While I was writing about the Kumbh Mela in the past days, I was obviously writing a lot about Hindus, about Indians, about Indian pilgrims and at the side maybe mentioned pilgrims from foreign countries. I did not however talk about another type of person: non-Indian sadhus and gurus who are very clearly not visitors at the Kumbh Mela, who are not tourists but exhibitors and performers.
I have explained before that Hinduism does not actually allow conversion to it. You can convert to Islam, you can convert to Christianity but there is no way to convert to Hinduism. In no Hindu scripture can you find a description of a ceremony or ritual on how to become a Hindu. You can only be Hindu by birth. This is the reason why the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, the Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa and most Hindu temples in South India prohibit non-Hindus from entering still today. That notice is written on a signboard outside a temple and that is the reason why no foreigner can enter in the temple. I once explained this kind of religious racism but it just shows again that you cannot convert to Hinduism.
The funny part is that the businessmen of Hinduism, the religious leaders and gurus have picked apart their own religion by themselves. The newspapers are daily writing about sadhus from America, Russia, Sweden and other countries on the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. They are not only simple sadhus, following some Indian guru, no, they are gurus themselves with big camps and they are fully acknowledged and accepted by the Indian gurus around them – because they have been initiated into their posts by a very old religious organization of Hinduism which has the authority to give people the honour of being Mahamandaleshwar, the head of a group of followers. And they gave this post to foreigners as well! Everybody knows now however that such titles are sellable – if you have enough money, you can buy one.
The Hindu religion does not even allow foreigners to enter their temples, how come that an old organization of this religion initiates the same foreigners and even gives them high posts? They now make their own followers, have their tents and camps at the Kumbh Mela and are prayed to and worshipped by people from all over the world – including faithful Indian Hindus, who obviously forgot or don’t know what their own scriptures say.
What makes this worse that you then see them all doing their business together at this festival. The western gurus and sadhus are no less than the Indians, showing off their wealth and enjoying with female followers although sanyasis of that post are not even supposed to talk to women! A western guru is known to sell one pinch of ashes for 1100 Rupees – approximately 20 US-Dollars! They make really big money there while they are actually supposed to be detached from all material.
This is why I say religion is pure business and nothing else. Everybody modifies it to his comfort, gives his interpretation, creates his own tradition and opens his shop for selling god and religion. The religious audience of our country is ready to buy anything which is sold on the name of religion.
I am aware of it that those foreigners who call themselves Hindus cannot agree with my words and most of all not those gurus whose business religion is. The last time I wrote about this topic, I received a lot of angry response from those who felt I had touched the truth. I also know that regular religious people, the followers, will curse me for my words but they will bow in front of those gurus who enrich themselves while ridiculing the scriptures they want others to believe in. I can again only reach to the conclusion that it is either sad or laughable – I prefer laughing.