The vibrations of Hinduism are said to be at peak levels in Varanasi where human flesh is consumed by the first fire but then you meet the Aghori’s, an ancient Hindu sect devoted to the formless divine god, Shiva.
The Aghori’s are in a constant cycle of protest, challenging Hindu’s to seek deliverance from the culture of casteism. Their protest comes from extreme practice and rituals that are seen as exotic to the Western eye and frowned upon by the moderate Hindu.
Extreme religiosity to moderate practice, Reza Aslan lost the plot in his new show.
South Africans of Indo-Asian descent have shifted their beliefs from the caste practice in the greater community, however there is a small portion that still hold an attachment to ‘pedigree’ in Hindu and Muslim cultures.
CNN’s Reza Aslan premiered his latest show, ‘Believer’ with the first episode that took viewers to the riverbanks of the Ghats of Varanasi, the famed ‘City of the Dead.’
In this pilot episode, Aslan meets an Aghori guru on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, India. The Aghori are a Hindu sect that abhors the caste system and engages in extreme theatrics to prove that nothing, and no one, is untouchable.
Aslan ‘endured’ the ritual of eating human flesh, specifically the human brain.’ Reza revealed on Facebook just what the ‘brain’ tasted like, writing: “Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal. It was burnt to a crisp!”
The Aghori guru had Aslan bathe in the parasite infested Ganges river then had his face smeared with human ash and also had him consume human flesh.
Watch the video here as Reza Aslan eats human brain.
For someone like myself on the receiving end watching this CNN show, I am made to feel the same reaction that many would experience – a sense of shock and disbelief that makes you very uncomfortable.
Aslan’s response to the above is exactly what every Western influenced person would feel – shock & disgust — he kept his composure until the guru started drinking his own urine. This was where Aslan couldn’t take it anymore.
Later, Aslan meets more moderate, modernized Aghori. To show that no one is untouchable, they run a clinic for lepers. Aslan approves, saying: “You want to know what putting your faith into practice looks like? This is what it looks like.”
Aslan’s like a typical TV journalist, appeasing the masses by – moving from the extreme to the moderate—is an intentional commercial tact we can see a mile away.
The damage from producing a show like this is immense, the view of Hindu’s as a cannibalistic nature will be an excuse for xenophobic conditioning in the Western eye. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that with viewers – it is the sensationalism that which will stick.
The show is “shock religion porn,” said Suhag Shukla, the leader of the Hindu American Foundation. I have to agree with Shukla – Aslan used the darkest aspect of Hinduism, which is set to perpetuate negative opinion of the Hindu faith.
In my view, I see the Aghori as a very intrinsic part of Indian culture & Hindu religion without prejudice of the practice. Through Aslan’s view, I believe he’s tainted the opinion of the Hindu faith with his behavior on the show and this can only lead to hate crimes against any brown skinned person anywhere in the world but more so especially in his country.