Asaram Bapu was born on April 17, 1941, and is addressed as “father” by his followers. He is a popular Hindu spiritual leader. He built his first ashram in the 1970s in Gujarat. In the year 2013, his total number of ashrams went up to 400 and the followers multiplying rapidly.
His early years
Asaram Bapu was born in the village of Berani in the Nawabshah district of British India, which now lies in Pakistan. His birth name was Asumal Sirumalani. After the 1947 partition of India, Asaram Bapu along with his family chose to live in Ahmadabad from Sindh. His father was a daily wage worker in different towns and cities of Gujarat and later shifted to Ajmer in the year 1963. Asaram Bapu after shifting to Ajmer used to drive a carriage of pilgrims from Ajmer Railway station to the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Eventually, the family shifted to Ahmadabad where the father of Asaram Bapu started his own wood and coal business. After the demise of his father, Bapu took over the business. Also, at a time of extremely financial deficiency, he even sold tea on the road. Asaram Bapu dropped out of high school after the death of his father. He got schooling till Class 3.
As per a biography on him, he escaped to an ashram in the city of Bharuch when he was only 15 and a few days before his scheduled wedding. He was persuaded by his family to return home, and he got married to Laxmi Devi. When he was 23, his wanderlust was at its peak again, and he visited pilgrimage spots in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. When he was in Nainital, he met Lilashah, a spiritual guru of whom he wanted to become a disciple. However, Lilashah sent him back home. Shortly after his return home, he again left for yet another ashram, only to be sent back once again. Later he paid a visit to Lilashah once again who finally gave him an opportunity to become his disciple.
As per his biography, Asaram Bapu returned to Ahmadabad in 1971. In 1972, he constructed a hut in the city of Motera, which lies on the banks of River Sabarmati. The official biography of Asaram Bapu has not mentioned this, but he also lived in Sadashiv Ashram at Motera for two years, and then set up his very own residential hut opposite to it. In 1973, he turned his hut into a small ashram, beginning with mere ten followers. Later in 1992, the Congress-led state government gave the ashram many acres of land. His number of followers began to increase rapidly. By the year 2013, his ashram had 300 major ashrams not only in India but also abroad.
Asaram Bapu has held several spiritual discourses across the country, including major cities like Patna and Ahmadabad. His devotees have taken Diksha from him at spiritual gatherings. More than 10,000 students paid a visit to his discourse at Ahmadabad in 2001. Asaram Bapu preaches One Supreme Conscious existence and cites various yogas as his influences.
Asaram Bapu remains an important spiritual figure among Hindus worldwide.