Aberrations occur however, that are not easy to pin point or even see as such. Some days ago, flipping through the channels on TV I accidentally came across this bizarre scene of one of India’s most popular gurus taking part in some mega celebration, of I am not sure what. Maybe it was his birthday or maybe it was just some happy occasion but what it involved was thousands of people gathering together while the guru sat on a podium along with his henchmen, all of them listening to one speech after the other by a string of the most boring looking, boring sounding devotees.
The first devotee was an elderly bloke in a safari suit who droned on and on about the goodness of the guru, while reading from a sheet of paper on the lectern in front. He was followed by a fat, black man in a white shirt (Indian white as my friend Gisela used to refer to it in the days when she used to live in Bombay. This means it is a sort of white, but not quite the dazzling shade you would expect, when you think of “white” – because it is usually tinged with a bit of grey without actually being grey, if you know what I mean).
A white woman in the audience watching the proceedings with utmost fascination broke into smiles and waved a flag as the black guy gabbled on in Telegu. Why should I say anything about her – maybe she really could follow every word of whatever language that guy was speaking, which I couldn’t. All the while that these important looking men babbled into the mike, other important looking men in orange walked up and down the aisles and across the podium, carrying boxes of what looked like mithai which they handed over to the guru with obsequious smiles.
The guru himself, dressed in chaste white, sat on a sofa, with his legs folded under him looking alternately bored, constipated and condescending. The camera switched from showing close ups of his face to views of the millions gathered to see him. Entire groups of overseas visitors like the Japanese or Americans had assembled together, each group clad in the colours of their particular team. There were blue groups and red groups and groups clad in green and they were all waving little flags and big flags and cheering and smiling wildly. All in celebration of a guy whom I have heard say some peculiar things in the past (at least according to press reports). For example, that we are all brothers and sisters on earth and therefore not supposed to take a sexual interest in each other. Which in effect means we are all products of incest.
Watching those millions with a fixed robotic beam on their faces made my skin crawl, to be honest. Men like Hitler pale in comparison because what is happening here, in case you haven’t yet caught on, is a very subtle form of mind control, a kind of mass hypnosis of the kind that can spread like an infection among people who are insecure and need somebody else to tell them what is right. Among people who are looking for someone to solve their problems. At the point when the whole crowd began to resemble a forest full of indoctrinated chimpanzees I decided to switch off the TV set. The guru smiled. Maybe he was wishing me goodnight.