Divine Trade on Social Media

Most netizens by now must be fed up with all the images of Gods, Godmen and their preaching which bombard their in-boxes.  Generally, no one wants to show disrespect to their own Gods and also to someone else’s.  The dilemma that most netizens face is that their computer systems or smartphones generally store these images by default in one folder, irrespective of the type of divine personality.  Hence these Godly images are cursed to coexist with the heavy volume of porn and nude images that one receives on the very same social media. 

The senders of these Godly images surely did not want to show any disrespect to their Gods.  Some may even be gullible enough to believe that their Gods would be happy with their actions to spread the message and image of their Gods, thereby making their Gods more saleable.  The only likely beneficiary of such actions would be the Godmen whose objective is to trade this divine merchandise.  Thankfully the internet does not reach the Gods, else He would have had a difficult time, sorting these messages out!

Further, these images take up a lot of bytes and is costly to download and store.  The prime principle of communication is brevity which ensures speedy transmission of the message.  The Generation Next have aptly taken to texting, to reduce cost and increase speed.  Here there is no place for any image unless unavoidable.  Most netizens sending such images on social media are generally new entrants and are still bitten by the social media bug.  As time passes, many are sure to overcome this thrill, thus saving everyone money and time.

Some netizens send images of their God with an accompanying story that when they forwarded the same to 10 people, some miracle happened and this person now wants you to send it to 10 more people so that you receive such favours, else some calamity may strike you.  This carrot and stick strategy again results in unwarranted traffic on the internet and sometimes it may end up as an information security risk.

Another trend observed is to publish a story about favours received by the devotees as a case of some divine intervention.  I once confronted an editor of a paper publishing such paid classified advertisements and enquired as to whether he did send a copy of the newspaper to the concerned God as well.  How else can you expect God to learn about the ‘earnest’ efforts of a staunch follower of His?

I requested the editor to educate the publishers about the futility of such efforts and instead if the wasted money can be paid to some charity, it would be of considerable help to the needy.  Such advertisements are neither needed by God nor is it of any use to anyone except the publishing house who rake in money at the cost of the foolish believer.

Let us for a minute consider that God too was a Facebook user.  Would He have approved His image or the divine article you just posted? Would He ‘like’ what you just posted?    Every God would surely like a post about Him to be True, Helpful to humanity, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind to every living creations in this world, coupled with humane love.

While posting anything divine about your God, always stop to think that there are many who do not believe or follow your brand of divinity.  There are atheists too who claim user-created religious content is offensive to them and many feel that it promotes forceful indoctrination into their belief systems.

Pope Francis on the 50th World Day of Social Communications, while welcoming Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, to the Vatican said “It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.  Communication, wherever and however it takes place, has opened up broader horizons for many people. This is a gift of God which involves a great responsibility. I like to refer to this power of communication as ‘closeness’.”

Social media for sure is not a creation of God and as Pope Francis said, it is a gift of God. We all have seen it evolve before our eyes.  Hence it would be the most inappropriate place for the Gods.  God is counting neither the number of ‘likes’ your post has generated nor the number of times His name is tweeted.  It is surely not a gateway to heaven, nirvana or moksha, but will merely help some Godmen and their cronies rake in the ‘moolah’.

Rather than beginning the day by posting our God’s image on the social media, we should rather begin each day with God. It is astonishing that those who indulge in this form of worship are unconscious of the pettiness of the whole concept.   God is all knowing and all powerful and the least He needs is your reaffirmation of faith in Him through the social media. 

Where to Find God

A very pertinent question being asked in today’s world, filled with evangelists from all religions and sects, standing on rooftops and on TV, shouting at the top of their voices.  Everyone it appears want to prove to the world that the Gods they sell are the best, accompanied  by miracles in various forms.  Most of these evangelists, exploiting the greed of humanity, have amassed wealth that even their Gods cannot fathom.

The city of Kottayam in Kerala, which boasts of near cent percent literacy, is better known as the city of three Ls – Latex , Letters and Liquor.  It is the trading centre of natural rubber in India and the Indian Rubber Board is also located here.  The city boasts of many educational institutions with their glorious past and also is the home for most publishing houses in Kerala with Malayala Manorama and its allied publications leading the pack.  It also set many records in liquor consumption, but of late, other smaller towns have leaped miles ahead of Kottayam.  The city boasts of many Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian churches that dot the townscape.  It is the headquarters of most factions of the Syrian Christians.   

Panhandling has been banned in Kottayam since my childhood, but one can always spot a few beggars in and around the town, especially adjacent to religious places of worship.  On the  days of various festivals in these religious places, an army of beggars, mostly immigrants from the other Indian states, congregate here.  It appears to be an organised racket and the way they are moved from one place to another and the methodology employed in locating them at vantage points would put any army to shame.

On a Friday morning, a  beggar, desperate to get a few bucks as he was really hungry, located himself in front of a mosque in Kottayam.  In the afternoon, everyone came for the prayers (Jummah).  (The schools in Kerala have a long recess on Fridays, extending till 2:30 PM to facilitate Muslim students to offer Jummah).   On culmination of the prayers, everyone folded their caps, dusted and rolled their prayer mats and went home.  No one even bothered to give a glance at the hungry beggar.

On Saturday morning the beggar placed himself at the vantage point of Shiva Temple of Kottayam.    Devotees came in droves (Second Saturday of a month is a holiday for all offices and schools of Kerala) and offered Poojas, Nivedyams and Abhishekams and left and no one gave any offering to the hungry beggar.

On Sunday morning the beggar placed himself in front of the Cathedral.  He reached there well before the priest and the church manager could even open the doors.  During the Holy Mass, Gospel reading was from the Gospel According to Saint Mathews – Chapter 25 – Verses 35 to 40.  Verse 35 says  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”  At end of the mass, priest in his sermon reminded all true followers of Christ that they must feed the hungry as it would be equivalent to any offering to God. 

The beggar was full of hope that he would surely get something, especially after the priest’s sermon.  The Clergy and the Laymen all assembled after the Holy Mass for the meeting and elected  committee for the coming year and dispersed.  No one gave anything to the beggar.

On Monday morning, by about 10′ o clock, the beggar perched in a shady corner, next to the outlet of Beverages Corporation of Kerala (liquor vent).  A queue of about 30 people had already been formed, without any jostling or pushing, awaiting the auspicious time of 10 AM for the sale window to open.   The salesman at dot 10 AM opened the window and brisk sales proceeded and more people joined the queue.

By about 11 AM, the beggar found his pan full of money and overjoyed with it, he prayed to God Almighty.  He wanted God to answer his query as to why He gave him His wrong address.  God appeared in front of the beggar and explained to him His reasons.

“Look! These are the real devotees.  Everyone has formed a proper and well disciplined queue which you will never find in front of any other places you had been till now.  There is no difference between rich and poor; literate and illiterate.  There is no segregation  along caste, creed or religious lines.    They stand in a queue in most descent manner, braving storms, rains or hot sun.  They respect each others privacy and ensure that they do not even touch the one in front.”

“These devotees are only asking for what they want and never for their parents, children, relatives or friends.  They never request that others should not be given what they want.  They ask what they want in minimum words, in a language everyone understands.  They neither sing praises about their brand of liquor  nor do they sermonise about evils and goodness of liquor.  Here there are no VIPs and one does not have to pay upfront at various counters and obtain a receipt for services rendered.  There are neither  any commission agents nor are there any long forms to be filled.  There is no need for any written application on a white sheet of paper.  They never try to bribe Me with their offerings in cash or in kind, without realising that if offered to the needy would be of immense help and if offered to Me would never be of any use to anyone.”

“Hence isn’t this the best place in Kottayam for the God to be?”.

On hearing the reasons given by the God, the beggar asked “Then why did You make me beg around for the past three days?”

The God replied “That is to show you beggars as to where to find Me.”