Distress relieving is not inferior
It has been the centuries-old wrong notion and mentality to consider worldly-distress-relieving work to be a much inferior variety of religious work. The highest seat would be given to one who talks Gyana, Vedas, Geeta discourses and explains different Schools of various Beliefs, Darshans and philosophies and makes astounding professional exhibitions. The next place would be given to the poor and humble Bhakta (devotee) who tries to serve the opium of devotion to create forgetfulness. The man who advises on practical-life-matters or helps or serves people in distress or helplessness is only some Mr. So and So, nothing more than a good and kind man. There are innumerable instances in Puranas, where Rishis and Munis have helped and served the world and people in their most mundane matters and have been all the more revered for their service and sacrifice, (Rishi Dadhichi for instance, who gave his bones).
But somehow, since so many years, perhaps centuries, Service and Sacrifice have lost all religious recognition. Divine knowledge and devotion-talks and ceremonious functions and ritualistic performances, temple-going, pilgrimage-running. river-bathing, saints-crowding etc. have altogether ousted both public and private source and sacrifice. Bankruptcy of inner richness is tried to be made up by creating inflated values for external easily manageable actions. Stuff-less people are always extremely particular about handsome and costly dresses. Man-to Man relationship, conduct, character and behavior etc. have been thrown in the back-ground, whereas talks of Man-to-God relationship, divine knowledge and devotion, and scripture-prescribed-religious undertakings like Yajna, Homa, Sandhya, eating, bathing, not-touching, etc. have become, practically, items of highest importance, in the matter of the definition and summation of Religion and Religiosity (as understood now). It has been most convenient both for the Guru-world and the disciple-world, to keep their eyes constantly closed towards practical ways of living life and imperfections and defects thereof.
Circus manager. Saved several lives :
Once a city was over flooded and the river-water left its bank limits. So many lives were in danger. A circus manager and proprietor engaged not only his whole staff but also elephants. All worked day and night. The proprietor was giving detailed orders and instructions. It was a terribly tiring work. He saved so many lives and so much of merchandise. Naturally he could keep up his sustaining heroic power only with alcohol. He was standing for hours together in the Sun, getting into waters. He had spread no pains. He had risked his life.
What about the religious response and recognition? The Founder heard of his drunkenness and frequent drinking and his being condemned as a drunkard twenty times more than of his bravery, service and sacrifice.
That is how people understand Religion and how they have been taught Religion.
They cannot forgive him, his drinking, while he was saving lives after lives.
Popular religion does not go beyond worshipping the gadi-patis of religious rich temples, prostrating before Gyanis in fat-fed Ashrams, enjoying prasads, and hearing or talking about philosophical teachings of Atma-Paramatma-subtleties.
To have both, the spirit of service and sacrifice, and yet the complete observance of the religious requirements as understood by people is surely most commendable. That is what these idealists insist on. But if both don't go together, Service and Sacrifice should not go altogether unrecognised as nothing. Mai-ism wants such a misunderstood notion about Religion to go. There are two extremities. One of a religious class to whom drinking as in this case is more hideous and unforgivable, even when having to do such a gigantic and risky task. The other extremity is that of an entirely irreligious class. Mai-ism wants service to humanity being recognised as not simply a good and praise-worthy act, humanity but a fully religious act, as good as feeding Brahmins ir performing a Laksha-Chandi. Here lies the difference of one type of religiosity and the other, and this is one of the main arguments mainly put forth by youngsters who have left religion, in their defense. It is not " everything same ", to call a certain act as, "merely good " and as " surely religious". The difference is this. In a religious act, God 's-Grace-propitiation and return are guaranteed. The idea of voluntariness is aptly substituted by that of a religious duty. The difference is to them alone who want to modulate and regulate their lives as per beliefs requirements and notions stated to be religious or otherwise. Mai-ism most emphatically says that Selfless service with nothing-sparing sacrifice and without any expectation of even the faintest recognition, is as religious and Mother-propitiating as Mother-worship, prasad-distribution, Mantra-repetition, etc., if not more. Who is dearer to you, if you are hungry, one who without a word prepares toilingly a dish for you and holds it before you? or one who sits in front of you reciting your praises up to the skies??
Religious effect. Cumulative effect of motions and emotions
People lose their head and commonsense when they think about religion and religious matters and religious persons. There are wrong judgments in Religious matters because mostly they are never untainted and without the contactual influence of some misunderstandings and some wrong notions and impressions. Beliefs, tendencies, likes and dislikes play a predominating part in the matter of religion and religiosity.
Unknownness, unfamiliarity, unapproachability, and mystic aloofness becomes an enchantment to some and a matter of dislike and disgust, to others. Richness, plentifulness, grandeur, impressive talks, unforgettable scenes and experiences, one's own nothingness-creating temporary atmosphere, Divinity-invoking silence and solitude, retired peaceful quietude, suitability and congenial circumstances to forget the burning worries of worldliness and worldly life etc., create an imaginary heaven for some. For some others, a certain prevalent mood, or a certain unhappy mentality spoils the whole picture. All these factors by their presence or absence play an extremely important and invisible part, most unconsciously in all religious judgments. Religious effect is the cumulative result of hundreds of unknown notions and emotions. These factors or their reverse create certain once-for-all impressions prepossessions and prejudices, which form the basis of all subsequent outlook and usual angle in the case of each and every individual dealing with Religion and Religiosity. That is a hard working. Externally the extraordinariness of so many varieties of religious persons, their talks, thoughts and ways of living, all drive thinkers' religious imagination to soar and fly in its limitless skies. So many subtle personal inherited and acquired factors of beliefs and disbeliefs, likes and dislikes, and infatuations, and disgusts rush in and most unconsciously and invisibly give their bold deep colour; to the whole vision and to the subject-matter viewed and considered. After all, what prominently counts is one's own personal individuality and experience and one's stage of development and spiritual attainment. In a word, the working of the head, the heart, and their combination in the realm of religion is extremely complicated and perplexed and baffles best psychologists and logicians.
What can be the greater proof of this universal chaotic incapacity of judgment in religious matters (with few exceptions) than that the very same religious person with the same talk and way of living, thinking, feeling, and acting, appears to some as an Avatar, to some others as a maniac and to still some others as even a cheat?? The underlying Divine Truth is that Yudhisthir and Duryodhan could not find out one single wicked man, or one righteous man, respectively, from the vast assembly of all the highest men of all types of that time. Bigotry and ignorance also occlude their common vision.
People mostly believe there can be no saintliness without certain externals and certain settled routine ways of external living and a stern unapproachability. Next to that wrong notion, is the greater blunder of believing, there is no other saint except the one whom a certain group family or person has accepted, at least none equal to the select. The common sense gets occluded and confused."
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK MAI-ISM
AUTHOR : MAI SWARUP MAI MARKAND
MAI NIWAS, SARASWATI ROAD END, SANTACRUZ WEST, MUMBAI 400054 INDIA