Bageshwar Dham Sarkar alias Dhirendra Krishna Shastri is the head priest of Bageshwar Dham temple. The temple is located in the Gada village of Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh. The 26-year-old godman has lately been in news as his videos have gone viral.
The godman claims to solve the woes of people, and tells about their pasts in his Satsangs. He has been the head priest of the Bageshwar temple for quite some time now and off late, his videos where he claims to have miraculous powers have been viral on the Internet.
How he became a priest? According to the locals of Gada village, Shastri was a rickshaw driver few years back. It is said that Shastri spent his early life in poverty. His family lived in a mud house and he completed his education from a government school in Madhya Pradesh.
The story of his meteoric rise as a priest is connected with the Bageshwar Dham temple, which was a small temple back then.
Once Shastri took over the affairs of the temple, he claimed to have performed various miracles, which further added to his popularity.
Shastri was revered from his teenage days as he claimed to have taken deeksha from his grandfather Setulal Garg Sanyasi Baba, who was also a katha vachak.
Shastri organizes a Divya court every Tuesday and Saturday, where he meets people and the videos are then circulated on social media.
How does he meets his followers? His website offers variety of services selling Bageshwar Dham Mahayantri, which he claims is blessed by Brahmins and would benefit those who work hard but still have no money.
To meet Shastri, one has to take a token from the website.
The applicant then has to provide various details about himself like name, father's name, children's name, mobile number etc.
The dham then contacts whoever it wishes and asks them to come for darshan at a fixed date.
The process of appointment is also colour coded. Those who have to meet Shastri have to place a coconut in a red cloth for regular meetings, yellow cloth for marital meetings and black cloth for harassment by spirits.
Why is he in news? Dhirendra Shastri has been in news recently when he received a challenge from Nagpur based- Akhil Bhartiya Andhshraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, an anti-superstition organisation, to prove his powers.
Dhirendra, in reply, shot back at the organisation saying that he completely believes in Bageshwar Balaji.
But he left Nagpur from his Ramkatha two days prior as per his schedule. He was in Nagpur from January 5-13 for a Bhagwad Katha but left the venue two days earlier for Raipur.
It didn't end with this. He was once again in the news when his video with a journalist went viral on January 20.
In the video, Shastri is seen talking to a journalist The priest goes on to tell the names of journalist's brother and nephew, signaling his magical powers. But the catch here was, all the information, Shastri revealed about the journalist was already available on his Facebook profile.
This invited a lot of criticism from the people on social media, as the video went viral
Shastri's political backing: Several politicians, mostly from BJP, have come in support of Shastri ever since he has been called fraud by number of people.
The most prominent among them is, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister, Narottam Mishra, whom Shastri calls as 'Sanatani Babbar Sher'. Mishra is a regular visitor of dham and follows Dhirendra Shastri.
Next comes, BJP's National General Secretary, Kailash Vijayvargiya.
BJP's Kapil Mishra, also tweeted in support of Shastri saying that "he supports Dhirendra Shastri as the priest has conducted ghar-wapsi( religion conversion to Hinduism) of many people."
Shastri's political support doesn't only end with BJP. Congress's Chhatisgarh MLA, Vikas Upadhyay, is an ardent follower of Shastri and he openly confessed it in a video in front of Shastri.
But the godman, was also criticized by Congress leader and Opposition in the MP assembly, Dr Govind Singh. Speaking on Dhirendra Shastri, Singh said, " Sanatan Dharma is at the centre of belief of numerous people. Why did Bageshwar Dham (Shastri) flee in the middle of the night? I would want him to prove his claims in public so that belief in Sanatan Dharma is not eroded," India Today quoted Singh as saying.