They have been revered and ridiculed in equal measure, people adore them and abhor them, they have been called divine and asinine, and now comes the official word – they are fake!
A number of self-styled godmen or babas in India have officially been discredited. The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu sadhus, has released a list of 14 ‘fake babas’. Prominent names on the list include Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Asaram Bapu, Radhe Maa, Nirmal Baba, and many more.
“We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis,” said Swami Narendra Giri, the President of the Parishad. The Parishad is a council of akharas, monastic orders whose spiritual lineage is drawn from eighth-century seer Adi Shankara, said to have established orders of martial monks to defend the Hindu Dharma.