Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When the Gods said ‘Oh My God’

Disclaimer:  I was inspired to write this post after a long hiatus. Initially I was skeptical about writing the post as I wasn’t sure to what extent this would be helpful to others. But eventually, I went with my gut feeling on expressing my thoughts lest someone finds it helpful.  Just in case you don’t find it useful, don’t blame me. My disclaimer is that I have pre-warned you. 

Three things are sanctimonious in India. Religion, Politics and Cricket. Anyone having different belief or thought against the wildly held belief on any of these three will be straightway declared as rebellious misfits in a best scenario to outright madmen in the worst case scenario. Hence, anyone courageous enough to touch on any of these subjects could be labeled a misfit or madmen, depending upon his good deeds in his ‘Purnajanam’ (last birth). Rarely there comes a movie which deals with the subject of religion and manages to convince people in terms of driving across its message.  Oh My God (OMG) is one such movie. I loved OMG not only for the entertaining dramatized script but also due to its direct take on the way religion is blindly followed by people. 

It’s about the journey of a protagonist from being a non believer to a believer in God.  Paresh Rawal has done an awesome job of donning the protagonist role of Kanshi, who is a businessman who sells God idols in his shop and tells far-fetched tales to sell his idols, the ones which we hear in Haridwar, Rishikesh. He considers the God idols just as stone pieces and tells white lies to lure unsuspecting customers to buy his goods, who completely fall for his trap.
To keep it short, a small earthquake destroys only his shop. He approaches the insurance to claim the damage amount, who tells him that earthquake being an act of god, doesn’t fall under the claims. Having no other option to get funds to save his collateralized home, he files a case against God accusing him of intentionally destroying his shop and seeks compensation for that. The Godmen, being salesmen agent’ of God represent and fight the case on God’s behalf. What follows is a funny account of how the media, society ridiculing the insanity of Kanshi, later start supporting him in his case. Also, enters Akshay Kumar as God Kanhaiya who stays with him and supports him towards the end, making him realize that there exists God, not in the sense people think and worship him, but in a different way.
This article is not a movie review of OMG; rather it’s the sharing of my main learning’s in the movie. These are my own personal opinions and; not intended to hurt anyone sentiments or religious belief. [But if you still insist on getting hurt after reading some of my views, by all means be hurt. After-all, we live in a democratic country]

 In the movie, Kanshi argues in the court that the beggars outside the temple aren’t allowed inside and they go hungry, but there is a big line of devotees waiting to do ‘Pal Abhishekam’ [Bathing God’s idol with Milk]. My major contention is with the wastage of gallons of milk, oil used for the Puja’s and God preparations, which could be used to feed the poor and the hungry.  Add on to it the temple entry charges, special ‘darshan’ tickets; it seems to be one of the most profitable businesses next to politics. As Kanshi says in the movie, this is the only business whose growth rate doubles during recession.

The other point which is beautifully captured in the movie is about the role of Godmen, the self proclaimed messengers of the Almighty and who claim to know the right way to worship God. Some Godmen have moved onto the next level. They proclaim themselves as the God’s avatar and bless devotees prostrating at their feet asking for their blessings. What madness. People who believe in Godmen, falling for their magic acts can think about what Akshay donning the role of Krishna says in the movie "Mein Kishan hoo, isliye Chamatkaar karta hoon. Mein Chamatkar karta hoon, isliye Kishan nahi hoon. [Iam Lord Krishna & hence i can do miracles, I do miracles but that doesnt makes on Lord Krishna]

My take is that if you want God, you need to look within, because God is in everyone, he is everywhere. Instead of blindly following and prostrating before Godmen who become rich with your money and dictate to you how and when to worship God. As Kanshi says, they have copyrighted God who is available to all. For instance, a saint in the movie says that Sai Baba of Shirdi died with lack of water and oil with not much followers. But post his death, people found a way to worship him and collect crores of money to run a trust in his name, thus making the trust owners wealthy. 

I have much respect for the belief people have in God. I too believe that God exist but he doesn’t exist only in temples. He is omnipresent. But sometimes in times of despair or unfavorable situations, I have found myself turning to an entity called ‘God’ and blame him for the unfavorable circumstances and asking him to help me out. As if, crying and petitioning will work out. On introspection, I have realized that I have done that mostly because I want to shift my accountability to him, so to feel pity for myself and have less guilty about ‘projecting an image’ of helplessness. I don't intend to say don't reach out to God. We certainly need the support of the superpower to help us wade through the crisis, but what is required at the crisis time is undying faith and a positive belief that things will turn out well, rather than visiting temples and giving chunks of money as donations and expect things to turn better.

Just to bring a scientific angle, which I felt could have been dealt in the movie but was surprisingly missed out, I believe the reason why our prayers are answered is that because of our earnest belief to make something happen and due to the power of our sincere thoughts behind it. As someone – “When you truly want something to happen, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it.”  It’s your earnest desire which makes thing happen, rather than God sitting in his office who keeps approving or disapproving your applications request. 

My sincere appeal to my fellow friends who are die hard theist are - If you spend Rs.1000 towards temple visits and puja’s, please spend at least 10% of that amount for feeding a poor person. Just in case, if you are able to spend the entire Rs.1000 in feeding or helping a needy person, Iam sure you will meet or experience God in real life. 

Diving a little into spirituality, wise people have said that everyone is a God. There is a Tamil song whose lyrics goes like ‘Manidhan enbavan deivam aagalam’ (Man can become God) and goes on to share ways in which a human can become God through his deeds, hence everyone is God. Even actor Kamal Hassan says the same in his movie ‘Anbe Sivam’ where he says ‘Love for Humanity is equal to God’. When a stranger helped you in times of distress, they were being a God. When a teacher motivates or inspires a child to aspire for the best in his/her life, the teacher is being a God to the child. When your friend gives you a helping hand in difficult moments, he is being a God for you. Every-time we are helping a needy person, we are representing the God through us, through our actions.

In the climax, when people realize the true nature of the Godmen and they had to run away to save themselves, one Godmen makes this comment to Kanshi. "People are God fearing and not God loving. Hence, no matter what the awareness, eventually they will seek asylum in the temple because that is how weak they are."  

I can only hope and pray that even if we continue to visit temples, we continue seeking God through our actions, by being a Samaritan first, Devotee later. 

As a said before, if you are an Atheist, this is a good to watch movie. You will love it as it reinforces many of your beliefs. If you are a Theist, this is a MUST watch movie as you will have an opportunity to experience the way real GOD exist among us. 

That's all I had to share about the movie. I hope you found something useful in the post.  I would like to hear your opinion too about the movie and your beliefs. Look forward to hear your thoughts. 

God speed to all in our journey of life.

1 comment:

vardhinee said...

Well, what i think we all are believers of higher self.At some point of time we realize it with life events.look within is what everybody says but what i feel is look him outside in every event ,every person we meet , every thing we do .We do many mistakes we criticize condemn so many things. Instead of it if we can live life completely in the form life offers to us , i am sure we can find GOD like the shopwalla and i think non believers are the most closer beings to higher self for they always think of it every moment of their life :)