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Paramahamsa Nithyananda.jpg
Bornc. 1977–1978 (around age 41 as of 2018)
Founder ofNithyananda Dhyanapeetam
PhilosophyAdvaita Vedanta
Religious career

A Rajasekaran,[1] known popularly as Nithyananda (also called Paramahamsa Nithyananda, born c. 1977–1978 in Tiruvannamalai, India) is an Advaita Vedanta Hindu self-styled godman.[2][3][4][5] He is believed by his disciples to be an avatar – a reincarnated deity (named Mahasadashiva). He is the founder of Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, which is based in India but has devotees on a broader international scale,[6] with temples, gurukulas, and ashrams in many countries. Various legal controversies involving Nithyananda – both accused and accusing – have appeared in Indian and occasionally international press; many are still unresolved as of June 2018. His name is sometimes given with various honorific titles, as in "H.H. Sri Nithyananda", and "Swami-ji Nithyananda".

Early life

Nithyananda was born with the name Rajasekaran, in Tiruvannamalai, in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, to father Arunachalam and mother Lokanayaki.[1] Sources conflict as to his birth date – even in official documents provided by Nithyananda. His passport and a 2003 US visitor visa gave a date of 13 March 1977, while 2010 Karnataka High Court documents showed a date of 1 January 1978.[1]


Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, a religious organisation founded by Nithyananda, regularly hosts cultural events related to Hinduism in the United States.[7][8][9][self-published source] They have also set two Guinness world records, one in rope yoga[10] and one in pole yoga (mallakhamba).[11]

Swami Nithyananda's organization claims that he and his inducted disciples have spiritual powers, including kundalini awakening and third-eye awakening[12][13][14] He has claimed that there are 400 extraordinary spiritual powers which can be expressed by humans and has claimed to have initiated his disciples into 60 such powers.[15] He and his followers claim to be able to perform paranormal phenomena like extrasensory perception[16][17][18] and materialisation, body scanning,[13] distance vision, and ability to find lost objects.[19]His speeches have gathered widespread negative reception by the media.[20][21][22][23]

In February 2013, the title of Mahamandaleshwar was conferred on Nithyananda in a closed ceremony by the Panchayati Mahanirvani Akhara.[24][25]


Sex Tape

In 2010, Sun TV released a sex tape of him and his follower actress Ranjitha which let to a wide spread criticism. Though Nithyananda and Ranjitha have claimed the video is false, The Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Bengaluru had confirmed that Nithyananda and Ranjitha indeed were the two people shown in the tape. [26][27]

Nithyananda's ex-driver Lenin Karuppan owned up to filming his 'guru' and Ranjitha clandestinely. Karuppan was a close aide of Nithyananda. A Mid-Day report from July 2010 says that Karuppan apparently confessed to his Swami the reason why he filmed him. Karuppan, who considered himself a dedicated and sincere disciple of Swami Nithyananda, lost faith in his guru after seeing him sleeping around with other women.

Rape accusation

He was accused of raping a disciple over a nearly five-year period, during her stay in the ashram. In June, 2018 a Karnataka trial court framed charges against Nithyananda. He faces trial under Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 420 (cheating), 114 (criminal abetment), 201 (disappearance of evidence, giving false information), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and other charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Along with Nithyananda, several ashram associates are also facing charges in this case. All of the accused pleaded not guilty except for one who was absent from court.[28][29]

Ashram death

Sangeetha Arjunan (alias Ma Nithya Turiyateetananda, of Trichy in Tamil Nadu), a 24-year-old Nithyananda sanyasi (disciple) working as the head of the Nithyananda organisation's computer department, died under "mysterious" circumstances on 28–29 December 2014 at Nithyananda's ashram in Bidadi, Karnataka,[30][31][32] after a 28 December hospitalization.[30]

Nithyananda and his devotees have stated that the woman appeared to have suffered a heart attack (cardiac arrest).[32]Her mother, Jansi Rani, denied that Arjunan suffered from any cardiac ailment and has alleged foul play on parts of the ashram authority (including physical abuse) and subsequent shoddy investigation by the police.[30] [33][32]

She petitioned to the Karnataka High Court accusing the state government of obstructing the investigation, and seeking a complete re-investigation.[33]Justice Aravind Kumar, opened an inquest in May 2018 into the failure of the Bidadi police to properly investigate the woman's death.[31][32] The court recommended referring the death investigation to the national Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),[32]

Nithyananda's website has issued a press release denying the accusations, stating that unnamed "hospital sources" confirmed a natural death and asserting that her family had a history of heart problems.[30][32]


  1. ^ a b c "Nithyananda may have forged birth documents". Deccan Herald. 24 March 2018. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Verdict reserved in Nithyananda case". The Hindu. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  3. ^ Sureshkumar (29 January 2018). "Madras HC warns of issuing arrest warrant against self-styled godman Nithyananda - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Watch: Cows will talk in Tamil, Sanskrit, claims self-styled godman Nithyananda". Deccan Chronicle. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  5. ^ Chetan, MG (16 October 2018). "Woman accuses controversial self-styled Godman Nithyananda of uploading porn". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Mahaniravani akhara takes out grandest peshwai of all". Free Press Journal. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2017. Followers of Swami Nithyananda from more than 25 countries including Russia, USA, China, Mexico, Germany, France and Spain were the crowd pullers
  7. ^ King, Danae. "More central Ohioans drawn to Hinduism".
  8. ^ Rohit, Parimal M. "Temples Come Together to Celebrate 'Kumbh Mela USA'". India West. San Leandro, California. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Nico Nico". Facebook.
  10. ^ "Search | rope yoga". Jim Pattison Group. 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017. The largest rope yoga lesson is of 272 participants and was organized by H.H. Sri Nithyananda Swami (India) and Nithyananda University (USA) in Bengaluru, India, on 30 September 2017. Rope yoga involves completing postures on a rope suspended from the ceiling. It was performed by disciples of Swami Nithyananda at their ashram outside Bengaluru, India.
  11. ^ "Search | pole yoga". Jim Pattison Group. 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017. The largest mallakhamba lesson is of 263 participants and was achieved by H.H. Sri Nithyananda Swami (India) and Nithyananda University (USA) at Bengaluru, India, on 3 October 2017. Mallakhamba is a traditional Indian exercise form where yoga postures are done on a vertical wooden pole.
  12. ^ "नित्यानंद ने 70 लोगों को दी दीक्षा" [Nithyananda initiated 70 people]. Dainik Jagran (in Hindi). Retrieved 7 April 2018. कल्पतरु दर्शन शिविर में शनिवार को योगाभ्यास, सत्संग व कीर्तन के साथ 70 लोगों को स्वामी नित्यानंद ने गुरुमंत्र की दीक्षा दी। इस दौरान स्वामी नित्यानंद गुरुकुल के बटुकों द्वारा त्रिनेत्र शक्ति का प्रदर्शन किया गया। [During Kalpataru darshan on saturday along with yoga practise, satsang and devotional songs, 70 people were initiated into Gurumantra by Nithyananda. At the same time, children of Swami Nithyananda's gurukul school demonstrated third eye powers.]
  13. ^ a b "कल्पतरु दर्शन शिविर में त्रिनेत्र शक्ति का प्रदर्शन" [Third Eye power demonstration during Kalpataru Darshan]. Dainik Jagran (in Hindi). Retrieved 7 April 2018. नित्यानंद गुरुकुल के बच्चों द्वारा त्रिनेत्र शक्ति के तहत आखों पर पट्टी बाधकर पढ़ने और शरीर को स्कैन कर बीमारियों के बारे में बताते देख लोग आश्चर्यचकित रह गए [The children of the Nithyananda Gurukul with the power of the third eye read blindfolded and scanned the bodies of people and told about their diseases, experiencing this people were amazed.]
  14. ^ "Nithyananda will do Kundalini Awakening and Third Eye Awakening". Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2017 – via Rajasthan Patrika / Patrika Ujjain. Paramahamsa Nithyananda is believed to be accomplished of many extraordinary spiritual powers. Swami-ji is specialized in the science of kundalini awakening, and science of third eye awakening. [self-published source]
  15. ^ Saxena, Lalit (2016). "नित्यानंद बोले ड्रग, डिप्रेशन और डेथ से बचाएगा डिवाइन पॉवर" [Nityananda to Save from Drugs, Depression and Death with Divine Power]. Rajasthan Patrika / Patrika Ujjain (in Hindi). Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018. मनुष्य में कोई 400 प्रकार की अद्भुत शक्तियां हैं। ध्यान, सिद्ध अद्वैत योग का अभ्यास उन शक्तियों को जाग्रत कर सकता है। यह वैदिक विज्ञान है। इसमें किसी तरह का जादू नहीं है। अभी हम यहां शिविर में 60 प्रकार की ऊर्जा के विकसित स्वरूप के दर्शन कर सकते हैं, शेष 340 भी कर सकते हैं [Humans have 400 extraordinary powers. By practice of Meditation (dhyan), Sidh Advaita Yoga these powers can be awakened. This is a vedic science. There is no kind of magic in this. Right now 60 kind of powers can be experienced here in an advanced stage, other 340 can also be experienced.]
  16. ^ "Girl, 9, reads, plays games blindfolded at Vedic Temple in Montclair". Daily Bulletin. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Nine-year-old 'Reads' Blindfolded at Business Advocacy Summit". India West. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Miracle or magic? Girl reads blind-folded". India Herald. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  19. ^ "गुरु पुजा के बाद चला मुलाकात का दौर" [After Gurupuja there were meetings]. 3 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018. बेंगलुरु के स्वामी नित्यानंद आश्रम में अलौकिक शिक्षा ग्रहण करने वाले छात्र नित्य तत्वानंद व प्रेमाश्वरूपानंद अपने गुरु भाई विद्वेश्वरानंद व आत्मपूजानंदम के साथ सोमवार को गोरखनाथ मंदिर में मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ से मिलने पहुंचे [Nithya Tatvananda and Premeshavrupananda who received extraordinary knowledge in Swami Nithyananda ashram in Bengaluru, along with their guru brother Vidveshvarananda and Aatmapujananda went to Gorakhnaath temple this Monday to meet with the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
  20. ^ "Swami Nithyananda: I can make cows speak in Tamil and Sanskrit". India Today. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  21. ^ "Swami Nithyananda says he can make animals speak and gets trolled". Telangana Today. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  22. ^ "From universe following him to cows speaking in Sanskrit, Swami Nithyananda has planned it all". Retrieved 2018-11-03. External link in |work= (help)
  23. ^ "WATCH: Godman Nithyananda Swami CLAIM cows will talk in Tamil and Sanskrit!". The Live Mirror. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  24. ^ Pandey, Sanjay (13 February 2013). "Nithyananda feted at Mahakumbh". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Nithyananda conferred 'Mahamandaleshwar' title". Press Trust of India (PTI). 14 February 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2017 – via
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Karnataka trial court frames charges against Nithyananda in rape case". The News Minute. 6 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Setback for Nithyananda as SC dismisses discharge petition plea". India Today. 1 June 2018.
  30. ^ a b c d "Woman claims foul play in daughter's death in Nitya ashram". The Times of India. TNN. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  31. ^ a b "HC asks Bidadi police to file affidavit on woman's death in Nithyananda's ashram". Deccan Herald. DH News Service. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  32. ^ a b c d e f Chatterjee, Soumya. "K'taka HC pulls up police for not probing Nithyananda disciple's death in ashram". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Mother of girl who died in Nithyananda ashram alleges torture, unnatural death". The News Minute. 11 February 2015. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018. A version of this article was first published 4 January 2015.

External links