The Godmen and their 'Leelas' in India are nothing less than the miracles shown in any Hollywood flick. However, their ends are predictable too...to a certain extent. They ruled the roost once, but failed to beat fate when it came to 'karmic' consequences. From rape to extortion, these Godmen did everything within their bounds when they were in their heyday, but lost all that vigour behind bars. Some went crazy out of remorse and some died of insecurity.
So, here's the riches to rags stories of some of the godmen in India.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan: Once the master of the sprawling Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters at Sirsa, he now growing veggies at Rohtak jail. He is also said to be pruning trees for eight hours for a meagre salary of Rs 20 a day. Adjoining his barracks is a small plot of land where he grows vegetables. Whatever he produces will be used in the jail mess.
Dismissing the fact that Rahim is given any special treatment in jail, the DGP said that he is a disciplined prisoner and that there is no TV in his cell. He is also said to be consuming the same food as that of the other prisoners. As rumours go, Ram Rahim is often quoted to have broken down in prison. However, the DGP said that his barracks have restricted access for security reasons and that he does not have any common contact with other prisoners. The godman is said to have given 10 names of people who could meet him, which also includes his mother. Ram Rahim has been lodged in a barrack with few prisoners who are known for their "good conduct" and have security staff with impeccable track record.
Sant Rampal: All that Sant Rampal says these days to any question asked to him is "I had lost my mind and this is what happened". The Godman had once aimed to beat all ashrams in size and luxury. At least that's what the inside sources say, but who knew that his palatial dreams will come crashing down behind the bars.
Police superintendent said that Rampal wanted to defeat all gurus on the basis of spirituality, wealth and wanted to have maximum followers in the ashram. While his followers were always up in arms for his protection, life for him is not simple in jail. Fearing threat to his life constantly, he now lives in great insecurity. The one who threatened the Sadhvis and disciples into prostitution is now being threatened. What an irony. Some reports also suggest that he wakes up in the middle of the night fearing torture. In fact, he has recently accused Hisar jailer Shamsher Singh of demanding bribes and harassing him. Thus, requesting the court to shift him to a different jail for security purpose.
Parallely, he is also trying to shake off his tainted tag and trying to win back public support from jail. He is said to have mobilised his followers to garner support for himself and try to prove his innocence. However, his nightmares and sleepless nights still continue.
Asaram Bapu: The godman was initially popular among the jail inmates too, to whom he had recommended a peace chant for their well being and prosperity. However, his image took a nose dive as the inmates got to know of his offences. One of the convicts said, "Hum to marg se bhatak gaye thhe, par yeh to sant thhe (We went astray as we were ordinary people, but he was a saint)." Life for the Godman has been equally disturbing like his other counterparts. Reports suggest that he rarely gets angry but continues to say that he has done nothing wrong. He gets to meet 15 devotees in a week, mostly with business interest such as different such as suppliers of different items to his ashrams or workers there with the odd prominent visitor thrown in, such as senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal in January. The godman worth Rs 10,000 crore is now living a life of an ordinary inmate.
Swami Premanand: He may have died, but he left a legacy behind. A legacy of insanity. His defiantly jovial mood after the judgment is still haunting. He smiled at photographers while being taken back to prison and said: "Truth will ultimately triumph." Death was ultimately triumphant. Bestowed a life sentence for raping 13 minor girls in his ashram, the godman was a refugee from Sri Lanka who was mired in controversies involving rape, he was sentenced to double life imprisonment and a cumulative fine of Rs 66.4 lakhs. To add to his woes, the court asked him to serve the imprisonment consecutively. He died worrying of the additional term of 32 years and 9 months, if he could not pay the fine. Reports, however, suggest that until his last moment in Cuddalore jail, he said he was innocent.
Swami Chandraswami: "Main aur jail? Kabhi Nahin. Kis liye? Maine koi galat kaam nahin kiya (Me in prison? Never. For what? I have not done anything wrong),"the godman had said in an interview. But alas, the laws of land did not spare even the most powerful and far-reaching godman in the country. His journey from the plush 2,100 sq yard ashram in New Delhi to a 6 ft-by-9 ft 'B' Grade cell in Prison No.1 at Delhi's Tihar Jail is stupendous. In what was probably his longest spell in prison, Chandraswami was destined to rot in jail since 1984.
The one who owned luxury cars and a resplendent ashram landed up in a dingy jail, thanks to his dubious accomplishments. He had initially been placed in a 'C' grade cell, which houses 20 petty criminals, in a dormitory which had cement slabs in place of regular beds. But it was on account of his poor health - according to a medical report, suggesting that Chandraswami suffered from diabetes, arthritis, spondylitis and hyper-tension - that he was granted a 'B' grade cell. The defiant godman was once quoted saying, "Yeh to sab kaalchakra hai...bura samay hai, kuchh dinon ki baat hai (These are bad times. They'll pass)."
Then again he consoled himself saying,"Maine bees saal jungalon main bhakti ki hai. Yeh to kuchh bhi nahin (I spent 20 years in the jungles. This pales in comparison)." He died a death in isolation on 23 May, 2017.