I came to hear of Nirmal Baba through my domestic help Baby who complained that her 65 year old mother woke the entire family up by switching on the TV and listening to Nirmal Baba’s discourses telecast at 5:00AM in the morning. She woke up at 4:00 in the morning, had a bath in cold water lit a lamp in front of the TV set and sat down to listen to him. She would have tea and a biscuit only after the discourse was over.
I was not impressed and advised my servant to stay away from god men and spiritual gurus. I felt that one ought to face challenges and find solutions instead of wasting time and money as suggested by these men who take advantage of the psychological pressure faced by those in distress. I never heard of Nirmal Baba again till news channels and local newspapers began to report that he had earned more than 109 crores in just 3 months. The money poured in from different sources. Devotees were charged Rs. 2000/- per person for being granted audience and he also asked them to deposit 10% of their salary as a solution to their problems. He maintained two accounts for this purpose. He claims to be paying tax for the amount thus received. Interviews with his one time devotees who now claim for action against him reveal that his solutions make no real sense. He just said whatever came out of his mouth. Like a woman was asked to keep her purse open at dusk while lighting a lamp at the altar in her house as a solution to her financial worries. When she came back to say that her problem persisted he asked her to put money into a costlier purse for better results. He asked some to distribute pencils to poor school going children for success in his examination. A person was asked consume and to distribute ‘kheer’ (Payasam) as a solution to persistent pain in his legs. He actually had blood sugar and his condition worsened. There seems to be no end to these stories. My husband loves watching the same news over and over again. I find it silly.
I now feel like defending these god men. Man claims to be capable of rational thinking. How then can a person lose all discretion and trust these swindlers? If changing one’s purse or distributing pencils was a solution wouldn’t we be a land of multi millionaires? The man was elevated to a divine level by the very same people who are hounding him and asking him to account for the money he collected. He has purchased a five star hotel and has planned to convert it to a chain of hotels, and why not? Money and power are intoxicating tools for corruption. Rare is the person who can resist temptation. For all the social service done by Satya Sai Baba with due respect to him one must say that he too had allowed people with vested interest to handle his money and upon his death people who tried to transport cash from his ashram were detained and questioned. I do not know if arrests were made. I have always respected Satya Sai Baba for his contribution to society. But beyond a point he too lost control or so it seems to me.
Stay away from such fake ‘babas’ is my advice. Life is full of unpredictable turns of fortune and one has to face them as best as one can. Superstitions have never benefitted anyone nor is there an easy way out from life’s woes. In my last post I forgot to wish you all a happy Tamil New Year. A very Happy Nandana year to all of you!
I agree with the second part of your post HHG...I do not understand why people believe & Trust these gurus & babas in first place....it is not only the illiterate class but I have seen even the highly educated lot rolling on the feet of these so called spiritual baba.
money & power are intoxicating indeed...
I too have a strong opinion on this matter. Somehow I cannot but help feeling that as we become more and more materialistic, our dependence on these Godmen grows.
For me, religion is a lot simpler. It is a relationship of love between me and my maker. And I do not need to bribe a temple authority in a famous temple so that I get a "special" darshan.
I know I digress a bit, but your post started a train of thought.
ending with warm regards
Gosh these God men sure are a weird lot!!!
I know loads of people who believe in God men..but somehow, I have never trusted anyone...I would prefer my God in my imagination!
NBose: Despair can make people do wierd things. It all depends on how much one can take. Some can handle adverse situations well and some cannot.
Anu:Materialistic interests and a desire for easy solutions are factirs that make people seek refuge in fake gurus and god men. I too find it useless to expect another human being to solve our problems. In fact God too cannot solve problems. he can only give us strength to face it.
R's Mom: I bet they are. But people who trust them are plain stupid.
Fake Babas spring up every now and then, preying on the gullible believers. They do satisfy a need..otherwise what else could explain their existence! Its sad to see, both the educated and the uneducated, blindly following them. They will live and learn..but for some, it may be too late!
More than original, Fake seems to be original. This is the condition everywhere.
Interesting post. I have seen people blindly following whatever these 'babas' say without thinking whether or not those suggestions are logical. Few years ago, I read of a baba in Southern India, who was arrested for attempting to molest his female 'devotees'. What amazed me was the fact that he had a huge female following because he claimed he knew mantras that could make infertile women pregnant! And how would he utter the mantra - by keeping both his hands on the chest (you know where) of the women so that 'motherly' hormones are released!!!! And to my horror, I read that educated women too fell for his claims and made a beeline to his ashram. Who do we blame here? I would blame the 'devotees' for believed the fake claims. As you rightly said, we have to face ups and downs in life courageously. Why do we need these 'babas' to guide us when we already have it in us to bravely face every challenge life throws at us?
Kadmanivasi: The fake babas survive because a desperate person is also most vulnerable and wants a solution by hook or crook. No amount of exposure and information of their money swindling activities seems to stop them from prospering. that is the sad part,. For each such baba who is exposed,two more arrive on the scene.
BHB:Be it jewelry or religion, fakes do attract people. Fake jewelry for their affordable price and babas for easy solutions. Sometimes fakes do outshine the original.
sandhya:True. were it not for gullible devotees these fake babas would get nowhere.
I will take that seriously. You speak truth.
I'm surprised that you seem to condone the biggest fraud of them all - Satya Sai Baba.
People talk of his contribution to society, but apart from a "free hospital" and a water project to a few villages there is nothing to show for the 40,000 odd crores he has swindled from his devotees.
SSB is ostentabily a fraud who conjures up cheap tricks - gold watches and other cheap trinkets. Allegations of child sexual abuse are far more serious.
Unfortunately it's true that most people, whatever their religion, in times of stress, look for external means for peace and these days, also quick fixes for problems if possible. Peace can never come from anywhere but within oneself, is what these people don't get.
chandler dui lawyer: Every time these fraudsters are exposed I feel that society would learn a lesson and stay away from them. I am yet to see it happen.
anon: I too have heard of Satya Sai Baba's CSA activities. However, since i do not know the details I could not write about it with authority. Free hospital for the needy is a great service isn't it? The educational institutions run by him do impart good education at affordable cost. But a person like Nirmal Baba has pocketed crores in the name of 'dasvant' without using it for a single socially productive causes.
hillg'mom:It is this vulnerability that enables these fraudsters to take advantage of those that approach them for guidance.
Never mind the CSA allegations.
Many credible reports estimate the wealth of the SSB trust at some 40,000 crores - this is more than the GDP of many small countries. Yet, the only thing he has to show for it is a decent school, some humanitarian projects. There is absolutely no accountability and no one knows how the wealth is spent. To me, this is unacceptable.
At the end of the day, why do the devotees follow him?
1) humanitarian work ? if this is the case, what about people like the Tatas, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (2) miracles? which any two bit magician can replicate(3) abstract preaching on unconditional love? which everyone learns from their parents, and practices as a parent?
So my humble submission is that while Nirmal baba is a third rate human being who has cheated people no doubt, SSB has done the same on an industrial scale for decades. Sprinkling a few crores by building schools and hospitals does not legitimize it.
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