Being Holier than Holy


Firstly my condolences to the parents and family members of the 2 young children who were murdered by their maid. It was tragic beyond any comprehension and no matter what is said and done, nothing can replace the 2 lovely children and console the parents. Nothing. The devil indeed walks on the earth in disguise of these killers. May the murdered children’s soul rest in peace.

Secondly, many laughed back in 2011 when the words preppers or prepping is mentioned. One person I know even boasted that his house water tank would last until the water situation was back to normal and preppers were wasting their time. But now with water ration in place (hitting at least 3 million consumers) and some places like Balakong had no running water for 2 weeks, I wonder how many of them regret for not prepping for these kind of situations. At home, we have stocked up drinking water and it should be enough to last us for at least 1 week but it may not be enough if the hot weather continues for the next few weeks (but we have worked out a Plan B & C, just in case).

Back to the post for this week…

Read these first:-

Some months ago, as I was lazing around the house (as usual), my wife came over and sat next to me. She asked if we could go to the temple later in the evening (it is a question that I usually get on the weekends). She said that it was crucial that we go to the temple on a weekly basis as it will be beneficial to us and the kids spiritually and it will bring in more of the positive “chi”. Well, I don’t discount the impact of astrology on our daily life but then again, as T.E. Lawrence had once said, nothing is written and I feel the same. Doesn’t God help those who help themselves?

Anyway, her point was well noted. No harm going to temples – there is certain sense of tranquility when we are there to say our prayers and thanks to Him. There is a sense of positive energy once you have entered the temple grounds. The thing is, being a 21st century devotee, I hate the lack of parking at temple compound (which leaves many to park their car haphazardly by the road side and sometimes find broken into) and sometimes the over-killed “time procedures” and elaborate ceremonies.

These are obviously added up (perhaps over past centuries) so that the temples can make more money through the various charges & services and also to bring in the crowd. Well, I don’t blame them – with too many temples in the same vicinity fighting for the same pool of devotees, they had to do something. Still remember the sudden appearance of the white snake in Puchong some years ago? This is why I sometimes opt to go to smaller, less crowded temples where one just walk in, buys the arachana slip and do the prayers and walk out without the need to wait long.

My wife was waiting for an answer, she knows that I hate going to the temples for the right reasons. I said “ok” in a low bass tone. Then as usual, later in the afternoon, I decided to take a quick nap and went to bed. I woke up at night, obviously missing the trip to the temple. It was certainly not a quick nap as I had intended it to be. My wife was not happy of course but this has become a routine in recent years, so it was nothing new to her. Besides, for me, the weekends is time to catch up on sleep, lazing around and playing with the kids and perhaps visiting relatives & shopping. Going to temples and spending hours there in sweat & frustration was never part of my weekend agenda.

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(Never let the religion man to do science work. The outcome will very likely to be unscientific. Image source: Facebook)

Let’s talk about temple priests as this too been a factor whether I want to go temples or not. I have come across a number of them over the years – some are simple & humble like the priest who went to India to do engineering and ended up learning on religion. He does things right and you can always have a friendly chat with him without the need to indulge in religion. And some are nothing but selfish, arrogant conman who say one thing and do another and insist everyone to do his way or else God Himself would be angry on those who had failed to abide (this causes some friction with some relatives as they would insist on us doing certain things just because some priests they know had told them so). These are same guys who will conduct the prayers on a touch and go basis and yet insist on payment on everything you touch. And I simply hate when the job is outsourced to priest’s inexperienced kids / relatives.

Others, well I am sure you would have heard of the famed “Swami Nithyananda” who takes advantage of the ignorance and blind faith. Now, having said that, there are also good ones and the bad ones at every corner and in every so-called mainstream religion. Once in a while, we will hear the worse of the worse such as this and this.

Let’s face it – not all priests are not holy man and not all holy man are priest. I know some who even wear a suit to work and lives a normal life and yet holds the highest level in integrity, conduct and a good knowledge of religion. They read a lot and they do debate the issues of religion and science (the bane of religious men and this leads to sometimes peculiar situations) in good manner and they readily accepts the evidence of science. They had never dismissed it outright as for them, God works in strange ways and science would be one of that way.

Over the years, temples (and the minions who run them) have become too commercialized. No, I am not talking about the usual donation and service charges that they imposes for prayers. That’s normal as everyone has overheads and even this is not enough (which is why temples must merge). I am referring to those who have gone to do the religion business on the concept of MLM.

That is why I rather go to a quiet corner of the house and say a silent prayer. I know that God speaks and understands many languages so I don’t necessary need a priest to translate into Sanskrit. And I am sure He did not mean prayers to be very complicated and for common people like you and me to reach HIM only through some complex ceremonies & mantras. Even better, I am very sure that just by thinking and doing the right things and without any malice is more than enough to score good karma than doing all things evil and then trying to bribe God by going to temple and doing elaborate ceremonies.

Think about it when you meet another holy man asking you to do things that does not make any sense…

Holy Man Encounters


(Sathya Sai Baba, one of India’s most influential spiritual leaders, breathed his last at a hospital funded by his organisation in his home town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh on last Sunday. He was 85. Image source: http://www.kevinrdshepherd.info)

To many around the world, the Great Guru is dead but here’s the troubling news that often associated with modern day, highly commercialized but dead holy men:-

A scramble has broken out for control of the $12-billion empire of an Indian guru with a worldwide following who died Sunday. Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees included actress Goldie Hawn, the Duchess of York and Isaac Tigrett, the founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, Pratibha Patil, India’s president, and Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, attended his last birthday celebrations.

As his health deteriorated in recent months, politicians discussed whether the state should seize his fortune. His nephew, R.J. Ratnakar, and Satyajit, a devotee, who cared for him, are among those reported to be jostling for control over the Sathya Sai organization.

Court documents allege that Sai Baba owned many cars, including Mercedes limousines and a Jaguar, and that the roof of his temple was lined with gold.

(Source)

To be frank, I am not really a devotee of Sai Baba or someone who closely followed his teachings (to an extent I thought that he was already dead many, many years ago) but the name is something I have been hearing since I was still small, often reminded of his name and image by some relatives in the family who consider him as the “Guru”. And who can forget the famous hair-do?

In recent times, other than Rajini’s movie “Baba”, the other “Guru” that made news in recent news was Swami Nithyananda and despite the denial by the Swami, the video evidence was rather overwhelming.

I still recall a long time ago when we were still living in Old Klang Road, my parents would make a short trip to a house situated on a hill along Jalan Morib, just across our housing area (these days things have changed a lot – there is a condominium on the same place now). We kids dreaded the place – not because it was scary but rather it was damn boring. We will walk to the house situated on the house – we loved the walk – the scenery along the road to the house is so tempting. There would be some people waiting at the front of the house, chit-chatting whilst waiting for the Guru (an elderly man with white hair) to be ready.

The Guru would start the session with some words of wisdom which was not so bad but once done, he will get us started on a long mantra session. This is the most boring part for us kids. Whilst the adult comfortably sit down in the hall, lights darken down a bit and everyone then starts the chanting of the mantra – over and over again, we kids would be edging to go out and breathe in some fresh air. We felt like we were drowning in all that chanting. We fought hard to keep ourselves awake – it was not really hard, our parents were by our side to knock us whenever they sense we were falling asleep. And somehow they always know the difference – we falling asleep and we closing our eyes and really chanting.

When the session is finally over, a small meal would be served, some chit-chats among the adults and finally we can walk back home. Thank God!

These days, the closest encounters with holy men would be at the temples and even this is kept to a distance. If one starts talking about religion in a rather passionately way, it merely signals the time to take our leave. Everyone have their sense of commitment when it comes to religion.