Unholy acts & controversies of some ‘holy’ men


November 20, 2014

New Delhi: India is home to more than 90 per cent of the god men and god women in the World. The self-appointed god men often make it to headlines mostly for the wrong reasons. Their crimes range from petty to heinous. Most of these god men and women establish their own sect and attract the devotees. Their following is also very substantial.

November 20, 2014

New Delhi: India is home to more than 90 per cent of the god men and god women in the World. The self-appointed god men often make it to headlines mostly for the wrong reasons. Their crimes range from petty to heinous. Most of these god men and women establish their own sect and attract the devotees. Their following is also very substantial.

Some of these people have amassed huge wealth within a short span of time. Some of them have a big following across the world and earn hundreds of crores through donations and fees.

In the recent times, many god men and god women have faced the law for various alleged crimes. Here is a look at unholy acts and controversies of some 'holy' men. .


His ashram is located on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad. It is visited by devotees for prayers, yoga and meditation. However, there has been little peace here since the mysterious death of two boys studying in the ashram's gurukul. The boys went missing on July 4, 2008. Their mutilated bodies were recovered from the riverbed on July 5. With allegations of black magic doing the rounds, the city saw massive protests and demands of a CBI probe.

Asaram who calls himself a Bapu, has been lodged in a jail since September 2 last year after he was booked in a sexual assault case. The case relates to the complaint filed by a Surat-based woman, who has alleged that Asaram exploited her sexually when she was staying in his Ashram from 1997 to 2006.


He was very close to political leaders particularly the former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. Nemichand Jain is his real name. He is accused of huge financial irregularities. There are accusations of him being involved in Rajiv Gandhi's killing. An I-T raid on his ashram is said to have uncovered evidence of payments to an arms dealer. His passport has been impounded by the CBI and he has been trying to get it back for the past many years.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, he was charged in a rape case by the CBI and has been accused of sexually assaulting women followers of the Dera at the sect's head quarters is in Sirsa of Haryana. He has also faced murder charges. He once dressed as the 10th Sikh guru, setting off violent protests across Punjab in 2007. He is now acting in a movie and performs dance and song shows.

Swami BhimanandJi Maharaj of Chitrakoot

He is also known as Ichchadhari Sant, he claims to be a follower of Sai Baba. He was arrested in 2010 for running a prostitution racket in Delhi. In the late 1990s too, he had been arrested on the same charges. After being released from jail then, he had turned to 'spirituality'.

Jayendra Saraswati

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi matth was arrested in November 2004 on the charges of the murder of Shankararaman, a manager of one of the math-run temples. He was acquitted by a court in Pondicherry years later.

Kripaluji Maharaj (Ram Kripal Tripathi)

He was in the news after a stampede at his ashram near Pratap­garh in UP that left 63 people dead in 2010. He has also faced charges of kidnapping and a rape case in Nagpur in 1991. He was acquitted after witnesses turned hostile. His ashram in Austin, Texas, figures in an abuse scandal.

Swami Paramahansa Nithyananda

Founder of the Nithyananda Mission, which claims to have 1,000 branches worldwide, is infamous for allegedly featuring in a sex tape with an actress. Spent some days in jail, but has bounced back. Many cases are still pending against him. His ashram is in Bidadi, 30 KM from Bengaluru.


Also known as Trichy Sai Baba, the Sri Lanka-born guru was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs. 67.3 lakh in 1997 for various offences, including rape and murder. He was charged with raping 13 inmates, molesting two and murdering Ravi, an engineer. He died in 2011 in jail while serving the term.

Swami Sadachari

Once spiritual advisor to many top politicians, including Indira Gandhi, he was sent to jail for running a brothel in 2005. The once influential god man, who is believed to have performed rituals at a Prime Minister's residence, was caught only when he is said to have fallen out of favour with the powerful.

Osho Rajneesh

Rajneesh advocated a more open attitude towards sexuality. Increased criticism of his activities at the Pune ashram in 1981 and threats of punitive action by authorities led Rajneesh to move to the United States. In 1984 followers of Rajneesh poisoned 751 individuals to rig the election so that their own candidates would win Wasco County elections. In 1985 high-ranking followers of Rajneesh hatched a conspiracy to assassinate then United States Attorney for the District of Oregon Charles Turner. He died many years later.

Sathya Sai Baba

His life and times marked by several serious controversies involving allegations of faking 'miracles', sexual abuse and even paedophilia. There also have been allegations of misappropriation of funds in the name of donations in running the Rs 40,000 crore Sathya Sai Baba trust.

On June 6, 1993, Sathya Sai Baba's Puttaparthy ashram Prashanti Nilayam came under controversy when four persons were shot dead by the police after they had allegedly stabbed four devotees in Baba's bedroom, killing two and serious injuring the other two. He died in April, 2011.

Swami Shraddhanand

The Supreme Court, in 2008, upheld the life imprisonment to self-appointed god man Swami Shraddananda, accused of burying his wife Shakereh Kaleeli alive in their Bangalore house to usurp her massive property. She was the granddaughter of the late Diwan of Mysore Sir Mirza Ismail.

Swami Gnyanachaitanya

PM Sudhakaran, alias Gnyanachaitanya of the Shiva Shringam ashram in Kottakkal, Kerala was a former army man who spent 14 years in jail for committing three murders.

Nirmal Baba

Cases filed against Nirmal Baba in Uttar Pradesh for alleged fraud and cheating in Apr 2012. He is also accused of amassing assets worth hundreds of crores.

Ashok Jadeja

Ashok Jadeja arrested for swindling money from thousands of people from across India in May 2009

Santosh Madhavan

Santosh Madhavan jailed for 16 years for raping & illegally confining two girls in May 2009

Pilot Baba

CNN IBN-Cobrapost investigation exposed Pilot Baba's involvement in hawala operations in May 2007

Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev claims to cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer through yoga and ayurvedic drugs. In 2012, Baba Ramdev trusts asked to pay Rs 5 crore for alleged tax evasion. His close aide Balkrishna faced allegations of fraudulently acquiring an Indian Passport. He faced a CBI inquiry. Ramdev has recently got Z-Plus security by the Central government.

According to Indian Positive Atheists Organization, this is how devotees are brainwashed into fandom by religious cults.

  1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader's aim and desires.
  2. Control the person's social and/or physical environment; especially control the person's time. Through various methods, newer members are kept busy and led to think about the group and its content during as much of their waking time as possible.
  3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. This is accomplished by getting members away from the normal social support group for a period of time and into an environment where the majority of people are already group members. The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviors of the group and speak an in-group language.
  4. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person's former social identity. Manipulation of experiences can be accomplished through various methods of trance induction, including leaders using such techniques as paced speaking patterns, guided imagery, chanting, long prayer sessions or lectures, and lengthy meditation sessions.
  5. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group's ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group's beliefs, and compliance are rewarded while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, he or she is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.
  6. Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.
  • Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person
  • Control the physical and social environment; control the devotee's time
  • Keep the person unaware of what's going on & how he is being changed step by step
  • Manipulate rewards, punishments and experiences to check the expression of the person's former identity
  • Manipulate rewards, punishments and experiences to promote conformity
  • Set a closed system of logic, a hierarchy permitting no feedback, with top-down orders

DISCLAIMER: Above information has been compiled through various sources.

Courtesy: IBN