what he writes though, often, I take it with a pinch of salt (well, he is a passionate man) but his series on SSRS is very accurate and fair. It was quite hilarious reading, though the humour was more thanks to SSRS’s devotees than any other reason. Coincidentally, I also read Steven Hayes’ theory on happiness and a dear friend was clear in her observation: this is for crazy people who can’t understand themselves. I will explain later why Steven and SSRS are mentioned in the same paragraph.
I think the cults are for the mentally and psychologically incomplete individuals. It is surely not for those who are serious about life and Truth. Had they been serious, they would have stuck to their search of Truth and not stuck to an individual. An individual can never be Truth. He might have an idea of Truth, but he will never be Truth. As the great Lao Tzu said, those who know, speak not (verse 56). Then what about JK or Buddha, you ask. I don’t really care. Whatever they may have been, they were more interested in Truth and life and went into that question deeply without prescribing techniques and gimmicks. Hence, I respect them although I do not agree with them on many counts.
Only those who are dissatisfied seem to go in search of cults. have you heard about any person who was so happy with his job, family, friends, hobbies, financial situation, health but still went out in search for a cult to add to his happiness? Cults prey on those who aren’t clear about themselves or life. Cults are like shots and provide nothing more than a feel-good dose. One more thing about these cults that makes me roll my eyes is this name changing business. Suddenly someone is SarvaSukhaAnanda (I don’t know anyone like this and just made it up. Any resemblance to anyone dead or alive is pure coincidence). India has this obsession with Anand, Baba, and Shri (even atma and maharaj). Everyone great must have one of these in his or her name (maa, rani, devi etc. for women). Get real, guys! ISKCON takes the cake for the renaming game.
Cults grate on my nerves because they seem to move away from what they tout. At least Hubbard was honest enough to say: “the way to become a millionaire is to create a religion”. And he did.
How can the multitude bring peace to an individual?
How can chanting whatever bring peace to all those who chant?
How can you charge something (money, favours, what you will) when you claim that this is Truth or God’s word?
As Atanu correctly points out, people aren’t really interested in the effort that goes into spiritual awakening. As I have always believed (and am certain of it), each person has to individually work towards his nirvana. There is no way someone else is going to take you there while you watch Sex and the City. Why should someone do that? What makes you deserve that? While reading or listening to people might help one in one’s own journey (which need not be entirely intellectual or scientific), modifying the journey to now become centred around this particular gentleman is quite … well, off the mark.
My question to cults has typically been this: If your wo/man (the person you worship) dies, then will the great spiritual bliss and blah all die out? If it will then you should realise that this is no longer the Truth. If it won’t, then why do you want to stick to her/him and not the Truth? I don’t hate/dislike the central person, but one should realise that s/he is not the Divine, not Truth. Why do numbers, marketing plans, stunts, shows and gimmicks rank higher than the Truth?
Get a life. Meditate and if you are meant to attain the Divine, then you will. And what is so great about being philosophical or spiritual or one with the Divine? It only seems to be another point to score on to most people. If it isn’t, you wouldn’t care about cults. Touche’