Here in India since time immemorial ther have been gurus and godmen who have shaped the lives and destiny of its people. The whole concept of such learned and wise men were to lend a sanctity to the land and enlighten the lives of the people of this land; taking them towards spiritual heights and finally merging their individual souls with the "Para Brahman" or the final beautitude. We cannot separate India from this legacy of Sanyasis, Gurus and Godmen.
India is still largely a Hindu community with about 60% of it's citizens adhering to this ancient religion. Hinduism is a religion without a rigid and organised priesthood. Though till the recent past there was a lot of influence of the Brahmans or priests in the handling of rituals; nowadays it is rare to see the high handedness of the earstwhile priestly society. It is widely known that the Indian society is divided into four sections based on work - the brahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. The brahmans are the priests, the Kshatriyas are warriors, the vaishyas are traders and the shudras do agriculture. But now the social scenario has changed.
With this change has come a new breed of preachers who claim to be godmen with miraculous powers gained through the practise of Yoga and meditation. They mislead the gullible folks showing magic and recitation of vedas. These Godmen also have a lot of following and fund flow from western countries where the people are looking for mysticism and spirituality in India. With the promise of "Instant Nirvana" and use of choisest of words derived from the ancient sciptures these fake Gurus rob the innocent folks who end up believing them. The layman is not only taken for a ride; he ends up spending a fortune and precious time before he learns of his mistake.
Kerala, where I reside now is the most literate state in India. The society is also quite affluent, educated and have a very good standard of life. Even in such an awakened society there have been recent sightings of godmen who are international criminals wanted by the Interpol like the notorious Santosh Madhavan. These criminally intending sanyasis amass a large fortune and their unaccounted wealth is the main source of funding for further crime in the society.
The press and government have a great responsibility in protecting the society from such Gurus in disguise.