By Hariharan Ramakrishnan:
Rajasekaran, born in the spiritual town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu, said he had attained spiritual enlightenment, and hence proclaimed himself as “Nithyananda” (Nithya-eternal, Ananda-bliss). He rose to fame due to his spiritual activities and yoga techniques. In 2010, he was convicted with charges regarding a video showing him in a compromising position with an actress. He was released on bail, while people responsible for releasing this video were arrested for cheating and conspiracy, following a complaint by Nithyananda.
In April 2012, he was appointed the 293rd Pontiff of The Madurai Aadheenam, the oldest religious centre in South India. After this there was huge opposition from other 17 mutts of Tamilnadu, exclaiming that elevating a controversial person to this position, bought disrepute to the mutts. Swami Nithyananda reacted to this by saying, that the mutt heads, who raised this issue didn’t give him any opportunity to explain his appointment as the pontiff and threatened to raise a legal case against the heads of other mutts. He has mentioned that he will not cause any damage to the properties of the Madurai Aadheenam but wished to increase the property value.
He also quipped, that the way he had announced the asset value of his ashram, Dhyanapeetam in Bangalore, he’d do the same for Madurai Aadheenam as well. Next came an allegation that he and two of his bhaktas mixed drugs with the “theertham” (holy water) at Madurai Aadheenam. The Tamilnadu Police registered a case against them.
The real controversy arose when a complaint was filed by an ex-disciple, Arathi Rao, an American NRI, that she was sexually abused by Nithyananda for five years. She narrated her story of sexual harassment on a private channel.
Soon protests broke out in Karnataka at his Bidadi ashram by pro-Kannada activists. After a clash between 15 of his disciples and those activists, the Ramnagara police arrested all of them. Following this Swami Nithyananda absconded from his ashram. Later, he wrote on his website “I am away from Bidadi ashram since the past one month, after taking over as Madurai Aadheenam. I came to Bangalore just to take care of important work and to clarify matters to the media. I heard about the problems caused in the Bidadi ashram by the anti-social elements, but thanks to the timely intervention of the Bidadi and Ramnagara police, the matters are under control”.
Nithyananda has argued by saying “I have faith in the divine, and in the law, and in the people of Karnataka. I know for sure that the people are not opposing me, only the anti-social elements are doing this for their own vested interests and cheap publicity. We cannot fight lawlessness with lawlessness. We will conquer lawlessness with law. Ultimately we will get justice”.
Pertaining to the 2010 allegation, with the help of an American Audio Forensic expert, Edward J Primeau, Nithyananda had attempted to prove that the video tape was false. The concerned forensic expert had approved that the video was morphed. However, a noted Indian forensic expert, Padma Bhushan Prof. Dr. P. Chandra Sekhar, also tested the video tape and proved it to be true. He asserted “It is indeed very sure that the American Expert as well as our CFSL has examined two different evidence materials and not the same one in this case”.
Meanwhile, Swami Yogeshwar Rishi said “I have demanded officials to ostracise Swami Nithyananda and seal his ashram. Also, the arrested Kannada activists must be released and the ashram inmates must be jailed.” He also added that seers of Kolkata mutt will go on indefinite hunger strike unless the demands are met.
In an interview published by Outlook magazine, Nithyananda has opined that his body is not capable of arousal, erection and ejaculation. He said that he has a male body which has gone through a mutation due to some spiritual experiences at the age of 22. He also said that has no libido and if he had that he could have married. He mentioned “I have been trained by my guru through some special yogas and lifestyle and this is the way my body has flowered, I am happy about it.” He was ready to go through medical test to prove his sanctity.
In addition to the above-mentioned scandals, he is also under pressure for attacking a journalist who asked uncomfortable questions during an interview. On Monday, June 11, the chief minister of Karnataka D.V.Sadananda Gowda announced that Swami Nithyananda will be arrested within two days. The ashram is sealed and is under scrutiny for inspection of the site. A special team was formed to take over the case and to arrest the controversial “god man”.
As said by idealists, as well as Swami Nithyananda, “Dharma” is going to win. It will soon be evident whether he is a culprit behind a self proclaimed “god man” or not.