Friday, April 27, 2012

Super-Rich Spiritual Gurus of India


March 27, 2012

In today’s profane world the Indian gurus or in other words “miracle workers” who are often referred as “godmen,” have more of a celebrity image with their savvy, powerful figures who control vast business empires and own enormous wealth they also dabble in politics and manipulate the media.

These modern day Gurus are not only renowned but they also possess a lot of wealth through NGO and private funds. Some prominent ones who have passed away cannot be missed, like Sathya Sai Baba who died recently could count more followers than any other Indian guru, and the financial worth of his spiritual empire is several times bigger. Sai Baba reportedly had wealth of over more than Rs 40,000 crore.

Here are 5 super-rich Indian gurus who own vast business empire.


Baba Ramdev

‘Yoga Guru’ Baba Ramdev gained popularity through ventures in yoga, alternative medicine and agriculture, as well as his advocacy on Indian political issues. His life is no less than a typical bollywood movie. He was born in a poor farmer's family in Haryana and until 15 years back Ramdev was a struggling man who was often seen on the streets of Haridwar, peddling his bicycle as he went to temples and people's homes to teach them yajnas. Later through his knowledge of yoga asanas Baba Ramdev went on to build an enviable Rs 1,100 crore empire.

He was also among the first to raise the issue of black money publicly in 2008 and before the assembly elections of 2009 it was during this time he officially announced his wealth of Rs 1,100 crore but according to tehelka.com t is said he controls over Rs 11,000 crore

Wealthy Assests: Patanjali Yogpeeth and Divya Yogi Mandir trusts and other branches, Patanjali Ayurved College, Patanjali Chikitsalaya, Yog Gram, Goshala, Patanjali Food And Herbal Park, etc. His empire today consists of over three dozen companies.


Mata Amritanandamayi

Sudhamani Idamannel, also known as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi and Amma ("Mother"), the Hindu spiritual leader and teacher, who is revered as a saint by her followers. Amritanandamayi spontaneously embraces people to comfort them in their sorrow and therefore is also referred to as "The Hugging Saint." She has hugged close to 30 million people to date, she is widely respected for her humanitarian activities and is probably by far the richest godwoman in the country.

Main Source of Income: Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham colleges, Amrita Institute of Medical Science (Kochi), Amrita Schools, TV channel. Amrita Schools are located across Kerala where students are charged the same fee as topnotch private schools. Adding to it are the contributions from her millions of Indian and foreign devotees.

Even by modest estimates, the Amritanandamayi Trust, which presides over, is said to have assets worth over Rs 1,500 crore. Today, her ashram at her native Vallikavu, a small island off Kollam, is a posh five-storey building.


Sri Sri Ravishankar

Sri Sri Ravishankar is a renowned spiritual leader, known worldwide. He is the founder of the very famous Art of Living foundation that has an estimated 300 million followers in 151 countries who donate millions to this foundation. He was born in Tamil Nadu and took up Vedic studies when he was just six years old and by the age of 17, he had completed studies in Vedic literature and science according to indiatoday.in

Main Source of Income: Art of Living Centre (Bangalore), Sri Sri Shankar Vidya Mandir Trust, PU College (Bangalore), Sri Sri Centre for Media Studies (Bangalore), Sri Sri University, Art of Living Health & Educational Trust (US), etc.

It is estimated that, he has built an empire with that has total turnover of approximately Rs 1,000 crore that includes his Art of Living (AOL) institutes, pharmacy and health centres, and a hill 40 km from Bangalore on lease from the Karnataka government for 99 years.


Asaram Bapu

Sant Shri Asharam Ji Bapu is endearingly known as Bapu among all the godmen and self proclaimed saints mentioned above Asaram Bapu is one of the most controversial. He is accused of land grabbing in Gujarat and various other cities and is busy settling the string of cases charged against him. There have also been rumors of "sinister activities" at his ashrams, after four children were found dead at his ashrams a couple of months ago and though it turned out that a student had killed them, it was bad publicity for the Godman nonetheless.

His most popular and well established asharam Motera in Ahmedabad, is also said to be built on land acquired illegally. The trust headed by the controversial godman owns more than 350 ashrams in the country and abroad, besides 17,000 Bal Sanskar Kendras.

Asaram Bapu’s trust is said to have turnover Rs 350 crore according to official announcement (figures may vary) which includes the multicrore controversial ashram in Delhi’s Ridge area.


Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan is the current leader of an organization called Dera Sacha Sauda. Since becoming the head of this sect, he has often been involved in controversy, even having criminal cases filed against him. The Dera Sacha Sauda was established by Shah Mastana Ji from Baluchistan in 1948, as a centre for spiritual learning.

Assets: Over 700 acres of agriculture land in Sirsa, a 175- bed hospital in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, gas stations, market complexes and over 250 ashrams across the globe. Although his income isn’t revealed officially but he considered to be one among the richest gurus

Ram Rahim the Dera chief is accused of murder, rape and sexual harassment The most damaging allegation as yet on Baba Ram Rahim is of a female follower's letter anonymously sent to Prime Minister, President which claimed that Baba Ram Rahim had allegedly raped her and at least 50 more female followers in the Dera Sacha Sauda premises. This Baba is currently out on bail, he is being investigated by the CBI and trial is on before a special CBI court at Ambala.

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