In response to the ongoing controversies surrounding self-styled godmen, Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu sadhus has released a list of 14 ‘fake babas‘.
The umbrella organisation has 14 akharas including the Nirmohi Akhara which is the face of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in Ayodhya. ABAP has also demanded a law to ensure a crackdown on “rootless cult leaders”. The 14 blacklisted self-styled godmen are Ram Rahim, Asaram and son Narayan Sai, Radhe Maa aka Sukhwinder Kaur, Nirmal Baba aka Nirmaljeet Singh, Khushi Maharaj, Sachidanand Giri aka Sachin Datta, Om Baba aka Vivekanand Jha, Ichchhadhari Bhimanand aka Ram Murat Dwivedi, Rampal, Swami Aseemanand, Om Namo Shivay Baba, Brihaspati Giri and Malkan Giri.
The move came close on the heels of the recent rape conviction and jailing of Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim, the head of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, Haryana. The Parishad is a council of akharas, which draws their spiritual lineage from 8th-century seer Adi Shankara, who is said to have established orders of martial monks with the aim of defending the Hindu Dharma.
ABAP has appealed to “common people to beware of such charlatans” and said copies of the list would be sent to the Centre, state governments and opposition parties. ABAP promises to release another list of 28 fake godmen after Diwali.
Along with the list, ABAP has also decided to put in place a mechanism to award the title of 'sant' in order to prevent its misuse. The title will be given only after thorough evaluation of an individual’s lifestyle. Akhara Parishad said they had also decided that a saint cannot hold cash or have any assets in his name. People should also cross-check an individual before becoming their disciple.
We sincerely hope that fake babas will take the note.