Supercool Indian Gurus Under Fire
Posted by Barry Pittard on May 22, 2008
The article, by Jeremy Page, features criminal allegations, made against Himaval Maheswara Bhadranandaji. The current guru furore has reached prominence in The Times, May 21, 2008 –
It headlines: Money and sex tarnish Indian guru image.
The Times of London (May 21, 2008 ) has just headlined: Money and sex tarnish Indian guru image. The article features criminal allegations made against Himaval Maheswara Bhadranandaji:
They’re conducting all kinds of criminal and material activities behind their spiritual exteriors,” G. Sudhakaran, Kerala’s minister for temples, told The Times. “Ninety per cent of them are fake and criminals. There are so many swamis who have enlightened the hearts and minds of people, but these people are fakes with no idea about spirituality. They are only interested in women and money and muscle power.” His comments outraged many devout Hindus, who consider swamis to be beyond reproach — even above the law.
From my wide Indian acquaintanceship, one thing is very clear: many devout Hindus are most decidedly concerned about those swamis who are NOT beyond reproach. Nonetheless, by the impulsive and unreflective, the Keralan Minister G. Sudakaran will be badly assailed for his outspokenness.
The Times report continues: :
This isn’t just a problem confined to Kerala — the same thing happens everywhere else,” Narendra Nayak, the president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, said.
You have all sorts of illegal things going on in ashrams, but police won’t go in there because they’re holy places.” Dr Nayak alleged that many swamis abused their holy status to launder money for politicians, businessmen and criminals and to provide a safe place for their clients to drink and have sex with prostitutes.
Part of the problem, he said, was that the swamis were not regulated by any central religious or government body.
James Vadakkumcherry, a former teacher at the Kerala police training college who is doing a study on bogus swamis, said that there were about 50 or 60 such “holy men” in Kerala alone …
Of course, one needs to factor in complex factors, political, social and religious that determine why certain gurus are pursued with the full force of the law, while others are not.
In the meantime, we may spare a thought for those members of the Indian judiciary, police forces and governments, parties and also courageous private individuals who, in confronting corruption, sometimes risk life and limb.
21 May, 2005
2) Swami Premananda of Tiruvannamalai
Deccan Herald April 5, 2005. Swamy Premananda of Tiruchirapally ashram in Tamil Nadu
“The Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and life sentence for two terms of Swamy Premananda of Tiruchirapally ashram in Tamil Nadu for raping 13 women and murdering one person”.
3) Kanchi Sankaracharya – arrested and accused of murder. Verdict not yet arrived at.
The Hindu April 11, 2008 wrote: “The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved verdict on a petition by the Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, for a direction to the Pondicherry government to appoint a public prosecutor to conduct trial in the Sankararaman murder case. The case, in which he is the main accused, has been shifted from Tamil Nadu.”
5) The Sunday Times (UK). July 17, 2005. India‘s yuppies flock to gurus for stress relief.
“When Business gets stressful some managers call in the consultants. In India, however, the stressed-out consultants are calling in the gurus”. By Michael Sheridan, Delhi.