Men lay prostrate on the floor in front of the elevated seat of their guru: the man they call Asaram Bapu. Pictures of his avuncular face, with its flowing white beard, hang everywhere in his sprawling 12-hectare ashram in Motera, western India.

But these days the guru's enclosed wood-carved altar, where millions once worshiped him, is empty. All that's left is a large photograph, an air purifier, flashy lights and fake red roses.

The guru, real name Asumal Harpalani, 72, is languishing in a Jodhpur jail, arrested last month on charges of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old daughter of two followers.