But this is what babas have always done

Asaram, Ram Rahim Insan, and even the English-speaking Teflon-coated swamis are merely doing what Indian god-men have done for centuries. Here’s an account of 17th-century babas and faqirs by Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci…

When a dog bites a man, it is not news; and when a self-professed man of religion rapes a disciple, it isn’t news either, because that’s what god-men have always done. Let’s hear it directly from the jolly Italian Niccolao Manucci, who travelled through India in the days of emperors Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb:

If you gaped on hearing that Ram Rahim came to court in a motorcade of more than 100 cars, well, Manucci found 350 years ago: “When they leave their houses they never go on foot, but in a carriage or on horseback, at the same time taking with them (everyone) down to their scullion-boys, to demonstrate the number of their disciples and devotees… the hypocrite, with a severe mien, goes on his way, making signs with his hands as of one who gives good hope to all, and takes on himself to satisfy everyone.”

Wonder why gurus are surrounded by women?

“They have numerous wives and slave girls in their houses whom they send out at night in all directions as pretended devotees to earn an illicit livelihood, or to act as go-betweens to bring to the house of their master any woman that he desires. This is done under a covering of religion.”

Manucci’s Storia Do Mogor is a big, fat book in four volumes, but all you need to read for our purpose are these four pages from Vol II. I promise you there’s more meat in the parts I have not underlined. Enjoy!