Farming Guru ji Milk rahane k ghrelu nuskhe apnakar inse dairy farm per jyada milk liya ja sakta badhane ka desi tarika apna lena. Guruji was on his charpoy, his long hair caressing his bony shoulders, his wiry legs tucked A big brass tumbler of hot milk had been brought up for Guruji. Nice intro. Gets one very hot and horny, but where is all this leading to.

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The godman told Veena that she was a special soul, and their sexual relation was an attempt to 'elevate' her. She was inside the 'guru's' room. The privilege of cleaning his room and touching his belongings had been bestowed upon her yet again, and she was delighted Until, the guru who was in the room, suddenly hugged her. As he held her close, she panicked and ran out. But she was told that the guru was not sexually harassing her, it was his exalted soul reaching out to her soul that deserved to be elevated.

She had a flourishing career where the money was good, and a loving husband. I had all the reasons to be happy. But at some point, I realised that just looking after myself was not enough. I had grown up believing that life has a higher purpose.

So, I thought, 'Can I do more with my degree? Can I use my knowledge to help people? Little did she know then that this yearning would drag her down a dark path, one from which she is still struggling to recover.

During a trip home in a state in south India the same year, Veena first came across 'guruji' on a spiritual channel her parents were watching. He was a Hindu godman, touted as a brahmachari. What struck me most was the way he spoke. It was very clear, sensible and funny," she recalls.

Very peaceful and spiritual, bereft of any grandeur. He was travelling abroad then, and I couldn't personally meet him. I picked up some books on meditation from the ashram," she says. The books were in essence similar to most spiritual books — they revolved around expressing love, finding happiness and contentment. Perhaps anyone who practices these may find peace," she now thinks. To top that, guruji's disciples would make anyone around him think that the energy they felt was merely because of their leader's presence.

And yet it was never in-your-face. And it worked, because a year later, the educated, independent woman quit her job to work full-time for guruji. India has no dearth of self-styled godmen, and there have been a string of incidents involving gurus, and their alleged role in sexual assault, extortion and cheating.

So, it took some time to believe that a living person could also attain the same status. He made us believe he was one of those rare living gurus of our generation. He told us that if we prayed to him, all our wishes would come true," Veena says. She also calls him a great marketing guy. If you attend one of his programmes, you'll be dying to attend the next one as well. You are so young. You can do this on the side," Veena's concerned family told her when she informed them of her plans to embark on her spiritual journey.

Soon, she became part of a select group of people who worked closely with the godman and looked after the running of his empire. One day, I was told that I could clean his room. From then on, I would clean his room every day. During one such occasion, he was there in the room. He hugged me. Not in a way a guru would, but just as a man would hug a woman he was interested in," she says. A terrified Veena ran out.

But she was summoned again, and the guru 'explained' to her that mere mortals like her saw 'human bodies', while he only saw the soul. Like Krishna found Radha and blessed her soul. I was his Radha, he said. Normally, after a session, he would hug a few chosen disciples.

This included children, young, middle aged and old people. We were constantly told that he was only touching our soul," she said. For months, what Veena went through was mental conditioning. The hug had soon progressed to sex and Veena was coerced to believe that it was a path to salvation.

I was the special one, the only one who was blessed to be his soul mate have intercourse with him ," she says. The state of affairs went on for several years. As a young educated woman, why did Veena not walk away from there? Can this be considered sexual assault or rape? Over the years, many have asked her this. It was ingrained into us that the guru was supreme and worldly pleasures meant nothing to him. Every time the abuse happened, he would tell me that my soul had become a bit more elevated and I was almost at the next level," she said.

The Bhagavatham and other revered Hindu scriptures were constantly quoted to her. In many cases in India and throughout the world, it has been well documented how such gurus wipe out evidence. Premananda Swamy convicted in would facilitate abortions. Aravindan Balakrishnan a Maoist cult leader established himself as someone who could control nature and it was proved in a court in UK that he would first isolate victims from families, so that they never betrayed his secrets.

He was convicted of six counts of indecent assaults and four counts of rape in Swami Premananda: Source. He convinced the victim that his semen should be poured into the ocean.

As Veena narrates this, she adds as an afterthought. But when I was in the situation, I was constantly made to believe and accept it as right without questioning. Janja Lalich says in her research that cults that exploit people, especially women, project the assault as a matter of honor.

Sexual activities with the leader are interpreted and rationalized as spiritually beneficial. Every disciple shared a unique relationship with the guru and all of them were strictly prohibited from discussing it among each other. Veena says, "To some he was a mother figure, for some it was a master-sevak relationship.

People from all walks of life would throng to see him. Some were just like her, wanting to make the world a better place, and a few quite like him, manipulating people for their gain. Going against the guru is the greatest of sins, they were told. They would repent, not just in their current life but also in their coming lives, if they did so. They would suffer, suffer horribly.

And the best way to prevent a revolt is never give it a breeding ground in the first place. Cult members were always overworked with assignments and had strict deadlines to follow. We were extremely exhausted and sleep deprived as we slept for not more than four hours a day. No one had the mind to question anything," she says. If someone did question him, they would immediately be outcast. Threats and intimidation were also used to shut victims up when needed.

As the years passed, Veena also realised how the cult was fueled solely by its greed. If you weren't bringing him business, you were of no use to him," she says. When the truth finally hit her, and with the intensity that it did, it pushed her into depression. I kind of just wanted to forget that I had lived this life," she says. I felt I must tell what happened to me, so that it can save others. Seven years after she joined the group, she finally left it. She also filed a complaint with the police and the case in underway in court.

This book was an eye-opener for Veena as it helped her to understand why a rational person like her would join a cult. It is simple to ask why someone would not leave a cult immediately when they realise they are in a wrong place. But as Singer and Lalich state, the answer is not that simple. This includes their beliefs, peer pressure, fear or even confusion. The last few years have been punishing for Veena. The fight has been emotionally, physically and financially draining. Looking back, she says, "Life has taught me many, many lessons and I am very grateful for that.

But I still believe I have a bigger purpose in life. Skip to main content. Image for representation. Features Cults Sunday, July 02, -


Trapped in a religious cult: One woman’s story of sexual exploitation at the hands of a 'guru'






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