How can I get a divine intervention for my career? That’s the question Ravi Ganne, a young investment banker in Bangalore, typed into Google seven years ago. His search results led him to the website of a new company called ePuja. For about $15, the start-up would have a puja, a Hindu devotional-prayer ritual, performed on his behalf at one of its many in-network temples.
A few clicks later, Ganne had arranged for a ritual at his favorite temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and located in Tamil Nadu. “It worked out for me,” he says. “I got a better job offer. So I started doing this on a regular basis.”
In recent years, tens of thousands of Indians have turned to ePuja and other prayer-by-proxy companies, whose smartphone apps and websites make summoning a godly intercession as easy as ordering a pizza. Another such company, Shubhpuja, has marketed itself as a way to “connect to God in one click.” The offer appeals to Hindus—both in India and abroad—who don’t have the time, money, or physical ability to travel to the temple with the best reputation for resolving their particular problem. Just select a puja and temple, pay a fee, and the company gets a priest to perform the ritual. Shubhpuja even allows customers to Skype into rituals as they’re being performed.
ePuja’s network now includes 3,600 temples, according to the company’s founder, Shiva Kumar, who spent four years driving around India persuading priests to partner with him. Explaining the concept was a challenge, he says: “They don’t understand what the internet is. ‘Where is this internet? Can I touch it, feel it?’ ” But once they grasped it, most priests were willing to perform pujas for anyone who wanted them.
The company has since facilitated about 50,000 pujas for customers in …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Technology