Read: Lord of Light

Speaks the king to the priest: “You keep them ignorant, I keep them poor."

Take some technologically advanced settlers; give them a means to reincarnate, i.e. transfer their mind, memories and skills to a fresh body once their old one becomes too frail, thus give them relative immortality; make them the rulers of their world. What will they do?

Roger Zelazny explores one possibility. In the Lord of Light the original colonists establish themselves as the gods of a Hindu society. By improving upon their own abilities in a hostile environment and obtaining a fresh body every once in a while they become the gods of their own descendants. Their descendants, however, do not share the god's technological sophistication. There is neither a printing press nor indoor plumbing. In brief, they are kept ignorant. Hence, the more absolute is the power of the gods, the more complete is their domination of their world and people.

If it were not for the protagonist, Sam, a renegade First who wishes to bring a time of enlightenment, to accelerate development and free man from the shackles of their gods Light of Light would be a rather dystopian novel. Though he, too, tricks his fellow man. By introducing Buddhism as a rival religion to weaken the power of the false gods he employs the same shoddy tactics. Keep man ignorant about their fate.

I cannot help but wonder: Is this the true purpose of religion?