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Black Magic and Religion

The Himalayas - from Lonely Planet


The other day, I was at a friend’s place when the cry of two women rose in the air. It was from a house a few doors down. When I reached there along with my friend, quite a few people had already gathered. The two women – a mother and daughter – who wailed explained the cause of their grief. They believed that one particular woman, whom they mentioned by name, was doing black magic against them because of which they were facing disasters one after another. The latest disaster was the daughter’s failure in her graduation examination.

One of the men who had come hearing the wailing told the mother and daughter rather bluntly that what they needed was psychiatric help. “You believe in such balderdash as black magic [koodotram, in Malayalam]?” He turned to the daughter and said, “You flunked because you didn’t study. Instead, you were loitering with your boyfriend.” He went away in disgust.

My friend told me, as we walked back, that the mother was doing black magic herself against the woman whom she had accused. “This woman performs such things as Shatru Samhara Puja – ritual for eliminating the enemy – in many temples. She won’t do it here in the nearest two temples because that is where her enemy is supposedly performing her black magic. The gods in these temples will have a problem about which devotee to please. So these two women go to different gods.”

I was quite astounded to hear such things. “We call it Prabuddha Keralam – Enlightened Kerala,” I said.

“Enlightenment shies away from the thresholds of religions,” my friend who is an active Communist said.

“There are a lot of people who find enlightenment from religions,” I said. I told him that I was currently reading a book titled The Journey Home written by an ascetic, Radhanath Swamy, who found enlightenment in the holy places of the Himalayas.

I have a sympathetic view of religion, unlike my Communist friend though I am not a believer. I know a lot of people for whom life would be utterly meaningless without their religion. If religion helps people lead meaningful lives and practice goodness, I will only encourage them to be religious. But the misuse of religion, which is what a lot of people do especially nowadays, is one of the most wicked sins as far as I am concerned.

“Radhanath Swamy was an American Jew,” I told my friend. “He left America at the age of 19 in search of meaning which he found in the freezing folds of the Himalayas where he met ascetics who guided him in their own ways.” It’s the same religion that made Radhanath a saintly ascetic that is making these two women practice black magic. That is one of the many ironies of religions.

 

Comments

  1. Hari Om
    An interesting anecdote, and one that illustrates your point very well! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are believers/devotees who kill the very spirit of their religions.

      Delete
  2. ...is education the key to eliminating this nonsense?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Me too agree with your opinion regarding religion.👍🏻😄

    ReplyDelete
  4. These days, the less said about religion is best...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have wondered what Jesus would think if he returned to earth and landed in the Vatican among all the gold and glitter of the Catholic interpretation of his teachings. The teachings of a simple man. I agree with the above comments about religion used as a weapon, here in the US we've had a recent example with the abortion issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jesus won't return.
      India's PM thinks he's the next Messiah.
      May our stars save us from Messiahs.

      Delete

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