By A M Radhika:
“It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief” — George Bernard Shaw
A modern, suave and predominantly accepting, believing and forward India is also privy to a layer of dark crime ridden multitude when it comes to Tantra. Locking up people for years, increased number of assaults, looting money worth crores, sacrificing children/infants are incidents only recently surfacing to the eyes of people all thanks to the people oriented, trying to be utterly pointed media we have created today. Lord only knows how many have been victimized. Also notable is the fact that young and adolescent women are the most targeted of social classes. The once land of snake charmers is now looking like a land of only poisonous snakes. Then again, they call them ‘doctors’ of a kind.
Tantra was originally ritualistic in terms of word roots but did evolve into a system of beliefs that did not ONLY consist of also yoga, mantras, gestures and symbols. Robert Brown notes tantrism as, “It is not a concept that comes from within the religious system itself, although it is generally recognized internally as different from the Vedic tradition. This immediately makes it suspect as an independent category.” Such is the power of these beliefs that people are willing to go through the stark tortures of phony mystics claiming to change the course of their life, for pettiest of things like winning lotteries let alone marital bliss, health disorders, examinations results and ending up in a psychological tightrope of trauma for they cannot themselves speak of the rituals. In the lottery ticket case, the god man even asked for Rs.11000 apparently, before applying his ‘Tantra’ dissolving the entire purpose of the exercise. Phony god men of course exploit this kind of naivetÃ©, especially of parents with a girl child, to loot atrocious amounts of money, beat, molest and brainwash the girls in the name of ‘cure’ to finally run off and repeat the cycle with some other family.
In the process, they also give sedatives and other drugs to the ‘patients’ in heavy doses which may adversely affect their health, physically or mentally. So much for spirituality. Parents of those children watch helplessly sometimes, happily the others.
Most of the times, these cases are unearthed years too late and the agony of abuse remains etched in the minds of victims. Many a times the police cases do not yield proper action because of lack of evidence and silence. Sacrifice means direct strangulation of a child most of the times. Of course, the animals are not to be asked about. People partaking in such heinous superstition led activities belong to the urban middle class in equal measure or more, as the lower socio economic strata that includes slum dwellers and such. When you don’t have anybody, any animal and cannot substitute ‘Narabali’ with the Vedic recommendations of wheat and grain, you just snatch the neighbour’s kid and sacrifice it. Is this what we’ve come to?
Tantra per se is a philosophical system and is not bound by such fake practices. It’s a parallel running ideology coming from the three fundamental and ancient traditions of India: Mantram (the knowledge), Tantram (the rituals), Yantram (the way of life). However, with so many misinterpretations of the true meaning, this layer is bound to thicken. Then again, there is a choice. A choice to take the good things and leave the bad, not unheard and unnoticed, but removed and ostracized, because as is said, every worthy belief must stand the test of doubt.