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Bollywood celebrities and their spiritual gurus

With self-styled godwoman Radhe Maa in the eye of a storm and her high-profile devotees drawing flak, we take a look at some Bollywood stars and the 'gurus' they fall back on...

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai recently ruffled a few feathers after his picture with controversial godwoman Radhe Maa went viral on social media. Many criticised his association with the self-styled spiritual leader as she was booked for her alleged involvement in a dowry harassment case a couple of weeks ago.

Subhash Ghai and his wife, Mukta with controversial godwoman Radhe Maa
Subhash Ghai and his wife, Mukta with controversial godwoman Radhe Maa 

The filmmaker, however, maintained: "My wife, Mukta, and I have been visiting Radhe Maa to take her blessings... She had been very affectionate to both of us and treats us like her parents."

Like Ghai, many Bollywood celebs seek solace in spiritual 'gurus', many of whom have courted controversies from time to time.

Spiritual guidance
Shilpa Shetty used to swear by The Art of Living before becoming a firm believer in the philosophy of Oneness University. She frequently goes to Chennai for the guidance of Kalki Bhagavan, her guru and founder of the spiritual school.

Shilpa Shetty (left) believes in the philosophy of the Oneness University founded by Kalki Bhagavan; (inset) controversial godwoman Radhe Maa
Shilpa Shetty (left) believes in the philosophy of the Oneness University founded by Kalki Bhagavan; (inset) controversial godwoman Radhe Maa 

In one of her interviews, she had stated that she happened to come across Amma and Bhagavan through a family friend. She labelled her first experience as "fantastic" and that oneness teachings are sound and practical as they have a scientific basis.

Hrithik Roshan also visits the Oneness University and has reportedly said that after following the philosophy, he has become much calmer and happier in life.

Hrithik Roshan follows the philosophy of Kalki Bhagavan (inset)
Hrithik Roshan follows the philosophy of Kalki Bhagavan (inset) 

"I am not so concerned about making an impression anymore. I am not better than the other guy. I am not better than the maid who sweeps the floor in my house. And I am not lesser than anyone (either). We all are the same," he was quoted as saying.

The university, however, had come under scanner a few years ago for misuse of public funds and illegal occupation of land for an ashram in Chittoor.

The Madras High Court had restrained TV channels from showing clippings of the spiritual guru as it violated human rights. The court also demanded affidavits to confirm that they were not supporting activities shown in the footage.

Familiar ground
Shahid Kapoor and his father Pankaj Kapur are followers of the Radha Soami movement. It is said that Shahid and his wife, Mira Rajput, met through the spiritual order and their wedding was then fixed.

Mira Rajput and Shahid Kapoor are followers of the Radha Saomi Satsang Beas
Mira Rajput and Shahid Kapoor are followers of the Radha Saomi Satsang Beas

However, the Radha Soami Satsang Beas has had its share of controversies. In 2012, it was alleged that the organisation demolished the Sikh Gurudwara Sahib to expand the Dera land and was illegally grabbing land from defenseless villages.

Their life's mantra
Dia Mirza is an ardent follower of Art Of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. She practices Sudarshan Kriya regularly and her testimonial on the Art of Living website reads: "Sangeeta (Jani, meditation instructor)'s voice, her kindness, her gentle yet firm guidance helped me embrace the Art of Living, thereby changing my life forever."

Lara Dutta and Dia Mirza follow (inset) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living
Lara Dutta and Dia Mirza follow (inset) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living 

Lara Dutta not only attends the spiritual discoures of Ravi Shankar, but also turned instructor for the foundation in 2008. She launched youth service projects in different countries, courtesy her association with the organisation.

For big decisions
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is amongst the celeb followers of Sathya Sai Baba, a spiritual guru who claimed to a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an ardent follower of Sathya Sai Baba (inset)
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an ardent follower of Sathya Sai Baba (inset) 

Buzz had it that before her marriage to Abhishek Bachchan, her family and the Bachchans had sought Baba's advice on the alliance. Many well known politicians and cricketers are also known to be his devotees, but his life, too, was surrounded by many controversies. He was accused of sexual abuse, committing financial frauds and performing fake miracles, even after his death. But no allegation was proved and his devotees still stand by him.

At their feet
Vinod Khanna was a regular at the Osho ashram in US. In the early '80s, he turned a sanyasi and also took up gardening at Rajneeshpuram and got a new identity — as Swami Vinod Bharti.

Shree Rajneesh aka Osho, Vinod Khanna and Parveen Babi
Shree Rajneesh aka Osho, Vinod Khanna and Parveen Babi 

Parveen Babi and director Mahesh Bhatt had also joined the ashram of Shree Rajneesh, who got into trouble for his opinions ideas on sex, marriage, homosexuality, etc. contradicted traditional views, arousing anger and opposition around the world. He was also known as a sex guru at one point of time.

However, eventually, he changed his views. He drew criticism for "irregular activities" at the Pune ashram — allegations of drug use amongst sannyasins marred the ashram's image.

He flew to the US, but was charged with immigration violation. Twenty one countries denied him entry, causing him to travel the world before returning to Pune, where he died in 1990.

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