Sleazy swamis cash in on the business of faith


New Delhi: Starting from the benign to the bogus, magical to the mafia, fakers to the fakirs, and religious to the sleazy, godmen of every kind exist in India.
Hundreds of Indians put their belief in them however few can think about that almost all revered godmen are frequent criminals who’re instrumental for money-laundering rackets. The enterprise of religion, which mushroomed throughout India like an epidemic previously 10 years, has really became a enterprise of peddling false hopes. But as it’s, gullible individuals proceed to fall at these godmen’s ft to hunt divine options.
At present, there are a variety of self-appointed godmen in India, normally discovered sporting a saffron gown with a string of rudraksh beads round their necks and sporting an extended beard. At occasions, they are often seen carrying a T-shaped picket workers to relaxation their arms on.
There is no such thing as a dearth of such godmen — in any other case known as “baba”, “guru”, “sant” or “swami” — in India, who declare to speak immediately with God and possess powers of forecasting occasions. However invariably, a few of these godmen dwell a secret life — one which includes the darkish world of free intercourse and an unimaginable quantity of unaccounted for cash, typically stashed in ashrams (religious centres) or unknown locations.
What’s much more worrying is the truth that many such swamis or godmen benefit from the patronage of virtually all political events who attempt to use their clout to mould public opinion of their favour.
Enter the four-storey ashram of Chandraswami, the “religious advisor” of late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. You possibly can really feel the safety system monitoring your each motion via strategically put in video cameras, with Chandraswami himself preserving a tab on you from his non-public chamber.
Chandraswami sits on a pedestal in his baroque marble-covered ashram in South Delhi, sporting a glowing white dhoti, kurta and silk angavastram, with a big sandalwood tilak outstanding on his brow.
From extraordinary to king
“Chandraswami was a small fry however his actual quick metamorphosis from an extraordinary ‘sanyasi’ to king-maker was the results of his shut friendship with late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. But it surely was solely throughout the Lakhubhai Pathak case that the Chandraswami-Rao alliance turned public,” Pandit R. Okay. Bhardwaj, a famend tantric of India, mentioned.
Bhardwaj has created a collection on the brutal practices of tantra for a non-public TV channel — working for over 5 years — and lots of of different documentaries on the topic.
Amongst Chandraswami’s staunch devotees are Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, billionaire Sultan of Brunei, actress Elizabeth Taylor, two African presidents and lots of of Indian politicians and industrialists.
“Chandraswami boasts of his means to learn minds and solid spells. However his precise skills are recognized to few. He exploits the gullibility of his excessive profile followers and manoeuvres them in a means that they do not ever realise that they’ve been duped,” Arvind Guruji, a so-far untainted Gujarati Brahmin-turned Sufi non secular chief, who runs a sprawling ashram in Kapashera, South-West Delhi, mentioned.
The riveting tales of rapist godman Premananda, or the dalliances of Kanchipuram Devanathan throughout the temple premises have definitely not light from the general public’s reminiscence.
Pilot-turned-guru Pilot Baba — who beforehand even fought within the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict — is legendary for performing underwater and underground samadhis, claiming to have carried out this 100 occasions over.
Devotees from all elements of the nation come to hunt particular therapeutic powers from him. .
Caught on digicam
Extra lately, Swami Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s amorous acts have been captured on digicam when a sting operation revealed the religious chief in an alleged intercourse scandal with a Tamil actress. Nithyananda, who claims to be a celibate, runs the Nithyananda Mission which is a part of a world-wide motion for meditation and peace.
Equally, Shiv Murat Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari sant swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, who was arrested in New Delhi lately, has been accused of utilizing the guise of spirituality to lure younger girls into prostitution, from which he cashed hundreds of thousands.
The 39-year-old self-styled godman allegedly orchestrated a intercourse racket, working into hundreds of thousands of rupees, by involving air-hostesses, faculty college students and housewives. Investigators say Dwivedi had constructed cave-like constructions in a temple he inbuilt South Delhi’s Khanpur.
Beginning small
Beginning with a small Sai Baba temple in Badarpur, investigators imagine he regularly began a flesh commerce on the premises.
Dwivedi claimed to be an excellent devotee of Sai Baba and disguised himself as Ichchadhari Baba, who can flip right into a serpent at will.
Likewise, one other “saint” from Gujarat, Asaram Bapu, is believed to have a “hypnotic” character which has “attracted” hundreds of thousands of devotees from all corners of the globe, transcending social boundaries.
Based on Jignesh Patel of Ahmedabad who was a disciple of Asaram, “in all my years as a sadhak (follower), near 99 per cent of everybody I knew skilled a robust sense of inadequacy.
“Not solely does Asaram and firm play upon the pure human worry of loss of life however in addition they entice poor individuals from Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and different backward areas by promising an internal religious journey and finally making them insurgent in opposition to their very own households… ” Such gullibility regarding godmen is a really pan-Indian phenomenon. The Gujarat authorities lately admitted within the Meeting that Asaram Bapu’s ashram has encroached upon 67,099 sq. metres of land in Ahmedabad. The collectorate is at present coping with the difficulty.
For the file, there are about 225 ashrams and greater than 1,500 Yoga Vedanta Seva Samitis (varied committees) internationally run by Asaram Bapu and firm.
“Truly that tells one thing about our society. We’re so insecure due to the depressing scenario of our life that we typically find yourself looking for reassurances of the charlatans,” Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president, Ram Janmabhoomi Belief, mentioned. “On the identical time, a couple of individuals exploiting the society within the garb of godmen don’t signify the non secular gurus of India rendering religious steerage to the lots,” he mentioned.
KEY FACTS: Fakirs and Fakers
Nemi Chand Jain, aka Chandraswami, the prodigal godman, is ready for his return regardless that the controversies that encompass him are innumerable.
The MC Jain Fee Report in 1998 devoted a whole quantity to his alleged involvement in late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and an income-tax raid on his ashram reportedly uncovered authentic drafts of funds totalling $11 million to arms seller Adnan Khashoggi.
“Chandraswami is unquestionably not holy. All he craves is indulgence from the wealthy and the gullible. Regardless of his religious air and claims of mystical powers, he’s nothing greater than a assured trickster craving money and energy,” Avijit (identify modified), serving as home assist of Chandraswami in his ashram, says. “Earlier than he was grounded, his international journey invoice was over Rs10 million per 30 days,” he revealed.
Paramhamsa Nithyananda resigned on March 30 as head of his non secular organisation after he turned the main focus of a police obscenity probe. Nithyananda has been beneath investigation since tv stations aired video footage purportedly exhibiting the 32-year-old fondling two unidentified girls in mattress. His Dhyanapeetam ashram has insisted the footage was pretend, however in a video assertion on its web site, Nithyananda mentioned he felt an obligation to step down because the ashram’s religious chief. Nithyananda has a big following in southern India — the place his ashram is predicated close to the town of Bangalore — and has 26 different ashrams dotted around the globe.
Shiv Murat Dwivedi who was arrested in February could have run certainly one of India’s most high-profile prostitution rackets, investigators say. Probe into the racket allegedly run by Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanandji Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, 39, confirmed that he amassed greater than Rs600 million within the final 10 years. Dwivedi had greater than 100 women, together with air-hostesses, faculty college students and housewives, working for him.
A grievance has been filed in opposition to Asaram Bapu and two others in December final yr for allegedly trying to homicide a former follower of the non secular guru in Ahmedabad. In the meantime, the Gujarat authorities has admitted within the Meeting that Asaram Bapu’s ashram has encroached upon 67,099 sq. metres of land in Ahmedabad.
Santosh Madhavan additionally know as Swami Amrit Chaitanya, in opposition to whom the Interpol had issued a discover for allegedly swindling about Rs4.5 million from a Keralite lady within the Gulf, was taken into custody close to Cochin, Kerala, on Might 18, 2008. He was sentenced for 16 years in jail to molesting two underage women in Might, 2009.
– With inputs from businesses
Do you assume there are extra frauds than actual mystics in India? Why do you assume swamis appeal to giant followings? Do you assume these rackets occur as a result of it’s economically viable for all concerned?

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