Of Sants and Babas

    It must be the darkest Kaliyug that our Sants and Babas have turned in to common criminals. They are in the news most of the time for all the bad reasons. As a child, I remember Sant Nihchal Singh Ji of Jagadhari visiting my maternal grandfather in Giridih, Bihar. I was naughty, very naughty. My mother took me to Sant Ji and requested him to bless me to be not so naughty. Sant Ji recommended to my mother a verse from Gurbani that she should recite while waking me up in the morning. My mother very religiously recited the verse while waking me up. I did not understand what the verse meant.

    But I liked to hear the cadence of the sweet voice of my mother and her meditating posture. As soon as she had finished, I would give her a pinch and rush out for the day of loafing. Her recitals of verse probably did not change me much. But she certainly had its calming effect. She stopped complaining about my being naughty. But I am glad she did not have to face an Asa Ram or a Narayan Sain. Both have proved how innocent faith of devotes can be abused. There have been Sadhus, Sants, and Babas all the time. In fact, Bharat is a land of Sadhus and Babas. And they always had a potent voice in the community. Going back in to ancient times in India, we find stories of how even the powerful kings preferred no to antagonize a Sadhu.

    A Durvasa certainly was feared more than a Rakshasa. But they were good intentioned people, not the kind that we have today. That is why I said at the outset it must be the darkest Kaliyug that we have such Babas. To add to the list of these illustrious Babas, we now have Baba Ramdev. I admire the man for his sheer enthusiasm in demanding the most stringent punishment for the corrupt. I have met him a couple of times in New York and spoken with him.

    I have always found him spitting venom against Congress Party in general, and against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, in particular. Let me share with you, my dear readers, I have often wondered how this man, with little education, rose from a common villager in Haryana to become the master of a vast business empire worth Rs. 1100 crore. This comment will become long if I started on how he amassed this wealth. So, I will leave it for some other time. The story of Babas and Sants will always be there. Nothing special about it. It is what we make out of those stories that counts.


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