Balakrishna Akhanda: Glorifying Aghoris

Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Please visit my website to support this ministry. 

Today’s question: in his latest movie Akhanda, Hero Balakrishna plays a role as the incarnation of god Shiva. Is this right? 

Excellent question. I did not watch the movie. I only heard the storylines from some of my friends who watched it. So, this commentary is only based on the sources. You post your comments in the comments section if I tell you anything contrary to the story in the movie. 

   Hero Balakrishna plays twin roles in the movie. A woman gives birth to twins. They are separated at birth. One of the twins is taken to Varanasi and raised as a devotee of Shiva in a sect called aghoris. He attains supernatural powers to kill bad people. Indian society is full of evil individuals from rapists, murderers, swindlers, cheaters, gamblers and corrupt politicians. Aghora kills them with impunity. 

   Hero Balakrishna comes to rescue us in the form of Shiva. Hindu divinity has a trinity made up of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Shiva is also known as ‘The Destroyer’.     

Who are these Aghoris? Aghoris worship Shiva. They are also known as kapalikas. They beg with empty skulls. You heard it right. They beg with empty human skulls. They accept meat – animal meat or even human meat for the next dinner. Alcohol and sexuality are also part of their rituals. They hardly wear any clothes. They live in cemeteries because Shiva is the Lord of Cemetery. He is called smashana adhipati. The Lord of Cemetery. 

      This is definitely not the kind of Hinduism we saw in figures like Gandhi. How can Gandhi who would not touch meat share his religion with Aghoris, who even promote cannibalism? That is the power of pantheism. You can extend pantheism in both ways. You can take it one extreme and say, ‘there is god in everything including animals and trees. I am not going to hurt any animal or any tree because I see god in them’. You can also take it to another extreme and say, ‘A dead body. A dead animal. That is also a form of god. If everything is god, how can anything be unholy? So, I have no problem consuming dead meat and alcohol’.  

   Over thousands of years, thousands of thinkers came up with thousands of ideas in thousands of books – culminating in a religion characterized by thousands of gods for a people divided into thousands of castes. 

   Based on Hinduism, you can make a case for both theism and atheism, for both vegetarianism and non vegetarianism, for both celibacy and marriage, for both cruelty and love, for both faithfulness and adultery, for both riches and poverty, and for both simplicity and extravaganza, for both monogamy and polygamy. This what happens with pantheism. 

    Shiva’s wife Parvati is a reincarnation of his first wife Sati. Sati is famous for her self-immolation in reverence to Shiva. The famous widow burning on the funeral pyres of her dead husband was justified on the basis of Sati’s immolation out of respect to shiva. The argument went like- every widow who submits to this practice will please Shiva and Parvati. It took enormous social progress to bring that evil practice to a halt. 

    In Balakrishna’s movie, the hero is the incarnation of shiva. In Christianity, we see only one incarnation of God in our Lord Jesus Christ. But in Hinduism, Shiva can incarnate through anyone like our hero Balakrishna in this movie. 

     He takes law and order into his own hands to punish the evil individuals in our society. He is glorifying vigilantism. What is vigilantism? law enforcement undertaken without legal authority by a self-appointed group of people or an individual. 

They take it upon themselves to punish people who they think are harmful to society. Kyle Rittenhouse thinks police are not doing their job in protecting the neighborhoods and he takes his own AR-15, goes into the street and kills people. He gets acquitted of all murder chargers because he is seen as a hero who did what the law enforcement failed to do. He becomes a role model for many young men and women. 

     Balakrishna plays Kyle Rittenhouse in this movie. Without any legal authority, he kills individuals who he thinks are dangerous to our society. This kind of spirituality based vigilantism is not healthy for the well-being of any society. 

   God established a governmental structure to punish evil. A legislative branch to make the laws, an executive branch to uphold those laws and a judicial branch to determine the fairness of application of those laws. God put ‘checks and balances’ between these three branches of the government so that they do not undermine each other in their functions. We should respect God given governmental structures. 

Balakrishna is a democratically elected legislator in Andhra Pradesh assembly. He should uphold democratic values like the rule of law. But his movie undermines the belief in government and praises vigilantism. Some Shiva Shakti groups have been attacking Christian churches, pastors and congregations. The Constitution of India gives protections to practice and propagate religion. But these groups do not think so. They take things into their hands and attack Christian groups. Congress leader Salman Khurshid wrote a book entitled ‘Sunrise over Ayodhya’. In this book he drew parallels between radical Hindu groups and radical Muslim groups. Some Hindu groups demanded his book be banned. A Delhi court ruled against them and declared that the Indian Constitution gives the right to authors to publish their opinions. The Hindu group was not satisfied and they went and destroyed his home. ‘How dare you call Hindutva violent? See, we are going to destroy your home’. The irony is lost on them. They remind me radical Muslims who protest with placards displaying the words – behead those who call Islam a violent religion. 

    It is a sad development that movies which encourage vigilantism and justify violence in the name of spirituality become blockbuster hit movies in our time. Gandhian variety of non-violent Hinduism is disappearing and Shiva based violent Hindutva becoming the norm. Sadhguru designed and built the Adi Yogi Shiva statue in Tamilnadu. It is the largest bust sculpture in the world. It was designed by Sadhguru. Shaivite Hinduism is growing faster in today’s India. 

   Balakrishna’s movie overall is not a good thing for society. While preaching the meaningless of violence he commits more violence. While preaching the sanctity of women, he abuses them. 

   Jesus taught us to overcome evil with good. The Bible says in Romans 12:21. Do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Yes, we face evil around us. But we are not called to respond to evil with violence. We are called to respond to evil with the goodness of God. If you come across an evil person, tell him that God is watching all his actions, God will ask him for accountability and will judge him fairly. Confess and repent of your sins and accept God’s forgiveness offered through Jesus. 

     God wants to change our society through transformation of one heart at a time using the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

    Aghoris live in cemeteries. They need Jesus. In Mark chapter 5, we read about a man living in the cemetery. Day and night, he lives among the tombs. He was so powerful that no one was strong enough to subdue him. He was possessed by demons. Jesus comes to that area. Initially he resists Jesus but then Jesus heals him. Jesus gives him freedom from the demons. That man gets healed and reunites with his family. That is what aghoris need. They need Lord Jesus Christ. He will heal them. Take away their demons. He will unite them with their families. 

   That is my anwer to your question. Thank you. God bless.

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