Spiritual Guru Stands Firm on Controversial Statements Amid Christian Group Concerns


On Monday, spiritual guru Dhirendra Krishna Shastri, also known as Bageshwar Dham Baba or Maharaj, declined to retract his statements that had sparked concerns among Christian groups in Punjab. A Christian organization had lodged a complaint with the Amritsar police, alleging that Shastri had offended religious sentiments.
Shastri, who was on a three-day visit to Punjab, serves as the head priest of Bageshwar Dham, a pilgrimage site located in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur district.
During his inaugural visit to Punjab, Shastri paid his respects at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday. While speaking to the media outside the Darbar Sahib, he pronounced a word in a manner that offended several Christian groups.
Shastri responded to the controversy, saying, “I have come to know that some people have an issue with my visit. They are objecting to why I used the word… I used it… If you have any concerns, please do not interfere with our innocent Hindus. We will not interfere with you. I hold no personal grudge against you.”
He also raised the issue of forced conversions in the state and revealed that the Pathankot police had recommended cutting short his visit due to potential law and order concerns. Shastri urged the Punjab government to enact anti-conversion legislation in the state, emphasizing that Bharat (India) is for everyone.
“I wanted to visit Pandhori Dham, Gaushala, and other places in Pathankot. However, police officials informed me that the atmosphere is not conducive, and your visit may not be appropriate. According to the police, my visit could pose a problem. Therefore, I did not wish to cause any inconvenience. Nonetheless, I will continue to visit Punjab,” Shastri stated.
Jatinder Gaurav from the Global Christian Action Committee accused Shastri of using derogatory language and demanded that the police register a case. He expressed concerns that Shastri, an outsider, was attempting to disrupt peace in Punjab and targeting the Christian community.
Shastri, reflecting on the warm reception he received in Punjab, remarked, “Foreign powers should not be allowed to enter temples and gurudwaras. They should not be permitted to influence people away from their faith. That is why I am travelling to various locations. Otherwise, I have no issues with anyone. Hindus must unite.”
Businessman Swaran Salaria, who previously contested the parliamentary election from Gurdaspur on a BJP ticket, hosted Shastri in Pathankot.