It was Asaram Bapu first, now Rampal – the two self-styled godmen who flaunted much touted healing and spiritual powers but failed to save themselves from incarceration. Without going into merits or demerits of their arrests, I somehow feel it’s time their gullible followers understand there are no ‘such spiritual superheroes on this earth who can provide them succour and support they go hunting for.

The power to hypnotize is different from the power to fulfill wishes and desires. Reeling under abject poverty, health problems, harassment, the innocent masses, turned away by the political systems, run to tens and hundreds of such ‘Babas’ believing them to be demi gods only to be taken for a ride as the so call sadhus use the same pains and sufferings to build their edifices and empires.

If they had any such ‘powers’, there was no way they would have gone to jail. Isn’t it? If they can’t save themselves, how would they save others?

But their incarceration is not enough. One needs to dig deeper into their activities- also their connections with criminals and anti- nationals foe whom they turn their heavily guarded ashrams into safe haven. The political and the bureaucratic system must answer for their meteoric growth.

The Congress cannot shun its responsibility in Rampal case. The new BJP-led government might have mismanaged or delayed his arrest but the Congress government remained deaf and dumb to Rampal’s activities for years. So is the case with Asaram Bapu.

How could they build their palaces, amass unaccounted wealth, arms and ammunition? Do we have a government, a system or not? And if we have one, then how, right under their nose, these godmen built huge boundary walls and gates to turn it into fortified lairs, where people could enter but not come out? Is our political system so weak that the common rules governing all construction activity in the country did not apply on them?

It’s a scary picture. And for all the sufferings of the unknown people, heads must roll.

Today it’s not about one ashram or baba— the two are dangerously mushrooming in rural India where the poor live. As one travels down the countryside, such ashrams can be spotted every hundred miles with few knowing the real face behind it. After all Rampal was just a junior engineer while Asaram Bapu sold tea in front of a magistrate’s office.

It’s not about their professional status but their meteoric rise in the spiritual world – rather materialistic world. How could they impart moral and spiritual teachings when they themselves were addicted to luxuries? It’s a wake-up call for the masses as well as the state and central governments.

It’s time to bring such mushrooming religious institutions of all caste and communities under the scanner.

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