New Delhi: Claiming to sell salvation to unsuspecting followers, controversial godman Rampal took a cue from ponzi operators to expand his evil empire. His trusted followers worked like agents and spread out far and wide to find and fleece people by peddling miracles, cures and spiritual powers.
Unlike a ponzi operation, however, Rampal did not pay any commission to his “agents”. “Every follower was required to bring in at least three members or a family. The followers preyed on the poor and the illiterate and sold them the idea that baba possessed miraculous healing powers and could rid them of any ailment or problem," a follower said.
Police sources said while every newcomer was free to attend a single spiritual discourse or satsang, he had to pay Rs 1,000 for the initiation process, called Naamdaan. This was done publicly, and the follower was given a Guru Mantra which was in fact the Gayatri Mantra.
Rampal would ask new followers to chant the mantra for three months. That was how a primary membership of Satlok Ashram could be obtained.
For the secondary membership, Rampal would ask his followers to get Satnaam, for which he charged Rs 9,000. Members buying Satnaam were given a better deal by Rampal and were involved in the Ashram’s activities.
Saarnaam was the third type of membership, given after a follower had spent 10 years with Rampal. He would be charged Rs 10,000 for this and would be included in the executive committee of the Satlok Ashram.
The Satlok ticket was the highest degree that a follower could aspire for and which was awarded after 15 years for 100,000. Rampal and his henchmen claimed that by getting a Satlok ticket, a follower would directly land in heaven.