Think of this situation: You’re completely lost, problems have become a new normal for you and your life is f***** up! Enter: Cult leaders. Then begins the process of indoctrination. In which they use their faulty disciplines and teaching to manipulate your mind in such a way that you will not question them back.
Here’s a cult leader’s guide to mass indoctrination
#Step1: Start small, work on your appearance
Asaram Bapu, Gurmeet Rahim Singh, Sathya Sai Baba, Swami Muktananda, Chandraswami – they all look and dress the same right? Untrimmed long beard, preferably orange clothes, a mala around their neck and of course 2 sadhvis always following them. You have to stand out! No one will accept you or fall into your dark trap if you are dressed like a common man. Always look serious, refuse to smile, pick some yoga pose, pretend to meditate and you’re all set. This makes you look wise and people will take you seriously.
#Step2: Know whom to target and where
This one’s an important step. Find out where your target hangs out. Ideally, target God-fearing people and ‘Yes-Men’ as they will never challenge what you say and will follow you blindly. Temples, motivational satsangs, religious gathering are places you should be looking for. For instance, Asaram Bapu looks out for his targets during his motivational satsangs. He uses a laser torch with which he would direct the beam thrice at a particular devotee who attended his satsang. And she was the ‘chosen one’.
If you’re too busy simply employ someone who will get you, consumers. For instance, in 2013, a girl from a school which was operated by Asaram’s trust fell ill and fainted. The warden of the school spotted a target for Asaram. So she called her parents and stated that she was possessed and only Asaram will be able to exorcise the demons. Target trapped! She was taken to a farmhouse where she attended a satsang followed by a chat with the godman. He asked her parents to chant a prayer while he took the girl into his room, where he forced her to have oral sex with him as a way to exorcise the demons from her.
The best types of followers are the rich who are blindly superstitious. Trap them, make them believe you are their God, you are the reason they are successful. And they’ll blindly bring in truckloads of money in form of ‘donations’. Well, he is in the good books of our PM.
#Step3: Always lookout for lost people
People who are lost, emotionally vulnerable and facing injustice will fall into your trap with a few words about ‘peace’, ‘soul’ and ‘spirituality’. It’s opportunities like these which the babas capitalize on. For instance, Punjab and Haryana were grappled with issues like caste discrimination where lower castes who faced discrimination from the upper caste in Punjab and Haryana like Khari and Jat Sikhs. The ‘godman’ Gurmeet Singh saw this as an opportunity to get more followers. He did everything for these lower castes. Ensured equality for them, subsidized food and medicines for them, got them jobs and dignified life, launched welfare programs, helped families and youth battle with drugs etc. That’s all he had to do to make himself their God. He became a God for all those mothers out there whose sons have been saved from the clutches of drugs.
#Step3: Once trapped, isolate them…
Choose a location which is private and somewhere quiet. As per an article published in Scribd, a follower of Asaram Bapu mentions the tricks used by him to brainwash people into becoming his followers. He states that he firstly makes sure all of his devotees cut off from their social lives, from their families, friends, workplace, and school and be brought into a completely new isolated environment. For instance, a person from Delhi will be taken to some other state, like Ahmedabad.
#Step4: … control them, tear them down
The next step would be complete control of their information like who calls them, emails them, who are the visitors etc. Thus, any access to past ties is completely cut off. Lack of sleep due to an intensive waking program is one of the reason he mentioned which clouds their ability to critically think. They are then put on a protein-poor diet to make them weak. This weakness is then blamed on their past evil activities. It is this guilt and shame which they use as their powerful tool to manipulate devotees to do anything.
#Step5: Don’t let them think rationally
Keep the devotees in the ashrams so busy that they do not have time to think what they are doing. Their attention is captured by various motivational satsangs, lectures, games, chanting, singing etc. There have also been speculations about the devotees being mesmerized and hypnotized through these subtle and simple ways. This repetitive schedule fixated their attention and their own thoughts are gradually limited. This process gets them so captivated that they are willing to accept an entirely new identity and new names as well.
#Step6: Finally, make ‘meeting God’ their #lifegoal:
We become prone to these babas when we want to escape our problems in life. The cult leaders, who have mastered their communication skills, preach only those stuff which gets such a depressed audience happiness and peace. They manipulate such people into believing that all their problem will disappear if they meet God. ‘Getting them to meet God’ is the key to get them to do anything. For instance, in 2015, Rahim Singh Gurmeet, manipulated 400 of his followers into taking part in mass castration stating that it’s the only way they can personally meet God. As per one of the follower, this began in 2000 in Haryana in the hospitals run by Dera organization.