The Ab-Nirmal Baba and us

I owe the above headline to one of my school friends Ashish Roy who happened to discuss the issue with me on Facebook recently. We were quoting the so-called ‘formulae’ as prescribed by the now infamous Baba. Roy thinks a lot of his formulae are downright hilarious and don’t even sound normal.

While following the several news pieces about him on papers and television, I realized once again the acclivity of Indians towards ‘deification’ of humans. I remember as a kid, I once went to attend the ‘healing meetings’ of Late Dhinakaran – a Christian preacher said to have been bestowed with healing powers. His successor Paul Dhinakaran, an MBA, has taken over the mantle now and has been in the news for reasons similar to the much-gossiped Baba.

Before I start, I would like to inform you that my father has polio on his left foot. Years ago, he was leading a choir during ‘miracle meetings’ of another ‘healer’ from the US, Rai M Durman. However, Mr Durman could not stand the sight of a crippled man right on a stage parallel to his, leading a 20-member choir. So one fine day, he called my father’s name over microphone and invited him. My father, not wanting to create a scene and determined to test the reality, obliged. Mr Durman put his hand on my father’s forehead and pushed him. But my father kept his balance with his walking stick and didn’t fall, much to the healer’s surprise. Later, the healer made every single person who he had prayed for, testify about the healing on the stage of Indore Stadium amid thousands of people. My father, knowing this would happen, simply walked out of the stage during the prayer as speaking a lie in the name of God was something he could never get himself to do. He knew about the tactics used by the miracle healer beforehand because he had witnessed the team’s backstage ‘practice’. He maintains to this day that many of the people who testified about healing were nobody else but people of the preacher’s team. Back then, local newspapers had carried news of a woman who had testified of healing of her cancer and who died of the disease next month.

Nirmal Baba is just one of the several such miracle gurus who have been exposed in public. The year 2010 and 2011 have been like eye-openers for a larger section of Indian masses who realized with much bitterness the pain of keeping the faith on humans than gods. While I write this, my television in the background is playing an advertisement of Nirmal Baba, explaining ‘modes of payment’ to his organization. A person who has been named in several corruption and forgery charges, still runs in style on the same news channel that was showing a news clipping against him minutes ago.

I really don’t give a damn on that part. I don’t even want to waste my time in formulating my allegations – moral or legal –  against such Babas. What grieves me really is the blindness of individuals in our country. Sadly, I cannot dismiss this blindness in the name of ‘illiteracy’ as Mr Baba enjoys the attentions of many educated elite. Even if you are remotely educated, your mind, after listening to the Baba speak for two minutes, will ‘process’ the reality of absurdity in putting faith in one such person. What would you say when a spiritual Guru asks you to stock fridge with cold drinks to ‘change your life’ or travel on a Shatabdi to add ‘peace in your life’?

I believe people who put their faiths in humans more than gods or equal to gods lack a conviction on their own faith. They almost end up giving a message as if their gods are not good enough so they need some ‘personifications’ once in a while. And no this is not just religious. Fans of Sachin Tendulkar while calling him a “God” are no different from these blind believers. They challenge their own definitions of God. He is compared with God because God is supposed to be perfect and they want to give the ultimate compliment to him when they say it. Understood. But how about his flaws? What about the times when he fails us? Imagine the amount of pressure they end up putting on a human called Sachin Tendulkar, who genuinely struggles to do a great job with whatever he knows. Have you ever heard him saying in his interviews that he absolutely loves the metaphor?  In fact, all he says every time is that he enjoyed playing it and was glad he could do a good job.

The root of this tendency is actually a lack of real faith. A faith that trusts but is not blind to the realities of life. Of course you would argue that faith does not see logic. Well, if that is so, logic also says no human can be God. Or for that matter, there’s no such thing as God. So how can you place a God-like faith in a human? If you really had faith beyond logic in the God that you trust, you wouldn’t turn to Babas in the first place. Your faith shall bestow you with an ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Your faith shall see no other person equal to the God you trust. That is because you trust Him blindly enough to ignore anyone who tries to compete with Him.

If you ask me, I take my inspiration from my father. He believes that if his God wanted to heal his polio, He wouldn’t have given it in the first place. He says his disability has been his biggest strength because God has given him an able character, an able mind and an able heart. God has a purpose in his disability. I see a lot of faith in his confident smile while he says that. I want to have this kind of faith.


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