Swami Nithyananda sex scandal- Insights and Church angle

The Conspiracy against Swami Nithyananda
Since  I had arrived at the scene while writing my book on the conspiracy in Tamil  Nadu religious politics, it was natural to start with that as my emphasis for the  investigation. But in this short article I have decided to focus on the matters  surrounding his conduct and his organization’s conduct, because these have  assumed a more urgent nature. The details of the conspiracy belong in my book  as corroborating evidence for my thesis there. The types of parties reported to  be behind the conspiracy, both foreign and India based, were remarkably  similar to the ones I have written about in the book. So for now I shall merely  summarize some of the main points concerning this conspiracy.

First  one must understand why Swami Nithyananda became such a target. He was  virtually unknown 7 years ago, but once he appeared in public his popularity  catapulted at a dramatic rate. For example, last year, YouTube wrote to him  that he was the most watched of all Indian spiritual leaders on the Internet  and proposed a closer collaboration for their viewers. This letter also stated  that among all spiritual leaders worldwide (not just Indian) he was the second  most popular one, the Vatican  being first. His meditation programs have become very popular in USA and in  certain Indian states. The main factors are that participants almost invariably  report experiencing higher states of consciousness, and he has healed a large  number of persons of a variety of diseases. His healing powers are what brought  together his core inner group of devotees from around the world – doctors,  businessmen, IT professionals, corporate executives. Many of them have  explained their personal healings from terminal illnesses as the turning point  in their lives. His meditation programs sometimes bring up to a few thousand  attendees for periods ranging from a few days to several weeks.

While  the funds come mostly from upper strata participants in India and USA, a large portion of the  expenses have been allocated to develop grass-roots social and spiritual  programs focusing primarily in Tamil Nadu, his native state. This is where he  is seen as a threat by Dravidian as well as Christian forces. For instance, in  December 2009, about 600 villages across Tamil Nadu sent their local  “Nithyananda leaders” for a celebration and planning session in his main ashram  near Bangalore.  I happened to be present for the event. These common folks, mostly from the  lower strata of Tamil society, had walked 300 kilometers for this journey which  they saw as a spiritual pilgrimage. The reason for the anger of Christian and  Dravidian forces is that his activities have put a dampener to conversions in  many districts, and several Christians have returned to Hinduism by getting  initiated formally into his organization. The swami himself has spoken against  conversions, and has also stated that the Dravidian movement had made Tamil  people unspiritual in their lives, and that this had caused social decay. His  Tamil language publications and courses have become his most popular ones, far  exceeding the numbers in English. Also he is a very big threat because he is  not a Brahmin. Because he cannot be targeted using the classical attack on Brahmins,  and because the masses in Tamil Nadu were rising to swell his ranks, the threat  he posed to the existing political power structure had to be stopped one way or  another.

The  attack against Swami Nithyananda has consisted of two prongs, image and legal.  At first a highly sensational sexual charge was broadcast in order to devastate  his credibility and create an atmosphere in which any and all kinds of  outlandish allegations would be taken at face value. Once the media and popular  sentiments had been turned against him, there was one amazing allegation after  another in rapid sequence. It was clear that none of this was spontaneous but  was being centrally orchestrated under a systematic plan.

What became evident to me was that there  was “cooperation” in informal and unofficial ways among the media, police and  lower level judiciary. In fact, many third parties were aware of the attack in  advance and had warned his people before it happened with specific details of  the plan. For instance, one of his top devotees got a phone call from someone  based in New York  describing the media and police attack that was to come. His predictions turned  out to be accurate but at that time the ashramites did not take the threat  literally. He said that for the right sum of money he could be helpful in  preventing such an attack. He claimed that the planning for this attack had  started a year ago. He mentioned that a budget of Rs 200 crores was allocated  by some overseas groups to demolish Hindu gurus especially in south India, and  named two south Indian churches as the nodal agencies to coordinate this  strategic plan. (I am presently pursuing these leads as part of my book  investigation.)

There was another concrete extortion  effort about eleven or twelve days prior to the scandal breaking out. A lawyer  contacted them and claimed that his client had compromising videos, and that the  client was seeking money or else they would get released. The same intermediary  later sent a letter containing a variety of unsubstantiated criminal allegations  against Swami Nithyananda, and this letter’s distribution list included India’s Prime Minister,  President, Sonya Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, various Chief Ministers and police  heads, various national criminal investigation and security organizations. I  have a copy of this letter, and it makes the Nithyananda organization seem like  a terrorist outfit that needs to be attacked for the sake of public safety. This  letter along with a DVD of the sex video was delivered to the Chief Minister of  Karnataka state two hours before the videotape was first aired.  Clearly, the attack was well planned and  executed across many locations, and was persistently carried out over several  days. This is not the work of some isolated individuals.

There  were warnings given to individuals in the ashram that their phones were being  tapped and that they better leave to save their own lives, because something  horrible was about to happen. One friendly man based in Pune who runs a  magazine and is a devotee of Swami Nithyananda, told the ashram a week in  advance of the attack that some such catastrophe would happen. He named his  source as a man in Bangalore  press club. Another publisher in Hyderabad  who distributes Swami Nithyananda’s books in Telugu, called three times to warn  that a graphic video would be released and gave a precise time for this to  happen. It was also reported that an American devotee who had fallen out of the  ashram was working in association with Jody Razdik who specializes in guru  bashing at a prominent web site. He was being helped by an Indian based in San Diego, who was once  very deeply involved inside the Nithyananda organization but had turned  malicious. The only man who has openly come out as the main accuser was an  ashramite who had a falling out when he got demoted due to his conduct. It was  recently reported that he had a prior criminal record against him but nobody in  the ashram had checked out his background before admitting him.

There  were constant threats received to harass the ashramites and scare them away,  with claims that “narcotics will be planted to cause arrest warrants.” The  actions by the police were being leaked to the media ahead of time and even to  the opposing side, leading to numerous “tips” received by “friends” asking the  ashram dwellers to run away before “the attack comes.”

But  even after a couple of weeks since the scandal has erupted, the lawyers for  Swami Nithyananda’s ashram have failed to get copies of any concrete charges  filed with the police, except a few trivial ones. Each time they approach for  specific details they are told that there is no formal charge, except  relatively minor ones. So the intimidation has been carried out mainly through  media reports, without any legal due process starting where facts and arguments  could get cross-examined. This lack of formal charges has enabled an atmosphere  of intimidation using rumors and threats that cannot be pinned down officially.

It is  important to contrast this with the manner in which Indian media treats  scandals facing Islamic or Christian groups. The numerous scandals occurring  overseas often get blocked by Indian media entirely, or are given mild  treatment with tremendous sensitivity, in order to be seen as “secular” and not  “communal.” By contrast every kind of allegation against any Hindu group gets  clubbed in one homogeneous category and treated as a social scourge equivalent  to terror groups.

The  media’s hounding mentality and mafia tactics deserve to be condemned. In the  Swami Nithyananda case, they have used carrots and sticks to lure and threaten;  using whatever would get them more sensational footage. Several TV stations and  journalists camped out in Haridwar and sent me emails requesting my help in  arranging an interview. When I failed to deliver (because it was not up to me  to deliver any such thing), some of them turned nasty against me. One TV woman promised  the swami’s people “positive” coverage if she got an exclusive. But after the  interview, she betrayed and turned it into more distortion and smut. This led  Swami Nithyananda’s handlers to give interviews to more stations in order to  counteract this distortion. But the more they said before TV cameras, the worse  the scandal became. One station was blatant in its threat to the swami’s  assistant: “If you don’t give us an interview right away, we will show you the  power of the media to destroy you.” At one point a major TV station also wanted  to drag in Ramakrishna Mission with similar allegations, but someone was able  to stop that.

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