I'm a YouTube hit: Nithyananda
Freed on bail after spending 53 days in prison on rape charges, self-styled godman Nithyananda says the purported video footage of him with an actress has affected him socially — turning him to one of the 'most watched scandals' on internet.
“Spiritually nothing changes, because the truth is always the same. But socially I can say many things have changed. I used to be the one of the most watched gurus on (video sharing site) YouTube — now I am one of the most watched scandals on YouTube,” the 32-year-old told PTI.
He defended himself over “media reported charges” of sexually exploiting women, saying that over 23 lakh women have so far attended his programmes. “In my ashram, I have female ashramites aged between eight and 80. Though CID issued repeated appeals since March this year, not a single woman has lodged any complaint so far,” he said.
“Over 300 women come to the ashram each day for darshan and blessing,” Nithyananda said.
He appeared in no hurry to clear his name. “After three months, I think devotees and public are beginning to understand the truth. All their queries are being automatically answered. I don’t need to clear my image because in course of time the truth will emerge.”
The ‘godman’ hit the headlines last March after a purported video footage showing him in a compromising position with a Tamil actress was aired on local TV channels.
Told that swamis being embroiled in controversies seemed the order of the day and asked when religion, money, sex and politics got mixed, he said, “It is exactly the opposite. Religion or rather, spirituality has not entered deep enough into money, sex or politics... Only if spirituality penetrates every dimension of life even material life can become sacred.”
Asked whether the incident had made him mentally stronger and if he has grudge against those who have now distanced themselves from him, he said, “I can say all devotees who survived so much sensationalism have emerged stronger. It has been a tremendous learning experience for all.”
“Some people got carried away by rumours. Those who experienced the truth around me stayed strong throughout. Some were shaken, but are coming back as the rumours are being cleared,” Nithyananda claimed.
Asked about plans to continue his missionary goals in the face of a court directive restraining him from preaching, he said, “My concern is for my ashramites, devotees and seekers who chose this path and want to receive spiritual guidance. But I shall abide by the High Court direction.”
“Ultimately, justice will prevail,” he said.
He, however, evaded a question on whether he was still in touch with the actress purportedly shown in the video and his alleged infatuation with her as a young lad.