Bengaluru, Nov 20: India is a land of spiritualism and 'Bhakti' bhav, doesn't matter where it comes from. It could be an engineer, a farmer or a commoner, there is no lack of self-realization and self-stylization in India, especially when it comes to seld-styled Godmen.
Charity begins at home, they say. Indeed, an asset analysis of the popular godmen across the country would surely prove that.
Asaram Bapu: The tainted guru has over 350 ashrams and over 17,000 Bal Sanskar Kendras. The trust also has ashrams in New Jersey and other parts of USA. The main source of income also includes income through the production of puja materials, incense sticks, CDs, and more.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan: Notorious for criminal activities like rape, murder, sexual assault, the 'guru' is roaming free even after being thrown in jail. He is said to have over 700 acres of agriculture land in Sirsa, a 175- bed hospital in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, gas stations, market complexes and over 250 ashrams across the globe.
The Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda is said to have been established by Shah Mastana Ji from Baluchistan in 1948, as a centre for spiritual learning. However, today, despite the website claiming that the institute is a non-profitable organization, independent of any political or commercial affiliations, it runs three specialty hospitals and an international eye bank. Meanwhile, Ram Rahim is being investigated by the CBI and trial is on before a special CBI court at Ambala.
Mata Amritanandamayi: The 'hugging Amma' may have surpassed the asset worth that of Bill Gates. She is reported to have assets worth Rs 1,000 crore even by the modest means. In fact, her ashram at Vallikavu is a posh 5-storey building. She also owns the Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham colleges, Amrita Institute of Medical Science (Kochi), Amrita Schools, TV channel. The educational institutions are not charitable and charge fees according to market rates.
Add to it millions of contributions from foreign devotees. MOreover, Amrita Schools are located across Kerala. Under the brand name of Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham, the trust also runs engineering colleges, business schools, and institutions offering post graduate courses in biotechnology and communications. These colleges are spread over five campuses located in Kollam, Kochi, Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore.