Guru cults are an increasingly prominent feature of Indian religious life today, especially in the towns and cities, and among the urban middle classes. Many of these gurus are actually worshipped by their followers, who believe that they have magical powers; and in most cults the devotional element is strong. Since independence there seem to be more gurus in India; more of them have a more than local following; their followings are growing rapidly, and the cults are receiving more publicity, which reflects their discernible impact on the Indian scene. The godmen, as they are called, are often somewhat ostentatious; their travels, by air, road or rail, are widely reported in the press, and their followings are known to include numerous high ranking and well known figures in the worlds of politics, business, the professions and academia. Courted and feted, they preside over anniversary functions, commemorations, and installations, and their pictures and books are to be found on bookstalls throughout the subcontinent. In part, the publicity given to the gurus and godmen of India reflects the growing popular interest in them among western followers: the antics of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, in Oxford Street or in Berkeley, California; the Transcendental Meditation Movement of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with a following of as many as four hundred thousand in the west; the powerful vogue in America for the boy Guru Maharaj; and the ecstatic cult of Bhagwan Rajneesh, which attracts hundreds to Poona, are just a few of the more notorious examples.