Concerns with guru based religious orders

iasparliament
September 03, 2017
3 months
1075
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What is the issue?

Due to growing vertical religious diversity, few ‘gurus’ are involved in horrific exploitation of their own followers.

What are the forms of religious diversity in India?

  • Diversity of religion - The existence in society of a populace professing faith in distinct, well-demarcated Hindu, Christian, Jewish or Islamic ideals.
  • Diversity within religion - It is horizontal diversity a religion is internally differentiated because its core beliefs and practices are differently interpreted, especially by competing elites.
  • Vertical diversity -This occurs when people of the same religion engage in diverse but hierarchically arranged practices.

What are the characteristics of vertical diversity?

  • They are a bulwark against the homogenising practices of large, powerful, totalising religions.
  • It inherent in religiously diverse societies,possibility of both inter-religious and intra-religious domination.
  • They invent gods, identify gurus, and develop forms of worship of their own, often away from the eye of, and sometimes in tension with caste-laden Hinduism.
  • Song-based devotionalism among women of virtually all castes.
  • Meditation-based practices of individual salvation among all.

What are the impacts of vertical diversity?

  • Every form of diversity, including religious diversity, is entangled in power relations.
  • The basic interests of one group are threatened by the actions of another.
  • It involves discrimination, marginalisation, humiliation, exclusion, reproduction of hierarchy.
  • Domination can develop between religions, within religions, and even within faith practices of the marginalised.
  • It affects individuality and personal freedom, at times these are egalitarian, and focus on mental and physical health.

How this diversity issues can be addressed?

  • It would be wise overlook the aspects of these organisations.
  • Resistance of intra- and inter-religious domination must be developed.
  • A straightforward, unbiased examination will eliminate institutionalised religious domination.

 

Source: The Hindu

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