There are thousands of religious gurus in India, but for the past few weeks, a new “godman” has been making news. Supporters of Dhirendra Krishna Shastri, also known as Bageshwar Dham Sarkar, assert that he possesses supernatural abilities and can heal the ill, exorcise demons, and assist people in resolving their financial and business issues.
The 27-year-old chief priest of the Bageshwar Dham temple, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India, wears flamboyant clothing and hats resembling those used by Maharashtra’s Peshwa emperors in the 18th century. He also has the support of influential government ministers and lawmakers. He is now a social media and television celebrity. Lets know more about this self-styled young godman and the story revolving around him.
The Bageshwar Dham temple
The temple or the dham is located in Chattarpur, Madhya Pradesh. It is a pilgrimage site and is considered the pious seat of Bhoot Bhawan Mahadev and Swayambhu Shri Balaji Sarkar.
The temple of Shri Balaji Maharaj is located in the village of Gadha Post, in Ganj District, Chattarpur. “Bageshwar Dham”, located in the village Gadha of Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, is famous in the country and abroad for the divinity of Swayambhu Hanuman ji. Bageshwar Dham is the divine land of many ascetics, where people get the blessings and blessings of Balaji Maharaj just by having a darshan. Here Balaji Maharaj listens to your problem through an application and gets the solution through the Peethadhishwar of the Dham, Pujya Dhirendra Krishna Shastri Ji Maharaj, whom the world addresses as Bageshwar Dham Sarkar.
Who is Baba Bageshwar or Bageshwar Dham Sarkar?
This renowned godman is the current head of Bageshwar Dham. He has a vast fan base who worship him with devotion and seek his blessings, in huge numbers on various occasions.
About the self-made godly figure- Baba Bageshwar Dham
He is the current head of the temple. He is a 27-year-old self-styled godman of the state. He was born on the 4th July of 1996 in the Chhatarpur region of Madhya Pradesh, India. He follows and preaches Hinduism and its practice. He has a bachelor in arts. He is officially called Peethadhish of the Bageshwar Dham Sarkar. His childhood has been one of severe poverty and other hardships.
Shastri is Rambhadracharya’s pupil. Shastri is well-known for his proclamations of the Ramcharitmanas and the Shiva Purana. He asserts that his supporters have given him certain charismatic qualities.
Social media presence
Shastri’s social media following has significantly increased; he currently has 7.5 million followers across all platforms. He currently has 3.4 million Facebook fans, 3.9 million YouTube subscribers, 300,000 Instagram followers, and 72,000 Twitter followers. Between three and ten million people have seen a few of his most popular videos.
Social activities and value among followers
In his dham, Shastri set up the Annapurna Kitchen, where he provides his devotees with complimentary meals. Additionally, he hosts an annual event to facilitate the union of needy and impoverished girls. To advance historical vedic studies and Sanskrit, he is constructing a Vedic gurukul. During a ghar wapsi program in 2021, Shastri is credited with converting 300 Christians back to Hinduism. Following the threats on Shastri’s life, the government of Madhya Pradesh stepped up its security on January 25, 2023.
Controversies and accusations
He recites stories at the Bageshwar Dham and has also been accused of tricking and manipulating people using mentalism.
Recent mind-reading controversy
Recently, the self-made godman became the central point of the national limelight. This happened after a well-known rationalist challenged Mr. Shastri’s claims that he had healing abilities and could read people’s minds, he suddenly became a household name. If, Shyam Manav, who leads the anti-superstition movement through his group Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, offered to pay 3 million rupees ($36,500; £30,000). This was to happen if Mr. Shastri properly predicted the thoughts of 10 persons chosen by Mr. Manav.
The challenge was issued while Mr. Shastri was hosting a camp in Nagpur, which is located in the state of Maharashtra, where Mr. Manav is headquartered. Mr. Shastri however left the city soon after without addressing the challenge. Since then, he has been on a number of TV shows where he has denied fleeing and stated that he would accept the challenge—just not in Maharashtra. Instead, he suggested a “neutral” location in the nearby state of Chhattisgarh. Mr. Manav, however, contends that since he asserted his superhuman abilities in Maharashtra, he had to demonstrate them there. According to sources, Mr. Manav has received death threats since the scandal started, and the police have increased his security.
Other recent controversies have also tarnished Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar’s reputation.
Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar’s lavish lifestyle is a major issue. His critics believe his flamboyant attire and headpiece are an insulting throwback to the historical Maharashtra Peshwa emperors. Due of his wealth and the poverty of his hometown, questions have been raised about his income and temple spending.
The Bageshwar Dham temple’s financial secrecy has long been a worry. Some challenge the openness and accountability of temple finances, including the utilisation of worshippers’ contributions and sacrifices. Insufficient financial openness has fueled critics’ fears and inquiries.
Despite Baba Bageshwar Dham’s large and dedicated following, some have accused him of exploitation. He may use vulnerable individuals for his own money and spiritual gain.
Baba Bageshwar Dham has been litigated. Examples include temple property management concerns, land conflicts, and claims of encroaching on public land for temple building. His actions have been criticised, and these lawsuits feed it.
Social media has contributed to his spectacular rise to fame and his continuous scandal. His online presence is accused of encouraging people to reject critical thinking and rational enquiry for faith. This raises the question of whether religious leaders should utilise social media.
Religious personalities sometimes provoke controversy since faith, scepticism, and belief intersect. The Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar controversies demonstrate the need for transparency, accountability, and responsible discourse in religious leadership and spiritual organisations. Some venerate him as a deity, while others are dubious, underlining the necessity for serious deliberation and intentional action in religious and belief matters.
Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar (Dhirendra Krishna Shastri)’s story is notable for his commitment and controversy. His rise to popularity as a self-proclaimed godman and Bageshwar Dham temple head has enthralled millions in India and beyond.
In Chattarpur’s tranquil Gadha, Bageshwar Dham is revered. At this shrine, pilgrims pray to Swayambhu Hanuman ji and Shri Balaji Maharaj. Baba Bageshwar made this temple a religious, social, and spiritual hub.
The journey was fantastic for little Baba Bageshwar Dham. His instructor Rambhadracharya motivated him to become a great Hindu. His charisma attracts millions of social media followers who listen to his knowledge.
However, Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar was contentious. His mentalism and otherworldly claims have garnered attention. Famous rationalist Shyam Manav gained notice with his new mind-reading challenge. Religion, superstition, and scepticism have been raised by the mystery.
Despite these worries, Baba Bageshwar Dham conducts the Annapurna Kitchen, aids underprivileged women, and encourages Vedic studies. He guides and converts many spiritually.
Any charismatic religious person views Baba Bageshwar Dham differently. Some find hope and spiritual guidance in him, while others distrust him. In contemporary India, where tradition and modernity conflict, Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar’s story shows the complex interplay between faith, conviction, and cynicism.
Finally, Baba Bageshwar Dham Sarkar’s legacy is open to interpretation, forcing us to explore religion and charismatic leaders in our changing society.