Being one of those uncompromising atheists in my student years I was over-joyed to be able to travel in buses that carried advertisements assuring people that a God probably did not exist and that we could enjoy life guilt-free. The enthusiasm did wither away as I came to be gradually educated in the nature of our human race.
Besides I was deeply offended by the thoughtless condescension of new age atheism towards normal believers. Within the fold of this new age atheism I found little respect for social institutions that were mostly harmless manifestations of traditions and memories kept alive for centuries. There was little attempt to discern the nuances separating superstition or plain old religious thuggery from well intentioned Bhakti.
Today when I hear ‘rationalists’ and ‘atheists’ or even well meaning Hindus heap abuse on Saibaba, on the very day of his demise I cannot but feel vindicated for having moved away from this abusive cabal of mostly pretentious, vain individuals.
Saibaba was never my God or Godman. I never did like much of his magical acts during those famed Darshans. I disagree with anybody that wants to convince me of this mans divinity. I do believe there has been some harm done to the Hindu-fold due to the actions of Godmen like Saibaba.
But I refuse to be part of that community of individuals that never cared to go beyond delivering patronising sermons on rational behaviour. I treat these men and women with the contempt they deserve. I refuse to respect the man that preaches to a people still mourning their dead.