Oh My God!

I was pretty bored last week and decided to do what I thought I would have otherwise not, that is, watch the movie Oh My God! I made two other souls watch that with me. They were bored and suffered for around 3 hours. I, on the other hand, though didn't like the movie as such, but really appreciated some of the questions it put up and then many others that popped up in my head as a result of it.

In effect, the movie Oh My God! is an offensive perspective on a set of people very similar in nature to the one portrayed by Aamir Khan on Doctors in one episode of Satyamev Jayate, only that the former came in a very Bollywoodish wrapper. Also, in my opinion, if D is the set of all doctors in our country, and if Aamir Khan spoke about a of them (a belongs to D), I think a' (a complement) is perhaps higher in number to a itself. But in case of the movie OMG, I think, the set they have spoken about is majority.

The movie brought up some issues which I was surprised did not happen to invite any controversy. The movie has challenged some very basic, paarampaaric  practices e.g. pouring milk on the Shivling. Logically, the counters given to each and every practice shown in the movie makes perfect sense but then you can apply logic only in a rational environment. Talking rational in an irrational environment makes the result irrational. To digress slightly, the last statement has also been proved mathematically, as 1 + i is an irrational number! The concept of God's existence is mythology and we should not even expect application of logic to play any role here.

I personally believe in God and I will explain why. I firmly believe that all is in the head/mind. This means that anything and everything is controlled by the mind. Now, controlling the mind is a skill which I think has been mastered by none. Hence, you can be good at it, or slightly better than that but not perfect. Hence, there exists a significant part of it (the mind) which is uncontrollable (referred as 'U' hereon) or beyond human control (because of limited ability of a human to control it). Human constantly thrives to control this uncontrollable. He also believes that he, in his capacity cannot control it (which is why in first place the 'uncontrollable' is created). He thus, conditions himself to believe that an X-Factor is required to control this uncontrollable U Now, this X-Factor (lack of it) is something which humans use to explain when whatever they are doing/acting on isn't yielding results as it ideally should in a 100% controllable environment. Just understand, I did 'p' which should lead to the result 'q' and now for some reason it doesn't happen, there was something else involved here, and this is where we use the X-Factor (lack of it).

It is this X-Factor, which many of us call differently, God, messiah, divine power, luck, etc. If you read the book 'Secret', it has one underlying message - Whatever happens is a result of what kind of thoughts you have about it. You think positive and you attract positive energies and positive happens and vice-a-versa. This is again nothing but trying to emphasise on what I said earlier and putting it slightly differently - All is in the head. Hence, X-Factor is nothing but a tool that we have created to facilitate us in controling the mind (the uncontrollable part U which we are not able to control due to limited ability). You can call it anything, say God. And now if you call your X-Factor as God you have devised another mechanism of a 'prayer' or/and 'offering' which gives you mental piece (controling the mind positively) that because you prayed, Good will happen. The stronger that thought in your head, the stronger your positive actions and ultimately positive outcome (just like as said in the book 'Secret' or what I said, all is in the mind). Once that happens, your belief in it becomes stronger and stronger and you, maybe, prosper. Then you start on passing the 'mantra' to others.

After having described about 'God' and prayers and offerings let us now move to the set of people that the movie targets. These people (will be referred as Set S hereon) are called as Salesmen in the movie. In effect and in my opinion in actuality, they just offer/sell an idea/tool like XYZ Pooja, ABC offering, etc. which claims to solve all your problems. These products/services work on the same principal - doing it will give you mental piece and you will be able to control your mind positively and hence a deed will be done and you would see positive results. Now, for all those where 'U' is significantly high, they are bound to look for any kind of assistance that can help them reduce it and this is where the products/services of Set S come in. And I believe, the number of such people where 'U' is high is in majority, which implies, high demand and hence, higher prices and variety of product offering by Set S maybe.

It is debatable, as to what they do is cheating or not. They are offering a solution (at a price) which can give you mental piece. You have a choice to buy it or not. What the movie, I thought, had a problem with was how they misportray what they are offering. Instead of showing how it could help them, they perhaps show how by not using the product/service you are bound to get doomed. But then who buys that? The ones who are more vulnerable. Think of it, wasn't something similar done by all insurance companies as well some time back?

Yes I agree some of the rumors of a Ganeshji drinking milk or likes could have harvested in a clever mind of a member of Set S or who knows may be a big Dairy Farm. Someone could have had commercial motive behind it but then they are all taking advantage of your vulnerabilities. The vulnerability is to such a greater degree that it happens to replace 'fear' in you most of the times. And that is what helps taking advantage of it much much easier than anything else. They don't have any Nielsen data or a Temple/God brand tracker to see peak seasons when donation shows a spike. They don't compare the donation graphs with other Gods and temples. Just imagine if it was so, I would have definitely wanted to see a pivot for Aug-Sep-Oct to see if the movie Oh My God! has in anyway helped garner more footfalls and donations at a Krishna temple or maybe has impacted it negatively. And then those rumors of Ganeshji drinking milk etc could be easily termed as an Activation Program maybe? BTL with objective - To reach more number of consumers and drive footfalls, hence donations in all Ganesha Temples :) And that too going so strong that it generates enough PR on all news channels to compensate for lack of any ATL. (By the way I have actually seen OUTDOOR HOARDINGS of one Guru Maiya!)

Yes, it can be perhaps called a business. Or else, how do you explain a VIP Darshan queue by BUYING A TICKET. How do you explain a darshan from 6 feet away for Rs. 20, 3 feet away for Rs. 50 and right from half a feet distance at Rs. 100. But then why do people necessarily have to go to that very temple? Of course because the BRAND there is strong and as a layman you would want to prefer a Levis jeans over a PQR Jeans. The PR garnered by letting info/stories slip out in the public was immense and it became a famous temple. It is indeed a business. Also it has the minimum entry barriers (Porter's Five Forces). As has been shown in the movie, I myself have witnessed more than one temples which started as a simple stone being put up in middle of nowhere and one so called priest worshipping it day in and day out, progressing with temporary walls and roof to a pakka temple. Just look at the growth story, and the ROI!

They are simply exploiting your vulnerabilities (or maybe 'need' in Marketing terminology) and sometimes going way to over board and obvious. But rest assured they are not the only ones doing it. All businesses, I guess do that. You want to be fairer, here is a fairness cream. Being fair is not your need but your vulnerability. Look closely, its happening everywhere around you. It is just that when it comes to be related to religion, God, faith or belief that we, perhaps, all object to it. Which again means you believe in God in the first place and the sacredness of all those rituals, then why blame others who do it to a degree greater than you? Logically and rationally, yes some of those practices are immoral but then again how do you make a rational effort to stop it in this irrational environment?

And talking about a pracitce or ritual or faith, I think we should just stop blaming anyone. People pour milk on shivling as they get an irrational satisfaction and a hope of good happening to them. Self first. People also offer food to ones who line up in front of temple. That again is usually a part of some 'Exchange Offer' proposed to God. But then again, it gives the doer mental piece and what's bad about it? Why question someone's faith or belief? It gives them mental piece and maybe happiness. Isn't that what matters? You have a free choice, to either follow them, create a belief of your own or do anything else. It is pretty senseless to use logic and rationals in what right from the foundation is irrational.

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