‘Devotion’ business has been proliferating vigorously by godmen. In any commercial business, inculcation of corporate culture draws new set of customers. Devotion business is also subjected to corporatization by their godmen. There is no correlation between the increase in the devotees attracted towards godmen and the educational status of such devotees. There is no gender equality among the devotees. Women devotees are on the increasing trend. To the extent their feelings are suppressed, women are prone to mental pressure for which going to the temple and praying to the idol kept there do not comfort them. The ventilation of grievances by the devotees does not compensate their social sufferings because the idols are mere stones or metals. They cannot listen and speak. More than the worshipping places, the devotees are searching for places where some palatable, soothsaying, despite being false, do forthcome. By capitalising on this sort of trend in the society, many godmen are emerging. They manage their dwelling places – starting from the design, installation exclusively suited to the purpose. Before ventilating the grievances, the devotees are subjected to psychological influence with due attention to every devotee.
In olden days the persons moved towards the godmanship were possessing sexual weakness and started the practice. Nowadays, in order to accomplish the versatile sexual deeds many men are taking the avatars of ‘godmen’. If the origin and background of modern godmen are analysed, many of them were drug sellers, illicit distillers, murderers, financial deceivers, either punished by law or escaped from punishment and even imprisonment. In order to camouflage such background, the prospective godmen commence their devotion business by giving publicity as if they are close to politicians, very near to the ruling power and the local kingpins. Certain godmen even tempt the politicians satisfying them with sexual prey of the abandoned women and even of well-off family background. Such victims to the devotion business are unable to expose the connected link at the cost of their social status.
Many at the ruling throne are kneeling before the godmen and those events are publicised professionally to attract the devotees in large numbers.
Here are the deeds of some high profile godmen:
Kanchi Kamakodi Mutt – Godman Jayendra Saraswathi: Akin to the name of the mutt, (kama means sexual), the late Jayendra Saraswathi was associated with many sexual episodes that appeared in popular magazines in Tamil like Junior Vikatan, Nakkeeran, Kumudam Reporter etc. of which the obvious statement of popular women writer Anuradha Ramanan is the documentary proof for the sexual deeds of the godman. In 1992, the writer was invited by Jayendra Saraswathi for offering an interview. The lady writer was accompanied by another woman through whom the writer was invited. While the interview was going on, and the writer was noting down the utterances of god man, there occurred sudden change in the environment. When the writer lifted her attention from noting to listen to the god man, he, along with the accompanied woman, was in a ‘compromised position’. Suddenly the godman extended an invitation to the writer for the compromising position and compelled her to act but the writer refused and had to come out from the room immediately. When the ugly, indecent behaviour of godman was exposed in the media by the writer, she had to face and tackle many troubles, meted out by godman Jayendra Saraswathi.
In 1986, the sexual urge of the god man made him go to the extent of eloping with a lady by leaving the mutt without leaving any information but renouncing the ‘thandam’(the holy stick, held by the mutt-head) at the mutt. The absconded Jayendra Saraswathi was nabbed by police and brought back to the mutt. The devotees unmindful of the ‘divinity’ said to have been attached to the mutt, had continued ‘divine’ darshan with the god man as usual.
Later he was arrested in a murder case as the accused no 1 and almost hundred prosecution witnesses deposed against the godman Jayendra. But finally many of them turned hostile to the prosecution enabling the release of the godman.
Political personalities at the helm of affairs at the Centre were regularly visiting the god-man and getting blessing from him till his demise a few years back. Rules and law are subversive to godman. Godman –Jayendra Saraswathi was the typical example .
Godman – Shiv Murat Dwivedi: Many public complaints were emanating against the godman, Shiv Murat Dwivedi for his carrying out the brothel business under the shield of Hindu religion. On vigilant watching, the Delhi Police authorities found the underground chambers at the Saibaba temple, Kanpur (U.P.) run by him and confirmed the brothel business of the godman. The godman was arrested immediately.
Godman-Asaram Bapu: The godman has got discipleship in multitude. He was held as a criminal for his activities at Ahmedabad ashram, Gujarat. He was an esteemed religious guru in North India. There were many criminal cases filed against him for land grabbing, murder, sexual violence etc.
In Delhi, a woman (name not mentioned) went to the Police station at Kamala market and lodged a complaint that the 72 year old godman had assaulted her sexually. In 2013, the woman, along with her 15 year old daughter from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh went to the ashram of the godman in Rajasthan. There she and her minor daughter were molested by the Godman. Now the godman is behind the bars.
Godman – Rajneesh Grover: This godman was innovative (!) in his misdeeds by presenting seductive biscuits to the woman-devotees as ‘prasatham’ and on consuming the ‘prasatham’ the devotees would lose their normalcy and made victim to the sexual assault of the godman. At Jaipur, the photos of two women victims were published widely in the media. A 22 year old devotee lodged a complaint with the police.
Godman with cut off genitals: A person by name Sri Hari was running a tea shop in Kolenchery, Kerala. One day that fellow went to the burial park of a godman and commenced his godmanship by wearing saffron clothes. People used to be carried away by the saffron attire. He stayed at Panman ashram at Kollam and changed his name as Gangeshananda Theerthapada Swami. He visited nearby houses to perform poojas one of which belongs to a student of local law college.
By exploiting the condition of her bed ridden father, the godman seduced her mother. Later he started his misdeeds with the student who was then 16 year old and appeased his sexual desires. He had been sexually assaulting the student for about 7 years. At one stage the student cut off the genital of the godman.
Godman Nithyananda: A youth by name Rajasekaran left his home at Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu and wandered along with many saffron attired godmen. He projected himself as the reincarnation of Ramana Maharishi, started the ‘godman business’ and flourished. Coupled with communication skills using technology, he did his ‘business’ in a different way. He started writing devotional series in print media and published many books with the aid of ghost writers.
A cine actress who was no longer busy, took asylum at the ashram and took care of the personal needs of the godman. One of the close disciples of the godman, videographed the bed room scenes of the godman with the actress and it went viral on the digital and electronic media. The godman was charge sheeted for sexual violence. He absconded for sometime and later got arrested.
Later the same godman was nominated as the successor to the Madurai Adheenam, another notorious mutt head. In reciprocation, the godman donated Rs. 1 crore to the Adheenam.
The Kanchi mutt godman Jayendra Saraswathi objected to the nomination of godman Nithyananda for Madurai Adheenam on the ground that he colluded with a cine-actress. Rebutting the objection the godman Nithyananda pointed out that he was not the like one who was charge sheeted in a murder case. Further he blamed godman Jayendra Saraswathi for having killed his senior pontiff by administering addictive injection. There ended the mutual charge levelings in between the two godmen.
Godman Jaggi Vasudev: This godman commenced his life as rowdy and elevated himself as a millionaire. Forty years back he was a ‘drug’ selling retailer, of course illegally and with a lot of sexual connections with women. His ‘Esha Centre’ was established by encroaching a vast land, declared as reserve forest in Ikkaran Polluvapatti, near Thandamuthur of Coimbatore district. Till date no severe action has been taken against him. The support of rulers is enjoyed by him. Once the Prime Minister Modi had also visited the ‘Esha Centre’ of godman Jaggi Vasudev.
Godman – Kalki: He was a former employee of the L.I.C., started many activities and finally became a godman. He proclaimed himself as the 10th avatar of ‘Lord’ Vishnu. Only the criminals and culprits are becoming godmen. Godman Kalki is a typical example. Within a very short period the godman amassed huge wealth with the support of political supremists. To camouflage his unaccounted properties in benami and cash, he ran the ashram capitalising the abstract ‘devotion’ for which many devotees of varied status thronged him largely from India and abroad.
Due to the political rivalry, a raid was conducted in his ashram wherein Income Tax evasion was unearthed to the tune of Rs. 500 crores. When the officials who raided the ashram, interrogated the whereabouts of godman Kalki, the inmates replied that they had seen him two years back. It seems the godman along with his wife escaped from India.
The above illustration about godmen and their misdeeds are not exhaustive. Still the devotees are rushing towards godmen. Real awakening among the public must be brought out, for which continuous propaganda and exposing the misdeeds of godmen have to be carried out.
The eye opened but visionless people should not fall a prey to the ‘devotion’ business. Let the unstinted endeavours be sustained to wipe out the saffron attired godman from the society, of course, strategically with a rationalist mind set.