Those years were years of instability in my life, it was one such phase when the seemingly long wait for good days were just about to end. I was on tenterhooks and required some kind of support, a moral support, an emotional one or a devotional intervention.
So, i caught fancy of this Baba, whose anecdotes i had heard since my childhood days, those days of Old Black & White television, the days when i heard that this particular baba was sent as a representative of Hindu religion to the world religious conclave in US, the same conclave where a century before Swami Vivekananda won the heart, mind and souls of one and all by his opening remarks “my brothers and sisters”.
In the advent of cable television and paid channels, when the religious channels cropped up like mushrooms in monsoon, alongwith it brought the culture of new age Baba, babas who sold instant remedies to your health problem, your anxieties, who would guide spiritualism, who would vend various medicines by their brand names. This baba too was not too far behind, and he featured on almost all private television channels giving his discourses in the morning, afternoon or at night, all the times that is.
He was lucid in his speech, his grasp of tales of mythologies amazed me, i did not look upon this man as my Guru or my mentor or philosopher, but, still i watched his morning discourses when i would prepare to leave for my office. I liked his oratory skills and tried to learn how he pauses, talks, delivers the speeches almost endlessly. One fine day, he announced that his son is also an re-incarnation of god, the term also included himself as well. Just like the politicians, the business tycoons announce their heir apparent, this baba, a self declared godman would announce his heir to look after the amass of “maya” he had accumulated, especially, when he would tell others to denounce it. I felt that this baba too was a commercial entrepreneur selling faith, slowly i started disliking the discourses, may be i had heard one too many, may be i was bored of the repetitions and had understood the underlying theme of it.
After few years with the advent of more news channels i switched over to morning news bulletin to stay abreast of happenings around and soon the baba faded away from my me. He never ceased to fade away from my memory as he donned all the walls, the train compartments and every empty spaces all around.
Soon, from the dirty closets, skeletons of misdeeds started coming out, and it came out in haste, as if they were determined to expose this self styled godmen. First came the story of accidental death/killings of two innocent children who were studying in his ashram. Some who saw the corpses said it was a case of human sacrifice, a commission of inquiry is soon to release the report. Then one after the other cases of land grabbing, high handedness started coming out. The politicians of all hues would never dare to touch this godman, given the mass support of his supporters, he had a mass following of millions from all over the world. By this time i had started equating this particular baba with all other fake ones, like a fake quack who professes to be a doctor and fool the patient, these self styled godmens, just all of them were quacks posing as religious leaders, philosophers, saints etc. They were merely quacks, good in their trade though.
The ultimate nail in the coffin came last fortnight, when this particular baba was accused of sexually assaulting a 16 year old. This 72 year old man, did not feel an ounce of guilt when he did this heinous crime. He and his son then went on to say that the girl was mentally disturbed. The crook used all the trades in the book to evade arrest, ran from places to places to evade the arrest. Finally, the long arms of the law caught this man.
I think people like him must be tried and served the severest of the punishments under the law, for these people who claim to be the leaders of religion when they behave wrongly they are responsible for others to follow suit. This baba asumal aka asaram aka asharam did not commit the crime out of an urge or all of a suddenly. It was a well executed plan afterall. The power that he commanded made him feel that the poor parents of the girl would never be in a position to point finger at him. The brave parents proved this man wrong.
I feel enraged by the blind followers of this Baba who are breaking law, who are taking law into their hands and trying to prove that there baba was not wrong and that he was being framed. A simple question was if he was innocent, why did he run away from the police all these days, if indeed, he was innocent, he should have faced arrest the very first day and prove his innocence, come out with even brighter reputation.
I feel pity for those hundreds of followers who might have felt enraged, for having chosen a wrong person as their guide.
For the die-hard supporters something to chew on : http://www.tehelka.com/the-saint-and-his-taint/