An elderly sadhu baba who has been living in Himalayan caves for more than 60 years has given a stunning donation of Rs 1 crore for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya – this is the money he had received as daan from devotees over the years.
Although he wanted to keep the donation a secret and not make a fuss, he later agreed to share the story to motivate others to contribute for the holy cause as well.
As per a Times of India report –
“Swami Shankar Das, an octogenarian seer from Rishikesh who has been living in caves for more than 60 years, deposited a cheque for Rs 1 crore as donation for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. According to Das, it was at the cave of his guru Taat wale Baba that he received donations from devotees that added up to the amount that he donated on Wednesday.
Employees at the main branch of State Bank of India, Rishikesh, were in disbelief when the seer handed over the cheque, until they checked his account and found the amount there. RSS functionaries were then called to the bank to complete the process.
Rishikesh head of RSS Sudama Singhal told TOI, “We reached the bank after receiving information about Swami Shankar Das seeking to donate Rs 1 crore to the Ram Mandir trust. As he could not donate the money directly, he handed over a cheque to us and we gave him a receipt. Using the cheque, the bank manager will now submit the money in the trust’s account.”
Das wanted to keep his donation a secret but agreed to share his story so it inspires others to donate for the construction of Ram Temple as well. Locally known as “Fakkad Baba” in Rishikesh, Das lives on donations and feeds the needy for free.”
Sadly, while Hindus have been conditioned by Bollywood, academia, media and popular culture to regard their sadhus, babas, and religious holy women/men with suspicion, the reality is that there are many enlightened souls like ‘Fakkad Baba’ who still walk on this sacred land of Bharatvarsha. They could be sadhus like Fakkad Baba or just ordinary citizens living their lives with quiet dignity and compassion.
Maybe it is this desensitisation towards our own that has resulted in the strange apathy we have seen towards the brutal lynching of elderly sadhu Kalpvriksh Giri Maharaj and his younger companions in Palghar.
Yes, the wounds of colonialism, the weakening of Hindu Dharma under the hostile gaze of the secular state and rising materialism – all these have given rise to a problem of fraud/misleading babas. But the good thing for Hindus is that we have the option to choose from various established paths, and have the freedom to seek out better teachers and Gurus. Reasoned & objective criticism of a Hindu religious teacher does not invite a charge of ‘blasphemy’ unlike in Abrahamic religions, and the problem is not as acute as that facing organised religions with strict religious hierarchies where the central bodies themselves are mired in sexual misconduct, corruption etc. Whatever our flaws, they can be rectified with collective, purposeful action of Hindu society, overcoming our largely political differences.
As seekers, it is incumbent upon all Hindus to celebrate the true spiritual souls among us like ‘Fakkad Baba’. Whatever Dharmic path we follow, whichever community we belong to, we must shed negativity, share our knowledge and come together as one to celebrate the true diversity and mutual respect among Dharmics.