Hindu Religious Leader
Name: Nithyananda (born: A Rajasekaran)
Date of Birth: 1 January 1978
Place of Birth: Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
Parents: Arunachalam & Lokanayaki
Education: School- Sri VDS Jain Higher Secondary School College- Rajagopal Polytechnic College
Occupation: Self-proclaimed godman, Hindu religious leader
Nithyananda is a self-proclaimed godman and a Hindu religious leader. He is the founder of Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, a trust which has temples, gurukuls and ashrams across different countries. He holds two Guinness World Records. Nithyananda is known for his speeches on various scientific topics and his personal pseudoscientific claims.
He explained Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence theory wrong, claims to have delayed sunrise by 40 minutes and also claims to have the ability to make cows speak in Tamil and Sanskrit. He also claims to be able to awaken the third eye and would do so for anyone, free of cost, by 2021. His disciples believe that he has given vision to around 82 blind children.
In 2019, Nithyananda bought an island off Ecuador and named it “Republic of Kailaasa”, declaring it to be a pure Hindu nation. That country will have its own government, Prime Minister and Cabinet. On 22 August 2020, he revealed the currency of Kailaasa and also introduced the Reserve Bank of Kailaasa.
1. Sex Scandal In 2010, a news channel in South India had aired a video of Nithyananda and a Tamil Actress Ranjita in a compromising position which was shot at the aashram. Nithyananda’s ex-driver claimed to have shot the video as he had lost faith in his ‘guru’. Both Nithyananda and Ranjita denied their presence in the video. They alleged that the video is morphed. Nithyananda also claimed to be impotent. However, later in an investigation by the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Bangalore, it was held that the video was not morphed. Nithyananda filed a criminal case against that channel’s Chief Operating Officer for airing alleged morphed images. The Manager of the Dhyanapeetha Trust also filed for charges against the COO for extortion, criminal intimidation and assault among others.
2. Rape charges In 2010, Nithyananda was booked for allegedly raping his former disciples. The case was registered in Karnataka. He is accused of raping the disciple for over a period of five years, during her stay in the ashram. There are other associates of the ashram who are facing the charges for the same. The charges under which the godman is booked are Section 295 A (insulting religious belief), 420 (cheating), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
The case was filed in Ramanagara police in Karnataka. The trial of this case started eight years later, in 2018. All the accused have pleaded not guilty in court. Nithyananda had changed his stance again and again during the trail proceedings. He first said that he was impotent. Later he said that he had consensual sex with the disciple who had filed the complaint. He has evaded many court proceedings.
3. Kidnapping Charges A FIR has been filed by the Gujarat Police against the self-styled godman on the charges of alleged kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children. These children are allegedly made to collect donations from followers to run his ashram in Ahmedabad. Along with Nithyananda, two other female disciples of his are also booked. The charges are Sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 502 (sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter) of IPC.
The Gujarat Police has stated in 2019 that after the registration of rape case against him, Nithyananda has fled the country.
Originally published at https://lawinsider.in on September 10, 2020.