By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
As per the Indian or if I may say Hindu tradition, when someone takes the path of renunciation or “sannyas” they have to leave behind worldly duties, though in a sense a renunciant accepts the world as his family but the focus turns spiritual in nature, from outward to inward. Life of a sannyasi is one of a Spartan discipline which not everyone can bear to follow. It’s a hard ascetic existence with certain set of rules but the modern times babas are more of an armchair monk rather than the revered figures defined in the scriptures. The term saint is too casually applied these days but still the ardent, devoted practitioners can be found in some places but not in limelight off course.
Given the history of our country it’s next to impossible to keep the state and religion separate, in theory every citizen is equal in the eyes of law but sometimes when it comes to Gurus who can wield considerable influence in vote count the law looks the other way. This systemic flaw can be downright abused as the nation watched in case of Dera Sacchaa Sauda. No political party pointed the finger at the Dera because votes became valuable than lives and property of ordinary citizens. Should we turn the blind eye too, does being a practicing Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or of any faith means that we blindly follow what a priest, Maulvi or baba tell us. Followers of these “Messengers of God” come from all stratums of the society and they sustain their Dera or Ashram with their hard earned money. Shouldn’t someone ask the question where this money is going, yes by name and nature these institutions are not for profit and hence tax free but isn’t it someone’s responsibility to make sure that the people are not swindled in the name of faith. Why we don’t have an auditing system for religious organizations.
I know it’s tantamount to heresy for some but then if an organization id practicing what it preaches wouldn’t it enforce people’s trust in its work. If a madrasa is preaching jihad or a Ram Rahim in a Dera is raping and murdering unsuspecting believers shouldn’t it be brought to public knowledge. Dera is a blistering example of what follows when a place of faith falls apart, when false prophets bring hell instead of heaven on earth. Ashrams, temples and other religious institutions should not become dens of deceit and duplicity, someone has to make sure of this and maybe its time we take a step in this direction.