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The Mother of all businesses…

It’s a business that can never fail……it has no business cycles or seasons and if the economy is dong well….its good and if it isn’t doing well….well, all the more better….in fact that’s when this business does the best. With a clientele across all ages, gender, nationalities and practices it needs no marketing or sales promotion and is mostly self driven by faith, fear and hope. What other business could be better than this….religion.

Since I turned into my teens I have always had this firm belief that it would be a good and promising career for me if I could have my own temple and become a pundit doling out Tulsi water as ‘chirnamrit’ and some pieces of ‘misri’ as prasad….this was hardly a operating expense….the income? Well, the base income is guaranteed but the wealth creation may need some innovative thinking. A few stories of miracles after performing prayers at my temple would do for starters. It’s no joke and somewhere in my mind the desire to own a temple still exists till now.

The mindset is not confined to just Hindu’s……talk about religions such as Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jews….these religions are nothing more than money making machines….and I am talking about serious money. It does not mean that I do not believe in God, The One, Cosmic Power, Allah, Jesus, Krishna or by whatever name we may prefer to call Him. They are all different paths to reach Him and while the routes may be different the destination or the goal is the same. So why this promotion of one religion over another….is one God better than the other?

No, it is the Organized Religion Industry (ORI) that has over the centuries adopted these marketing strategies and sold its message brilliantly, concentrating on such talking points as fear of death, answers to the unanswerable, and moral certainties delivered in God’s name. Religious organizations all across the world not only operate as business entities, but their ‘business model’ has seen a diversification of activities to retain the loyalty of their followers and attract new devotees, according to a study conducted at the University of Cambridge.

First of all, many people seem to have an internal need for believing in some sort of supernatural, all knowing, all-powerful being. I don’t know if people are born with this need or if it just becomes part of them from their life experiences, but regardless of how the need got there, it’s there. What religions must do is figure out how to attract a sufficient portion of the ‘believers’ to support their cause. Almost every religion will try to convince its followers and the masses that its religion is the one and only true religion, that only by believing in their god, and practicing their faith, can one be saved. One example in religion is Christianity’s claim that only by accepting Jesus Christ as their savior can people be saved. If in fact this is true, then Christianity is the exclusive supplier for those who want to go to heaven and escape the fiery flames of hell. Other religions make the same claim. That’s marketing.

If you do not have the product – in this case Christianity and all that goes with it – you will go to hell and burn for eternity. God also may make you suffer or do bad things to you while you are here on earth. Christianity’s done a great job here – either you believe as they tell you, or you will burn in hell forever – not a pleasant thought. That’s superb marketing.

On a personal note I say religion is just all about money and the immense power that comes with such wealth.

The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.

In what could be an adventure story worthy of a movie with only Indiana Jones missing a court-ordered search in 2011 of vaults beneath a south Indian temple unearthed gold, jewels and statues worth an estimated $22 billion. Over a ton of gold, sacks of diamonds and precious stones; gold necklaces over three meters long and weighing over 2.5 kilograms, gold crowns, thousands of pieces of antique jewelry, idols, and artifacts studded with diamonds and emeralds. 

Like everywhere else, in India, too, a large number of non-Muslims chose Islam for fear of Jizyah tax. Fîroz Shâh Tughluq promulgated an ordinance imposing Jizyah tax on the Hindus and exempting them there from on conversion to Islam. He writes that as a result of the ordinance ‘the Hindus thronged in clusters after clusters and groups after groups and were glorified by the glory of Islam. And likewise to this day of ours, they come from far and wide, embrace Islam, and Jizyah tax is off from them.’

The annual income of the Church of England is estimated at over US$ 1.70 billion with assets of just over US$ 12.50 billion while the combined annual income of the churches worldwide is estimated at about US$ 8 billion.

That is the true situation borne out by a Vatican official who, when asked to make a guess at the Vatican’s wealth today, replied very tellingly, “Only God knows.”

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