Oh My God! Marketing of a Swami: God and religion are just a business proposition!

‘Oh My God’ adapted from a Guajarati play ‘Kanji viruddh Kanji’ truly is a must see movie. For many in saffron robes (and some in snow-white), God and religion are nothing more than a business proposition!  They spin a scam in the name of God and religion! The last Satpurush I knew attained Mahasamadhi in the early nineties of the last millennium.

What does a Satpurush do the day he becomes a sanyasin? He buries his Purvashram. What is Purvashram? Purvashram is the life prior to renunciation. Pre-renunciation family, teachers and gurus are no longer valid in his life now, post-renunciation: “relations from previous ashram” i.e. previous stage of life or the Purvashram is cut off. A genuine Satpurush may even perform the ‘SHRADDH’ of his living parents, his Purvashram teachers and gurus – the very day he renounces the world! This requires moral courage.

Why is Shraddh performed? To know this, let us delve into the the word ‘swami’. Swami means master; a ‘swami’ strives for the mastery over one’s smaller self and habit patterns, so that the eternal Self within, may come shining through. For this, the memories of his past life, especially the happy and pleasant ones, should not be a hindrance. A genuine ‘swami’ sets aside materialistic worldly pursuits, so as to devote his complete time to experience the highest spiritual realization, and through it, for the service of mankind.

Swamihood is much more than reciting Sanskrit shlokas or quoting the Bhagwad Gita in a charming, delightful and enchanting way. A sugar-coated tongue and eloquence in Sanskrit language does not make one a swami. But this definitely is a prerequisite, and a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) required for a charlatan to market himself as a ‘sanyasin-swami’!

Does a person really need to market himself if he is a true sanyasin?


But it is absolutely necessary when he is either superficial, insincere, artificial or has ONLY PRETENDED to ‘renounce’ the world for selfish motives. A swami who has truly ‘renounced’ the world will never have ‘moha’ for worldly pleasures like driving luxury cars. Remember Bhagwan Shri Ram and his ‘vanvas’?

This takes me back to the  ‘flying-swami’ in white robes, so called because of his romance with flying. At the height of his influence, the tall, bearded swami was regarded as one of the most powerful men in India and was even an adviser to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. But such people do fall from grace very soon. The ‘flying-swami’ was later shunned even by Rajeev Gandhi s/o Indira.

Like the ‘flying-swami’ I know of one ‘driving-swami’ – he has a penchant for driving luxurious imported cars at high speeds! He loves to drive them at speeds over 150 km/hour! His followers are enamored and go ‘gaga’ over his driving skills. One such disciple boasted that the ‘sanyasin-swami’ drove from Mt. Abu to Ahmedabad in less than three hours! Should a sanyasin be known for his driving skills or for being of one mind with God? This ‘so-called sanyasin’  has truly marketed himself very well and his followers have drawn a veil. Corporate Presidents, CEOs from banks, housing finance corporations, the IT companies, the pharmaceutical world and even high ranking retired officers from the armed forces have been charmed and captivated by him. They are his ‘devoted bhaktas’. Such is the strong hypnotic power of this sanyasin!

Hello Michael Schumacher and Narain Karthikeyan you have the traits of becoming a populist sanyasin or a swami!

A true swami will chase temperance and self-denial and not fast cars!

I know of another ‘sanyasin-swami’!  The height of his marketing pitch???  He addresses his followers as ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’! So all the ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’  are head over heels with him – excepted the enlightened ones.

It is the fake, bogus and counterfeit sanyasin who requires to market himself. Sant Tukaram, Sant Gora Kumbhar, Sant Kabir or Sant Tulsidas, Sai Baba of Shirdi never needed to market themselves.

I know of another ‘sanyasin-swami of a motley crowd of Hindus including all educated and others highly educated and a few very wealthy and filthy-rich! He respects ONLY the filthy-rich and the wealthy, and the influential and does not bother about the educated, highly educated (but not filthy-rich) devotees from amongst his followers. A corrupt and dishonest businessman was once his principal adviser and personal assistant for over eight years. They are now at logger-heads and meet each other only in courts. The dispute is over property running into millions of rupees.

This ‘sanyasin’ once made a statement that all his followers should shun politicians. A very noble principle! And lo! Just a month later in the house-magazine of his sect which his followers publish and read, there is his photograph , being entertained by – of all the people – the most corrupt Chief Minister of his state who is now cooling his heels in jail after being stripped of Chief Ministership.

While this sanyasin has all the time in the world for the filthy-rich, he will not even acknowledge the presence of the educated but  not-so-wealthy / filthy-rich devotees. On the other hand, he makes such a devotee lose self-esteem. He will break all the rules of his community to accommodate devotees who have a good cash flow.

Such a sanyasin truly needs to market himself – nay he will require a team of top-class marketing personnel as swamihood has to be reinvented!

Like the ‘flying-swami’, the ‘driving-swami’ is slowly falling from grace. Over 30% of his followers have already deserted him and many more are following suit. Many more at least another 50% are the silent majority who are not with him. And has always happens, the minority is making a lot of noise.

‘Oh My God’, where will he be three years hence?


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