The question marks that hung over Swami Nityananda, 34, head of the Bangalore-based meditation centre Dhyanapeetham, after a sleazy sex video surfaced two years ago, momentarily disappeared when he was named the 293rd pontiff of south India’s oldest Shaivite math, the Madurai Adheenam, in April. But old allegations are back to haunt the controversial godman again, following a spill-all TV interview by a former lady devotee, Arati Rao. Jailed for assaulting a journalist and released on bail, he spoke to Deepak Thimaya in Madurai.
You can read a shorter version of this interview here.
This is the full, unexpurgated transcript.
Don’t you think you have let you devotees down and also put some of them in a defensive position?
I don’t think I have let down my devotees or put them in a defensive position. It is an attack on us. So the people who are attacking, are only trying to put me down and my devotees. I feel the devotees who have experienced the spiritual transformational benefits from me are very clear that it is an attack on us. It is persecution. So neither they feel I let them down nor I feel I feel I let them down. It is persecution of me and my devotees.
Some of your devotees who still continue to be your devotees feel that they have been put in an uncomfortable position, because they don’t know what the truth is.
If I know who exactly is the person who is saying this, I may be able to explain. It looks more hypothetical and generalized. I am unable to answer this question.
Some of your devotees may want to know it, because all may not want to accept you without questioning. Do you think you have caused discomfort to such devotees at least?
I don’t feel I caused any discomfort to them, anywhere. Because, all spiritual movements have been persecuted sometime and all such spiritual leaders have gone through such problems some time or the other. I taught my devotees to live in a complete personal spiritual experience instead of being bothered, tortured, being tarnished and being disturbed by some opinion which comes from here and there or from vague quarters without much understanding and without looking into the depths.
Don’t you think by saying this you are actually negating the kind of deluge that your organization is facing of public opinion? You as the guru, the all-knowing, may feel that it is a small and insignificant thing, to an ordinary person it may be a very overwhelming thing.
You called it a deluge -- it means it is something that will settle down. So, you yourself said it. For me it may be happening in a corner, but for a person on the street, it is happening all over. But, don’t you understand and can’t you look at this angle that the person on the street does not care about this issue? The 2G scam was huge for some people while it was not so huge for some other
Are you referring to the huge reception A. Raja received in TN?
No, I am not getting into the details of that, but am only giving a general example of any deluge is personal experience.
What you say is, what is deluge for someone may not be a deluge for someone else.
Neither I feel it is a deluge nor the disciples who experienced me feel that it is a deluge.
You very specifically said that different spiritual movements have gone through persecution at different times. Agreed, but never persecution based on the spiritual leader’s personal conduct, personal character or personality itself. In most cases the persecution was related to the ideological differences.
No. I can give thousands of examples where the personality was attacked. See, if it is only ideology, it is very easy. Attack on ideology is always the beginning. But in course it is always the personality that is attacked. Ideology is nothing but the expansion and the extension of the personality. Whether the Buddha, means the master, or the Dhamma, his message, or the Sangha his organization -- all these three are ultimately the expansion or the extension of the same source. So, I feel all attack was always on all three for all masters
Most devotees feel that as a Master you know more than your devotes or at least you are supposed to know more. Did you not that this was coming?
I can say in a way I know when the usual course of persecution comes.
Did you know when you were conducting all your programs in full steam, that something like this would actually come and cause distress?
I expected this kind of some persecution in some form. I had predicted it too.
May be 2009.
To a group of devotees in a public class.
But that was when things were already going wrong in your ashram and you have been getting the hint.
No, there was nothing wrong going on within or outside the ashram. Whether something was going wrong or right, that there some anti-spiritual elements that were waiting to attack.
From the statements of Ms. Arati Rao, one can specifically and clearly know that in 2009 she had heard other people talking about the things thing not being right in the ashram. If you predicted in 2009 that things could wrong, would that mean that by then you had got the wind of it, and knew that something had gone beyond your control?
Two things. First thing whatever (Arati Rao) says is a lie. I am not accepting even one word of what she said. That second thing is that what I said in 2009 was in a spiritual angle with a spiritual intuition. I was not said on the basis of what people were talking or some activity. It was based on intuition, understanding the energy flow and astrological calculations
Why would a woman like Arati Rao come up with these allegations?
You should ask her.
You know that Arati Rao and Nityananda Swamy are not the same and cannot be put on the same balance. Your statements will be weighed and analysed quite differently from hers. You will be treated differently because of your position in the society. Now, what would make her to openly say that she was abused?
There may be so many vested interests. Somebody maybe using her to defame.
Is it so easy to be used?
Isn’t that what she says – that you too used her?
(laughs) I can only tell my answer that maybe she is being used by somebody. That is all.
Even if somebody is using her, is it easy for a woman, particularly who was once your disciple – the one who has gone through your teachings, to simply make allegations of that kind?
It is possible. That is what I am saying.
However small or insignificant you think the allegations are, they have made an impact on the public. Can you discount all that by saying that it something that can be easily dismissed?
First thing is Arati Rao making an impact on the public does not mean that she speaks truth. If you listen to her words two three times you can make out clearly that she is lying.
What is the necessity to lie?
There maybe so many vested interests.
What vested interests?
There are many people who are fighting with our organization. There are some civil suits and some attempts to grab the ashram’s property, they maybe using her. When some politicians, some powerful people see some good property they try to grab it.
Have some people tried to grab your property?
Who are they?
Why can’t you be open about it? So many people have drawn swords against you, but instead of hiding behind the veil of propriety why can’t you be more open?
I have told that openly and my ashram manager has even put a case in Tamil Nadu, and many have been arrested in the case.
In Karnataka also two people have tried. But, when I give these statements I need to have clear evidence to present.
Do you suspect anyone?
I suspect Manohar Shindhe, who is a powerful person in RSS and Kishan Reddy. But I need to collect enough to accuse them. I have some basis for my suspicion but I cannot reveal it now in front of the media.
How does it feel to be called Sex Swamy?
Because it is a complete lie, I don’t bother about it.
Doesn’t it hurt you, your image?
Hurting the image is one thing and hurting me is another thing. It hurts the image, but it does not hurt me. As a personality I am very clear about what I am. My success in this whole persecution is that nobody has been able to change my experience about me. I don’t have belief about me, but I have experience about me. I am not bothered.
In 2010 when the scandal broke out you said that it was a mixture of conspiracy, graphics and rumours. It is not easy to debunk something so easily?
Four experts who give witness to FBI using methodologies of the highest standard in the US have gave sixty various points to prove that the video is morphed, manipulated and misrepresented. I can give all the four reports to you. They are ready to come to court in any country and present the result of their analysis.
Their reports were given on the basis of the videos on Youtube, but not for the original video in possession of the Karantaka Police.
Karnataka Police have made copies of the original video and circulated it around the world.
Maybe the original is different from the circulated copy.
Whatever is shown in the TV and circulated was presented for analysis
Could there be a possibility that if the original video is sent, the reports would be different?
The very report given by the forensic lab here was questioned by the experts in the US.
You teach about life reforming techniques and how to deal with situations. Don’t you think you should have maintained a low-key profile till things were resolved?
There is no such thing as low-key high-key. I must continue my spiritual work. I am not going overboard or low board. Somebody may feel I lost energy after those rumours and scandals, and some may feel that I gained energy and started working more, but it is their own perceptions. I am as usual as before.
Is there a compulsion now to draw attention, or any compulsion to keep your flock intact?
No, I don’t feel. I don’t need to. There is no such things as a flock in the modern world. Only now I have taken responsibility of the Madurai Aadheenam. Aadheenam has certain flock. This peetham is followed by many strong communities. Nityananda Dhyana Peetham has no flock. People voluntarily come and go. There is no need to keep the flock together.
It is said that even as a young boy you wanted to become a sanyasi. Is that true?
I was more interested in becoming an enlightened being.
Interested in becoming or that you knew you would become?
I had my experience of enlightenment at the age of twelve and at the age of 22 I had the complete experience of sharing it with others.
But why did you wear ochre or saffron clothes?
This was given to me by my teacher who trained me.
Did you wear it by choice or because it was given to you?
No no. I enjoyed it and wore it by will and wish.
There is a difference between being a brahmachari and a sanyasi. Even a grihastha can become a sanyasi and brahmachari need not naturally mean a sanyasi, or a sanyasi has been a brahmachari before renouncing. Were there points in time in your life when you went through this confusion?
(laughs) I never went through these confusions.
Do you call yourself a sanyasi?
Would you call yourself a sanyasi?
Yes, I will call myself a sanyasi.
You know who is a sanyasi, and why the ochre robes are worn, but then why do you sometimes wear black, red and other colours? Are you giving out a message that you are no more a strict sanyasi?
Nothing wrong in it! Wearing some other clothes does not mean I am not a sanyasi.
But do you clearly tell yourself that as a sanyasi that you are expected to conduct yourself in a certain way? And if you digress from the norms you that you would subjected to very harsh public scrutiny which would cause distress to you and your supporters?
Not only do I teach, but I am also very clear about my lifestyle. I welcome people who have ideas to question me. But there are some people are not even interested in my answers, they are only interested in abusing me.
What is the motivation and provocation for people to abuse?
People don’t need motivation or provocation. Many people abuse just for the sake of TRP. Abusing sells more easily.
Some who know you well say that you do know some things, particularly related to why there is a conspiracy as you say, but you are not telling that. Your disciples are defending things that they don’t know fully about. Some of your supporters say that among many reasons for targeting you, the few are that you are from Tamilnadu living making a living in Karnataka, you a non-Brahmin swamy, you are a threat to other people’s interests. What are the reasons you identify?
I can say I have been targeted for various reasons. Some target me for being non-Brahmin. If I mention names, they are too powerful people and once before I took some names and you know what I landed in. Just for the sake for satisfying an interview, I will not be able to mention names now.
You think it is better to suffer than to tell the truth and reveal things to the public?
By not mentioning the names the suffering is much lesser. From my experience the suffering increases when you take names.
Why somebody like you need to suffer?
No. Ultimately I don’t suffer. It is the people who try to torture who finally get tired and suffer.
There are many groups that are against you for different reasons, can you mention the reason for one such group?
To tell honestly, I never felt that in Karnataka I am a linguistic minority. I was always welcomed, respected and revered by Kannadigas. Even recently when there were problems the local people in Bidadi did not do anything against me. The trouble mongers were hired and brought. I have never gone against the interests of Karnataka at any time. I always worked for bring peace and understanding between Kannadigas and Tamilians. People who are instigating are not having the right understanding.
Has the non-Brahmin background been an impediment in your work?
Naturally in some places it was an impediment. A non-Brahmin person has no problem in going and listening to a Brahmin guru but always the people who are powerful in the Brahmin community have a problem in listening to a non-Brahmin guru.
It is not easy to keep instigating people and to keep them instigated for a long time.
They have not been able to instigate for a long time.
It started in 2010, but though it settled a bit, people have been watching you very closely. Once in a while some news came from your ashram. But when a lady comes and says things, even if you are an ordinary viewer of TV, how would you have reacted?
Even if a motorcyclist is wrong in dashing against a car, the car driver will be beaten. That is the mentality. A woman always gets the sympathy. She has said the same thing in 2010.
But the scathing things you said about her, were they proper?
I had to tell the world that she is lying. There was no other way. What she said was smear not what I said. What I told about her has already been discussed in the open court as facts.
You are a spiritual guru and you saying such things?
Because I am a spiritual guru I have to answer the people. I have just presented the facts.
The whole matter is subjudice.
Yes, then she should have not come have gone to the media.
But you have conducted press meets?
Yes, but it was not about her.
She says you tried to threaten her.
I never threatened her. It is a lie. If there was a threat she should present the evidence to the court or the police.
In the way you have been conducting yourself in offering spiritual experience, could there have been things that you may have done which could have been construed as something else by an ordinary person?
I have not done anything that ordinary people will construe as something else.
Could there have been a possibility?
There are many swamis and spiritual gurus who get physically intimate with their devotees. Sometime there is hugging and kissing and more. Some disciples see their guru as god. The disciples may go to any extent to get close to their guru. Like that something could have happened?
No. I have not done anything like that. Nothing like that has happened.
Is there any possibility?
No, there is no possibility. (Smiles)
Maybe it was not done as something wrong, maybe it was part of the spiritual process.
Nothing was ever done like that as part of the preaching which could be misconstrued.
It is possible that you may have not thought it to be wrong but some may have over a period of time thought that what you did was wrong?
Even in that sense nothing wrong was done.
Then why are so many people talking about it and also that you used to strike people with sticks?
No. It is just that people mix up stories.
What is objectionable in it in a spiritual process, you know that a great god-man used to beat and even throw things at his devotees?
He may have done it but I have not done it. What to do about it? I have a healing stick and when people come to get healed I touch their heads with it.
Would it possible that in some cases that you have touched people a little harder with your healing stick?
No, no. (laughs)
You have been quite attractive to foreigners. It is said that particularly in case of foreigners you have more women followers than men. What do you have to say?
No, it is not true. The fact is, if I see the list of devotees, you can see sixty percent men and forty percent women. In ashram too people say there are more women, but it is not true, actually there are more men but men go around to conduct classes and to organize many other programs.
It is said that people surrender to you because of some very life changing experience and in most cases it because of some healing they experienced. But, just because they accept you as a spiritual guru why do you even go to the extent of changing their names and personality?
I don’t change their names. People are named according to their mental set up. A group of devotees select the names. Only for the sanyasis I choose the name.
Arati Rao was named Nityananda Premeshwari, means the person who has the right to Nityananda’s love? Was she a sanyasi?
She was not a sanyasi and her name was not given by me. You must ask the group which gave that name.
Is it possible that the group saw something that made them think that name was suitable?
See there are many people who are given names. There isn’t any special significance.
Why can’t people continue with their own names?
I have no problem, but this is a spiritual gift, when they ask they get the name. No name is forced upon anyone.
Since you are referred to as a person in the business of spirituality, is there a possibility that some others competitors against you?
First of all I am not in that business. Secondly, if someone feels threatened, I want to tell them that there is a vast blue ocean in front of us to partake from.
Did you get any information or did you suspect that some spiritual leaders were feeling insecure because of you, particularly because you were getting more foreign devotees?
Hundreds of people come and tell me hundreds of things that some or the other swami or spiritual leader feels threatened and are jealous of me. But I cannot tell all that because I never felt it.
From what you say it looks like there is nobody against you, nobody doing anything bad to you, and nobody conspiring, but on the other hand you say that so many are persecuting you and so many are conspiring against you. Is this persecution thing just an illusion?
Two things, some people opposing and persecuting does not mean that I will be able to reveal names without having evidence against them.
Then, damage will be done if you don’t reveal.
The problem is that if I reveal the names I will be sitting and facing defamation cases.
Isn’t it better than facing rape, molestation, cheating and other cases?
No. By naming some people does not mean that the present cases will go away. I will have to face these cases properly.
Are you avoiding a trial or that you are plain lucky?
I am not avoiding a trial. The legal process is going on.
Some say that you are not ready for a trial. You would be happy if you could escape it.
Anyone can talk anything, The case itself is a lie. I believe that the Judiciary will quash the cash and there will be no trial.
Do you feel that the Indian law is mostly in favour of a women and would not be kind to you if the case is sustained?
I respect the judiciary and I know for sure I have not done any wrong, any alleged acts whether legal and illegal and I am sure that the truth will come out and I will not be punished. It may not even go for trial.
After listening to Arati Rao’s statements in public, people say that if there is a trial and she says the same things there, there would be a big chance of you getting into trouble. What do you feel?
I don’t know about their opinion but from what legal opinion I have got I believe that the court would see my innocence and I would be vindicated.
Isn’t the video purportedly with you and Ranjitha in it, beyond any question and doubt for even a layman ?
A simple man can understand it is morphed, can’t you understand?
What is morphed in it?
It is very clear the scene that never happened was created.
How is it possible? With what technology?
That, you should ask the people who created it. People who created it have confessed to the Tamil Nadu CID, that they created it.
If you were so sure that you were being falsely accused, why did you abscond in 2010?
No, I did not abscond. There was a continuous attack, life threat on me. Petrol bombs and acid bottles were thrown on the ashram, in my interest my sanyasis kept me a little away from the ashram till the legal process was done.
But you could have gone to the public?
I was continuously talking in press meets. I gave twenty five exclusive stories. I applied for anticipatory bail and also communicated to the police that I was available anytime they wanted me.
You knew that you would be arrested.
No, no. I don’t know why they arrested me. I was not in hiding, I was meeting devotees and the police knew where I was. The police created a scene by arresting me which was very shocking.
But you did not speak to any media in Karnataka.
From the place where was I gave interviews to national channels and even state level news organizations. They were not blind folded and brought to where I was, all of them knew where I was.
When Arati Rao made the allegations this June, why did you escape?
It was not an escape. People who came into the ashram were not interested in law and order. They started beating my ashram inmates in the presence of the police. Some of the ashramites suffered big wounds and the police did not do anything. There are eye witnesses.
You have asked for relief and have put a case where along with many people you have made the CM of Karnataka party to it. Even common man would say that to take on the CM of a state it requires a person who has more guts than the one who runs away fearing mob and arrest. What do you say?
I am not taking on the CM of Karnataka. I just want to ask that my human rights need to be respected. I am not fighting with the CM, I am just asking my rights. The CM is a highly cultured and evolved person, he respects law and order so I am asking him for my legal rights.
Why did the CM take that action against you and your ashram?
He has to explain, I don’t know. I cannot think for him. He was given false information by the media.
Since you have put a case with the CM as an accused, don’t you think now the government can fix you in cases? Don’t you think you complicated matter for yourself?
I trust the Karnataka government and the CM. The case is not against him.
If you give such non- conclusive answers, don’t you think it would give opportunity for people to come to their own conclusions, which would cause more problems for you? Won’t people feel that you are not clear about what you have to say?
Whatever I need to tell, I am telling very clearly. Whatever I am not supposed to tell, I am not telling clearly.
If you have to tell, what will you tell?
I trust the judiciary so I am asking it to protect my human rights.
Allegations of sexual misconduct is not made on all people. Even if such allegations are made against spiritual leaders, after some time it is forgotten? There was a BBC documentary about an Indian godman but he escaped public backlash. Why has it been so difficult for you to come out? Isn’t that also a reason why people think that perhaps there is some truth in it?
There is no thing as so difficult. It is the same person who spoke this in 2010 and also is speaking now. I will come out unscathed.
What about Vinay Bharadwaj’s story and so many others. There is also the allegation of one Ma Gopika missing. Could there be more things than what meets the eye?
Arati is trying to portray that kind of a picture.
How many people, according to you, are against you from among those who were associated with your asharam?
What do you mean by against me? Other than this lady, nobody else has spoken.
He got got in an abuse case, so to escape from that he had to put pressure on me so he made such statements.
In tantric worship and also in some other rituals in Indian tradition, sex is not alien to India spiritual experience, though compulsorily part of it. Should it have been that you could have said that this kind of experience is your kind of spiritual process and there was nothing wrong with it?
No. I have not done that so I don’t want to say that.
In 2010 many swamijis in Karantaka stood by you if not openly, by saying that people had to wait till the truth came out. But after the recent direct allegations against you in public, is there a possibility that the swamijis may have felt that you have brought blemish upon their honour and integrity?
First thing, they all have been given wrong and false information. I am trying to talk to each one of them and present my side of the story. I will be able to make them understand and earn back their confidence.
You seem to say that media is against you, why do you think so?
Not all. Media is doing this for profit. TRP increases when you abuse someone. Some media organizations grow only by abusing others. Only such media are against me.
Abusing anyone is different from a swamy being abused. It hurts the religions sentiments. It was one of the cases against you. You had done something that brought in a situation that as a swamy you ended up being abused which certainly was not something that a religiously devoted person would have liked to tolerate.
That case is dropped. It was not my actions, but the actions projected on me.
Don’t you feel some way responsible, even if not by committing the crimes but at least by not being careful enough to not get into a situation like this?
You see anybody can be targeted. Many people are constantly targeted. Maybe I do not have that kind of political clout and the pr machinery to silence my detractors.
Isn’t it true that you have a lot of political clout, that you have had people like Narendra Modi, B S Yeddyurappa who have kept in touch with you and the BJP has mostly been tolerant of you?
It is not true. Politicians meeting does not mean I have political clout. These are all rumours spread.
Has any political party been against you? Recently almost all political parties voiced their oppositions to your activities, right?
No political party is against me. It is just the individuals. Anybody opposing me was only because of the false information given to them. It is like once a popular mood or idea is created all have to go by it or else they will be cornered.
The BJP has always been careful in dealing with you through out. Particularly with its image as the custodian of the interests of Hindu godmen and swamijis. Should have you been more careful than rubbing the BJP government the wrong way?
I have always been careful with all the parties. I was never callous in dealing with any political party.
Is it true that some politicians were overly friendly with you and devoted to you. Many politicians in Karnataka are facing flak. It is said that congress leader and former minister D. K. Shivakumar has given you ten lakh rupees as donation. Could you clarify?
I have not received any donation from D. K. Shivakumar or any prominent politician. I have received money from no politician, though we don’t have a policy against it. Narendra Modi once came to the ashram for a public function and I met him when he attended our public function in Gujarat.
So how many people have made allegations about you in all? There are thousands of people who have written against you on the internet? What do you say?
Only two people, nobody else. People may have written their opinions, but only these two have made allegations.
What was the issue with Lenin, your former disciple, your close confidante?
No he was not a close confidante, he was a volunteer. He was never my driver as it is reported. He claimed to be so many things. He wanted a spiritual name so he was called Dharmananda.
Some of your devotees say that the troubles you are facing are the result of a Christian conspiracy. What do you say?
I feel that a part of it is Christian conspiracy. Perhaps because I am spreading Hinduism too fast and I am one of the most influential gurus in the world and I was identified as one of the hundred most influential spiritual leaders in the world.
It is said that you are most interested in preaching to foreigners that it is said that even from the time you were young you were attracted to foreigners.
It is not about foreigners. Classes are open to all, anyone can come and participate.
People say that you are trying to portray yourself as a spiritual personality promoting vedic ethos. They say that though being a Tamilian you carefully avoid the preaching of Tamil saints because you want to be known as a Vedic Hindu leader which is more acceptable.
Please understand that I have spoken in Tamil about Tamil spiritual literature. I never looked at it that way. I want to portray myself as a Hindu guru who represents all streams, philosophies and thought currents of Hinduism and Hindu tradition.
It is said that if these allegations had not come about you were well on the path of projecting yourself as the next Swami Vivekananda on whose personality you have been modelling yourself for a long time.
I never claimed I am next Vivekananda. I was highly inspired by him and I have been serving the world like him. These rumours and scandals will not stop me from contributing to the world like the contributions of Swami Vivekananda. I have no ambition to become him or become like him.
Who gave the idea to your devotees that you are god?
I don’t know who, you should ask them.
Is it true that on some occasions that you have claimed that you are a poornavatara?
I don’t want to say I am a poornavatara. I explained the concept of an avatara, that every human being who realized his mission is an incarnation.
Have you called yourself the human form of Kala Bhairava and Maha Kali?
Whoever has experienced inside that particular energy can call themselves by that name. I have experienced those energies within me.
Aren’t you playing to the gallery and for that reason sometimes even dressing up yourself to play some roles.
In Hinduism there is something called bhaava. When you enter into the bhaava an altered state of consciousness you just express that energy. It just feels very nice. When you meditate on Shiva it is nice to wear the rudraksha, when you meditate on Devi it is nice to wear kumkum on your forehead. Hinduism has two components, one portable activities and the non-portable lifestyles.
From the time you were writing for Kumudam in Tamil till now don’t you think you yourself have rediscovered your personality, you have grown too much too fast. From teaching life reforming techniques to people to becoming a god, don’t you think it has been a too hurried a journey?
You think like that way? I don’t think there is any hurried journey in my life. From the beginning, I am very clear about what I am, I am clear about what I am presenting about me. If someone comes with a suffering due to a health problem, I may tell him to trust me that he would be healed, but when the same thing is heard by an ordinary person he would have a different opinion. He would feel that I am out of my mind to say that. These kinds of things lead to misrepresentation and criticism. If they come with a thirst for knowledge, I would show connect in a particular dimension. People who don’t want one dimension criticize it.
One thing is the sexual allegation but the other thing is you talking about yourself being beyond gender. How do you explain it?
I can say about my personal experience about me is beyond all three orientations. Physically I am in the male body but physiologically and psychologically a mutation has happened in my system.
You said you were ready to subject yourself to tests. What kind of tests?
Whatever is needed. For the sake of the case they may have wanted me to go through that when the right agency asks me to go through.
But you said that if at such a test were to take place, it would be proven that you are a person who could not take part in an alleged act like that. What does it mean?
Whether this body is capable of indulging in a sexual act, or not.
Arousal, erection and ejaculation?
Yes. That, my body is not capable of all those things.
Why would it not be capable if it is a complete male body.
It is a male body, but some particular spiritual experiences have happened at the age of 22 which have effected such a mutation.
Is it possible for the sake of establishment of the fact spiritually that you may have got one of your devotees to test you?
Till now I have not got any of my devotees to test me.
Is it something that you would not like to tell us?
I have not told any of my devotes to test me about this.
There is nothing wrong if a devotee has questions about the guru and a special mutation in him?
No nobody has tested me.
From gods to spiritual beings to sages to people everyone has libido. It is not something negative. Only in some sections of the society, you are expected to control your libido, but otherwise, you are not. Even if you have not declared yourself a sanyasi or if you are not calling yourself a swami you could have even been a grahasta. Are you saying that you never had libido?
Because of my spiritual experience this libido has completely disappeared. I never had and if I had I would have married.
If you had you need not have married but you could have continuously controlled it throughout your life, right?
But I never had the libido so I never felt the need.
Two events in my life one at the age of twelve and the other at twenty two changed my personality physically and mentally.
Have you ever felt some kind of inadequacy? Controlling sexual feeling and denying sexual feelings are two different things aren’t they?
In my case 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.
Has anyone shown physical interest in you?
Someone? Some devotee? You need not mention the name? Some devotee may have wanted to surrender totally to you? Have you ever been approached by a woman to get physically intimate with you?
No, no, no, no. (laughs)
You say you have neither had libido, nor are you capable of sex nor has anyone propositioned you?
Yes. I am very clear about it.
You don’t think there is any possibility even in the future?
No because everybody knows now. I have already made a statement to the public that I am living in a space where it is beyond the body. Over.
What do you feel when people constantly call you a rapist, a molester, a sex maniac?
That is the reason the day they arrested me, I requested them to do a medical test on me and present the report. I don’t know why they did not do it at that time.
Some say that even if those tests were conducted, you would have controlled yourself only at the time by use of some yogic technique.
(laughs) If I am a yogi then I should be able to control myself all the time.
You have never been attracted to a woman?
Attracted to men?
Then what are you attracted physically to?
I am physically attracted only to the Arunachala Hill which creates a tremendous joy and excitement in me.
Have you been physically attracted to the sense of God?
Not like that but when I see the Arunachala Hill I feel the whole body become very alive.. I have never felt a sensual attraction to anything.
What kind of a relationship you have with your mother?
I can say that more or less she is also like a devotee and one of my sanyasinis. My mother took sanyasa after father passed away.
Did you not allow some women to spend time privately with you even for spiritual purpose?
Never. That is one reason all my meetings as a rule are held in public.
Some say that you are a person with some special abilities. Some may even call it superhuman abilities. But they also say that you have some weaknesses you need to accept and admit. And that is what they say is the problem with you, that you are trying to portray yourself as something which you are not in the first place. What do you say?
It is up to them.
Are these things being told by you now after 2010?
In 2004 till 2006 I have video record of me making these statements that I am not a male female and all that but we also worked on my brain with three universities because to begin with I was curious about myself, that I did not have libido, I did not have dreams and I was always blissful. Even those facts will be presented to the court.
Even after the spiritual experience, what was the necessity for Rajashekar to become Nityananda?
The name Nityananda was given to me in a mystical experience by Mahavatar Baba. He appeared in a darshan which I was fortunate to have. That is why I accepted the name.
Among many questions about you one is about your age itself.
My mother is still alive. According to her I was born on 1st January, 1978, but there is a little discrepancy in the date given to the school, a difference of ten months.
Why is that only from 2002 you came to prominence?
In the year 2000 I had the experience. In 2002 I came to public life – talking to people, healing people, teaching people and initiating people.
Why did you have to start your ashram in Karnataka?
Because I saw in a vision that a place under a banyan tree near Bangalore would be donated and that should be there place where I should sit and start my public life.
You have gotten into problem with the authorities about the lands on which your ashram is built.
No problem. The land has been donated to me and all the construction has happened on converted land. There is no irregularity. There is no case, let them survey and see.
The way you have been getting into trouble to the way you are being treated certainly would make some of your devotees think how a godman who could protect them cannot even protect himself?
About how I have been treated the person who treated me like that should be questioned and not me. I don’t say it is ok to be treated like that, but it is upto them. How they treated does not take away my divinity, but how I responded and behaved in that situation proves my divinity.
Your devotees say that those people face retribution for the things done to you. What is your take on that?
The whole cosmos runs with a certain understanding and certain rules and regulations. If that cosmic understanding is violated it takes its own course.
A big aspect to your personality as seen by your devotees is the miracles that they say they have experienced. Even some of your former disciples who are no fans of you anymore too talk about these miracles. While some call them cheap tricks, some others refuse to give credit to you. How do you react?
I have not made any claims. Whatever opinions they have, thanks to them. I have not made it an important part of my personality.
Some people say that you have been able to materialize rubies and diamonds to rudrakshas and sacred ash.
I have presented myself only as a guru who gives transformation and healing. I have not used miracles as a method to reach people. It is their individual experience.
Who do you see as your biggest opponent, detractor or an enemy of yours in Karnataka, someone who cannot see you be in peace?
(Things for a long time) I cannot think of one single name.
Don’t you feel damage has been done?
Yes, damage has been done, no doubt. The extent, I don’t know.
You are the butt of jokes. Is it ok with you?
I don’t want it to be like that. Even the devotees don’t want it that way.
Don’t you feel that even if your name is cleared in the cases you still won’t be able come out of this stain for very long time?
I don’t think like that.
You may have to do something miraculous to change your image?
Let’s see. Hope for the best.
So there are only two FIRs one from 2010 and one this year. So you say apart from that there is nothing against you apart from rumours?
Yes. The first FIR has all the cases including Vinay Bharadwaj’s. The recent one is less serious.
What do you have to say about the assault on a journalist?
It was not an assault. In a press meet that journalist wanted to serve an illegal lawyer notice which was not even a court summons. So I told the journalist to be a media representative and not do the legal representative’s work and I asked him to leave the hall. I even used 'please'. It was being relayed on many TV channels live. It was a false complaint and a false case and unfortunately the CM ordered my arrest.
Can you speak Kannada?
(Speaks a few simple lines in Kannada)
Is it true that it would have been difficult for people like you to operate in Tamil Nadu and particularly if you were to make the Tamil Nadu CM an accused in the case, the situation would have been much worse than in Karnataka. What do you say?
I don’t want to compare Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. I started the ashram in Bidadi in Karnataka only for a spiritual reason and nothing else.
You have one criminal case in the US and the rest are civil suits, right?
There is no criminal case against me in the US. The US courts have refused to issue summons.
People say your ashram’s properties are worth millions of dollars. How much exactly are the assets worth?
They are not millions and millions of dollars. I think totally all the properties worldwide including the ashram property in Karnataka must be worth under a hundred crores. All wealth is completed audited and accounted.
They say you coerced, put some sort of moral pressure and some even say that you blackmailed the senior pontiff into appointing you as the junior pointiff. Why did you have to take up this when you had so much on your head already?
Clearing the name is one thing and this responsibility is another thing. I don’t want to be deterred by a false charge to continue my work. I have not coerced, blackmailed or pressurized my senior to make me the junior pontiff.
The opposition that came your way on being appointed was in way natural wasn’t it?
Whoever had the wrong information opposed my appointment, that is all.
You made a statement that the other swamijis should install CC TVs in their bedrooms. Was it necessary for you to say that?
When they were making statements based on falsehood I had to say that. I did not say that about everyone, my statement was directed at only those swamijis who were making derogatory statements about me. And they were not even ready to listen to my side of the story.
Did you have to accept this Aadheenam responsibility in Madurai?
If you ask the senior swamiji you will know that when he offered me the appointment I told him that he should find someone else. I even told him that I could send a disciple and he could coronate him. I told the swamiji that he would be in lot of trouble if I was appointed and it was better for me to be away.
Have you ever feared losing your devotees?
Whoever has experienced me will be around, whoever has not experienced will be on their own. I offer mental healing, physical healing and spiritual awakening to people. Whoever receives that from me will be a devotee.
You are called a fraud, because they feel that if you were genuine all this would have not happened. Do you think you should have been careful about your image?
I was always careful but when powerful people throw mud at you they throw it , that is all.
You have anything to say to Arti Rao?
Yes, that is telling a lie and she should realize and withdraw her statements.
What if someone else in the future comes up with something more damaging?
There is no possibility.
You will silence them all?
There is no question of silencing them. There is no possibility.
They say your smile is a façade, that the person behind the smile is something else altogether.
(Smiles) It is up to them.
What do you want to be seen as? As a god?
I never wanted to be seen as a god, I want to be seen as a simple being who shares the experience of godliness to everyone. I am very clear that all these problems will disappear and my innocence will be established and I will come out shining with flying colours.
Who called you Paramahamsa?
The Mahavatar Babaji in his mystical darshan.
Some people want you banished from Karnataka. What do you have to say?
I want them to know the truth and I request them to look into the facts. I have confidence that I will win back their confidence again.
Who is trying to grab your properties?
Yes, some people are trying to grab my properties. Saksena and Nakkeran Gopal tried to grab my Chennai property. One Popat was trying to grab the Los Angeles property along with Manohar Shindhe
Have those who criticized you in the public called you to say that they support you privately?
No, whoever have supported privately has supported openly and whoever has supported publicly has supported privately too.
People say you have bad advisors, that they tell you what you want to hear. Is that true?
I tell you that I have only one advisor and that is God. I am having my ear to the ground, in fact both my ears to the ground. I am not living in an ivory tower, I am living in reality and I am continuously working in reality.
There are your devotees, and then there are your opponents and still there are this large mass of public who are not sure what to decide about you? Do you need to reach out to them so they support you?
Why should they support me? I am not a politician to go around asking for their support. In what way will they express their support to me? I need their goodwill but I don’t understand in what way I can expect their support. I don’t understand.
Some say that it is not sufficient that if you are wise with the ancient wisdom but you need to be street smart too, to know how to conduct yourself in the normal world. How do you react?
If they are advising me to become street smart I accept their advice.
Who are your making your property for?
For the public to come and receive spiritual benefits.
Could it be the competition to get close or become your favourite must have given rise to a lot of negativity within the ashram?
There is no such thing as someone is close to me. Everybody feels that I am their and they are the ashram’s. There is no hierarchy. There are different roles played by different people but as a personal connection everybody is the same.
Apart from the spiritual experience what other experience must’ve made you what you are?
I had a guru called Annamalai Swami who was Sri Ramana Maharshi’s disciple. He once told me about how we were beyond pain and the importance of the body and all that. I went home and I thought about it a lot and then I took knife and cut my thigh. I felt severe pain. I was given medical care. I went back to him and told him how wrong he was. Then he put me through a process of understanding pain. That led to me having the spiritual experience at a very early age.
What is that scar on your hand?
I was trying to learn horse riding. I fell from the horse breaking my hand.
Did the horse not know your divinity?
(laughs) I don’t know whether horse did not know my divinity or whether it did not want to carry me.
People say that you are a glib talker and you can mesmerize people. Is is true that you put your disciples and devotees through psychological compulsion with stories about how they should not offend the guru not question the guru and all that?
I never instil fear in anyone. I tell people to be out of fear, and not even have the fear of the guru.
Had anyone warned you ever that you were being misunderstood and your actions were being misread?
Did anyone tell you that people were getting a bad impression about you?
No. They had said that some people were planning something against me but I did not care because I thought since I had not done anything wrong there was no possibility of anyone doing any harm.
Do you think you should have grown a little slower?
My growth is not my own, whatever I am sharing I am sharing with the world. People who receive from me, spread it. I can neither create the growth not control the growth. I am a river and flowing. How many thousands come and drink my water is not under my control.
How could have you been complacent after 2010 that the people who had complained against you would go quiet and allow you peace?
I do not even know who is against me for what reason.
Has there been extortion?
Yes, to the tune of forty two lakhs. First it was tried by Lenin and his group, one Prasanna, Gopal, Kamaraj, Saksena, Aiyappa, Arati Rao and Lenin’s brother. They all asked for money and property.
Who are the ones who have tried to threaten you?
I can say Kishan Reddy and Manohar Shindhe. They have tried to the extent of asking me to step down as a trustee by making them trustees of the ashram.
What did they offer to do if you accepted?
If I accepted their demand they would ensure that false cases would not be filed against me.
False cases would be filed and I would be put in jail.
They directly threatened you?
There are also questions about Muthappa Rai. What do you have to say about him?
Never never, Muthappa Rai. Muthappa Rai is a good person. He is very friendly with us. He never ever tried to take over our land.
How has reacted to your troubles?
He has always been cordial. He never disrespected us. He only expressed his support. Muthappa Rai has not tried to trouble us in anyway, in fact he has given us donation.
Any politician has troubled you?
VHP was always openly supporting me. RSS was never openly supporting me, but I have nothing to say against RSS.
Nobody has anything against your preaching or teaching or your ideology. The one thing against you is that you have been sexually abusing women and also in some case, men. Apart from this nobody has any questions about your personality. Should have you not foreseen this one thing and taken care?
I have taken care from the day one by not allowing people to come to close to me. I don’t know how else I could have done it better.
There could have been any other allegation but why sexual allegation?
When someone is young, it is easy to put sexual allegation. It is one allegation which anybody will simply [think to be?] true. It is human psychology. That is all.
Do you foresee that someone may be planning to do something worse?
I don’t foresee that. I only foresee even this problem disappearing.
You say people will forget all this once your name is cleared?
Once my name is cleared it is cleared. What is there to remember or forget?
People say Madurai Aadheenam is plan B, that if Bidadi fails you have Madurai?
There is no plan A plan B. I don’t want Aadheenam to be a plan B. I already have ashrams in Tamil Nadu and Andhra.
Do you feel that some of the big names in the spiritual field like Sri Sri Ravishankar and others are not comfortable with you?
Is it that some swamijis are with you and some are totally against you?
Many swamis are with me, and whoever is against me, I will be able to win over their confidence by presenting my facts to them. Those who have heard me have changed their opinion and have started supporting me.
What is your opinion about the State of Karnataka, Kannadigas,
I love Kannadigas, I respect Karnataka and I always stand for peace between Kannadigas and Tamilians. I trust the judiciary. In the end, I will win.
Some of your American devotees have called the Bangalore courts as Kangaroo courts. What do you say?
I never felt that the judiciary is unfair to me. As far as the police is concerned, let us wait and see.
It is said that getting you arrested was victory of the media.
Maybe they can think it is their victory. I don’t have an opinion about the media in general, but some have done hate campaign and succeeded in getting me arrested.
They have done some damage, particularly in creating an adverse public opinion about me.
How do you expect things to turn out?
I am sure that my innocence will be proven and my name will be cleared. I will come out shining with flying colours.
There is a lot of pressure on the government by the media to take action against you.
The government should know that it cannot be run by the media.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Not even few of the answers given by Nithy represent the truth. So many blatant lies. It is a simple matter - Nithy has sexually exploited women and some men. Many women other than Aarthi have made the statement to CID and they are willing to testify. There is no conspiracy. Media is trying its best to alert the public that what Nithy is running is not an ashram but something else - no hidden agenda like increasing TRP etc.
If outlook goes and interviews a criminal - will he accept he is a criminal? Even Charles Shobraj, Dawood Ibrahim etc. will keep a smile on their face and give polite answers as though they are goody goody.
This is reply to Rajagopal's comment/questions:
1. Suvarna news is doing society a service by alerting them about the kind of organization that Nithy runs. He has sex contracts and takes away the basic rights of inmates.
2. That is the least she could do. Nithy has file 3 cases (same accusation) in 3 different courts in India against Aarthi after she spoke out against Nithy. It is well known that he is intemidating the witnesses, Aarthi has done a good thing by bringing forth her case to the public and making them aware.
3. There was strong evidence of sexual abuse having taken place, the CID was gathering witnesses, this is pretty normal to advertise when cases of gross cheating having occured. Police advertise for victims to come forward, victims are hesitant because of fear, shame etc. Karnataka CID have done society a great service. It is pretty typical in India for the agressor to try and play the victim himself. Nithy is doing no different.
4. There are credible death threats against Aarthi Rao. She is working with her lawyer to quash the baseless case put against her by Nithy and his organization. It is a classic case of initmidation. If Nithy were in USA, he would be serving multiple lifetimes by now. Only in India is the perpeturator of such grave crimes being allowed to run amok.
5. The case in US court put forward by Aarthi Rao is still open. What Nithy has told the public is false. There are good citizens now who became aware after the Suvarna news broadcast about Aarthi Rao's plight. They are helping her fight Nithy and take the case forward.
6. In a cult the cult head usually brainwashes the victim into believing that the sex is for her own good. There are so many cases where the cult head rapes a victim, victims daughter etc for several years - sometimes even upto 20 years. Once the cult head's grip is broken, the victim realizes that they have been cheated and sexually expolited. Just google "Cult sex abuse" you will see so many documented cases. The cult head always convicts. It is to her credit Aarthi Rao was able to break free and came forward after 5 years. Had she stayed there, he would have continued exploiting her. Same situation happens many times, the step father or authority figure in family continues abuse of victim for several years. Only much later the victim will have courage to come forward.
7. Just see the presence of mind Lenin exhibited. Getting good education is different than having presence of mind and common sense to act according to different dangers or injustice in society. Lenin's presence of mind to let Nithy talk during phone conversation and record it, escape the attempt on Lenin's life etc shows how well he reacts to danger. Aarthi did the right thing by seeking Lenin's help.
8. See #1 above.
9. Nithy is running a cult under guise of ashram, he is taking away basic rights of ashramites and citizens once the join his organization. He is a menace to society, calling for press conference and releasing false information. e.g. No court in USA will accept a blood test report typed up by Nithy. Nithy claimed during press conference that USA court closed the case based on his blood test result - totall false, the case is still open. Nithy does not have the guts to set foot in USA. CM was doing the right thing by closing that organization which was exploiting the society. It is a shame he is out on bail again.
10. There was a huge fire set by one of the ashramites to destroy evidence. In spite of it lot of incriminating evidence has been gathered. Yes Nithy was showing adult movies etc to some of his so called tantra partners, this is also in his written (illegal) contract with some of them.
11. Nithy's lawyers can pose those questions once the trial begins. Usually when there is a sexual exploitation case, the accused is put behind bars and there is no bail. Once the trial begins, the defense (Nithy's side) can ask for the blood test from victim etc using due court process.
Since you are a Nithy disciple, let me ask you this:
1. Why did Nithy make a sex contract?
2. Why is his organization registered as tax free and not doing anything for charitable causes?
3. Why did Nithy give different statements at different times about the tape with Ranjitha?
4. Why did Nithy file same case in 3 different court jurisdictions against the people who have spoke out against him.
5. Why has Nithy's organization accumulated so much wealth after running the organizaiton under tax favorable status and not doing anything in return for society, instead they are burdening the law enforcement and society with needless stress?
6. Nithy's organization was declared a fraud organization in USA, why did Nithy try to disassociate with it once the judgement was passed? The judge didnt agree and has bound Nithy to the Nithyananda foundation - USA?
There are a lot more questions, however,
He has been avoiding the CID request for potency/blood and speech test for 2 years. CID had to move court to get the test order. Now he is avoiding the test, Nithy knows very well that the reports typed up in his private lab are not acceptable. What he has told in this interview is a bunch of lies. There are several victims who have given statement to CID about how Nithy has sexually expolited them. What about the sex contract? No sanyasi will every have such a contract in place. What about the 30 hours of video, some parts of it with 6 different girls. This person must be punished, he is nothing but a common criminal.
I cant accept this as a investigative journalism. There sooooo many questions left unanswered by the media who are against swami, like..
1. What legal rights does suvarna TV channel has, to run hours of shows against swami, when there is already an injuction order obtained from the court, that they should air anything on swami. This is terrible violation of the law and it comes under contempt of court.
2. Why did the Channel, allow Aarti Rao to speak in media, when this lady is under search warrant by TN police in the case of blackmailing and extortion of money, when most of the accused have been arrested, excepting this lady.
3. The rape charge on swami was filed on March 2010, and he was prisoned from June' 10 to Aug' 10. But during this time, there was no victim added in the case. This lady's name was included only in Oct'10.. How can u accuse somebody without knowing who is the victim. The most disgusting thing is, giving AD in TV channels that "is there any victim to accuse this swami".. I mean, isn't this crazy to put somebody in prison and then advertise for a victim to accuse him.
4. Why is there always a big gap between the legal proceedings of the case and a completely irrelevant parallel track running on media. In 2010, public hatred against swami was gained by airing a video, but the legal proceedings were completly different, where they had booked a rape charge (IP 376), without knowing who is the person who claimed to be raped. The video has got nothing to do with a rape charge. Similarly in 2012, public were told are as if a new woman came accusing him again, but it is the woman from the same case, and the case is still in the court since Oct'10. What is the neccesity of this woman to come to media and tell the same thing again. If she can come all the way to media, why cant she appear in the court and answer for the summons. Also, this time swami was arrested for the case "proking riots", but media reports as if a new woman has come and accused him again, so was arrested.
5. The same woman has filed the same charge in the same time (2010) on the same person (swami) in US also. But this case has already been dismissed by the US court, saying it as a false complaint. Why Indian media, is not giving a lime light to this fact but seems to be more interested only on accusing swami.
6. The woman claims that she was raped 40 times spread over 5 years.. What she means by this.. Was she just waiting get raped? She claims she is a graduate, why did she not come out immediately after the first abusal.. Doesnt she know basic difference between being raped and the spirituality, if she claims to have been brain washed.
7. She claims that she has asked Lenin to help her from getting out of the ashram.. Any woman would go to take refuge/help only to a person who is better than herself. This lady claims to be a BITS pilani graduate, settled in US, and that guy lenin, does not even know to speak English properly (see his interviews) and he has not completed his basic schooling. How will a woman, go and take refuge to man like him.. It doesnt seem to make a logical sense. This guy is already in prison, committing a non-bailable offense of threat to life.
8. Basically, under what provision of law did Suvarna Channel, air the interview of the woman, when the whole case is pending in the court and the discussion on the case are completely subjudiced. These things are not supposed to published and this is another blunder invoking the contempt of court, apart from the injunction order.
9. Why did the CM order for an arrest, when the newly booked case for proking riot was completely bailable? How can CM decide on a arrest based on media reports, after all, media is just another buisness. If the crime of the swami is so grave, then is the court blind in giving bail to swami.. Does CM claim to know more on law than the court.. What were the legal circle around CM doing, when he ordered for an arrest..
10. When the ramanagara SP has given report that there were no illicit things found in the ashram, how could media report that there were pornographic CDs, condems, alcohol bottles in the ashram, particularly in the vicinity of the entrance gate. Does these media houses claim that their cameramen could do better job in finding things without even entering the campus, which the police have failed to do after investigating inside campus. How does it make a logical sense, that immeidately after police investigation, that such things could be found at the very entrance of the ashram.
11. When the swami is being questioned so much by the media, why cant the woman be asked some basic questions like, why is she not ready for a medical test, why is she not appearing in the court obeying the summons, what was she doing until she was getting raped for 40 times over 5 years as per her claim...
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