CAN GURU-SHISHYA PARAMPARA BE ALLOWED TO CAVE IN?
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 Arushi 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 Bhagvat 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 Arushi. Remember how the media handled the Arushi 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.