Whether it is Gurmeet Ram Rahim or it is Rampal ot Asaram or Nirmal or Shyam Giri or Tunnu our recent history is riddled with fraud babas and fraudulent religious leaders. Claims of corruption, sexual exploitation and inciting violence had dogged thes spiritual leaders—or “god men,” and they have become a pain in the neck of our society. They have a unique position in our social fabric where they enjoy popularity out of proportion to their minuscule abilities. Politicians and babus who matter lie prostate in their presence as they command large vote banks and are Hawala currency exchanges for their illegitimate wealth. It is a nice symbiosis which prospers till the baba looses his head for some apsaras. Sex has somehow remained the most potent baba-neutralizer over the ages and this time with GRR it was no exception.
They acquire some knowledge of basic religion, have the gift of gab, start preaching and the gullible fall prey. These less-than-holy members of India’s massive religious network act as scam artists thriving alongside genuine spiritual leaders. Many babas begin as preachers from small towns in the country’s rural hinterland where they hold ersatz satsangs—religious discourses open to the mostly poor, uneducated locals. A well-run satsang can offer the sort opportunities for enlightenment hard to come by in these outlying villages. In course of time the gurus cultivate relationships, intervene in family disputes and even act as match makers. And because some devotees have become so beholden by becoming part of the faithful, it is blind faith that takes over after that. The faithful may find themselves doing something as simple as cleaning up the ashram for free or cooking for the guru and his live-in acolytes. Depending on the power and influence of the particular godman, however, things can escalate, with followers donating huge sums of money or even committing crimes for their leader. The potential for sexual exploitation is never far away.
Every god man or godmother has a USP which he/she exploits to the hilt. Some can produce ‘bhabhuti’, ashe from thin air, some can forecast future and some can heal all ailments. A current television sensation, and yes they all have their own TV programmes with excellent TRPs, claims he has spiritual power and he can do wonders with his sixth sense and mystic powers. He also claims that he has healing powers and God’s gift to scan the person who is thousands of miles away – believe it or not, over the telephone! It’s sound strange! But millions of his supporters believe this and follow him as a God or real GURU. But there are lots of other peoples who believe this is a real scam with innocent Indian people.
So why do Indians still flock to these powerful swamis—some of whom may wield as much power as the leaders of small countries—even after charges of rape and massive military raids carried out on live television? Despite the scandals, it does not stop people from stooping to charlatans in robes and matted hair because they themselves are left with very low self esteem and are emotionally paralyzed by the guru! And that is the irony….a guru is expected to make one emotionally strong and not turn his disciple into an emotional cripple who always is in need for the guru’s crutches!!
What is both unfortunate and painful is that such pseudo babas flourish, of all the places, in India. This has been a land of the sages, seers, saints and sufis. From the great Rishis of yesteryear like Vashishth and Valmiki, Sushruta and Charaka, Dadhichi and Dattatatreya through the period of Ram Krishna Paramhans and Aurobindo to the recent Ma Anandmaye our history is adorned by so many super human souls who have carved our destiny over the years and made us feel proud of our heritage. Every gotra is originating from a Rishi, whether it is Gautama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vashishtha and Kaśhyapa and Shandilya the seven sages (also known as Saptarishi) and all of us are their progeny! And yet in India, there is so much of falsehood, deceit, corruption and debauchery in the name of Dharma being perpetrated by the likes of GRR, Asharam, Rampal and their types! Their crime is not just what they are being tried for in the court; their most heinous crime is that they have sullied the good name of the saints and sages of the past. They have brought our Dharma to disrepute. They have become a black blot on our civilization. It was our mistake; we did not identify the asura in the garb of baba.
All those gullible creatures who talk about baba miracles fail to understand basics of Hinduism which revolves around Karma and its fruits – which affects life and after lives. Karma helps explain the disparities that occur in the human population such as: prosperity or poverty, happiness or misery, good health, illness, or disability. We are what we are because of our deeds and actions. One cannot escape from the Karma, right or wrong and no baba can help. Only good karma is what will lead to salvation. What these babas are doing amounts to cultural terrorism.