Is this the path to God?

A temple priest to a bunch of devotees at a random temple:

Which ‘darshan’ would you like to prefer today:
– Regular darshan of God’s idols from far away for Rs15/- in a very long queue?
– Silver darshan from 10 feet away for Rs50/- in a long queue?
– Gold darshan from 3 feet away for Rs 100/- in a very short queue ?
– Platinum darshan including touching idols’ feet for Rs350/- and no queue at all?

One of the devotees says she earns Rs20/- per day and not able to afford to pay Rs15,  mumbles something and leaves. Another devotee says he’ll pay for the Regular darshan. Meanwhile a software engineer dressed in a Louis Phillipe shirt and a bluetooth headset on his ear, says he is willing to pay Rs100 and stand in the short queue and get with it ‘quick’. Meanwhile, a VIP (government servant) arrives at the temple in a fleet of cars and pushes his way himself into the temple while various ‘salams’ are thrown at him by temple guards and priests.

There is yet another temple elsewhere in a residential colony. This temple only has one priest and has occasional devotees. While waiting for the next devotee, the priest continues to play remixed bhajans and songs at blaring decibel levels. People passing by the temple touch their heart with their right hand as a symbol of ‘devotion’. Meanwhile, a family arrives at the temple, removes their ‘dirty’ footwear and starts praying. The priest blurts out a few mantras, jingles the bell, puts a dome on their head and eagerly waits for his tip. He pockets the money and returns to his seat waiting for more ‘devotees’.

Is this what you call religion, and is this what it has come to? I thought religion was founded as a means to connect with the spiritual and as a path of light for when all other ways seem to be dark. However, the mockery that has been made of religion these days just turns me off and the very idea of God and religion that people have come to create in their minds is just disgusting for a large part.

I question the government: Who gave you the right to segregate people based on their economical status at a temple?All along, I was taught that God sees no race, color, or bank balance. Why should government servants be given a VIP treatment? Are they above the commoners who elected them into power, or is it they have been chosen as special devotees by God Himself?

I question people, what makes you start praying something that was a block of clay or a shapeless stone just sometime ago? What makes you think for any moment that God might be present in these idols or places of worship that man made himself a few weeks, years or hundreds of years ago? What devotion is this that can be bought for a few Rupees and is forgotten the moment you step outside the temple? Have you ever wondered why man has been subject to this strange phenomenon called Religion?

I welcome criticism.

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7 Responses to Is this the path to God?

  1. akshay paaji says:

    Well, me thinks its perfectly normal for people to be charged a fee for their illusions. God Created Man, and Man created himself an Image. White man has his God with Blue eyes, Mexican Gods are usually a darker shade and some how GOD’s seem to not like Kangaroos. May be coz they are not a comfortable ride!. I agree its important to bond with the higher power at some level, but its does not necessary have to be via a visit to a holy place. Or does it? And if so, why can’t that holy place be a space within us? right? Ok, interesting fact. Buddha and Mahavir are two great personalities. Neither of them talk of GOD, rather they stress on ones action and Karma. Both have however entered GODhood, cast in bronze or marble.

  2. Jay says:

    Religion was a means of control and in many cases, they labelled God to anything they could not explain. God is an excuse, God is their laziness. Religion was procured by barbarians and it must not have a position in modern society. Drawing from the previous response, I would say that Buddhism is the ideal religion. There is no mention of God, it was a way of life, a guideline to moral living. Buddhism accomplished what (proper) religions were meant to do.

  3. Sahithy says:

    I am surprised that although you tried to view everything in 360 degrees, you missed out on the most essential point . Money, although man made and artificial, is what runs the world.

    The temple that has a queue probably serves free parsad and those who do not charge a dime sell the prasad. But one needs to understand that to make that prasad, pay for the priest and his family money is needed. Where would this money come from ? The Government ? In a so called secular state like India in what proportion should money be allocated to different religious places ? This debate on the right proportions will shake the parliment into shambles. So, temples make money but also have a free darshan queue, which is mostly long . Temples take money from those who value time beyond other’s inconvinience and at times God and use it for their well being. It is religion that unites such huge masses and this money can be used for many welfare programs.

    How many of us really bother whose principles we follow except for a few rituals that we still adhere to in a very obligatory manner ? If some good can be done, then so be it .

    Believe me when I say that none will want to stand in a free line until forced to . We have it because we want it.

  4. hyd2vizag says:

    Hey Sahithy, I perfectly understand the need for money to run the temple and free prasad services. But what justifies the need for so much money that you have to sweep it off the floor everyday (Tirupati)? And why do you still have to charge those poor souls (free-darshan) money for prasadam? Where is the transparency for all the funds received?

    It is man’s sheer stupidity that has led him to the temple in the first place. How else can someone believe God resides on one of the 7 hills or in the temple just around the corner? It is this moronic concept of God that attracts hordes of homo sapiens every day to religious institutions around the world.

    Religion unites, yes, but divides in many more ways. People turn into their religion’s slaves and live in fear of offending their God(s). Religion is archaic and needs to be done away with.

  5. Ravi Sekhar says:

    Am a Hindu, a hardcore, but couldn’t digest this money system for Darshan, Why should anyone pay to see our own God, For God every being is equal. Do any one think if we pay 100 for darshan another 50 to 100 to priest to see the God closely have some mantras by the priest so that we get blessing of God? Why this un- equavality in our self’s / system? Is God likes this system? Can’t we change the system?

  6. Ravi Sekhar says:

    You are absolutely right, that is why am not going to any temple which has a ticket system, I visit small temples frequently to have darshan and peace without paying to ticket or priest but to Hundi only.
    My worry is due to this stupid people and system Hindutva is losing its spiritual holy shine.

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