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Trouble for 'godman' in the US

Last updated: 28 March, 2010
Bangalore, March 28, DH News Service: 0:20 IST

Nithyananda episode

Almost a month after a former Nithyananda disciple in Tamil Nadu blew the whistle on him, a former American devotee has now filed criminal complaints in the US state of California against the self-styled godman.

The complainant, who has identified himself as Douglas McKellor, formerly known as Swami Nithya Praba, is a resident of San Jose, California. In his complaint to California state Attorney General Jerry Brown on March 25, McKellor has brought serious charges of sex, fraud, financial irregularities and physical abuse of devotees in the US against Nithyananda. Copies of the complaints are in the possession of Deccan Herald.

Like Lenin Karuppan, who exposed the sex videos featuring Nithyananda and a Tamil actress and also accused him of "raping" or having sex with other women in his Bidadi ashram, McKellor has claimed that at least on one occasion he "was placed as a guard in front of the door to make sure that no one, repeat no one, disturbed him and his lady guest".

While McKellor has not disclosed the date when he was asked to guard Nithyananda's room, he does mention that it took place when the godman headed a two-day workshop in a Sanatan Dharma temple in Norwalk, California. McKellor, who is a Hindu, alleges that Nithyananda "ate his meals or rested alone with young attractive (women) followers" in his private quarters at the cult organisation's Norwalk and Montclair ashrams.

On the lines of Karuppan's allegations, the American national, who claims to have begun exposing Nithyananda's "organised fraud" in his blogsite http://nithyananda-cult.blogspot.com/, alleges in his complaint to the California attorney general that the godman "abused" Hindu religious tenets, by which he would issue "fake enlightenment certificates", took away people's life savings, including $400,000 of his bank deposit and physically abused ashramites.

Describing how he was "enlightened", McKellor says: "While living in the Los Angeles ashram in June 2007, I was one in the first batch of Nithyananda's instant enlightenment. During the week-long program, I felt unnaturally dizzy and light. It was as if some strange drug was causing me to lose my senses."

He goes on to say that during the workshop Nithyananda performed fire rituals in which all initiates "had to cut off a strand of our own hair and this hair was added to the fire." Besides, he claims, "Nithyananda also added something that looked like marijuana seeds into the fire."

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