Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nityananda Baba – The Rise and Fall

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Our country has come across various saviors, clad in ochre, who soon turned out to be villains of the cruelest kind. With God on their lips and viciousness in their minds, they preyed upon the innocent people who trusted and revered them. One of them is Nityananda Baba who made his entry into the limelight for his misdemeanors.

Kidnapping, rape, extortion, misappropriation of funds, child abuse; there is hardly an illegal activity that has not been undertaken by this so-called ‘swami’. Swami Nityananda is now a criminal escapee. Several court cases are pending against him and a search for him is in works.

Birth of Nityananda Baba

Born in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, A.Rajasekaran or the famous God man, Swami Nityananda has been a figure of interest for people since a long time. Little is known about the childhood and early life of Nityananda Baba. Even his birth date is a matter of confusion. While according to a us visa issued in 2003 his date of birth is stated  as 13th march, 1977; an affidavit from a case in Karnataka High court states it as 1st January, 1978. Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 1

He became an ascetic at a young age. His website states that he attained enlightenment at the tender age of 12. Thus began his life as a yogi, focused on providing enlightenment to others.

Swami Nityananda, also known as ParamhamsaNityananda is a self styled god-man who has been a source of curiosity for the public.

The rise of a god-man

Nityananda Baba established his first ashram in Tamil Nadu in the year 2000. Clad in saffron, the young sadhu soon became a local hero, claiming to cure people of ailments with his healing powers and curing at least 82 children of their blindness.

Not only that,but Swami Nityananda also knows the secret of opening one’s third eye.This third eye can enable people to look through walls and other objects. This process,however was really expensive and done only for a selected few. However, in 2019, the benevolent yogi promised to reach people wherever they might be and enlighten them by opening their third eye. For this, he requested people to ‘Somehow stay alive for 3 years’.

His pseudoscientific claims also include delaying sunrise by 40 minutes by using his powers. Nityananda baba can also make cows speak in Tamil and Sanskrit.

Though these claims might seem baseless, these so-called miracles shot up the popularity of Nityananda baba. Devotees and donations in heavy amounts soon flooded in, giving rise to the fame of this self styled god-man. His operations soon spread all over Tamil Nadu, and from there, to various states such as Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

He became an inspiration not only in the country but also abroad. Ohio, San Jose, Seattle are few places in the US where he runs his Ashrams.

He started holding sermons not only in India but also in the UnitedStates of America. People don’t just follow him or his teachings but worship him as a God. This blind faith in their Swami however soon proved to be misplaced.

A string of glorious achievements

Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 2

With his rising fame and glory, he soon founded the ‘Nityananda Dhyanpeetam’, a trust which boasts of gurukuls and ashrams not just across the country but also abroad.

Nityananda Baba also does hold his fair share of international achievements. He holds not one, but two Guinness World records. The first one is for holding the largest rope yoga lesson in 2017. This activity was undertaken in his ashram in Bengaluru on 30th September.In the same year, he went on to make another world record; the largest Mallkhamba(pole yoga) lesson on 11th November.

Not only this, but Swami Nityananda is also a spiritual writer. He already has 3 literary works under his belt. His first book, ‘Living Enlightenment (the gospel of Paramahamsa Nityananda)’ was published in 2009. His other renowned literary works are ‘Guaranteed Solutions’ and ‘Bhagwat Geeta Decoded’.

Disputed Education and Age

The magnanimity of the yogi can be ascertained by the donations he had made to his alma mater institute. not only an ascetic, but Nityananda swami also holds a diploma in mechanical engineering. However, even this aspect of his life is laced with controversies.

Nityananda Baba, in his biography, claims to be born in 1978. However, his birth year does not quite match with his academic qualifications. According to the records of Rajagopal Polytechnic College in Gudiyattam in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, he enrolled into the 3 year mechanical Engineering course in 1990. This concludes that Nityananda Swami was just 12 years old at the time of his admission.Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 3

A problem arose because according to Tamil Nadu laws, a person can enroll in a diploma course only after completing their 10th standard education. A student at this time around is usually 16 years old. The mystery of how Nityananda baba managed to get admission into a course despite not meeting the age criteria is still unresolved.

The college authorities have stated that he might have secured admission through the “management quota” and might have produced false certificates at the time of admission. An investigation into the matter was ordered. However, the result of the inquiry is still not known.

Comedy amidst Controversies

While some people may pray to Nityananda Baba every day without fail, some people on the other hand don’t miss a single chance to ridicule the renowned yogi.

His video clips from sermons are a popular way to relieve stress for people. While some may find solace in his speeches, some laugh till they cry at Swami’s words.

He claimed to have created human-like organs in animals with the help of a software he himself had created. He promised to make “fully functional” vocal chords for animals so that they could talk like humans in various languages.

The omniscient Saint also went on to explain Einstein’s theory to his disciples. However, there was a little problem with it. He explained it all wrong. he also went on to say that only a ‘vegetarian mind’ could properly understand einstein’s theory. Due to these incidents, Nithyananda Baba also became a subject to various memes and jokes.

Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 4     Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 5

However, one fact cannot be overlooked, that he has a huge social media presence. He has a YouTube channel where his speeches are regularly posted. Two Facebook pages post regular updates and video clips from his speeches. Apart from these social media handles, Nityananda Baba also has a website.

The Beginning of the End

Protesters tearing down a hoarding of Nityananda Baba
Protesters tearing down a hoarding of Nityananda Baba

In 2010, the revered Nityananda baba came under fire for the first time. The ascetic who had preached and himself followed a life of celibacy was accused of having intimate relationship with an actress who was one his followers. A video of Nityananda Baba with his devotee in an intimate act was broadcasted across various news channels. The video was recorded by Swami Nityananda’s ex-driver. The female devotee was a south Indian actress Ranjeetha.

However, he quickly denied the claims, saying that the video was not his and it was being done to frame him. An investigation by the forensic sciences laboratory in Bengaluru soon confirmed that it was indeed Swami Nityananda along with actress Ranjeetha in the video. However, Ranjeetha later accused swami Nityananda of raping her on several occasions.

At this time around, he started playing the victim card. He stated that all this was being done because he was a ‘Hindu figure’ and was being ‘framed’. Surprisingly, many of his devotees, convinced by his show of innocence decided to support their revered God-man through these challenging times.  Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 6

Following this, allegations of rape were made by a female devotee drew widespread criticism from not only the general public but also his devotees. The mist of Swamiji’s greatness cleared from over the eyes of some of his followers. More and more whistleblowers appeared, exposing the malevolent ways of the yogi.

Bribery, extortion and violence were common means adopted by Nithyananda baba and his top men to get their way. As more information about his felonies poured in, cases against Nityananda Baba piled up.

Eventually, He was arrested in 2010 from Himachal Pradesh. Swamiji was then subsequently tried for various charges. Following the controversy, he laid low for a while. People assumed his chapter to be closed amidst dwindling popularity.

However, Nityananda baba managed to prove the critiques wrong. He made a comeback not long after the controversy. With hate, his popularity also grew. Some people blinded by their faith continued to worship their Swami religiously, for he could do no wrong.

They held sermons with his cardboard cutouts in his absence and continued to put their hearts and soul into his teachings.

Devotees with a cardboard cut out of Nityananda Baba.
Devotees with a cardboard cut out of Nityananda Baba.

In 2017, for ‘strategic reasons’, swami Nityananda moved his operations to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. However, his stay at the state soon came under fire. It was revealed that 2 of his devotees, based in Ahmedabad had promised their swami that they could bail him out of jail using their ‘connections’. In the same year, Nityananda baba got caught up in two major controversies.

The first one was keeping of three siblings in confinement; two of them were minors while the eldest sister had just turned 18. The kids were soon traced and brought back to their parents. However, in a surprising turn of events, the eldest sister refused to go back to her parents and insisted that she wanted to stay in the ashram. As a probe into the illegal activities in the ashram was made, another controversy regarding the acquisition of land for the ashram also arose. It was stated that the land had been illegally occupied.

However, most people believe that the illegal acquisition of the land was brought up so as to shift the light from the case of illegal confinement of the children.

The vexed escape and the rebirth of Kailasa

Nityananda Baba - The Rise and Fall 7

Just like everything else about Nityananda baba, even his escape from the country is problematic. After not appearing in court hearings of at least 40 cases, he fled the county.

According to various sources, Nityananda was successful in dodging the security forces of the country and escaped. He managed to do so by first escaping to Nepal. But, the most interesting point is that his passport had expired on 30th September 2018. So how he managed to flee on an expired passport is still a mystery. His whereabouts are also unknown. It is believed that he is hiding in South Africa while some say that he may have escaped to his island nation near Ecuador.

Various allegations of rape, child abuse and misappropriation of funds were made against Swami Nityananda. The weight of all these misdeeds soon grew too heavy for the Ascetic. Amidst court hearings, he fled the country in late 2019.

He brought a private island in Ecuador and birthed a Hindu nation called ‘Kailaasa’ named after the abode of Lord Shiva. The nation claims to have a cabinet along with a prime minister and a constitution. The nation of Kailaasa also has a flag, which features Swami Nityananda along with ‘Nandi’, the ‘vahana’ or mount of Lord Shiva.

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The official website of Kailaasa states that any Hindu, irrespective of their caste or sect is welcome to the nation where one can practice their religion freely. Any person is welcome to become a citizen of the Hindu nation by making a donation to the country. His present status is unknown. As Ecuador has not signed an extradition treaty with India, Nityananda baba cannot be brought back to India easily. His location has not been confirmed, therefore, bringing him back to the country is going to be a humungous task.

Nityananda baba has managed to grow in power and presence over the years. Despite his criminal activities, he has managed to thrive on the basis of his money power and influence. Be it getting away with malicious crimes or escaping the country illegally, Swami Nityananda has managed to pull this all off effortlessly. While having faith or believing in people like these is not really a bad thing, one must learn how to differentiate between good and bad.

Being a devotee should not come with blindness. After all, they are also human beings and can stray away from their initial purpose and get caught up in the worldly pleasures. It’s important to learn how to stand up for the greater good of the society whenever it is endangered by such people.

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