FOR THE past one week, the people of Kerala have been treated to the juicy bits of two swamis’ profligacy and escapades. Every vernacular and English language daily in the state have been carrying tantalising details of their daring and nonchalance. While one swami named Amrithachaithanya was arrested on charges of embezzlement, rape, deception and so on, the other called Himaval Bhadrananda was taken in for threatening journalists at newspaper offices with a loaded gun and also using a beacon light on his car, which is forbidden.
Indians from the ancient times have regarded the sadhus and swamis as next to god and worshipped them. But, these days, various shameful acts committed by these so-called swamis certainly put a question mark on the authenticity of such persons.
The original name of Amrithachaitanya was Santhosh Madhavan. He hails from the hilly district of Idukki in eastern Kerala. On a visit some years ago to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he cheated an expatriate Indian woman to the tune of Rs 45 lakhs (1 million UAE dirhams). His photo had appeared on the Interpol’s most wanted list for arms smuggling.
When the police raided his posh residence and ashram, they found a police officer’s uniform, a tiger skin, and a large number of blue film CDs. The swami was a sexual pervert who raped over half a dozen hapless minor girls whom he had been sponsoring for education. He was also running a so-called charity mission whose assets ran into crores of rupees, quite in disproportion to the known sources of his income. He led a high-profile life in the company of political bigwigs and police officers. Although now he is in police custody, all news about him shows an everlasting smile playing on his lips.
Bhadrananda’s case is even more bizarre. He came up with Karma as his route to paradise and milked his followers for cash. He managed to get licence for a pistol for the safety of his person because he claims to have had deadly enemies opposed to his Karma philosophy. The same pistol he put against his head and threatened to blow his head off to prove his ‘innocence’ while senior police officers watched his antics in silence for two hours. He managed to wound a journalist and his own left arm by firing his gun. Bhadran was a time-waster before he donned the ochre garb and started his circus among the people of Kerala.
A third swami called Krishnadas too has come under the scanner these days. Kerala obviously is ready to accept and admire these charlatans in the name of spirituality. These so-called avatars claim supernatural powers, particularly the power of prophecy. They are cunning enough to read people’s minds and with their mumbo-jumbo create the illusion of sagacity. People quickly fall prey to their charms and easy manners. They worship them and generously donate to their coffers.
Psychologists have come up with the theory that in the aftermath of globalisation, people’s aspirations have soared to insatiable limits. In their frustration and despair, they seek solace in the supernatural as propounded by these spurious gurus. These are not gurus but wolves in sheep’s clothing. And when their façade falls off as it inevitably must in due course, the reality is loathsome.
And yet people won’t learn their lessons. They lack the power to see into the tricks of these impostors. They still worship them. They will not learn from history. They are condemned to repeat history. More swindlers will appear and flourish in this land!