Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The business of spirituality

Long back I joined a spiritual organization in India and did a meditation course. For people who do not know what a spiritual organization is - it is a business that has a CEO (AKA Guru) who claims to be an avatar of some god and he has employees (AKA devotees) who do marketing and other jobs associated with running this organization. The CEO's job is to make nice motivational speeches (stolen from some books), talk about spirituality (from old scriptures), teach some breathing techniques (invented long back by yogis) and also claim that he/she knows everything about the ultimate truth (why and how all of this exist).

So what is spirituality? For me being spiritual means being a good human, feeling satisfied/ content also having a wonder of what lies beyond our knowledge of the universe, a thinker and someone who doesn't gain ultimate pleasure in consuming material/worldly things. When one wonders about the bigger picture they realize how petty the concepts of religion and wars are. So would a spiritual person really look for fame-popularity- money-reverence and make ignorant claims that they know it all?

I am a strong believer of science, it states everything with proofs. You can hate science but you can't deny it. When I heard this particular Guru talk I thought it did not make any sense. Why are people blindly following him? I have seen people following Gurus who pull out watches and stuff from their mouths, trust me all the factories will shut down if people start doing things like that, how can anyone believe in that? I mean this is 2015 for science's sake.

To my surprise it is not just the naive or uneducated people who become victims to inane concepts like Guru. I was surrounded by people from all fields during my course - doctors, engineers, scientists. I thought I was the only one who thought that the concept of spiritual company is ridiculous. Spirituality is a business for them, something that buys their sisters Louis Vuittons. I laughed at the whole thing and stayed away.

I recently saw a short film called Kumare which is based on the same topic.

I wish I had made such a short film with my experiences to portray the politics-gossip-sex and scandals that happen in these so called 'spiritual' organizations. I also wish I had the courage to name such orgs or gurus but I don't as most of them have goons and lawyers to take care of those who do not have nice things to say about them.

I highly recommend the film Kumare - it is available on Youtube and I also urge you that don't be a part of such orgs. Being part of an organization or having a Guru does not mean you are on a spiritual path. 

You don't need any such CEO, just read self help books, read science, wonder, live, have a hobby, think about the bigger picture, be a better human and that's it... you will be your own Guru.


Nitin Ware said...

Your blogs have been very interesting, been following them for quite some time. Keep posting, Thanks.

The Shaolin said...

Science.... Except it's not always right! Neither does it have all the answers!
Science, too is corrupt and riddled with politics, scam, scandals, etc. Spirituality is often used synonymous with blind faith! Same can be said about Science. For simple things yes, Science is great, but what about atoms, electrons, quantum physics, string theory, black holes, you and me as a common man HAVE to take someone's word for it. Peer-review is almost a joke, there was an expose recently that said the results from close to 50% of peer-reviewed papers could not be replicated by anyone else!
The person describing science/experiments is also a human, afflicted with same human vices as any other. While all makes sense, we have no way of practically verifying everything science says. Point being: One cannot blindly follow any faith (un)spiritual leader more than one can follow science!
Something non-quantum'y take health-science for example, esp. in US of A. What it claimed about nutrition 50 yrs ago and what they are saying today (fat-sugar-carbs), not that they didn't know the truth then, they didn't want to let the truth out.

In the end, it's a judgement call one has to make with an objective mind. Having had the good fortune of met some great Gurus myself (not as part of any organization!) treading the path of spirituality with self-help books is no where close to the one taken with the Guru!

Sadly, too many bad-CEO's have abused people in the guise of spirituality for their own ill-gains.

But true, in the end, self-help books or not, CEO or not, be a good human being, that's all it boils down to! :)
My policy is very simple and 100% effective... when in doubt about motives, always follow the money trail! It is yet to fail me!

Rasika Mahabal said...


Rasika Mahabal said...