A day after releasing its list of 14 fake and self-styled godmen, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) is now busy identifying more such ‘rootless cult leaders.’
Maintaining that these individuals by indulging in criminal and immoral practices were harming the sanatan dharma and maligning the image of genuine saints and sadhus, this umbrella organisation of 13 recognised akharas or monastic orders with over six lakh sanyasis including Naga sadhus, is now busy finalising a mechanism for identifying more such ‘fake’ seers and plans to bring out a much bigger list after Diwali.
“These individuals are bringing a bad name to all genuine saints and seers working for the betterment of the common man and sanatan dharma. Anyone claiming to be a saint and indulging in illegal, immoral and anti-social activities need to be identified and unmasked before the people so that not just the government acts against them but even people boycott them,” shared Mahant Narendra Giri, head of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad. The Parishad is a council of all 13 akharas, drawing their spiritual lineage from 8th-century seer Adi Shankaracharya, who is said to have established orders of martial monks with the aim of defending the Hindu dharma.
He said that no efforts would be spared in the offensive against such ‘fake’ seers and shankaracharyas who, he claimed, were misusing the titles and misleading people for vested interests. “The Akhara Parishad has already warned such fake shankaracharyas and we would not allow them to participate in the 2019 Ardh Kumbh in Allahabad,” he warned.
General secretary of Akhara Parishad Mahant Hari Giri shared that the council had decided to set up region-specific secret committees of seers and saints belong to different akharas that would keep a watch on the activities of holymen in their respective areas. This panel would report anyone acting against the duties, principles and practices expected of a seer and saint.
“The names would be put up before the Akhara Parishad, which has representatives of all akharas and a final call on them would then be taken. The next list will be issued by us after Diwali and this one would be much bigger than the first one,” he added.
Meanwhile, saints of different akharas and bodies of seers seem to be backing the action against the ‘fake’ babas.
Shri Mahant Ramanand Puri Ji of Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani said his akhara was fully behind the decision and so were all other akharas. “We cannot allow self-styled babas to tarnish image of genuine sadhus through their immoral and illegal acts,” he added while stressing that the Akhara Parishad, as a top body of all akharas, was well within its rights to denounce, criticize or initiate action against a seer, saint or individual posing as one.
General secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Dandi Swami Prabhandan Samiti Swami Brahmashram Maharaj, Vrindavan, Mathura said a crackdown and action against anyone indulging in anti-social acts was a welcome move. “We have convened a meeting of the samiti here at 10.30am on Tuesday to discuss the issue and would issue a formal statement after it,” he said.
In a statement issued on Monday, the president of Akhil Bhartiya Dandi Swami Prabhandan Samiti Swami Vimaldev Ashram, however, maintained that action against anyone should follow after an in-depth study of their action.