I experienced a strange feeling recently while on a pilgrimage and hence this post. The temple priests in the past led a simple life dedicated towards God and needless to say were ‘God-fearing’. Briefly, these priests are supposed to have satvik gunas. It is an irony today that people who are too close to God, serving God every day are the ones who are least afraid of God’s fury. These are the priests who have made a business model out of the religious institutions and practices and are exploiting the devotees of God right in front of the God.
VIP darshan can take you much closer to the God in least possible time. A sacred thread on your body makes you eligible to sit in a different place and have the ‘prasad’ of God. Silver Ratha – 10,000/- Golden Ratha – 20,000/- Kanakabhisheka – 5,000/- reads the ‘Menu’ of most temples today. People performing specific pujas are also served different ‘meals’ or ‘prasad’. Generally, more the amount you pay, more the number of sweets on your palate. The seers and heads of the religious institutions have become kingmakers in the political landscape entering into domains that are not theirs. In certain holy places, the temple priests also run lodges and restaurants and have thus entered into the modern services sector.
It was a bit too naive of me to expect the temple priests to be ideal souls. Even they are human beings with a lust for money, power, etc somewhere within them. In introspection, I also realized that money, class and caste have always been major determinants that have decided the class of ‘services’ you get in a temple.
However, I have a deep belief in God and strongly feel that the wrongdoers will be punished in one or the other way.