Modern Interpretation of Religious Scriptures and Politics in Temple – 3 Apr 11

I landed in Bangkok and was picked up by the man who had invited me. He was the former manager of a Hindu temple. He had talked with the present management of the temple and they all had agreed to invite me and organize my stay and lectures at the temple.

So there I was, living in the temple complex and giving each day one lecture of a few hours. As it was a temple, they already had an audience and for announcing my program they had simply informed the Indian community. This is how many people daily came to my lectures and they liked my style of interpretation.

Already before the cave I was giving lectures in a different way than the traditional religious speakers. I guess being modern and different is somehow in my nature. Traditionally a preacher or lecturer, who has nine days of lecture to fill, takes one scripture and explains it from the first to the last word. He reads out the scripture and tells one of the common interpretations. People may have heard this lecture before, by another speaker but they believe that it is good for them and their Karma to listen to those lectures. They come for a religious purpose and believe that simply hearing those words will be good for them.

What I did was to take pick one mantra, only one phrase of a scripture and went into a detailed interpretation which took the whole time of one lecture. I talked about the whole philosophy which is behind that sentence or phrase and of course with this I gave everybody a different, a new point of view. I was not only narrating the scripture but I gave a new idea to the meaning of the phrases. This is why people liked and enjoyed being in my lecture. It was different from what they usually heard from their preachers. It was not only their karma that had a benefit but they actually liked to listen.

In that year I also celebrated Janmashtami, the birthday of Krishna, in Bangkok. Obviously the Hindu temple had a very big celebration and they also felt honoured to have me there in that time, as I came from Vrindavan, the town of Krishna. The rituals that they did were just like in India and I had seen this kind of big celebrations there, too. I even did not find any difference in the politics of religious organizations in India and the temple management there.

The members had a lot of fights among each other, the president with the secretary, the secretary with the vice president and everybody with the person who dealt with the finances. They are in their prestigious positions and all have different ideas how they should use their ‘power’. Such religious organizations are just like normal companies or even like a country’s government, full of politics. They preach against ego and should be serving society! Instead they are looking for power, prestige and often also money.

To sum it up, I enjoyed my lectures and the program but not really the religious scene around it. Again it made me think. This was not the meaning of religion and this is not how religious people should act. You don’t need to prove that you are the most religious person of all. I thought about whether I would be able to cope with this kind of situations my whole life long. Did I really want to do this?

2 Replies to “Modern Interpretation of Religious Scriptures and Politics in Temple – 3 Apr 11”

  1. I would call that the ‘religious ego’. You can use your position to help others, no doubt, but you should be modest in your post.This is actually why monks in Christian monasteries learned to do each and every work by their own hands, no matter which post they had in the monastery. They always changed their duties so that even the ‘higher’ monks got to do cleaning work or garden work.
    Work and pray was their slogan and that is how they wanted to prevent people in higher posts to create such ego.

  2. Dear Paul,Thank you for your comment.
    I believe however in higher posts of the Christian Catholic Church this is exactly what happened, too: too much ego! They just got crazy about their influence and power and did not do the ‘praying and working’ anymore. There have been times in which priests and bishops were politicians and traders.

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