Self-styled spiritual leader Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, 50, reportedly committed suicide by shooting himself at his own Khandwa Road residence in Indore on Tuesday afternoon. He was declared dead on being rushed to Indore’s Bombay Hospital leaving shockwaves amongst his followers.
As per the reports released by the police and hospital sources, Bhaiyyuji’s family members were present when the incident took place. They broke open the door and found him lying in a pool of blood. He was brought dead to the hospital while the revolver used and a purported suicide note have been seized by the police. As stated by Indore DIG Harinarayanchari Mishra, Bhaiyyuji has mentioned ‘stressed out’ and ‘fed up’ in his note but the reason for the tension is not known as yet. Police are investigating the case. The suicide note scribbled in blue and signed at least twice says, “Somebody should be there to handle duties of family…I am leaving…too much stressed out, fed up.”
Former minister Harshavardhan Patil expressed, “It is very shocking and sad to lose him. He was not a person who accepts defeat. We never predicted this destiny of Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. He was a national spiritual leader with a secular ideology. He is known as a philanthropist, guider, and good human being.”
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, who announced his retirement from public life in April 2016, had scores of admirers in both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, he was one of the spiritual leaders who was accorded minister of state status by the Madhya Pradesh government in April this year and was assigned to spread awareness on conservation of the Narmada River. Reportedly, Bhaiyyuji denied the offer saying “a post holds no importance for a saint.”
He shot to the nationwide public recognition in August 2011 when late Vilasrao Deshmukh brought him to act as the mediator between with Anna Hazare and the government during his indefinite hunger strike for the Lokpal Bill. Bhaiyyuji prepared an all-approved draft of the Lokpal Bill after harmonising with the then law minister Salman Khurshid and Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit.
Social activist Medha Patkar said, “As per reports he was suffering from domestic disputes. He was good human being with clear ideologies; he wished to fight against corruption.”
The speculations of Bhaiyyuji undergoing depression spread like fire soon after the news broke out while many rumours about his love affairs never left his side. On the occasion of his second marriage with Ayushi Sharma last year, a woman claimed to be an actress named Mallika Rajput accused him of fraud and molestation and posted few photos with him on social media. His second marriage with a much younger woman after the death of his first wife was also not taken well by many of his followers, who slammed him saying ‘a person with fake sainthood’.
On the condition of anonymity, one of his followers revealed to AV, “In recent times, he was disturbed with his alleged affair with a model and was getting many humiliating messages from her in his last few days. The fear of getting trapped in molestation cases was haunting him after the court cases of other spiritual leaders who are behind the bars. He committed suicide because he couldn’t stand the humiliation.”
Adding to the controversies, Manak Agarwal from Madhya Pradesh Congress commented, “MP government had put pressure on him to accept privileges and support the government, which he refused to do. He was under a lot of mental pressure. CBI probe should be done.”
When AV tried connecting his ashram disciples, none was available to comment and we found their phones switched off throughout the day. Were rejections and criticism from all sides the reason behind his decision to end his life? Or, did he choose to leave the world to free himself from all the alleged character assassinations and humiliations that surrounded him in last few years of his life thereby leading to a downslide in his popularity?
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj also survived a fatal alleged attack in 2016 while returning to Indore from Pune. In a tribute to Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “My tribute to saint Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. The country has lost a person who was a confluence of culture, knowledge and selfless service.”
Bhaiyyuji, formerly known as Udaysinh Deshmukh, was a former model and the founder of institutions like Shri Sadguru Datta Dharmik Evam Parmarthik Trust and Suryodaya Ashram. He loved to listen to music, especially ghazals, and his Twitter handle mentions him “As a Spiritual Leader, My Mission is to achieve the goal of happy, prosperous united, strong & youthful India.” He was also invited by PM Modi when he observed a ‘sadbhavna fast’ as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The corpse of Bhaiyyuji Maharaj will be kept at his ashram at 10 o’clock on Wednesday morning for his admirers to pay their last respects and his last rites will be performed with state honour following that at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.