Asaram Bapu, who is currently under the judicial custody, has been arrested for sexually assaulting a girl. And now his son Narayan Sai is also into this loop, after sexually assaulting two sisters from Surat, who used to work in his ashram. Asaram Bapu is now under scanner for further allegations of encroachments, theft of electricity, land grabbing, murder of two children in ashram for black magic, attacking the media etc.
However all these while there had been a number of silent protest march that had been organized in various parts of the world such as – the US, UK, Europe by Asaram’s followers. Most of these followers are Non resident Indians and had been ardent fan of Bapu for years now. They are well placed in their societal position and comes with strong educational and professional background. So what keeps their faith in Bapuji going even when the traditional media claims to ‘unearth’ a new allegation every other day? Why is it that sitting so far away from home, these followers still hold their faith strong and keep praying for the dark times to be over?
We talked to Silky Manwani, one such follower of Asaram Bapu. Silky completed her BE in Computer Engineering from Mumbai, MS in Computer Science from USA and is been working with Apple Inc., in USA since nine years now. Excerpts of the interview given below:
Question : How did you become a devotee of Asaram Bapu?
Silky Manwani : I had zero religious or spiritual inclination before I met Sant Shri AsharamJi Bapu. Everyone in my family was an ardent believer except me. He visited Mumbai in year 2000 for satsang. My family attended satsang and went for darshan. I went out of curiosity. The moment I had my first darshan, the bliss that I experienced I had never ever experienced before. It was as if Lord had incarnated before me. It was divine and I knew that I wanted him as my Guruji right then. I became his disciple within a few months and there was no looking back. Having him as my Guruji is the best thing that has happened to me.
Question : Did you ever have a chance to interact with Bapu personally? How was your experience?
Silky Manwani : I met him many times, and I feel blessed and divine. I spend many of my vacations in India attending Bapu’s satsangs in various cities. We gain so much courtesy through his satsang like health, wealth, prosperity, spiritual growth etc.
Question : What about Narayan Sai. Ever got a chance to interact with him?
Siky Manwani : Yes I met him three times. But I can’t say I have noticed anything particularly wrong with him or his way of communication.
Question : Given the background that there are a number of allegation rising against Bapu now, have your faith shaken in him?
Siky Manwani : Absolutely not. Why should our faith be shaken anyway? We have our own brains to decide as to what is right and wrong. I believe all these propaganda around Bapuji is sheer conspiracy. There is a large group of people around me in US who are Bapuji followers. I don’t know of any devotee whose faith has shaken in Bapuji.
Question : Did you ever feel that the girls who are coming forward with their experience may have actually faced such horrifying situations?
Siky Manwani : Its impossible, Bapu treats all of us like his kids and always has only our best interest on his mind. We have been at his ashram and at his Satsang, we have interacted with him more than once. But not even once we felt anything remotely wrong in the way he communicates.
Question : Did you ever feel that sitting away in US, you may have missed seeing this side of the Godman you have worshiped for so long?
Siky Manwani : I frequently visit to India, almost thrice a year and spend all my vacations in India with Bapuji. I couldn’t have missed it. And then, as I said, I am not the only Non-resident Indian following Bapuji with so much of devotion. You will find his ardent followers in every country. Most of these people are well educated, well established in their personal and professional space. Saying that we all have missed seeing a ‘so called other side’ of this respected religious person is sheer absurdity.
Question : Why would anybody conspire against a religious guru? Even the political parties who otherwise support Hindu Gurus have not come forward in support of Bapu. How do you, as a disciple, feel about the entire scenario?
Siky Manwani : It’s politics and its called ‘dirty’ for a reason. There are people with malicious intent involved in this whole exercise, who are controlling the media. As a follower we feel disgusted to see this but then we believe an innocent person Bapuji is, he will come out clean from all these.
Question : The case against him is now sub-judice. Supposedly the allegations on him are proven to be right, then what will be your reaction? Will you still continue to believe on him?
Siky Manwani : Our faith on him will not waiver, and will continue believing in him. Period.