There are some so-called ‘godmen’ who “try to hoodwink us with charms and magic and rigmarole,” says Ashutosh Agnihotri who has mixed feelings when it comes to those who claim to be the middleman between God and man
There are people who have reverence for ‘godmen’. There are also people who have sheer contempt for them. I have looked at godmen with certain fixed feelings. The flowing saffron robe (nowadays, the colour changes as per designers and current trends!) and the flowing beard, black or white or grey (I am still waiting to see beards of other colours though) with the mystical glow and mysterious smile on the face have both intrigued and impressed the inquisitive in me. Many of them have landed in clammy and controversial situations: some have been arrested for their amorous (a euphemism for lecherous) pursuits, while others have been booked for murder and lesser crimes like forgery and swindling. Whatever the case might be, they continue to have a sway on the minds of the masses - the gullible followers who tend to feel that their actions and inactions would be redeemed by the words or songs or dance or trance of these godmen.
There is nothing bad in trying to understand God or religion or spirituality. In fact all of us are actuated by the impulse of mystery and the charm of the unknown. While there is no doubt that there are hundreds and thousands of people who have genuinely seen or felt the Divine and there are real saints who have had or can genuinely claim to be the link between god and men, there are millions who try to misuse and abuse both God and men. The real ones can move us with their wisdom, kindness, compassion, service and austerity that one can feel in their words and see in their actions. The fake ones try to hoodwink us with charms and magic and rigmarole. It is for the discerning mind to see and see through. It is for us to be how God has wanted us to be: rational yet not too sceptical, innocent yet not too gullible, sensible yet not too selfish, ambitious yet not too ruthless and worldly yet not devoid of kindness and compassion.
I am also a believer that no one is really required to be between God and men. If someone tries to come in the middle, he may at best be a middleman and certainly not a godman. But this is an individual opinion. I have no intention to damage the flourishing business. I have no desire to challenge the wisdom of the millions who have an unflinching faith in godmen. “There are more things on Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in philosophy.” Hence without being judgmental, I shall continue to think that worshipping God and serving men may still be better than blindly following godmen. Oops, I have almost pronounced a judgment!
<p style="\\\\"text-align:" left;="" \\\\"=""> The author is Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), based in Guwahati.