A world on BABA RAMPAL of Satlok Ashram..
What is the real story behind Baba's fall, for the benefit of my friends, I present the inside story as briefly as possible.
Born as Rampal Dass on September 8, 1951 in village Dhanana in Sonipat district of Haryana Rampal had a modest beginning. His father, Bhakt Nandram was a farmer. and mother's name is Bhaktmati Indradevi. After acquiring a diploma in Engineering he joined as Junior Engineer in irrigation department of Haryana Government. He was fascinated with religious activities since childhood
Over a period of time he met 107 year old Swami Ramdev Anand who took him in as his disciple. After serving the government of Haryana for 18 years, he left his job in 1995 and started as a full time preacher. He propagated the teachings of Saint Kabir. In 1999, Rampal established his Ashram Satlok after a philanthropic woman Kamla Devi in Karontha village donated to him some land. Some where in that year he in his usual style made some controversial remarks against Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati. This led to him and his followers crossing swords with Arya Samajis resulting in years of litigation's over the issue.
On July 12, 2006 a violent protest broke out between Godman Rampal's followers and Arya Samajis. In that clash a young man got killed and a murder case was lodged against Rampal and his followers. He along with many of his followers were jailed in the case and later bailed out by legal process. Then some group of lawyers had a tiff with Rampal's followers and they challenged the bail of Baba Rampal. Rampal skipped court hearings 43 times since 2010. Smelling some political conspiracy or perceived threat to his life or for reasons best known to him, he kept delaying his arrest but with the change in political guard in the year 2015, he was arrested and is behind bars. His arrest happened after a high voltage drama involving a huge amount of government machinery. This is the short and long cut of why all hell broke lose for him when BJP came to power in Haryana ?
Rampal can said to be a victim of religio-political rivalry. As a Baba he had his own method of operating. He used to expose others to prove his own authenticity. His USP was to lay bare one and all Babas operating in the region. He laid stress on Kabir Ji as the most authentic source of spiritual, moralistic and ethical knowledge, which is absolutely true for all Bhakti Movement saints in north India as they all drew from Kabir and without doubt Kabir happens to be the Aadi-Guru of neo religious thought in North India.. So far so good but Satpal never failed to comment on all neo-Babas as mere copy cats who picked up Kabir ji's words, reframed them as their own and pushed it as their own original stuff.
It is well known to all scholars that moments like the Nirankaris and Radha swamis are nothing but break-aways from main stream Sikhism or Kabirism. It is a generally accepted fact that Radha swami and Nirankari sects were started as a breakaway moment from Sikhs and the rest of the jing-bang are either breakaway offshoots from the Sikh congregation of Guru Nanak Sahib or that of an equally large congregation of Kabir Sahib called Kabir Panthies or further breakaways from the original Nirankaris of Rawalpindi or Radhawamis of Agra. Rampal propagated this fact to the masses with a gusto and energy of a crusader. His satsangs were always a mix of imparting spiritual discourse to his followers as well as a verbal bashing sessions aimed at all his contemporaries in the business of GOD and spiritualism.
Rampal was bold and outspoken to the extent of being raw. With a rural appeal and straight talk which came naturaly to him. He openly proclaimed in his congregations that Sant Nirankaris and Ram Rahim Sirsa wala were mere charlatans and openly criticised the Arya-samajis. He would go in to lengthy details, quoting out of books to drive home the point to his audience that these Babas had nothing new to offer. That these movements started as a result of Guru-Droh. [Going against the Master, explained as disciples breaking away from their main stream master and his teachings as a result of personal ambition, some disenchantment or a difference of opinion.]
Let me shoot as now it is time to shoot my intellectual guns as I take some hip shots at these Babas. Almost all founders of the neo-congregations ranging from Babas as Mega as Sri Sri R.S to many others spread all over north and central India are in fact Guru Drohis with none of them being an original master. They are neither great geniuses or socio-scientific reformers like Nanak nor crusaders like Guru Teg Bhahdur or Guru Gobind who laid down their lives fighting social injustice. They are neither great moralist poets like Kabir or Baba Bulleh shah nor lost in devotion to divinity like Meera or Rama Krishna Parmahansa. They are not even close to Maharishi Patanjali as yogic scientists and in my opinion not even proper yogis. The smartest of the lot have taken some stuff from Patanjli's basic system, repackaged it and branded it as their own for the simple pleasure of neo rich and the up and about middle classes. They are not even honest about their own teachings as there is a difference in their words and deeds. (Kahni kathni ka antar). They are in fact ambitious power seekers, who as rightly pointed out by Rampal did not find favour with their original masters as a result of personal ambition or disenchantment at being ignored for the top slot. Very few of them have even moved forward with the blessings of their master to carry forward the franchise thus spreading the business better. That is how they started their own schools/ KhanGaahs, Ashrams/Monasteries/ Deras/Congregations, which with time grew in flock and became huge organisations.
Now a word on how these congregations graduate from being a mere Dera, Khangaah, Monastery or an Ashram to a cult, a spiritual movemnet, a sect, a following or even a religion. The strategy is to present their own holy books and own symbols as substitutes for established Scriptures and symbols. Example of this strategy is presenting Avtar Bani by Sant Nirankaris as a substitute or a parallel of Guru Granth Sahib, Geeta Ramayan Quran etc and outer symbols like color of dress, rosaries and lockets like Ram Rahim's no '1' Locket replacing the 5K's of Sikhs and janeus of Hindus. Personally, I am neither for nor against this strategy as there is nothing alarming or new about it. This has been the strategy of all major religious moments in the past as well.
What worries me and needs to be noticed by a sharp mind and a roving eye is as to how glitter and drama are added to these sects and their Gurus. With political patronage and every trick in the book of 'Event Management' put in to practice these Babas soon gather followings running in to lakhs and properties and assets running in to thousands of crores. Their lavish life styles and palatial ashrams and their rubbing shoulders with powers that be, attract hoards of hero worshiping poor masses to them. With this method in place these ordinary run off the mill Babas establish themselves, as very powerful opinion leaders in the minds of rural, semi rural and marginalized folks. Their clout with gullible, impressionable masses in association with vote bank politics is what worries me as a very dangerous trend for a healthy democracy.
Rampal used to present his arguments against the Dera Sacha Sauda, Radha Swamis, Arya Smajis, Nirankaris and others hitting straight and hard at his competition as he picked this or that book to authenticate his salvos. Thus as he grew in popularity, picking out flock from these parallel movements, he picked up many enemies.
He was destroyed, or stalled so to say as a result of a deep rooted conspiracy hatched against him by BABAs and their political friends. In simple words all that happened was the result of business rivalry born out of business of selling God and presenting one self as his most authentic merchandiser.
Every business has its unique risks involved.............. So has Spiritualism and Religion. This is the truth right from beginning. Even the well established and legally sanctified religions of today are and were nothing more than rebellious offshoots of established religious traditions, some of today's breakaway rebels could be major religions of tomorrow.
The irony is that more you prosecute a rebel more his fortunes smile. A simple Rebel called Christ when hung on a cross by the Romans grew in to a huge religion called Christianity. This is was and shall remain an eternal truth.
....Guru Gurunay aka Poet Balwant Gurunay.