Bharat is a land of saints and we had celebrated masters of world like Adiguru Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Tapovanji Maharaj, Swami Chinmayanand Saraswati and the numbers go to infinity. Because of our great saints, Bharat is known for its rich culture, traditions and vast knowledge base. The ancient scriptures, Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Bhagwat are all our cherished treasure, written by our great saints only. But some wicked characters sometimes pose as spiritual gurus. The recently convicted Gurmit Ram Rahim is one of them. But it does not mean that we should blame all the spiritual gurus of Sanatan Dharma. Having said that it is apt to mention that whatever punishment the law could have given to Gurmit Ram Rahim, it has given, yet such fraudulent babas consider themselves above the law. The extent of violence resorted to by the followers of Gurmit Ram Rahim, in his name, which claimed 38 lives, shows blind faith among lakhs of his followers. In fact, some babas even pretend to be bhagwans, yogis, bapus and sants. Most of them find themselves in jail when their scrips fall in the booming God market that badly needs a regulator. Since the time of Alexander the Great, India has always been perceived in the West as a source of spirituality, a holy land where yogis levitate, sadhus tame tigers with mantras, and generally speaking, a nation that has the secrets of the universe all sewn up. But today, India’s spiritual side is being exploited by some religious conmen and charlatans. However, such elements lie not only among Hindus but among all religions. These God-men (and God-women) know that the fine line between faith and rationality often does not exist. The scenario is such that either one is fooling or being fooled. There is big money to be made. And politicians know that votes can be gained by paying homage to these well-established spiritual leaders. These God-men, especially people like Asaram, Gurmit Ram Rahim, or Rampal, saw themselves as creatures above the law.
Here it cannot be gainsaid that most of the devotees are untreatable fool. Every year, many babas are exposed as fakes and frauds and a few are also sent to jail. Even the explicit proof that these God-men are up to no good, does not shake the faith of their gullible devotees. But the enchantment with saffron robes, flowing beards, and vermillion-stained foreheads never ends. For Indians, they are the indelible symbols of the holy and the sacred. Gurmit Ram Rahim plays the Rambo role in a film, Radhe Maa believes in the hugs, kisses and dance therapy. Nirmal Baba makes crores of rupees (on which he pays his taxes) just by giving advice as absurd as eating samosas with green chutney instead of red. These holy men know how to use the media for their benefit. Their antics are beamed into through television programmes in millions of households through spiritual channels. These gurus wield enormous power on the lives of the viewers. The sheer scale and size of such a following sends an electoral message to all political parties looking for vote banks. They know that one cannot survive in electoral politics without a God-man or two in the party kitty. A God-man, more than a caste, religion or biradari, is a guaranteed vote bank. It is noteworthy that the earlier generation of gurus wanted their followers to be spiritual, today’s God-men preach that it is correct to be powerful, spiritual and materially rich. The guru-shishya parampara was a hallowed tradition in India. The guru provided a home, haven and a refuge in a hostile world. Last but not least, one also smells a deep-rooted conspiracy towards the age-old tradition of rishi parampara of our great nation, whose prime focus was on to guide the society on the righteous path. In the present-day India, there are still many saints who preach and follow the path of our spiritual traditions. So, let’s not put together all the good saints and bad saints in a single basket. Insulting a true saint and giving bad names to age-old mutts would end up with a dangerous imbalance in the society. Not mentioning any religion, one also expects to expose all the touts of all the religions under Indian Penal Code.