Another Godman sponsored ban in making ?
After Nestle, is it the turn of Cadbury ? After Ramdev sponsored Maggi ban will it be the turn of worm infested allegations against Cadbury for the Ganga cocoa of Sadhvi ?
While other countries, including the US, have their cult quasi-religious figures who command a devoted following, India has the largest number of self-proclaimed godmen many of whom, as Ramdev showed, are literally a law unto themselves. MBA colleges are researching to come out with suitable courses to prepare leaders of our future based on the success mantra of Godmen turned Goldmans.
Ever since the time of Chandraswami — the controversial guru who, among other things, was linked to shady arms dealers — godpersons, to be politically correct and gender neutral, have acquired a political as well as religious and spiritual role. Now some of them are making deep inroads in the corporate world and changing the language of branding.
Considering the increasing clout they enjoy, the question that arises is if they should by law be required to get themselves registered and licensed in much the same way as is required of other professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants. MNCs can contemplate on this. HUL can take this up through the Ayush Ministry and provide them with a package from their Ayush therapy to set up a India Godperson’s committee, which would ascertain and certify the bona fides of all those who would take up this profession? Keeping in mind that sometimes there is literally cut-throat competition among various practitioners of the profession it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reach a consensus on the constitution of an appointing committee. Considering the nature and nomenclature of their profession, Godpersons could justifiably point Heavenwards to indicate the only Licensing Authority they’ll submit to.
There are more Babas and such like in India than we have functional traffic lights. It must say a lot about our insecurities or about the way parenting happens in India. Adding to the money that these blokes make is their pernicious influence over the law and order of the regions in which they operate. Recently some dolt called Sarathi Baba was arrested in Odhisha and it was learnt later on that he believed in everything worldly: from sleazily womanising to amassing unaccounted wealth. Then there is of course the case of Asaram Bapu and his enduring prison term. Ramdev’s saffron robes and long beard are meant to convey he is a man of religion. We now know how he became a crorepati many times over.
Every decade throws up its own fair share of these dubious people and one must reiterate the difference between those who have taken upon themselves the mantle of Godship compared to those who are spiritual leaders. We have no issue with the Sadhgurus of the world because we genuinely believe he shows you a path that you may not have seen but I do worry about the likes of Radhe Ma and that other gent who runs the Deira Sachha Sauda and was recently the Messenger of God. These are the deviants who defy logic and common sense. In fact they are the epitome of the stupid following the stupid. We should remember many decades ago, P C Sircar the venerable magician had penetrated the ashram of Satya Sai Baba and produced as much ash as he did.
Ram Jethmalani said on an NDTV debate many, many years ago that he thought a guru who “does not get out of his cave” genuine. The logic: he is in for the money if he travels outside of it.
It makes sense that Sathya Sai Baba’s curly black hair received more attention than his devotees’ adoration for him. His devotees included Goldie Hawn, Steven Seagal, Sachin Tendulkar, Shashi Tharoor, Nicolas Maduro, Bombay Jayashree and politicians across party lines flocked to his ashram. Outlook carried a special feature after his death. The clout is increasingly evident. Narendra Modi, made a political statement when he sought Amma’s blessings to make him the Prime Minister. She becomes a BJP supporter who takes communism to a different level. It remains unknown if the former is true. Sathya Sai Baba and Mata Amritanandamayi are global gurus with vast transnational followings. They have been seen as god-people by the media. Sai Baba’s body is dead yet his devotees keep his spirit alive. Amritanandamayi is the fastest travelling saint on the planet. Other gurus catch up.
In a leadership summit I heard some MNC honchos doing a side talk of making a Digital Baba as their brand ambassador. A webinar with Cad Baba having 10,000 followers on Instagram on the topic of ‘ Cranberry flavour personality traits’ – maybe interesting. With 3D printing coming in, it would not be very difficult, provided it is conceptualised well to catch the desi disposition of loving the addictive additive Godman more than we love our family.