scary sadhus - beware!

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#1 Aug 17th, 2009, 14:49
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#1
i was stuck in a traffic jam in bangalore recently. my sister was taking me to a shop, she sat beside me at the back, just the driver sat in front. a group of young sadhus approached the only open window of the car, the one by the empty seat beside the driver. they had a picture of shirdi ke sai baba and wanted money. i had a five rupee note in my pocket so i leant over and handed it to the leader. he said i should get a bigger note blessed and came round to where i was sitting. i don't know what came over me - normally i don't give anything to beggars, etc. - but i took a hundred and fifty rupees out of my wallet and he said 'give the notes to me' but i held on to the notes and then it all turned bizarre. he would not let me take the money back after he had 'blessed' it and when i tried to pull my hand with the money back inside the car, he made a show of biting my hand (but he did not - he was pretending). my sister screamed but i didn't let go because i could see he was not going to harm me. he returned a hundred rupee note but hid the fifty in his hand. i asked for the fifty and managed to get it back after a small struggle. they walked away to their next car and next victim.
they were petty criminals, there was no real threat of violence. more than anything else, it was the shock of it all - something like this had never happened before to us - it all happened very quickly. my sister vowed never to travel in the car with the windows down. i kept wondering how someone could abuse religious sentiments to carry on their crooked business. and relieved it hadn't been worse.
#2 Aug 17th, 2009, 17:01
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#2
First Mistake: The person who tried to harm you is not a Sadhu. Dont refer him as Sadhu

Second Mistake: Why should you even offer 5 Rs to him. If you feel like offering you can offer the same in Sai Baba's temple anywhere and not to goons like this.

Third Mistake: Pulling money out before a stranger. You think this would have not happened in any part of world. Come on. Its just not in India. Anywhere, you flash money you are inviting trouble.

Please dont give alms to beggars. Dont encourage them to beg. Let them get discouraged and look for some others means to live.

Crooks are always crooks. You travel with the window down or up. Never bother. Dont pay attention to them and please for god's sake dont pay them.

All I said above is my personal opinion on the horrific incident you went through and I am sorry if I hurt your sentiments by anyway.

Regards

B.S.Prasad
#3 Aug 17th, 2009, 17:11
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Anar,
I agree with BSprasad.
Expecting a begger/crook to return you money(Rs150 is maybe a day's or half a day's income to him) after "blessing it" - can you imagine your naivete?

Why did you expect to take the money back? This begging(very common all over Indian cities in traffic intersections) usually works in this way - you pay the money usually 1-2 rupees(maximum 5) and the deity blesses you for that. Why would they return you the money you have given (or made a show of giving)

"Abuse religious sentiments to carry on crooked business" - doesnot it happen everywhere? and in much more sinister ways?

I am not trying to run you down but I feel you suffered because you did not understand the situation properly.
#4 Aug 17th, 2009, 18:09
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i admit i was completely stupid. this is not normal behaviour for me (as i have said before). i really don't know what came over me. the desire to see my money multiply? perhaps, but not entirely. i was made to feel as if by not complying i would be guilty of disrespect of some kind. i like to think they were very clever, experienced crooks. it all happened very fast. we were stood at a signal, waiting for the lights to go green!

the man said 'give me some bigger notes (five rupees is too small an amount), baba will 'bless' the money (he did some waving around and touching of the notes to shirdi sai baba's image) and i will give it back to you. see how it multiplies."

the whole thing was ridiculous but i fell for it - momentarily - and luckily for me, came out of it alright. what i'm trying to get across is that in a certain situation, it is possible for almost anyone to be taken in. you don't have to be a gullible foreigner in india for the first time for something like this to happen to you. how much worse if i didn't speak the language, etc.

if they dress like sadhus, and look like sadhus, i call them sadhus. not good sadhus, maybe not even genuine sadhus, but still. and if you haven't heard stories of this kind involving sadhus before, then i guess i am not the only naive one on this site.
#5 Aug 17th, 2009, 18:54
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This was a blessing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (learned) Now you know what not to do. How do we learn these things without direct experience such as yours. Those who are advising probably had similar things happen to them, that's why they are now advising.
#6 Aug 17th, 2009, 19:22
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Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post This was a blessing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (learned) Now you know what not to do. How do we learn these things without direct experience such as yours. Those who are advising probably had similar things happen to them, that's why they are now advising.
Not to me. I never gave money to be blessed by Baba or by a sadhu. I am against giving alms to beggars. Dont know why, But I had this aversion for a long time.

We dont have to learn only by direct experience. For example, Any IM'er reading this thread will never remove money to be blessed by Baba or by a Sadhu.

But I do agree that we keep learning everyday, not only with the experience which happens to us but also to others.

What say you...?
#7 Aug 17th, 2009, 19:30
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#7
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Originally Posted by bsprasad View Post Not to me. I never gave money to be blessed by Baba or by a sadhu. I am against giving alms to beggars. Dont know why, But I had this aversion for a long time.

We dont have to learn only by direct experience. For example, Any IM'er reading this thread will never remove money to be blessed by Baba or by a Sadhu.

But I do agree that we keep learning everyday, not only with the experience which happens to us but also to others.

What say you...?
Agreed. If we can read, we can learn from the mistakes of others and from observation. Part of the 'blessing' I meant was that it coulda been a lot worse. And you yourself say you don't know why, but you had this aversion. You did learn it somewhere somehow, maybe in an experience you can't remember from childhood, maybe from reading IM, who knows. Don't think its worth hiring a shrink to find out.
#8 Aug 17th, 2009, 19:48
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It reminds me of the Hari Krishna guys in London a few decades ago (I have no idea what they are like now).

It begins with the offer of a gift; a free book.

One is then requested to give a donation. If the donation was not at least enough to cover the cost of the "free" book, displeasure flowed freely.

Of course, these days, the streets of London are full of gangs employed by charities, not collecting a few coins (I believe there was some legal problem with them doing this) but trying to sign you up to a direct debit for life. "Good morning! Can I talk to you for a few minutes?" (just like cold-calling sales people on the telephone) --- No, you cannot; if I want to support a charity I'll seek it out, thank you very much.

There is quite a lot of money raised on the streets of India under one religious guise or another. The Sai Baba guys travel the streets with sound systems on wheels that play bajans loudly. Their technique is called "Pay me to go away"!

Others request contributions to pilgrimages, or to particular pujas. The last time I contributed a few Rs to one of these, my wife said I'd been conned. I pointed out the printed receipt they gave; she said, yes, they get those printed!

A genuine sadhu begs for his needs for that day. We don't see many in this part of India, so I don't have much experience of them, but, notwithstanding the deep association of money with Lakshmi, I can't imagine a reason why they should bless yours. If you've got the money, you have the blessing already!

I think people should finance their own religions, especially if they are young and able-bodied. I'd turn my back on the "sadhu", and give my coins to the frail elderly.

Of course, they may be part of a specialised gang of granny beggars --- but even I find it impossible to be cynical about the whole world!
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#9 Aug 17th, 2009, 20:33
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#9
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post It reminds me of the Hari Krishna guys in London a few decades ago (I have no idea what they are like now).
A little older?
#10 Aug 17th, 2009, 20:38
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Aren't we all?
#11 Aug 17th, 2009, 23:59
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#11
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Originally Posted by anar View Post they were petty criminals, there was no real threat of violence. more than anything else, it was the shock of it all - something like this had never happened before to us - it all happened very quickly.
Petty criminals? Why? They did not take anything from you. They would have been criminals if they grabbed your money and ran, but they did not. The main "crime" here is your superstitious belief in the possibility of blesssing money, i.e. your greed is blameworthy. If these people are able to exploit other's people's greed, they are actually doing good in the sense that they show you your vices.

Apart from that, I disagree to some statements here about not giving to beggars. The intention with which you give is more important than the qualification of the recipient, even though with the latter also there, the gift becomes superior. But in the absence of a worthy recipient, a small gift, given with a good heart's intent, is at least good for you, and also for the recipient if he is really in need. (Better give food instead of money, though.)
#12 Aug 18th, 2009, 00:08
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#12
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The intention with which you give is more important than the qualification of the recipient,
Good thought.
Quote:
a small gift, given with a good heart's intent, is at least good for you, and also for the recipient if he is really in need.
More good thoughts!
#13 Aug 18th, 2009, 00:15
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#13
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Originally Posted by anar View Post i admit i was completely stupid. this is not normal behaviour for me (as i have said before). i really don't know what came over me. the desire to see my money multiply? perhaps, but not entirely.
Want to multiply your money ? Invest in Bernie Madoff Hedge Fund.
#14 Aug 18th, 2009, 00:22
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Originally Posted by nycank View Post Want to multiply your money ? Invest in Bernie Madoff Hedge Fund.
i think i'll go back to the sadhus!
#15 Aug 18th, 2009, 00:24
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#15
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post It reminds me of the Hari Krishna guys in London a few decades ago (I have no idea what they are like now).
There were two Hare Krishnas on my flight. Part of me wanted to shadow them around to see what they were up to these days. The worst was when they dressed in suits and ties pretending to be some foreign charity. They did have ISKCON badges on, and they didn't know I knew what it meant. I much preferred them in robes. Always weird when they try to convert me. lol
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