Swami Sex Tape Leads to Riot, Web Storm

The BBC reports:

Nine people have been arrested in south India for vandalising the ashram of a Hindu holy man after TV channels showed him allegedly engaging in sexual acts.

The footage appears to show Nithyananda Swami, 32, in bed with two women.

…Last week it was announced that a self-styled Hindu holy man was being investigated by police in Delhi for allegedly running a prostitution ring.

Nithyananda was born in 1978, and his teaching is a five-step plan known as Nitha Yoga. This site has a biographical overview:

Paramahamsa Nithyananda, a renowned spiritual master of the modern age, was born in the famous spiritual town of Thiruvannamalai in the Southern part of India, which has been home for several enlightened masters like Ramana Maharshi and Yogi Ram Surat Kumar.

…Through intense meditation practices and in-depth study of Yoga, Tantra, Vedanta, and Shaiva philosophies, Swamiji attained the ultimate state of consciousness, the State of Nithyananda (Eternal Bliss) at the age of 22. Having received the ultimate gift, Swamiji felt the intense need to share this precious gift with humanity. Thus was born Dhyanapeetam in the east and Life Bliss Foundation in the west. The mission  – The advent of Paramahamsa Nithyananda on planet earth is to create a new cycle of individual consciousness causing Collective Consciousness to enter into the Super  Conscious zone. To achieve this, Nithyananda Mission aims to initiate 100 million people into the unique meditation Nithya Dhyaan and one hundred thousand people to ‘live enlightenment’.

…A multi-dimensional enlightened master Swamiji provides different techniques to his devotees and disciples, depending on their constitution, to raise themselves and connect with their higher self.  Worship is one of them.

And what might the others be, one wonders? Elsewhere, we read that:

To the question posed by a devotee of whether he is God, Nithyananda simply replies, “I am not here to prove I am Divine, I am here to prove you are Divine.”

An associated website adds the detail that

Yogiraj Maharishi Raghupati Yogi was Nithyananda’s teacher, and a Master of Yoga who expressed many miraculous powers, like levitation.

ln 2007, Nithyananda became the “spiritual leader” of the International Vedic Hindu University in Florida; “All degree programs in IVHU are designed by Paramahamsa Nithyananda, in collaboration with academic and Vedic Pundits to ensure quality, relevance and rigor.”

According to a Wall Street Journal blog:

…as I write this, the Nithyananda hashtag is trending at somewhere between #7 and #8 in the world, with over 1,350 contributors who have weighed in on the “X by day, Y by night” theme, with over 5,000 tweets. Go here to see the latest tally.

But Twitter aside, it is the top trending topic on Google search today – actually it’s 6 of the top 10 topics at this moment, the others being the name of the Tamil actress, his alleged partner in passion, that mainstream media has so kindly but futilely blocked out.

However, a notice on the Swami’s main website  assures us that he is not taking this blow lying down:

At this moment, we feel that a mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumor are at play in these recent events that have unfolded. We are working on a legal course of action and will come up with updates in due course.

In these trying times, we wish to reassure the lakhs of devotees and well-wishers whose sentiments have been deeply hurt by this conspiracy. We thank all the devotees and disciples for standing with us during these times…

The Swami’s books include Guaranteed Solutions: For Sex, Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Attention-need, Ego, Discontent.

The sex tape can be seen on YouTube here; there are only a couple of mildly explicit moments, and there is only one woman featured, not two. Someone has added a wonderful music soundtrack.

In 2005 the UK Guardian reported that a Greek newspaper had published pictures of a “91-year-old metropolitan bishop… cavorting in the nude with a young woman”.

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