You cannot refute the stereotype of men that we commonly hear, just a lust-driven beast only interested in a woman’s body. They behave like godmen but they too need woman’s body without any close emotional attachment to her at the end. These godmen rather give impression that God have designed the ‘male’ sex drive. Didn’t He originally make it good?
Freshly, yet another case of a ‘godman’ being involved in sex crime has come to light. A 22-year-old woman from Jaipur has filed the case against Rajneesh Grover alias Ashok Kumar, a godman. The woman along with her family used to visit Grover’s satsang organised at Delhi’s Chhatarpur area. The woman had invited Grover to Jaipur after the family bought a new shop there. Grover, upon reaching Jaipur, stayed at the woman’s house. He then, in the name of ‘prasad’, gave an intoxicating biscuit to the woman and her mother and sexually assaulted them. He even took their objectionable pictures. Grover later warned the woman against filing a complaint as he was in possession of her pictures. However, the woman got her hands on Grover’s mobile and saw explicit photos of other women allegedly assaulted by him. The woman took the mobile phone to the police station and registered a case against the so-called ‘godman’ with the evidence.
Godmen are no strangers to controversy and they are definitely not unknown to sex scandals. Odisha’s Sarathi Baba, who claims to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna, has joined the long list of godmen who have been “caught in the act”. A local channel aired a sting operation showing a man resembling Sarathi Baba checking into a hotel with a woman in her twenties. However, the man in the video is not in the traditional godman attire that Sarathi Baba usually dons. He is seen wearing jeans and T-shirt. This angered the locals and a mob gathered outside his ashram in Kendrapada in Odisha protesting against his “immoral activities.”
Asaram Bapu is currently lodged in jail for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram near Jodhpur in Rajasthan in 2013. After his arrest, many of his former female disciples have recorded statements about how Asaram and his son Narayan Sai used satsangs and other spiritual events to sexually exploit them.
Swami Nityananda is another ‘victim’ of sting operation. He landed in a controversy after a purported video footage showing him in a compromising position with an actress was telecast by local TV channel in Chennai. He, however, claimed that the footage was morphed. In 2012, he was back in news. An Indian-American and his long time follower Arthi Rao accused him of raping her, on national television.
Sant Rampal, the Hisar godman, who is facing a series of charges including conspiracy to murder, was arrested on November 19, 2014 after a two day violent clash between his followers and the Haryana police — a spectacle telecast live on news channels. Once, he was arrested, murky details of his sexual activities started emerging. There were reports about his habit of keeping “sadhikayaen – the chosen ones who were allowed inside his private mansion as his sexual partners”.
Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, till the time he was arrested in 2010 for running a prostitution racket, this baba had the best of both worlds. He set up his spiritual business in a Sai Baba temple in Badarpur and gradually started a flourishing flesh trade racket. He simultaneously gave spiritual sermons through CDs and DVDs while also running a massage parlour.
Above are just few examples but the list is endless, these Godmen have strong urge and no control over their lust and organs. In the name of spiritual business, they exploit women. While there is no reason to suspect all godmen of depravity, it is alarming how common it is for them to sexually exploit their trusting disciples. There are dozens of FIRs and testimonies of victims, as also the views of sociologists and psychologists who have helped victims and interacted with godmen. The term ‘godmen’ here refers not only to cult leaders like Asaram, but all yogis, maulvis, fakirs, gurus, swamis, pastors and priests who make mystical claims and hold devotees in awe. The way many of them operate as sexual predators can be generalised. In terms of psychology, they create the gear to overcome what they suffer from. Many of them try to draw legitimacy from dubious interpretations of ancient beliefs. Typically, the victims of such predators are either foreigners seeking spiritual solace or girls hailing from middle-class families struggling with the pangs of early adulthood. Sometimes the victims are children, sometimes girls and boys with disabilities.
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