Hyderabad: A swami in Kuppanagar village of Jharasangam Mandal of Medak district is weaning alcoholics away from liquor. Swarms of devotees throng the ashram of Sri Basawalinga Avadoota of Mallaiahgiri, or Mallannagutta, every full moon, to hear his ‘Shiva Bijam’ and give up alcohol.
“I began this anti-liquor campaign along with other simple solutions in 2003 for people to lead a happy life. I haven’t kept count, but so far I might have weaned more than a lakh number of people off alcohol,” Swami Avadoota told DC, adding, “There has been a spurt in alcoholics in the last four years. I show them a simple way out to dump the bottle and lead a happy life.”
Alcoholics, those in depression or suffering from other ailments, come from various parts of Telangana, neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra to get divine solutions to their earthly problems.
“If they are married, I insist that both husband and wife be present since it will be much more effective to counsel the alcoholics. A majority of the alcoholics are tribals, poor and some are VIPs,” he said.
Sitting on his snake carved chair, the swami literally hypnotises 500 odd people in a session, with his discourses in Telugu, Hindi and Kannada. “I take classes under moonlight. I tell them about the harms of consuming liquor of any type, loss of money, destruction of health and ultimately family. Many listen to me attentively but some take time to fall in line,” he said.
The swami gives Guru Upadesham (teachings), telling the alcoholics to get up at 4 am daily and chant the Shiva bijam prayer. “I don’t charge any fee, but accept guru dakshina if they can afford it. Most devotees donate a kg or two of rice. I ensure food to every devotee who comes to my ashram for solace,” the swami added.
Mr Naik, whose son was an alcoholic, said, “My son became an addict at a young age. When I heard about the swami, I brought him here. I could see the change in him. It’s not just me, many from Narayankhed and other places come here.”