I recently was conducting a workshop on anxiety and how to battle it,as part of the programe we moved onto the segment of "testing the mind of the participants."
This is an exciting, game-like exercise where the participants are divided into teams
and healthy participation of every individual is made to count for.
In a nutshell, its a Question and Answer Session with some general and direct questions on a specific topic. Subsquenlty thru a combined effort of everyone present, the verbal data is converted into a statistical figure which deplects the prevelance of certain irrational, fear causing thoughts and behaviors among the individuals of the group. The aim is to help an individual self-analyse, broaden his horizon of psychological vision and channelise his energies onto positive thoughts and elimination of fear.
This time, I decided to touch upon the subject of religion-based donations.
The First question was asked on "how many people had visited some-kind of religious practioner within the last one week? (swami, gurus, maulanas, priests..)
A good 50%of the pariticipants answered affirmatively.
I further enquired "how many people had donated money or clothes to some religious practioner within the last one month?"
This time we hit higher grounds, with nearly 80% of the participants answering positively.
We further discussed on "how many of those who had donated were 100% confident that their donations would not be used in some illegal purpose?"
Astonishingly only 12% seemed confident on that.
A 89% of those who had donated,felt they had done a good deed that will earn them a positive note from god.
The graph of donations was amazingly colorful. In figures it ranged from one rupee to a hundred thousand. While in "to whom" section it ranged from road-side babas, to media (newspaper/t.v.) advertised tantriks, to "holy" god-men followed by their friends and family.
on deeply excavating the reasons why did they blindly donate without questioning on the authenticity or without verifying their acitivities or even without thinking about previous criminal records of these god-men?
the heart of every answer turned out to be - FEAR
A group analysis of this fear, lead us to a travel thru time. Every participant recounted how since childhood he or she had constantly, repeatedly and empathically recieved religous preachings full of stories on how god blesses only those who love his men.
Many of the hindu participants vividly recollected the various "kathas" (religous stories) that always centered on pleasing god thru the godmen.
Be it be the one that told how in an ancient pious land,a wealthy king became popper for not giving alms to a godman. Or the one that told how a wealthy couple fought evil by pleasing a priest.
Other participants narrated respective stories from their religious faiths centered around the same topic.
This also opened the eyes of the group to the deep, unconcious impact that these stories and preachings had left on their minds.
The cue of a swami-dressed beggar, or someone reciting verses from the holy books, ignited the fear of not displeasing god in any form, which pushed them to commit irrational actions. It stoped them from asking the about authenticity of the concerned.It stoped them from finding out the activities in which their money would be use. It stoped from analysing were being fooled or traped by a malicious anti-social individual. It just told them to comply by the godman's wishes so god will bless them with happiness.
Time and again this fear, and the automated behavioral response that it generates has been exploited by con-men, drug-addicts, social-criminals and terrorists to take advantage of people from all socio-cultural levels. From the poorest to the richest, from the illiterate to the geniuses they all have fallen prey to the FEAR of displeasing god.
Incidents like multi-million rupee scam by a self-proclaimed baba in gujurat, and nationwide sex-racket conducted by ichadhari baba in delhi, a south-indian celebate swami caught in compromising positions with a female devote are just extreme example of the monster that this fear feeds.
Everyday millions of rupees are donated world wide in the name of this Fear. Its probable that 90% of that money doesnt help anyone, but fuels physical and emotional anti-social acts against society.
The teachings of God universally propagate love... but also warn from not helping those who destroy the essence of Love...
Free your mind from fear, and embrace the Love for God.