The Telegraph
Saturday , May 28 , 2016

HC worried about fake gurus

Surendranath Mishra alias Sura baba

Cuttack, May 27: Orissa High Court has expressed grave concern over "fake babas" masquerading as spiritual leaders, robbing innocent followers of money and leading a "licentious life".

The court said: "A fake guru creates a belief in the disciple that he has supernatural power and, therefore, plays upon the religious sentiments and misleads the disciple. Sometimes the blind faith of the disciple on the guru gets disturbed when he does not get the desired result even after following all the advices of the guru. A shrewd guru then changes his stand and tries to regain the confidence of the disciple by advising him to do something else and in this process the disciple is destroyed forever."

The observation was made by the vacation bench of Justice S.K. Sahoo while considering the bail petition of Surendranath Mishra, commonly known as Sura baba, and the head of Trahi Achyut Ashram at Jhinti ashram on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

Justice Sahoo described India as "a land of muni and rushis" whose extraordinary wisdom and preaching have contributed to our peaceful coexistence in a stressful and hostile atmosphere. Simple living and high thinking, which our religion believes in, "are the precious gifts of those sages".

"However, in the recent past, some fake babas have created a lot of controversy. They do not practise any penance or achieve any siddhi or realisation in life. They practise fraud in a cunning manner, trap the innocent followers, rob them of their hard-earned money and lead a licentious life," Justice Sahoo observed in his May 25 order, a copy of the full text of which is in possession of The Telegraph.

"Their claim of having some miraculous power to solve any kind of problematic situation in the life of a human being, create a mesmerising effect for some time and attract many a depressed person towards them in search of fulfilment of their unending materialistic desires. Ultimately, blind faith of the followers get shattered when the real faces of babas get unveiled and they come to realise the reality. By that time much water has flown under the bridge," Justice Sahoo observed in his 31-page order.

Police arrested Sura baba, who had also formed a trust, for allegedly indulging in various illegal activities on August 31 last year. He has since been in jail. His bail plea related to a case registered against him by the CID-crime branch subsequently, on the basis of a complaint by a disciple that he had been deprived of his property has been rejected.

"The facts of the case are a glaring example of how a so-called spiritual guru created a pseudo belief in the disciple to cure his mentally-handicapped son and thereby obtained valuable land from the disciple in the name of his trust. It is apparent that there are prima facie materials regarding the involvement of Sura baba in the commission of offences that have far-reaching effects on the society," Justice Sahoo said in his order expressing concern.

Justice Sahoo ruled that it would not be proper to release Sura baba on bail taking into consideration the nature and gravity of accusations and the chance of him tampering with the evidence, particularly when the investigation was in progress and many important facets of the case were yet to be unearthed.

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