A lucrative business

Materialsm vs Spiritualism debate: A lucrative business

The debate 'Materialism vs Spiritualism' has been going on for centuries owing to the presence of spiritualists and materialists irrespective of the shades of religions. Historically and philosophically, both in Oriental (including Indian) thought as well as the Semitic religions, materialism has existed at the same time as spiritualism. However, there appears to be a basic and one-sided change in the way the spiritualist today conducts his spiritualism. Is it the sub-conscious yearning for fame and wealth of the human mind which compels the spiritualist to change tracks or a deliberate effort by some cunning individuals to get not only rich but super-rich in the garb of spiritualism is a matter of debate and analysis. In India one can find spiritual gurus in abundance. From petty charlatans whose area of influence could be as small as a village to the crooks and swindlers of international notoriety we have them all. Now, however, they have adopted sophisticated ways of enticing big fish into their nets. Big corporate houses, event managers and educational institutions of repute patronise the so called spiritual gurus and their PR departments are adept at managing the media, electronic in particular. Let us then see what is really happening.


Materialism means that the whole universe is material, made up of matter endowed with physical properties defined within / open to interpretation by the natural laws of science. Spiritualism while accepting all what is natural, physical and material also believes in something that is supernatural and immortal thus beyond the realm of nature. The closest one comes to defining that supernatural is by naming it 'spirit' or 'soul'. That also implies dualism of mind and a supernatural kind of entity called god. That so far has been an-accepted-by-all premise on which the whole gamut of material versus spiritual argument rested.


Today, however, for a common person the meaning of materialism has completely changed. It has been associated with sheer consumerism and seeking material comforts. One who owns a house, vehicle and other articles of necessity is dubbed materialist. Clearly, materialism has come to mean something completely different. Possession of wealth, property and other goods of luxury has been made to mean materialism. And this is a result of the propaganda the spiritualist has unleashed with a certain motive. He has to get wealthy by exploiting a situation.

According to the spiritualist all the modern day social ills and mental / physical troubles are direct consequence of ‘materialistic’ life style. Yes, it is true hat we are getting ill more often by pursuing a laid-back life style. If I'll make use of a vehicle in order bring my routine bag of fruit and vegetables from the market less than 300 hundred metres away from my home I can't blame anyone else for a higher Hg reading of my BP or an abnormal lipid profile. To know this I need no sermon from a spiritual guru.

Sham spiritualism

While giving a bad name to materialism the so called spiritualists are recklessly indulging in the same. Let us look at the life style of a typical modern day spiritual guru. He flies in his personal / chartered chopper or light aircraft. He travels only AC class and an AC podium is put in place wherever he goes to deliver a sermon. Then the question arises why he is doing all this. Obviously, for enjoying wealth - the same material wealth which he would like us, the lesser mortals, shun. This shameless distortion of a potent philosophy of life (materialism) in the name of spiritualism is deplorable and atheist community ought to take up the cudgels against such opportunism and sheer exploitation.