The Mysterious 'Mrs A': Chapter 3: Politics beckons Swami
The Mysterious 'Mrs A': Chapter 3: Politics beckons Swami
What do gurus have in common? Have you ever given a thought to this question?
One: They all seem to have risen from humble beginnings. Most god-men and women seem to have been born in poverty or near poverty.
Two: While some seem to be born with astounding capabilities that could only be ascribed to divinity, others seem to have encountered spirituality accidentally (as with Swamiji) but having encountered it by accident, have imbibed powers of their own Gurus.
Three: The major strength of gods and god men and god women stems from their charismatic personality. They seem to have an aura of divinity which draws people to them like moths to the flame.
Four: So strong is their influence over devotees that devotees seem to follow their gurus blindly.
Five: Every one of them has the power of speech, and the ability to impact lives by their speech.
I have heard of a particular guru in the US who made thousands of his disciples drink poison. I have heard that Osho drove herds of boys and girls to throw off their clothes and sing and dance naked! I have seen the documentary on Bikram Chandra and how people allowed him the freedom that they would not give even to their spouses! All in the belief that their guru can never say wrong or do anything wrong. I have also heard stories of how doctors, scientists, engineers and intellectuals give up fame and fortune for the sake of the ashram and their guru.
Such is the power of the guru; and where there is power there is politics. The rapid ascent of Swamiji soon got noticed at the right places. Politicians came to him for help and blessings. Soon Mataji was forced to retire and though she still ran the ashram, she gave darshan only to a few.
Amongst the few devotees that I met at the ashram was a lady called Anabelle. She is from Sweden and divides her time shuttling between India and Sweden. It was Anabelle who seemed to me as most aggrieved about Mataji’s forced retirement. She was not afraid to speak her mind to me and soon we bonded. She knew I was a disciple of Swamiji; yet she spoke what she felt about him, without mincing her words.
HN thrived under the tutelage of Mataji and soon became the heir apparent to her throne, though Mataja neither projected him as her heir nor make any such public announcement. It was however clear to all, who called the shots at the ashram. Ashrams here are perceived differently by different sections of the public. For most, it is a place to find yourself, or god, or peace of mind, or spirituality (the choice is yours). It may sound funny, but most of the people who flock to gurus hardly bother about them because they have to carry the burden of responsibilities which they find saddled on their frail shoulders. They come here for diversion from the madness that is life. A change of pace, from high speed driving to slow-motion thinking.
People hardly understand their Guru, or what they speak. They are just captivated by the amount of wisdom on display, the funny bitter-sweet stories from ancient texts that sadly apply to them and the platitudes which elude them completely. They are happy to chant with their guru or dance to his tunes, at least it is cheaper than going to any other place to unwind yourself. A select few take things seriously and read to understand their guru’s thoughts. They know they cannot be as wise as their Guru or as divine or powerful. They don’t want to.
There is another segment amongst the public which uses spirituality for multiple purposes and reasons. Politicians and businessmen. This group wields tremendous resources and power of their own but lacks in public acceptance and popularity. They are also mostly guilt ridden and are always in search of ways to assuage their conscience. And, they are those who have eyes to spot opportunities wherever they see one.
This above segment is quick to catch on with the trends in every space and domain and ashrams are one such vast space they always monitor. News about HN traveled far and fast and brought hordes of devotees to the ashram. Amongst the swelling crowds were business people and politicians.
Soon HN became Swamiji, a name his followers bestowed upon him affectionately. Swamiji was now one of the foremost spiritual gurus who could teach a new way of life to millions. This new way of life was simple to understand and easy to practice as it did not differ from the other new ways that most gurus preached. All one had to do is (a) listen to what your guru says and listen without interruption or questioning (b) when in trouble meet the Guru personally and follow his prescription, again without questioning (c) contribute as much as you can afford to the ashram., the money or material that you contribute goes to welfare schemes, schools, colleges, institutes for advanced spiritual learning and more ashrams, Who knows, your money may help your guru in setting up factories for manufacturing and selling products that will improve various aspects of your life?
Swamiji was clearly destined for bigger things than business and spiritualism, thanks to Mataji who was now a virtual prisoner in a room of the ashram she had lovingly built. The right time came soon and Swamiji was ‘forced’ to make a decision with great reluctance. He would, he told a large gathering of disciples, enter politics. He quickly added that he was ‘forced’ by the public sentiments that good people should be in the nation's governance. A good political party supported and sponsored him and he would finally decide only if his disciples wanted him to. What could the disciples say? They unanimously said yes. Swamiji won the election and was made a minister by the ruling party. His disciples celebrated this event with a massive show of support near the Parliament when he took the oath.