Indore: Opposing the concept of "grihasth sant", or householder saints, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad or ABAP has said that they do not accord "saint" status to married persons.
The ABAP is a top body of 13 major "akhadas", or religious orders, of Hindu saints and seers.
The statement from the ABAP comes amidst a debate on saints following the alleged suicide of spiritual leader Bhaiyyu Maharaj on June 12.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj, who was reverentially called "rashtra sant" by his followers, committed suicide allegedly due to stress from a family dispute, a preliminary probe has revealed.
Mahant Narendra Giri, Akhada Parishad president, told PTI that it did not recognise the concept of "grihasth sant", adding that such people were not considered seers till about 50 years ago.
"We are grieved at the death of Bhaiyyu Maharaj. He was a respected person. But we clearly believe that, in religious and spiritual fields, married persons should not be called saints. We do not give any recognition to the concept of grihasth sant," he said.
"Personalities from religious and spiritual fields should decide whether they want sainthood or they want to be part of a family. They should not ride on two boats at the same time, otherwise they will naturally be affected by family discord," Mr Giri said.
"Now the media as well as people address preachers and persons delivering sermons as saints. According to us, it is not appropriate to use the term saint for everybody," Mr Giri said.
He claimed that those enjoying "sainthood" as well as family life at the same time would eventually "fail".
The ABAP chief also said that Bhaiyyu Maharaj's family should not fight among themselves as it would upset the late spiritual leader's followers.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj, 50, had allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself on June 12 in a room of his bungalow located on Bypass Road here.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj, whose original name is Uday Singh Deshmukh, hailed from a family of landlords in Madhya Pradesh's Shujalpur.
His first wife Madhvi, with whom he has a 17-year-old daughter Kuhu, died in November 2015. He married Dr Ayushi Sharma, 49 of Shivpuri last year and has a two-month-old daughter from the marriage.