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Are religious practises Bribery to God? – Part 1


“Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter – you are just there in front of the fire. You don’t have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you.”

– Desmond Tutu (South African cleric and human rights activist)

A friend pointed out statements in Srimad Bhagavatam that says if you read a particular chapter daily, you would be free of diseases, or you would attain a fortune or get a good wife/husband. He asked if this isn’t promoting a less dignified approach to God.

Someone chants God’s Holy Names daily as a petition to protect his family, or a person visits temple regularly because he wishes to get a stable job and a good house. People challenge why religion is more like bribery; you follow obligations to get attractive rewards.

For a reasonable mind, this sounds archaic and unattractive.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

My friend Raj, ever since he was a kid, wanted to be a doctor, but as a teenager, distractions and temptations pulled him in all directions. His concerned father realized the saying ‘to pull a thorn out of your feet you sometimes need another thorn’; to pull his son away from the threat to his goals, he offered another temptation: ‘Get a distinction in your ICSE exams, and I’d gift you a bicycle.’

Raj was determined to get 95%, and soon earned his bike. But he had two more challenges to clear until he became a doctor. His ever watchful father then enticed him with bait: if he were to get 90% plus in the HSC exams- a critical step to a medical seat in a prestigious college- he’d earn a laptop and I-pod. Raj worked harder and topped his batch. Later in the medical college, while studying to be a doctor, he went through a rigorous schedule. This time, however, his father didn’t offer any carrots. He knew his son was now a mature young man and understands the importance of studying well for his exams. Still, after Raj cleared his final medical papers, his father gifted him a car. But that was a pleasant surprise for Raj!

The moral of the story: a loving father knows best how to motivate his son to reach his goals.

To be continued….

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