Sant Shri Asaramji, endearingly called ‘Bapu’, gave me some of his precious moments the other day at the Rajokri Ashram in Delhi, just ahead of a pious dissertation coinciding with the inauguration of a commune in Canada.
Just two months back, I had a one-to-one session with Bapu, when he refused to ‘keep’ a white envelope (containing some offerings from me), saying: “Nahin, nahin. Issey apney paas hi rakho”, as if he was acquainted with the fact that I did not have adequate source of income. Quickly, realising that I might be disenchanted, as my offerings had not been ‘accepted’, Bapu said: “Samjho mainey le liya. Tumhey iskee jyaada jaroorat hai”. I was dumbfounded.
This time, however, my interaction with Bapu was different. It was like chalk and cheese, with lots of media noise and hullabaloo surrounding him, following the death of four children in quick succession at two separate institutions run by him in Ahmedabad and Chhindwara.
It was totally a different session with Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu whose advent, I feel, was a historical necessity.
Though Bapu’s works – mainly spiritual, moral and social – have greatly benefitted the media as well, yet a section of the media, as I found, was engaging itself in mindless mudslinging at him. Mindless? Yes, mindless because the allegations, on the face of it, appear to be totally false, fictitious and vexatious. How could you link Bapu with the deaths of the children? And that too without any basis. Ooooh!!! Freedom of press does not mean freedom of purse. Who is funding such a malicious campaign?
Myself a media man, I feel ashamed to be part of such a fraternity that totally ignored the basic tenets of journalism – both newspaper and television – while reporting on the Aarushi murder very recently. And, as if it was not enough, it is now malafidely taunting Bapu as a criminal; while Bapu, all these times, has been taking all and sundry to a spiritual journey. Whomsoever I encounter, admit that he has experienced a change in his attitude towards life and has gained a new self-confidence, inner peace, equanimity and freedom from stress after being associated with Bapu. No exceptions. Even the father of one of the deceased, whom I met later on, did not seem to nurse any grudge or ill-feeling against Bapu or the organisations run by him.
Bapu is a phenomenon, an observable fact, a movement and I am sure truth shall prevail. His discourses are interspersed with bhajan, kirtan, stories based on scriptures like Srimad Bhagvad Geeta, Upanishads, instances taken from day to day life, Vedanta explained in simple words, tips on natural healthy living, yoga and other jewels of wisdom. Why paint him like this?
Probably, many see Bapu as their rival and appear desperate for an opportunity for themselves in the deaths of innocent children. Shame on them and shame on the section of the media as well which deliberately did not care for the sentiments of the people while presenting totally biased views and one-sided versions of the stories revolving around Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu and his Ashram, without any objectivity.
The mysterious deaths of the children are no doubt serious. So was the death of Aarushi. Remember how the media handled the Aarushi murder!!! Her father, at the very outset, was projected as her killer and was even sent to jail. As a result, father-daughter relationship tumbled at every home. This time, the media is branding Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu as a tantrik and even holding him responsible for the death of four innocent boys. Will now the age-old guru-shishya tradition cave in? This cannot be allowed.
now 2011 all those creators are either in jail or in hell names some of them are raju lambu ,amrit; tantrik sukha etc
Is anti-Asaram outfit ‘Jagega Gujarat’ a mask of Congress?
Please click the following for details.
I am so thankful to Shree Bapuji. And can I thank Him enough!
We sincerely listen to and attend Bapuji’s ‘satsang’. We want ‘mukti’ by Bapuji’s ‘satsang’.
We have got the “GOD “in Bapu. He Himself is God – Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva. In this life, we are very fortunate and happy to have got “BAPU JI” as our “SATGURU JI”.
Neeraj, I read your story on Asaram Bapu based on your meeting with him.
‘No body should be condemned unheard’ is the age old principle of natural justice but it appears that our media has completely given go by to it. Media is a very formidable weapon, which is largely being controlled by unscrupulous persons, who are driven more by profit and TRP rather than by any social cause.
What is more disturbing is that media persons are inflicted with self righteousness and arrogance as they refuse to listen to others. If this trend is not stopped, I shudder to think that how many more Uma Khuranas and Talwars will be defamed and defiled by the media.
Let me hasten to add that media has rendered yeoman’s service in exposing certain scandals for which we all should be thankful to it but that does not absolve it from its recklessness. Social audit of media is necessary but how it is to be done is a million dollar question!!! Conscientious citizens will have to take the lead in this regard.
neeraj you are really blessed to have the opportunity to sit besides BAPU .People like you are needed in media to uplift the standards of reporting,coverage .People like you are in dire need in this profession of instant fame who know the significance of Guru and who have experienced a change in their way of life by just following their steps.
kudos to you brother!!!!
THIS is what I wrote for the international news site nowpublic.com, reporting from New Delhi.
[ Phenomenally influential religious Indian saint Asaram Bapu on Saturday shrugged off charges of occult activities in his commune, saying the allegation was part of an international conspiracy to defame his “pure and totally clean” institutions, even as Canada was added as yet another domain abroad for his religious activities.
Addressing hundreds of thousands of followers at the industrial township of Noida, bordering the Indian capital New Delhi, he claimed that popularity of his works were not to the liking of certain vested interests.
“There is an international conspiracy underway to target my pure and totally clean image, as there are vested interests jealous of the works being done by my devotees. They also feel threatened by the success of the children studying at our educational institutions,” he said, adding he was not aware of any occult activity.
Though the entire four decade-long spiritual journey of Asaram has been full of thorns, the mysterious deaths of four children in July at two centres of learning run by him in India have been inviting media ire. Undeterred, people turned in large numbers Saturday to listen to this saint and frequently shouted slogans in his favour. Meanwhile, many have also approached the Government demanding actions against the media for its “biased coverage” of the controversies surrounding Asaram.
Earlier in the day, he told this journalist that all allegations against him were false and frivolous, aimed at hurting his image internationally. He expressed “shock” over the deaths of the children which he said should be enquired properly. Asaram was joined by the father of one of the deceased children, who gave him a clean chit. “Where is the question of Shri Asaramji’s involvement in the death of my son?” he wondered, adding: “Shri Asaramji Bapu is innocent, he is our guru. You cannot level such heinous charges at him.”
Asaram’s spiritual domain is spread across hundreds of centres throughout the world, including the US, with lakhs of his followers likening the 67-year-old saint with God. Just over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of disciples congregated at Brampton in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario in Canada, reposing their faith in the Indian saint.
Kailash Sharma, a big businessman and a disciple associated with the Brampton chapter, said on telephone that his conviction in Asaram has “further solidified” and no one can ever think of any wrong being done in the institutions run by the saint. “Asaramji Bapu is our God,” he said. ]
It makes one feel comfortable that there exists a media person (like your) with conscience and who can be critical of media as well.
I am not aware of Bapu, but if there is any incorrect accusation on him, then it is definitely very wrong.
I agree, that media sensationalizes news to increase viewership or for some other political agenda.
I pray that the truth is what prevails at the end!
Thanks for the piece you’ve written. Not keeping up with the latest news from India, I don’t know the details here, but do understand it is tempting to certain interests if (rightly or wrongly) a traditional Guru figure’s reputation is pulled down. I believe it is upto us who hold the Guru-Shishya-Parampara’s sanctity as sacred, to have our own mechanisms whereby guru figures are defended (in media & courts both going by westernized systems); or found in error if the case may be. It is too tempting for the media (and various pseudo-secularist forces) to go after one who cannot mount solid defences against allegations. Hope this guru goes thru this crisis and demonstrates the vital importance of parampara…
Do not come to conclusions without knowing the facts.
The Supreme Court has castigated the media, especially visual media for undue publicity and media trials in many cases, the last one at Noida where the Talwars were incarcerated by the media and were accused of killing their own daughter and it was almost declared that Aarushi murder was an “honour killing” by an inebriated father !!!
In case of Asharam Bapu. the first incident reported in Ahmedabad was drowning of the children, as post-mortem revealed, as a killed corpse would not take water into the lungs. In the second case in MP, a fellow student has confessed having killed the children.
Let the investigations reveal the truth before declaring the verdict of guilt on Asaram or his Ashram .
The media is exposing the acts of the Ashram and the other wrong doings.
Dear Janardan, for your information and for the information of the public in general, I must add here that a demand/complaint has been submitted to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Shri P. R. Dasmunshi by the Sant Shri Asaram Ji Ashram Trust also.
I have a copy of the complaint in which it has been communicated to the Union Minister that he should immediately act on the representation, as there is every likelihood of the situation going out of control as the followers of Bapu were getting restless, seeing regular, repeated dose of false and concocted news stories in the electronic media.
It has also been said in the representation that there was sustained move by a section of media to defame Bapuji, and hence misleading news reports were deliberately and malafidely being shown on some particular private television channels. “These reports,” it said, “are totally false and imaginative and have no basis whatsoever.”
Mr. Bhushan, perhaps these are the reasons why media people are losing respect in the society.
We had so much hopes from the media, especially the electronic media, and had thought the days of Doordarshan have gone. But why should not we switch again to Doordarshan for correct news? Doordarshan news, only which my community is watching of late, are based on facts, and should not be preferred by people over the news channels we have today.
‘India TV’ channel, which seems to have unleashed a reign of terror against the holy saint, looks like a horror channel, a ‘C’ grade movie. It only airs programmes like (oh, I cant even talk about them since I have stopped watching it). Does all these help this channel to generate revenue from the market. This channel should be banned, not only because of its tirade against the holy saint, but also because of its contents.
What do you say?
Can well understand yor anguish.
This is what happened with the near destruction of another religious institution in Tamil Nadu four years ago. I am not surprised at the way the media is acting. Many of them have sold themselves out and this is part of a pattern.
A systematic effort is underway to undermine the very foundations of our society-by hook or crook.
Dharma will prevail at the end, let’s hope.
I am deeply hurt by the role of the media in this entire episode. Our media is irresponsible. The men involved in such bias reporting should not expect respect from the society. ‘Money’ cannot be so powerful a weapon that one starts abusing ‘faith’.
Let law take its own course.
Media’s habbit of poking its nose too much and too often is totally uncalled for. It seems it tries to impress upon the people its own feelings and understanding.