His “faith” in his religious convictions seems to have brought the Hisar-based religious leader, Rampal, to the darkness of disgrace.
Some of his old friends and ex-government colleagues HT talked to said Rampal (who earlier was known as Rampal Singh Jatin) born to a farmer on September 8, 1951, in village Dhanana of Sonepat district, did his schooling from Dhanana and later Gohana before doing his diploma in engineering from polytechnic of Nilokheri.
Known to be religious, he took “naam” (initiation) from his teacher Swami Ramdevanand who ordered him in 1994 to also do “naam daan” (initiation) following which he resigned from the government job on May 21, 1995, though was relieved on May 16, 2000, and began the religious work, some of his followers held.
“He was a simple lad like us as we studied together in school and the college and even joined together the Haryana irrigation department as JEs (junior engineers)”, said Jai Singh, Rampal’s childhood friend and colleague. “He was always a religious-minded person who would seldom play with us,” he said.
However, with times, his friends say that he saw him getting more and more engrossed into religion, especially worshipping Hanumanji. “Softspoken tha, cooperative tha and kabhi kabhi Hanumanji ki murti ke samne ghanton baitha rahta tha (Rampal was soft-spoken and a cooperative person. He would sit in front of Hanumanji for hours),” Singh said.
One of his staunch followers, who did not want to be named and has been with Rampal for the last 12 years, said the Sant used to stay for three days at the home of his followers who took “naam” from him. Gradually, the three days shrank to two and then one day in the later years.
“So much was the influence of Sant Rampalji on the people that since the last few years he did not have time to stay at followers’ home but had to hold “naam daan” earlier at Karontha ashram and later at Satlok ashram and followers stayed at the ashram.
“As the number of followers swelled fast and with it the donations, Rampal has since had ashrams at various places and at least 100 vehicles, including cars, jeeps and buses,” another follower said.