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pseudo-gods and hinduism

From: Shuba (swamis_at_rpi.edu)
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 10:59:35 PDT

Respected devotees,

I have the following to humbly offer as my perspective 
regarding this rather strongly worded post:

>I put forth the few lines which are haunting me since a few 
>years. These are about two self-styled / self-declared 
>incarnations of Lord Vishnu or Lord Siva or Adi Sesha.

To the best of my knowledge, neither of these "self-styled" 
people declared THEMSELVES as incarnations of the supreme god.
Its the people around them who did so. Therefore, the ire may 
have been partially misdirected. 


>	He is the present craze of all people all over India.  
>I do not know.  Stories are concocted that he is the kaliyuga 
>incarnation of Lord Vishnu (I have come across his photos, 

Exactly! These are STORIES concocted by the people and must be 
treated as such. If we take this seriously, we must go the 
whole none yards and PROVE that the claims are false. Vitriolic 
rhetoric without proof will only serve to inflame passions and 
encourage mudslinging leading to even more divisiveness and 
misunderstanding.

> People  have stooped to such a depraved extent that they 
>believe more in him than our Lord Sriman Narayanan or Lord 
>Shiva as if our Hindu Gods are 'impotent'. 

Respected sir, is the 'impotent' part your inference or have 
devotees really said that? Please do not mistake my intent - I 
am NOT a Sai devotee myself - I am merely an ordinary hindu 
with a deep faith in the supreme lord who is seeking to examine
issues with an open mind without preconcieved notions.

Curiosity regarding this phenomenon led me to attend one of the 
Sai Bhajan sessions in my neighborhood. My experience was quite 
different. The Bhajans sung praised Rama, Krishna and our other 
Hindu gods. What they stressed on was how there is only one god 
and how there are different margas to reach him. In fact, I was 
VERY pleasantly surprised when they sang an English Bhajan that 
went "Om Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram - Chant the name so 
divine - Praise the name so holy and pure..". I am not entirely 
convinced that people who can sing such Bhajans with fervour 
can possibly think of our gods as impotent. I hasten to admit 
that this was my first and only experience at such a gathering 
and you may know more from your own experience.



>He may be a good person (I do not know this too),but
>let us not equate him with God.    I find his photo in many of 
>thehouses.I do not mind that, but what is causing heartburn to 
>me is that I findhis photo is our own Great Sri Vaishanavas's 
>homes in Pooja Mandiram just besides our Great Salagramam and 
>Udaivar's photo. 

Could the motivation here have been because our scriptures say
"Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Guru devo Maheshwara" and "Matru 
devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava, Guru Devo Bhava"? He could have 
been placed there because his followers respected him as a Guru 
and not because they thought he was god. Its only a suggestion.

Afterall, dont out scriptures say that true enlightenment is 
impossible unless learnt at the feet of a learned guru and 
hence the deep respect for our teachers in our culture?


>	Verbatimly speaking, the word of  "Sai" means "a 
>prophet of Muslim religion", so how can a muslim person become 
>"our" Hindu Guru, or HinduGod (as he is referred to).  

Maybe because in the Bhagavad Gita Bhagawan Sri Krishna says 
that I am the only god and no matter which route you choose, 
you will finally come to me if you follow the path you have 
chosen with sincerity and faith? If you take him at his word, 
what difference does it make if the person is addressed as a 
muslim or a christian in his human form? Isn't it only true and 
sincere faith that matters? We will all reach the lord's lotus 
feet in the end, he promises us.

That brings to my mind a quote by Swami Chinmayananda " There 
are only two kinds of people in this world - Hindus and people
who are actually hindus but dont know it yet!" :) 

>To gain popularity, the propogators of this Sai satsang have 
>stooped to such depraved state that they distribute a pamphlet 
>to all persons to whom they come in contact.  The pamphlet 
>reads like this : "Afterreading this pamphlet you are required 
>to send 500/1000 copies are all your nearand dear.  The result 
>--  you may win a lottery.  On the other hand, if youtear off 
>this, a big catastrophe may take place in your life".   For a 
>common man who comes across this, the fear that may take place 
>may compel him circulate 500 copies.  

I somehow percieve this as amusing rather than as a threat to 
our religion. Its a lot like these email chain letters. At 
least email doesn't cost money to forward. 

Think what will happen when the poor chap spends money from his 
pocket to make 500 copies and waits for ever more to win that 
lottery. Do you think that being Rs.50 poorer and no lottery 
money in sight will make him any kind of a true devotee of Sai 
Baba, especially if it was done out of greed as you suggest? 

Don't we have such people among our mainstream Hindus itself? 
All these people who buy a lottery ticket from the stall 
outside the temple with promises to shave their heads at 
Tirupati if they win the lottery are all in the same boat, 
aren't they?

>Or the avarice of making a quick fortune makeshim to circulate 
>the copies. That's how he submits his 'soul'  to the so-called
>ordinary Muslim person.   

I have my misgivings about the above statement - If the "soul" 
is the atman and if we believe our scriptures that say "Tat 
Tvam asi", then aren't all of us manifestations of god? Please 
correct me if I am wrong - I though it was because we Hindus 
believe that, we have the habit of performing "namaskaram" to 
our elders, respected ones and especially our gurus. I thought 
a namaskaram was a way of symbolically saying "I surrender my 
ego in front of you, whose atma has realized god in his pure 
state". Isn't that the justification why even older people in 
the Grihastaashrama perform namaskaram to a Brahmachari/Sanyasi 
who is supposed to be more god realized because of their 
austerities and knowledge? If we are to reject that concept of 
god in fellow humans as other religions do, THEN submitting 
once ego (I think of it as a submission of the ego rather than 
of the soul) to another human being would be wrong. Could 
someone more learned please clarify my doubt?



>Kindly excuse me for using this foul language,but
>I do not find  suitable words to vent out my anger on this 
>Pseudoincarnation of Lord Vishnu / Shiva --  I would call this 
>submission ofsoulto another person other than to our God (our 
>Hindu God - be it LordVishnu or Lord Shiva) as "Prostitution" 
>- "Prostitution of the Soul".    

Why do we continue to harbor this concept of a "Hindu god" and 
a non-hindu god if god is Brahman and Sri Krishna unequivocally 
states that I am the only one and that all roads lead to me? 
Isn't that what each of the non-hindu gods say? I took it to 
mean that all roads lead to Rome, in this case, the one god. I 
can call Rome by any other name but that does not change the 
nature of what Rome is - similarly god. All that I ask is I be 
allowed to call god by the name that I prefer - Sri Krishna and 
be allowed to follow my path of reaching him. Why denounce 
anothers choice by the same token?

>Idiomatically speaking, "if a lie is told thousand times, it
>becomes "Truth" with the passage of time and becomes ingrained 
>deep inour minds". 

Only to the unenlightened and those who want to believe it. The 
Sattvic personality that is supposed to be our highest 
aspiration as human beings according to the Bhagawad Gita, 
Chapter 18, verse 20, is supposed to have the ability to 
clearly discern the truth from the falsehood.

I believe that if it were not Sai Baba, the people who want to 
be misled will believe something else. We should be addressing 
the cause of this problem and not the effect. The cause is lack 
of knowledge and proper guidance.

I have one very strong positive thing to say about these 
religious leaders though -

They have done an incredible amount of social service among 
India's poorest and weakest than I, who spend thousands 
travelling to India to visit the holy places with my deep 
belief in Hinduism have not.

For this reason alone, they deserve to be praised rather than 
condemned because without their efforts god knows how many more 
of India's poorest would have been enticed into Christianity by 
the west-funded missionaries. Atleast now, these people sing of 
Rama and Krishna - without the Sai Baba's, most of these people 
would have sold their souls for money to the missionaries which 
should be considered even more depraved.

Respectfully,
Shuba.



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