Religion is the opium of the masses…

December 19, 2009

He was rich, he was powerful, he was influential and he was addicted.

He was the president of the trust which owned one of the most influential temples in his location. The temple was so popular that it drew crowds even from the neighbouring states. Naturally, when there is such a high foot fall, there is bound to be good commerce in and around the temple. And he controlled that commerce.

He was not born rich or influential. He was the son of one of the priests of the temple. As was the custom, be too became the priest in the same temple. He had a certain charm and style of saying the prayers. There was a lot of life in his ways. This was noticed by the temple authorities and he was asked to chant the prayers during important and special occasions as the collections were generally higher when he conducted the sessions. People were mesmerised by his skills and were happy to donate considerable amounts.

His administrative skills were also not un-noticed. He made sure that the queue moved faster and special prayers were started on time and ended on time too. People liked the punctuality he introduced. He interacted well with both the temple staff and the devotees. He understood their concerns and often took steps to rectify them, as far as was possible in his capacity. These small gestures made him the favourite of the devotees as well as the temple staff. After a point of time, he was even considered lucky and was requested to preside over many of the functions and important occasions of people. Especially people who were rich and influential. That enabled him to develop a lot of important connections. All this took so much of his time that he did not have any time to get settled in a family and have kids!

Eventually he was made the treasurer of the temple. This brought him in the direct contact of all the trust members and enabled him to have a clear view of all the money that was exchanged between various parties. He knew exactly how much money came in and where it all went. During his period, the collections to the temple increased tremendously and hence no one, including the members of the trust bothered to look into minor details of where a certain share of it was going to. He knew the loopholes of the system and the money flowed freely in to those loopholes. Rather, he was able to direct the money into them quite perfectly.

Once he started to make more money, he wanted even more. And then, a lot more. He was able to make any amount of money he wanted to, and he was still in the good books of the trust members as the donations and collections kept increasing as well. After a point of time, he had so much black money that he had to open an account with a Swiss Bank. After all, the income tax department could raid the houses of important people any time! And he did not want to part with his money in the form of taxes, to the Government. First, it was made illegally and second, why should he give the Government any money? What did the Government do to him anyway? He was a very hard negotiator, even for small amounts and never spent huge amounts of money on anything.

In due time, he became the President of the trust. He started to make so much money that he had no idea of even how many zero’s were there in the value he held in his Swiss Bank! He had so much money.

Now, in his death bed, he was only worried about one thing – What would happen to all the money once he passed away?

He realised just too late that he had been addicted so much to making more and more money that he never thought about spending it! All his happiness came from making more and more and more of money alone. Money, in his case, became a commodity rather than being the medium of exchange, that it normally is!

Religion is the opium of the masses.
Sure. Like how,
Money is the opium of the rich.

Destination Infinity


  1. A beautiful narrative story indeed there. Yes, nothing mesmerizes the mind of a man like money. The joy of life can never be bought by money, eventhough money matters. Many times by the time we arrive at the ‘right perspective and right clarity’ of life, we are already on our death bed. Life is NOW.

    Sometimes I feel it is better to arrive at the right perspective and right clarity later on in life. Innocence is sometimes bliss! 😉

  2. how stupid of him! yet I think for him the joy lies in the search itself.. and not in the resulting treasure 😉

    What a costly way of bringing joy in life! 🙂

  3. I really wish some of our netas and babus read this post.
    It is very well written post.

    Actually, I wanted to make the lead character, a politician. But since the title of the post has a religious touch, I thought a religious character might be more apt. But this post is very much applicable to our beloved netas.

    • Good that you didn’t portray a politician there… it’s so open but most people think of the God men in different perspective while they are (or can be!) as bad as politicians or any other goon! Just they are in saffron or white or green coloured attire!

      Did you notice – saffron, green and white are the three colours in our flag!! Well that shows how much truth we portray even if accidentally!

  4. DI, I love your characterisations and your understanding of human psychology!

    I too love comments like this 🙂 Different type of characters are used to make different points in the story. I am not sure how far I am getting across the message, which is the core.

  5. really beautiful narration DI.. I liked it and hope people think about this.. what their money going to do after their death….

    They feel that if it is passed on to the next generation, it will help them. I think it is the opposite – inherited money makes people lazy and becomes an incentive earned for not working at all! They will pay dearly for this, of course (I mean, the ppl who inherit the money).

  6. Idiot !!! Thats what I would call him ! 😀 😀 Ok, he made money the wrong way; but he couldve atleast enjoyed it ! All that money for the Swiss ??? Goddd !!!

    Exactly, that is one more point I wanted to stress through my story. We are so engrossed in planning to make money that when it comes, we fall short of planning to how to spend it! I think both are equally important, with a considerable amount of saving of course,

  7. If you had portrayed a politician in the main role, this story would have been one in a hundred. The story of the ordinary priest whose greed for money, has made it quite unique.

    This story can happen. Normal people, who do not bother about extra money, come across easy money, change completely. Money changes the attitude of them. Felt sad, after reading this story.

    As usual, your narration of the story is beautiful, Destination Infinity.

    That’s something which surprises me – people who normally don’t bother much about money, become opposite of themselves when they see the potential for a lot of money! I think we cannot judge the character of a person firmly as it can waver based on a lot of factors – one of them being time.

  8. 🙂 it is repetitive at some places..the topic chosen is good one

    Thanks for your feedback of the story being repetitive. Will take that in to account in the future. Guess I am writing too many stories these days. Need to change the theme.

  9. Brilliant, as ever!

    I’ve been away from my fellow bloggers and their blogs for a long time now and feel disconnected….! Feels good to be back!

    Wishing you and folks a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!

  10. Having enough money just to be happy… and prepare for uncertainty.
    Not have so much money but have no time to use it.

  11. I feel we must have many such cases happening in real life too. They say truth is stranger than fiction … he must have been one lonely person – no family, no friends and all the money he didn’t even need.

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