Mr. Ramaiyah, my next-door neighbor cried, “There are more saints here than sinners.” His anguish could have been avoided. He was clearly affected by the latest reports that were published. How true that statement of his is, I think! Every street has its own self-styled God-men – be it an ultra modern metro or the remotest of the village. How can God be there in so many places and that many forms. It is simply baffling. Only God would know. These so called saints come in all hues. Some claim, they could make a dead man walk; some others declare they can heal the seen and unseen wounds (physical and mental I mean). And, strangely, all of them seem to be proficient in astrology. Wonder how our past and future are on their tongue tips! However, how many of them have their pasts published? What adds to their mystery is perhaps their obscure history. My schoolteacher, in class 10th, was teaching us about Valmiki, the great saint who wrote Ramayana. He was a dreaded robber before he got reformed. Someone in the class quizzed our teacher, “Why is it that mostly the bad men end up as saints and soothsayers?” He did not give us a direct answer. He said with a mysterious smile, “If the blind would see light one day then they will appreciate it better than us”. I found it a very honest answer. Therefore, in my opinion there are two broad groups of saints. People who have never treaded the wrong path and those who have once sinned and now have renounced everything. Therefore, my assumption quite naturally is that these god-men have distanced themselves from the evils of their past before embracing accepted good of the society. By accepted good I mean what the current society thinks is moral. On a lighter note, I feel every holy man should state his manifesto / purpose clearly, before he ventures into this field drawing parallels to politics. He should not preach celibacy or continence if he does not believe or follow it. They should remember that one-day or the other their darker sides would be brought to light by a sting video or an investigative reporting. Also, pause a moment to think whether they are the only ones to be blamed. Perhaps, not.
Common man should also show some discretion. Every society wants leaders – be it politicians or saints. They want to follow someone powerful. They want to hear about the good the future has to offer them via these visionaries. But they will sleep with everyone, drink like a fish and lead another half-life but he/she wants everyone else to be morally sound. Later, they may attend seminars and discourses with the sole intention of undoing the evil deeds. They may suddenly start fearing Lord and want these divine men to show them the way to heaven, just like how the saints did it earlier in their lives. Belief is good. However, blind belief doesn’t do any good. They donate bags of money to these saints (men or women) taking for granted that it will be used for only good karma. What we never verify is how many of these trusts source it to nation building and how many for anti-social activities or personal gains! By saying this, I am not trying to despise the numerous players in this field. I would like to compare each of them to a publicly floated company. Some are fake, others genuine. These saints and their trusts are lawfully bound to scrutiny not only by government but also by public. If they are not sincere and turn out to be a dangerous predator under the sheepskin, then they ought to face the ire of the public and law. Ultimately, what you decide to do with your faith and money is your private business. None of that interests me. All I would wish to say is that with a little more prudence, you can avoid the embarrassment when your trusted holy man ends up in a holy mess.
Disclaimer : This is purely a work of fiction and bears no resemblance to any person living or dead or to any event that happened or would happen in the future. Opinions can be cited as comments and would be considered if the piece affects anyone’s sentiments.