A godman is a colloquial name for a particular type of charismatic guru who has a high-profile presence, is capable of attracting attention and support from Indian society, and makes claims of spiritual attainments. Godmen sometimes claim to possess paranormal powers, such as clairvoyance, or healing abilities. A Godman's followers often address the godman as His Holiness.
Their success comes, often not from the strength of their parampara, but from their personal qualities. They may however assert that they accept authority of a guru. Examples of godmen are Sathya Sai Baba., Sri Sri Ravishankar etc.
The Indian Rationalist Association denounces the purportedly supernatural feats of godmen as “well-packaged gimmickry.” This group performs demonstrations of magic tricks which replicate the effects achieved by godmen, such as walking on coals, producing sacred ash from thin air, exploding stones with "mental power," levitating, or turning water into blood.
Very few godmen have allowed observation of their feats under controlled laboratory test conditions, such as Swami Rama's controlling of his heart functions, or simultaneous differential thermal control of a hand.
All information in this entry is sourced to James G. Lochtefeld's The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism unless otherwise stated.
- Woodhead, Linda & Fletcher Paul. Religion in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformation. Routledge (UK), ISBN 0-415-21784-9
"By far the most famous Godman of today is Sathya Sai Baba" (p. 29)
- Lochtefeld, James G. Ph.D. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism Vol. I ISBN 0-8239-3179-X, entry "Godman" New York Rosen 2002
- Bedi, Rahul. "Rationalists seek to prove holy men's power not so 'divine' after all." The Irish Times. 2009-07-13. Retrieved on August 15, 2009
- "Fire walkers for science." Oelwein Register. 1985-09-14.
- Shenoy, Jaideep. "Tricks revealed." The Hindu. 2003-05-31. Retrieved on August 15, 2009
- Bedi, Rahul (July 14, 2009). "Rationalists expose miracle men to villagers". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
- "http://www.swamij.com/pdf/swami-rama-beyond-biofeedback.pdf" (PDF). pp. 12–16. Retrieved July 24, 2007.Elmer Green's description of Swami Rama's alleged psychokinetic demonstration (with illustrations).
- Brent, Ludwig Godmen of India
- Kovoor, Abraham Dr. Begone Godmen published by Shri Aswin J. Shah Jaico Publishing House, Bombay - 1976
- Singh, Khushwant. (1975) Gurus, godmen, and good people. Bombay: Orient Longman. ISBN 0-318-36672-X