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OPINION | Does Assam's Health Minister Believe Sri Ramakrishna, Other Saints Paid for Their 'Sins' Too?

In Sarma’s language, cancer is a result of bad karma. In that case, did the leaders who spread the ideals of Hinduism commit sins too?

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:January 9, 2018, 5:49 PM IST
OPINION | Does Assam's Health Minister Believe Sri Ramakrishna, Other Saints Paid for Their 'Sins' Too?
File photo of Assam Health Minister Hemanta Bishwa Sarma (PTI Photo)

What the world’s best oncologists couldn’t do after years of research, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma has managed to achieve. Sarma, who is the health, education and finance minister of Assam, has figured out what causes cancer. According to him, it’s the sins committed in the previous life.

Equating cancer to some divine justice for sins, Sarma said, “Some people suffer from cancer, some die in accidents. This is all because of sins.”

According to the BJP minister, cancer is a result of bad karma. He, in fact, tried explaining it too. “People cannot compensate for the sins that are committed against the unseen. Many often wonder why a person has been afflicted by cancer, why a young man has been affected by cancer. But when you see the background, it will be found that it is divine justice, nothing else,” he said.

While teaching about Karma and Hindu philosophies, Sarma had probably forgotten that many of our spiritual and religious leaders died painful deaths, and some of them had cancer too. In Sarma’s language, cancer is a result of bad karma. In that case, did the leaders who spread the ideals of Hinduism commit sins too?

Born into a poor Brahmin family in West Bengal, Ramakrishna, the guru of Swami Vivekananda, and perhaps the best known saint of nineteenth century India, was prone to fits right from his childhood. It became more frequent when he succeeded his brother as priest of a Kali temple near Calcutta. He died of throat cancer in 1886.

Once, when he was asked why we suffer, he said, "God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer."

If you stretch Sarma's logic to include other serious ailments and suffering: Swami Vivekananda himself battled severe health problems before he passed away at the age of 39. Renowned Bengali writer Shankar, in his book ‘The Monk as Man', listed insomnia, liver and kidney diseases, malaria, migraine, diabetes and heart ailments as some of the 31 health problems that the Swami faced in his lifetime.

There are many other spiritual leaders who have died of cancer.

In 2001, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya Swami, a native Californian who sought spiritual meaning in India as a young man and became the spiritual leader of Sri Lankan Hindus, died in his ashram on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. He had intestinal cancer.

The swami had helped build more than a dozen Hindu temples around the world, including what he called the first Hindu church in the United States.

Swami Vedantananda, a renowned saint of the modern times, too died of cancer in 2011. He was the founder of the Gita Bhawan, an architecturally well-designed temple and a school at Moga, besides the famous Pawan Dham at Haridwar.

Himanta Biswa Sarma has gone on the defensive after his illogical remark “Sir, please do not distort. Simply I said that Hinduism believe in karmic law and human sufferings are linked to karmic deficiency of past life. Don’t you belief that too?” he asked P Chidambaram on Twitter.

To another newspaper editor, Sarma said that he’s only “availing a huge opportunity to speak little bit about Hindu philosophy.” “We accept that even Lord Krishna died because of karmic deficiency. That’s is our philosophy,” he tweeted.

But there was one question that Sarma hasn’t answered: what causes verbal diarrhoea?

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