Perks of being a sadhu

Jug Suraiya

The Uttar Pradesh Government announces pension scheme for sadhus and seers: News report. 

Two unemployed youth in UP discussing career prospects.

First youth: I’m really at my wit’s end and don’t know what to do. Yesterday I applied for the post of a third-division government babu but was turned down. 

Second youth: Turned down? Why? Because you didn’t have enough educational qualifications required for the job? 

First youth: No, because with my triple PhD in astrophysics, bio-engineering and rocket science they said I had too many qualifications for the job.

Second youth: Not to worry. Yogi Adityanathji has conferred a great boon on all us jobless guys. All we have to do is enrol ourselves as practising sadhus and we’ll be assured a sarkari pension for life.

First youth: Enrol ourselves as sadhus? But in order to qualify as a genuine, bona fide sadhu, don’t you have to do some sort of course in sadhuism, and pass an exam? Like there are all these IITs, and IIMs, is there also an ISI, an Indian Sadhu Institute that trains would-be sadhus?

Second youth: There is an ISI. But it’s not in India, but in Pakistan, and the people it trains aren’t exactly sadhus. But don’t worry about training, and passing exams, and qualifications. Because the great thing about being a sadhu is that you don’t need all that stuff. You don’t even need a Class VII-Failed certificate. Anyone can become a sadhu, and then get a sarkari pension for life, thanks to Yogi Adityanathji. 

First youth: That’s great. But how can sadhus get a pension, sarkari or otherwise, if sadhus are meant to practice renunciation?

Second youth: The new-age sadhus that Yogi Adityanathji’s sarkar is enrolling do practice renunciation — by renouncing the concept of renunciation itself. How much more renunciational can you get?

First youth: Sounds cool. So how much is this sarkari pension anyway?

Second youth: It’s 500 bucks a month. 

First youth: 500 bucks a month? That’s not very much of a renunciation to renounce.

Second youth: Not to worry. Akhilesh Yadavji has already raised the ante by pooh-poohing Yogi Adityanathji’s 500-buck pension as being peanuts, and has said that it should be raised to at least Rs 20,000 a month.

First youth: Rs 20,000 a month? That’s more like it. I could do with renouncing the renunciation of 20,000 bucks a month.

Second youth: And that needn’t be the end of it. Thanks to the politics of what might be called competitive pensionism, Behenji is quite likely to enter the fray and further raise the stakes for sadhus, and maybe make the pension Rs 50,000 a month.

First youth: Wow. Rs 50,000 is even better to renounce the renunciation of.

Second youth: And on top of that, there’s always the gurudakshina that we as sadhus can go around collecting from all and sundry.

First youth: Collecting gurudakshina? How do we do that?

Second youth: Simple. When we spot a prosperous-looking sethji we tell him we’re his gurus and ask for gurudakshina.

First youth: But suppose he doesn’t want to give us any gurudakshina, what then?

Second youth: Then we motivate him to do.

First youth: How do we motivate him? By showing him the sharpness of our intellect?

Second youth: No — by showing him the sharpness of the trishul we’ll carry as sadhus. 

Arm in arm, the two head off to sign up as sadhus, striding along to the tune of ‘When the sants go marching in.’

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