Pics: Indian spiritual gurus and their empire of wealth
India is a country of different religions and millions of Indians have tremendous faith in the teachings of various spiritual gurus, babas or self-styled godmen.
Some of them may be genuinely spiritual but after Asaram Bapu's controversy over sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl has cropped up, with a bevy of shocking revelations, day after day, the faith of many devotees has been betrayed.
Like 74-year-old Asaram Bapu, there are several other babas, whose names have been embroiled in different controversies, but, one thing, that remains common for all of them is their huge empire of wealth.
While most of them are clad in white clothes, displaying their appearances as of humble human beings, but, unlike their modest looks, they are the emperors of huge assets and their ashrams are spread across the country and even in abroad.
Now, without questioning their credibility, let's take a look at some of the super-rich Indian spiritual gurus and their wealth accounts:
Total assets of Asaram Bapu is reported to be Rs 413 crore. The annual turnover from his trust is Rs 350 crore.
Nirmaljeet Singh Narula aka Nirmal Baba
With his public discourses, Nirmal Baba has accumulated mass wealth of Rs 238 crore. Nirmal Baba, who was in controversy, last year over his bizarre ways of finding solutions to the peoples' woes, reportedly bought a property worth Rs 70 crore in April this year.
Paul Dhinakaran Baba
Although he doesn't look like a baba from his looks, but he is a 49-year-old Tamilian Christian preacher who talks about the greatness of Lord Jesus Christ and his miracles. It is estimated that Paul Dhinakaran is worth Rs 5,000 crores. That is a staggering amount for a man who claims to be God's messenger.
Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ji Insan
He is the present Guru and head of Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS), Sirsa, Haryana. An immensely popular spiritual preacher in Haryana and Punjab, he owns 700 acres of land. His total worth is said to be Rs 300 crore and has more than 250 ashrams.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
With more than 50 lakh followers, Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji, who is the founder of the "Transcendental Meditation program", has the wealth of Rs 250 crore.
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev
Although Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, does not claim to miraculously solve his followers' problems, but with yoga and pranayam, he has taught a healthy-lifestyle to many people in and outside India, with the medium of his yoga camps. His patanjali ayurvedic products and medicines are sold all over India. The present wealth of Ramdev is around Rs 1300 crore.
Besides being known as a close associate of Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna is an ayurvedic practitioner, researcher as well as the chief editor of Yog Sandesh magazine. He reportedly owns 34 companies, whose annual turnover is Rs 265 crore. His pharmaceutical companies in Uttarakhand generates the turnover of Rs 94.84 crore.
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
The founder of the popular NGO Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar receives the annual turnover of Rs 500 crore.
Sant Morari Bapu
The devotee of Lord Krishna, Morari Bapu has an annual turnover of Rs 300 crore.
Popularly known as Amma, she is a world renowned saint. But, Kerala-based Amma also had encounters with controversies in her spiritual life. With more than 3 crore followers, her empire of wealth is said to be properties worth Rs 1700 crores.