Religion Industry


God save thy nation- is a myth. For he (or sometimes she) cannot save his house from the pouncing hynas, I doubt, he can save a country or queen or America or whatever. The sun never sets on the British empire, they said once, and lo! Its down and out today ! Cameron’s got baby, he’s happy, but Brit’s ? Nope. However, I do not intend to write about James or Jenny or Barrack or Palin or Clinton ! I honestly have no time for them right now. Lets get this straight. God CANNOT save his house from anyone. Last month I was travelling across India and unfortunately was made to visit some temples. Nice, serene, calm, pious. Ha ! Such words do not associate with famous temples any more. Temples, are no less than an Industry in India. Industry beyond merely tourism. Religion Industry, the way I like to call it, isn’t a small scale industry any more.

Capital ? Human faith, economical value, zero. What does one need to build a temple anyways ?  Nothing but some wise man, who talks business. Steps to create such a minting maching :
1. Narrow down on a Deity.
2. Find a fool to donate.
3. Find some more fools to done human effort to construct for free.
4. Nice little donation box right outside the god’s chamber.
5. Hire an employee (aka priest) and pay him NO salary.

Unlike establishing a donation camp for something like an Not for Profit organization, where the real work “might” just happen, Religion Industry provides a strong platform for donation, sheerly because of fear. Do good to good, or else ! Nevertheless, it only ends with an overflowing piggy bank. Nothing surprizing to me today for everything just driven by money !

I was travelling in northern India last month only to see the story with my own eyes. Jwala-devi temple, somewhere in Remote Himachal. The mountains around the temple have some source of natural gas/methane which comes out of some 7 holes in and around temple. Incidently they all are ignited and there is a constant fire, and thus the name Jwala-devi. The mythology behind the temple is as follows: Lord Shiv’s wife, Mata Sati, insists that they should attend a ceremony at her father’s palace, even though they aren’t invited. The lord, denies, however permits Mata Sati should visit her family. Reaching there only to find that Mata’s Sati’s father had not reserved the seat for his daughter and Son-in-Law. Instead, he also began abusing his Son-in-Law before his daughter, Mata Sati. This upset her so much that she jumped into the fire and burnt herself. This infuriated the Lord, but to save his wife from the miseries of the fire, he started to roaming about with the burning body to see if something can help abating the fire. The other heavenly gods and demi gods could not see this gruesome scene and thus requested the Lord Vishnu to do something about it. Incident, the god that he is, he had some knowledge of physics and thought that if he’d somehow increase the surface area, the heat emmission would faster and the fire would subside. As a result he started chopping the by now dead body of Mata Sati into 51 Pieces. Out of which the tongue fell at Jwala Devi, which is still burning. I wonder, how come even the lord Vishnu, couldnt subside the fire. Nevertheless, the fire is still on and in form of Natural Gas or methane ! There is another shiv temple right next to the main Jwalaji temple, which has a parallel myth story ! Lord Shiv was invited for lunch by Jwala devi, which he declined. Even after several invitations, Lord Shiv aka Gorakhnath, never turned up. This infuriated Jwala Devi and she forcefully asked him to join her for lunch. Smart, that the lord was, said, when the water in a particular puddle (naturally created on the mountain, right next to the jwalaji’s temple) heats up, he’d come over, till them he’d go and have a walk around the earth. The water, is still cold even though there are bubbles emerging out, making it seem like a boiling water, however in reality, it is the natural gas that comes from within.

On discussing with some of the people around, none was ready to believe for they seemed more like blinded by the faith. It was clearly evident that, the temple authorities probably never wanted the devotees to believe the same and as a result the myth is so prevalent in the area that, one cannot even go against it. Multiple donation boxes, unnecessary myth stories to crop up more temples around the areas, demanding priets, beggars and the businessmen who own shops around the temple. A multi-million dollar Industry ! This is a story of a small, not-so-famous Jwala Devi temple in remote Himachal. It is unimaginable to think about Tirupati, Vaishno Devi, Shirdi temples and many more spanning across the sub-continent ! Religion Industry, probably an only industry, where the government does not levy tax, the temple board do not feel accountible for the donations and there is no evidence that a certain amount was dropped in the donation box. Except for the formal donation booth, where one does get a reciept, there is no account for any penny dropped in anonymously out of FAITH.. err blind faith !

Some facts:
2. Donation at Tirupati Temple touches approximately $2 Million every month.
3. No figures on donations to the temple by board/authorities.
4. Devastating !
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