Swami Nithyananda sex scandal- Insights and Church angle

Sex and Morality
Against this backdrop, I will address  the issue of Swami Nithyananda’s morality. Just to recap:
1. My first point above has been that the morality issue about Swami Nithyananda does not impact the effectiveness of the meditation techniques he has taught very successfully. Their efficacy is best evaluated by the tens of thousands of practitioners for themselves.
2. My second point was that there is nothing inherent about sex that is rejected by Hinduism across       the board, although certain strains of Hinduism do reject sex seeing it as harmful to spirituality. 

Here it  must be noted that brahmacharya (involving sexual abstinence) is just one of  the spiritual paths of Hinduism. The first half of my recent stay in Haridwar  was as a guest of the Gayatri Pariwar, one of the greatest and largest Hindu movements,  that does not advocate being brahmacharya. Its founder, its present head  and its members at large, are householders and not brahmacharyas. But for Swami  Nithyananda to claim moral authenticity under this system, he would have to  pronounce himself as a householder and not a sannyasin. He has never done that,  so we must examine his morality by some other criteria.

Another  approach for him could have been to announce himself as an experimenter of  Tantra for modern times, thereby making himself transparent of any such  charges. This would place him in the same category as Osho. Many times in his  public discourses and teachings, he has praised Osho as his greatest teacher  and enlightened exemplar. He even said that many of his own teachings were  derived from Osho. But he failed to publicly clarify whether he was practicing  those techniques that involve sex. Privately, he explained to me in recent days  that Shiva Sutras have two categories of techniques. Most of the sutras do not  involve physical contact with another person and only use the four senses of  sight, sound, taste and smell as pathways to spiritual experiences. Hence an  individual practices these techniques entirely on his/her own. This path is  what he has taught thus far to the public. The best pursuit of this path is as a  brahamacharya according to him, and he has initiated many followers into it.  But for a small number of persons, he feels that the 6 sutras involving sexual Tantra  need to be tested and perfected for modern times, before they can be safely  taught more widely. This he considers like any R & D done in a lab for  developing a product.

My  sense is that he did practice Tantra with a very small number of persons,  and I believe that he even entered into written legal contracts with them  to make sure that both parties were clear about the arrangement. The reason for  this “Non-Disclosure Agreement” was to make sure that someone who willingly  approaches him for Tantra does not later accuse him of physical contact. On  March 9 (about a week ago), I did a specific video interview with him dealing  with this issue very specifically. But this video was blocked by his ashram  leaders even though he personally felt that it was a good idea to show it. I  gave up arguing in favor of showing it, because his ashram management took a  firm stand against it. I still feel that this was a blunder they made. Swami  Nithyananda is very forthright and clear in that interview – I felt that it was  the best interview of all the ones I did with him, but it was never made public.

I  surmise that Rancitha, the Tamil actress in the scandalous videotape, was  practicing Tantra with him. He taught her the self-control she had to achieve  before any intimacy. I have tried to interview her in order to get her side of  the story, but so far I have not succeeded in getting through to her. Based on  third party reports from some persons who are in touch with her, and the media  reports of her statements, her stance seems to be along the following lines:  She took the sexual initiative with him on the occasion shown in the videotape,  at a time when he was not fully alert. But this activity did not proceed to  intercourse. It was terminated. She has also said that the videos being shown  on TV are manipulated versions of what actually happened, because they  exaggerate the situation. They do not show portions where he asked her to stop.  Different clips from various videos seem to have been turned into a single  video by editing. She has not filed any complaint against him. So in the worst  case, this was consensual sex between adults, and that too backed by a formal  written contract between the parties. Because she has refused to give any  statement against Swami Nithyananda, she feels threatened by those who set her  up and who did this sting. I hear that she has gone overseas to protect her  safety from this mafia-like conspiracy. I have not been able to corroborate  this thesis directly from her.

My  concern about his morality is, therefore, not based on sex between consenting  adults. Rather, my moral issue is about the lack of transparency before the  public. He could have openly said that he wants to select a few yoginis to  experiment Tantra under mutual consent. At worst this would have upset many  followers and pushed them away. In response to my concern over his lack of transparency,  he could offer the argument that this was a private activity between adults who  are under no obligation to disclose it to the public. After all, people do not  go about broadcasting their sexual lives. So long as this was under mutual  consent, he might say, it cannot be an offense. And if it was done under the  Tantra portions of the Shiva Sutra, it was also an act within the Hindu  tradition despite the controversy surrounding Tantra today.

  Having  given this best case argument on his behalf, I must say that there could also  be the alternative scenario, namely, that this was mere lust packaged as  Tantric spirituality. David White, one of Wendy’s Children, has written  extensively making the claim that all Tantra is “hard core porn” that gets  wrapped up before the public in metaphysical mumbo-jumbo to appear to be  legitimate spirituality, which he calls “soft porn” coating. (Tantra and its  Misconceptions by David Frawley http://www.esamskriti.com:80/essay-chapters/Tantra-and-its-Misconceptions~-Reclaiming-the-Essence-from-the-Illusions-1.aspx).  White’s latest book takes this allegation to the extreme, and states that all  major yogic exemplars in Indian history were basically not engaged in any kind  of spirituality at all. Instead, he claims, they were developing personal power  for the purpose of exploiting others. I am unqualified to comment on whether  Swami Nithyananda’s case fits this notion of “soft porn,” or whether it was  legitimate Tantra. Nor do I have adequate factual data of what happened to pass  judgment either way. Also read ‘Tantra  and teachings of Kashmir’s Abhinavgupta’ by  Linda Johnson http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Tantra-and-Teachings-of-Kashmir%60s-Abhinavgupta-1.aspx

This  concludes what I have to say about his morality issue as shown in the sex  tapes.

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