Over the past few weeks the Indian media has been bringing to light stories about holy men indulging in not-so-holy activities! Well, screaming headlines and video footage bordering on pornography for the sensation mongering media have brought to the fore what religion is about- sex! If one were to look for the common factor between jihadis, swamis and the priests of the Roman Catholic Church it could be only one- obsession with sex.
As has been said before, one craves more for what one has been deprived of, and sex is the one thing that has been denied to all these categories. It is not that such behaviour does not occur between followers of other religions in similar circumstances, but their number is significantly less and hence does not hit the headlines as often. However, some such acts have been reported among Jains and Buddhists too.
The behaviour of Nityananda whose tapes have been played ad nauseum on some of the TV channels has been justified as consensual sex and that being caught on video has been said to be invasion of his privacy. The saffron robed pimp who has been caught in Delhi can get away with lack of evidence. But, more despicable is the act of the Roman Catholic clergy who have traumatised innocent children and probably scarred their psyche for life. No number of apologies from Vatican can remove this trauma from the minds of these children who have been betrayed by the very guardians of the religion whose deity was supposed to be watching over and protecting children! Well that brings us to sex and the jihadis- what do they have in common? If one recalls most of the jihadis are young boys brain washed into sacrificing their lives for a trip to heaven where they can indulge in carnal delights to their hearts content with dozens of virgins who will remain in that state regardless of the number of times they indulge in sex!
Why do religions have this obsession with sex and prescribe celibacy for their so called enlightened? Many of the so called preachers have to lead very austere lives- with exceptions of course! If you take the Roman Catholic clergy only delights that are forbidden to them are that of indulging in sex! They can enjoy all other luxuries in open, while the forbidden one could be indulged in secretly or with unsuspecting children. There is a saying- If you want gay nights and good dinners, dine with saints and bed with sinners! The Roman Catholic Church believes in prescribing abstinence in only one department. The same is applicable to many of the so called Swamijis and Jagadgurus of the religious establishments in our country. The jewellery that they wear would put to shame the brides of the wealthiest of our land. All this is excused as the desire of the devotees. Probably the same could be the excuse for indulgence in sex too. If a devotee desires the same, what is wrong with fulfilling their desires? Thus would run the argument of the defenders of these swamijis!
Not to be left out of the debate on moral degradation of the saffron robed, the squeaky voiced one who teaches people to breathe and the one who has made millions by indulging in contortions and thumbing his nose at people joined the debate by demanding strictest of the punishment for those who call themselves as swamis and indulge in such immoral activities. What about those who call themselves as that and indulge in land grabbing, extortion and such rackets? What about those who promise cures for everything under the sun without a shred of evidence to support their claims? They would naturally be silent on these issues as these are precisely the things in which they indulge!
Why should ‘celibacy’ be prescribed for these people? One argument of the saffron brigade would be that suppression of sexual urges leads the diversion of this energy to other channels and this is supposed to be the reason for the extraordinary shine on their faces and the rest of the body. The Roman Catholic Church may talk about the original sin and the need to be kept away from it. There are quite a few cults who prescribe celibacy for their followers. One young lady who was the follower of such a cult called Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vidyalaya had attended one of our five day workshops for miracle exposure. After tolerating her presence for a few days, I asked her a question about Brahmacharya prescribed by her cult. She replied that it would lead one closer to god etc, as brainwashed by her cult. I had to ask her where she would have been if her parents were celibate? She had no reply but mumbled vaguely. Then I asked her whether her cult forbids breathing, eating etc. her reply was in the negative. In that case why should they forbid only one biological activity, that too which is very much needed for the continuance of the race? Of course, my pointed questions resulted in her absence from the program from the very next day. She was a very junior activist of that cult. The more well-known people like the Nobel peace prize aspirant squeaky voice and the contortionist have more convoluted excuses for celibacy and justify by it by various ‘reasons’. This abstinence theory is more of a Christian import as it is the biblical concept of ‘original sin’ of Eve that has labeled reproductive activity as a curse of God! This idea of abstinence from sex or Brahmacharya was also promoted by Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi as one of the most desirable of virtues, probably induced by the guilt in his mind that he was indulging in that when his father had died.
Well, this leads us to the question of the sexual indulgences of the so called renunciates. Is it illegal? Well if seen from a legal point of view, sexual intercourse between two consenting adults of the same or different genders is not a crime. There are laws on adultery applicable if the woman indulging in heterosexual activity is married, but if she is not, then it cannot be called as anything illegal. However one has to note that these sections on adultery are gender specific– they are applicable to the woman only! It does not matter if the man is married! The supreme court has come to this same conclusion about the cases filed against an actor in Tamilnadu for advocating premarital sex. It may be recalled that cases had been filed against this lady for making a public statement to that effect a few years back. There had been demonstrations by women’s groups and a number of cases filed against her all over Tamil Nadu just to harass her. The judgment in her special leave petition filed at the Supreme Court had quashed all these cases and had also pronounced that sexual activity between consenting adults cannot be construed as a criminal offence. We have to see what the Dals and Senas of our district have to say about it. Their view is that even being together or speaking to each other in a public place is an offence, and the police act like agents of these people. This sense of outrage is even more when the male belongs to another community and the female is a Hindu!
We do agree that the clergy of all religions are human like all of us. If they are, then it would behove them to act like humans and not like superhumans. Let them give up their hypocrisy about these things and stop giving themselves fancy names and fancier titles. They should not demand or get any exemptions from any laws of the land and get facilities at subsidised rates or free and land at throwaway prices. Often, they are the repositories of the ill gotten wealth of corrupt politicians since they are exempt from tax raids. Let them be treated exactly like us ordinary mortals and then we shall agree that they too can indulge in those activities in which we do! When this is the case, women shall treat them like they do other males and no one will think that the children are safe with them. If all these happen I am sure that their robes shall lose their charms and they will be categorised as the ordinary mortals that we are. The shine on their faces due to the austerities that they allegedly practice will disappear and from Brahamacharis they will become sansaris like all of us!