These are my personal views, which I have formulated with careful experimentation and observation. This is not meant to hurt anyone's sentiments, but just a rational approach to drive some sanity into the insane phenomenon of Indian Spirituality.
There is a restaurant in namma Bengaluru called MTR. Its the famous haunt of all the new comers to Bangalore, specificaly people like me who like to try the authentic food everywhere.
However, the huge amount of interest it generates is a big inconvenience. Here you have to wait for some 2 hours before you get to lay your ass on a wooden bench and some of the famous Kannadiga food in your stomach.
All this heavenly food with a two hour wait, standing on the road in the hot summer sun, comes only at Rs 125. Before you say that "Its cheap only na saar", let me tell you the same thali comes in a friendly neighbourhood Darshini in just Rs 23.
So what's so special about the immensely overpriced MTR thali? The wait.
Its a two pronged, well devised marketing strategy from these guys :
- What means (in true Kannadiga style), after such a long wait you will be too hungry to judge the quality of food that they serve you. You will gorge whatever they serve you and find that it tastes heavenly.
- Also, seeing people around you waiting for so long to have this food raises your trust level for it. So whatever they serve has already been processed by your mind as yummy, two hours before you actually have it.
Coming to what I wanted to write about in this post and why I am ranting about the bakwas MTR food.
My mother-in-law is in town and I have been playing a driver for the last two weekends. We have been to two of the most famous spiritual gurus' ashrams in Bangalore's vicinity : Sathya Sai Baba, the self proclaimed reincarnation of Sai Baba and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the AoL guru.
Now what I found common between these two Gurus and MTR food, apart from the huge amount of wealth generated by all of these, was the marketing strategy. When you see thousands of devotees chanting "Jai Gurudev" or "Sai Ram", when you hear a thousand voices singing in praise of the gurus, you feel an awe for these gurus. You get attracted to the hagiography created around these people.
Its the same as the MTR food, you mind pre-processes whatever these people speak to be divinity even before you lay your eyes on them. Even before you listen to them, you are already institutionalised by the halo created around them by their devotees.
But if you listen and observe them at close quarters, careful enough not to get entangled in the aura around them, you find out that most of the stuff that they teach are nothing out of the ordinary.
Most of what they speak are quoted from ancient books and scriptures (which are ancient anyhow), repackaging and selling them as new profound wisdom. I don't understand why do we need to gather the old wisdom that anything and everything is willed by a mysterious force named "God".
However, if you put all your atheistic thoughts aside, and look at their management skills with and objective outlook, you will be amazed by their efficiency.
Organisations will give anything to be able to will its workforce to be so motivated and hard-working. Someone needs to research into these spiritual orders and bring out the management principles on which they work.