Asaram Bapu and his sermons are no longer the daily sight that he has been for many years in India, he is no longer on the Aastha Channel, now he’s in prison, serving time for raping a 16 year old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur.
As the article makes clear, I’m not the only one who has noticed an alarming commonality among sex-abusing religious leaders. It refers to these people as “godmen”, defined as “all yogis, maulvis, fakirs, gurus, swamis, pastors and priests who make mystical claims and hold devotees in awe.” It is known, not only by skeptics like me, but by psychologists and sociologists that these religious men have a much higher incidence of abusing their flock than other positions, both because of their unrestricted access to children and vulnerable adults, but the amount of trust and adoration given to the clergy by their flock.
It’s interesting to see this from a wholly eastern perspective, so many of us are used to a distinctly western perspective and some, unfortunately, pretend like eastern religions and religious leaders are quite different than the Judeo-Christian religions that we’re used to, but this article makes it plain that’s not the case. There is just as much sex abuse among eastern religions as there is in the west. In fact, it may be even more prevalent because sex among many popular gurus is viewed as a healing service, that allowing them to have sex with you can somehow make you better or stronger. Is this necessarily physical rape? No, because it is consensual, but is it emotional or mental rape? You bet your Aunt Bippy it is. Anything that is used to coerce sexual contact, mental or physical, is rape as far as I’m concerned and in places like India, spiritual leaders are well known to prey on Western women who may be unaware of the customs and unsure how to say no, after all, they are strangers in a strange land, far from home and not wanting to offend the locals, maybe screwing your yogi is part of the expectation and some Western women just grit their teeth and take it.
I really think people should read the entire article linked above, it’s a fascinating look at the sex abuses of the religions of the East and a reason why no religion is immune from Horror Show Sunday.