Concerns with guru based religious orders

September 03, 2017
10 months

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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