x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Finding faith and profits

Take a look at some of India's most influential spiritual leaders and their financial empires.

Swami Ramdev

Age 46

Name of trust Patanjali Yogpeeth

Estimated number of followers 400 million

Source of income Yoga camps, books, CD and VCD sales, property, food park

Estimated annual turnover 11 billion rupees (Dh903.6 million)

The yoga guru is well known for introducing the masses to Kapalbhati, a form of breathing exercises that he claims can heal ailments including diabetes, heart blockages and obesity.

Asaram Bapu

Age 70

Name of trust Asaram Bapu trust

Estimated number of followers 20 million, mostly in India

Source of income Religious sermons and hymns on television, CD and VCD sales, property

Estimated annual turnover 5bn rupees

Asaram Bapu fell from grace recently after a sting operation by a television news channel revealed his involvement in a sex scandal. It was also revealed that his trust defaulted on income tax payment of 21.5m rupees.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Age 55

Name of trust Art of Living Foundation

Estimated number of followers 300 million in 151 countries

Source of income Art of living spiritual healing programmes. Its "corporate executive programme", for example, costs 300,000 rupees per person.

Estimated turnover 9bn rupees

This is considered one of India's slickest spiritual movements. It owns a sprawling ashram outside Bangalore. It boasts an artificial lake, a helipad, dining halls, cyber cafes, a bookshop and pharmacies.

Morari Bapu

Age 65

Name of trust Shree Sitaram Seva trust

Estimated number of followers 20 million

Sources of income Donations, preaching of Hindu spirituality in lectures around the world, schools and hospitals run by the trust

Estimated annual turnover 1.5bn rupees

* Anuj Chopra