Friday, March 8, 2013

Vincent and the Numinous Presence – The Voice of Reason



Corporate Compensations
It appears that worried heads are deliberating in the Vatican who the new Pope should be. A source of worry may be the falling membership of the church or perhaps how to deal with troubling scandals. Similar worries confront many other religious groups and organizations in the modern world. Some of the Hindu temples use a simple but apparently effective technique, they tell the innocents that they will get their heart's desire visiting and giving a gift to the deity in the temple. Apparently the deity does not collect the wealth but the priests do. Some have amassed a huge amount of wealth as result of it.

Since ancient times, there have been sincere spiritualists who have tried to discover the hidden meanings of life and the universe. Large and small organizations including the great religions of the world have come up around the teachings of these seers. However, some of those who run these organizations are not all latter day saints. In fact some may be positively evil and only use the religious garb as a shield for their nefarious activities, while distorting the teachings of the original sages to suit their present interests.

There are some that are not too evil but are in it for a decent living like a business organization that runs for its sheer undiluted greed and profits. However, while the latter, if admits its greed, is not doing anything illegal. It incurs the consequences of greed and not of hypocrisy as well. It is a different thing that they can sponsor a political party with their money power and get laws made to suit their objectives, like the republicans may perhaps be attempting in the USA by keeping assault weapons in the hands of mad men and real life video game shooters while using their interpretation of the constitutional book as a shield so that the associated industry can thrive, just as the church uses its interpretations of the holy book as one.

Recently, when the Chairman of a Swiss drug company was walking away with seventy or eighty million dollars of the company’s money as his severance package, because it was legal to do so, the Swiss woke up. They got together and put a stop to golden handshakes and good byes for corporate honchos and also introduced a new law that says that corporate salaries must be approved by the shareholders i.e. people who own the company. Some business organizations and perhaps also the government is crying foul but then the Swiss democracy is more democratic than many others and the people will have their way.

While one may deal with a business organization operating legally but unethically by changing the law how does one deal with an organization that promises eternal damnation unless you join them, or promises heaven as reward for one already damned or oppressed for blowing himself up and a few other bystanders besides?

The answer is by walking away from such organizations. The modern human is less likely to be fooled by crappy propaganda and theories as the ancient human. Moreover, wealth and power in the modern world is not controlled by a monarchy and nobility. In the past the religious honchos and the feudal power center could get together to perpetuate their grip on the people. In the modern world wealth is primarily in the hands of corporate honchos and power in the hands of elected representative, the one percent or more precisely the one percent of one percent, and it is they who can get together and sponsor political candidates to perpetuate their control and safeguard their wealth. However, if the power passes to the shareholders as the Swiss have begun to do, this will throw a spanner in the works. No wonder the business and government top shots are crying foul.

It was mentioned in the last paragraph that the way humans can deal with evil organizations using religion as a cover is to walk away from it. Their tool is faith and when one rejects that faith the grip is lost. However, the problem may not end here. Some may loose faith in a particular religious organization but do not lose faith in God. They may then look for another religious organization to join but in doing so they may jump from the frying pan into the fire. Some such thing perhaps happened to a fellow blogger –Vincent- He left the Church to join an Eastern cult. Then some distressing decades later had the good sense to walk out of it to joy and freedom. However, it seems that some of his spiritual understanding continued. It seems that he finally found his religious Guru and a sense of unity in a numinous presence under a tree while wandering in the lovely English countryside. One must not lose faith in life, God and the Universe while losing faith in a human organizations that claim a monopoly on God and His word. God belongs to you just as much or more as it does to them, just as the shareholder's money in a company belongs to the shareholders as much as the board members.

There are spiritual truths that help to make life joyous and worthwhile. While rejecting a religious organization one must take care that one does not throw the baby out with the bath water. In a separate spiritual discussion on linkedin.com a fellow member was ridiculing the words of some ancient seers as regards Heaven and Hell. I responded by urging caution and directed him to an earlier post in this blog on the topic that may have a more reasoned view. Do check it out here,

4 comments:

Vincent said...

As you say, Ashok, "the answer is by walking away from such organizations", for the relation between them and their "customers" is a symbiotic one, or more simply a trade. In free commerce, the boycott speaks louder than the complaint, but where there is dependence, the customer cannot walk away, only complain.

Unfortunately, for millions or billions on Earth, religion is closely bound with cultural inheritance, affecting birth, marriage, death, the upbringing of children, ways of life, dress, naming and inheritance. It is not easy for many to abandon everything which makes up their identity.

The most poignant instance I've encountered recently is in the 1971 film of the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. A poor man, a Jew in pre-revolutionary Ukraine, has several daughters to marry off. Rejecting paternal insistence and the matchmaker's help, each makes her own choice. The poor man reconciles himself to the choices of the first two, even though he agonizes over their unsuitability in his eyes.

But when the third daughter marries a Christian, he can never bring himself to speak to her again. His religion has held everything together in his difficult life. His God has been the comfort of his poverty. Even though the village community is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, or because of it, he clings to the togetherness of all the Jewish traditions which have given his life meaning.

For this reason, I conclude that for generations to come, walking away cannot be a viable answer, but only reform.

Vincent said...

I like the idea of having found an inner Guru under a tree, but not sure if I ever said that. It was the Buddha who did that, under the Bodhi-tree, after that lovely milkmaid rescued him from starvation with a dish of yogurt. I believe my former so-called guru once suggested that she was the one who gave him the instantaneous enlightenment. (Because that "guru" had a vested interest in averring that enlightenment could only be obtained from somebody else. He explained the Bhagavad Gita, for example by, saying that Krishna the charioteer of Arjuna opened his third eye right there in the chariot, whilst the enemy forces were massing in front of them.)

ashok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashok said...

Thanks for very wise and useful contributions to the post Vincent.

Yes for sure much religion has become very pervasive and it becomes difficult to walk away for many. However, perhaps it is becoming easier in modern times.

Another type of walking away is when one gives up belief in something one cannot accept in his/her heart while officially remaining in his/her religion of birth. Perhaps it is hypocritical but the former state is too and worse.

You have rightly discovered a truth that I too believe in. The guru myth is much perpetuated out of a vested interest. Even some ancient literature where the word Guru was used for teacher, with life and Nature being the teacher, the vested interest groups interpret it as a human teacher. When I mentioned you finding your spiritual guru in the post under a tree, the reference was to the former kind of guru not a human one.

I only remember the sort of impression your post on the numinous presence created in my mind at the time and perhaps that included a mention of some trees, perhaps I did not get it right but the message is really more metaphorical than literal.

Perhaps you might clarify a bit more if you like :)