Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was held guilty by a court of raping two female disciples. This is not the first time that a self-proclaimed godman has found himself in the midst of controversy. From corruption, murder to rape these Indian godmen have been involved in everything.
One of the controversial Godmen in the country. People visit his ashram, located on the banks of the Sabarmati in Ahmedabad for prayers, yoga and meditation. The godman’s regressive views came to light first after the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case, when Asaram Bapu said that the victim should have pleaded with the rapists to let her go, should have regarded them as her “bhaiya (brother)”, instead of resisting rape. He was in news for the mysterious death of two boys studying in his ashram’s gurukul. The boys went missing on 4th July 4 2008. Their mutilated bodies were recovered from the riverbed on 5th July. With allegations of black magic doing the rounds, the city saw massive protests and demands of a CBI probe.
Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai was accused of rape and sexual assault. Sai is currently lodged in jail for the rape and assault of a woman at one of Asaram’s ashrams between 2002 and 2005. He is also accused of having physical relations with eight other girls, some of whom were his followers.The Gujarat Police estimated that Narayan Sai has properties and investments worth more than Rs. 5,000 crore.
One of India’s most famous and widely followed spiritual gurus, known for his vast charitable empire. He was given a state funeral, when he died in 2011. His trust was often criticised for lack of transparency. After his death 98kg of gold, 307kg of silver, and 115 million rupees (around RM7.6 million) in cash were found in his private quarters. At public meetings, his showman antics – in which he would miraculously produce gold coins or watches on stage – brought him both fame and notoriety, with critics accusing him of being a fraudster.
Swami Nithyananda faces a series of assault and sexual abuse charges, although he has never been convicted. Five women accused the 40-year-old of abusing them at his Hindu religious retreat in Karnataka. He was held in jail for 53 days in 2010 after a sex video scandal. When a local television station aired the footage purportedly showing him fondling two women, angry villagers attacked his ashram, where devotees practise yoga and follow spiritual teachings. Nithyananda, who also operates a meditation centre in Los Angeles, has claimed to possess paranormal powers of levitation.
Another controversial godman is self-proclaimed baba, Piara Singh Bhaniarewala, who heads the Baba Bhaniarewala sect based in Ropar district. He says he has penned his own holy book and his followers have been accused of burning the Guru Granth Sahib.
Rampal considers himself an incarnation of the 15th-century poet Kabir. In November 2014, five bodies were discovered by the police after they stormed the ashram of a self-styled godman, Rampal, in Haryana’s Hisar. Another of the man’s followers died in hospital. The police were seeking Rampal’s arrest after he refused court orders to appear to answer charges including conspiracy to murder, inciting mobs and contempt of court. The ashram was guarded by hundreds of followers for several days. Police fired water canon and lathi-charged the supporters who were armed with stones, petrol bombs among other weapons. Some of the followers said the guru regularly bathed in milk, which was then used to make kheer that they believed could cure illnesses.