In factional war, Nithyananda's Los Angeles ashram disintegrating

In factional war, Nithyananda's Los Angeles ashram disintegrating

Biographer disengages from godman, disciples quit

Nithyananda's biographer ('Glimpses of a Master', republished as 'Nithyananda' Vol 1) Ram S Ramanathan, formerly Swami Advaithananda, has "disengaged" himself from the godman. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Ramanathan, who runs a business in Singapore, said he was "disenchanted" with Nithyananda.

In an open letter written to all disciples, Ramanathan, who has admitted to have given the status of "master" to Nithyananda, says: "Nithyananda spoke to me some days after the March 2 exposure.

He did not deny that what was portrayed in the so-called sex tapes was untrue. Even with an ordinary man these would be serious charges meriting criminal investigation. In the case of a spiritual master these are unforgivable."

Ramanathan says: "Many of us put him on a pedestal and found him wanting. That was not his fault but ours. We were fools. All of us who have now disengaged and left Nithyananda and his mission did so because we are honest. It is enough that we had thus far believed foolishly. We do not wish to lie to others as many others are still doing."

Ramanathan has reiterated that “There is visual evidence that the sex acts were with sensory pleasure and with lust, evidence that these acts were not limited to Ranjitha alone but extending beyond to other men and women, and proof that ashramites/ brahmacharis/ brahmacharinis were expected to be part of tantric sex practices based on documents that they signed.”

Sources in Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam and Life Bliss Foundation, the two organisations in India and the US, respectively, that form the core of Nithyananda's  venture, said the fight between senior devotees at the Los Angeles ashram and the Vedic Temple is out in the open.

According to them, since the Nithyananda sex scandal went public and after the godman failed to convince his devotees that he was not the man secretly filmed in a compromising position with a Tamil actress, two groups opposed to each other were formed. One group is in support of Nithyananda while the other is opposed to him..

The latter group is now questioning the very basis of his so-called enlightenment and healing programme. Several senior devotees like Sahajananda, Sevakananda and Jyotirmayananda, as well as their spouses, have quit the Nithyananda cult.

The US operations are headed by California-based Bhaktananda, alias Gopal Sheelum, a former client consultant for Oracle, who is at present in India along with Nithyananda, providing his “master” protection.

The "implosion" and the factional war at the LA ashram was the result of a meeting held there following the return to the American city of an influential non-resident Indian (NRI) who turned against Nithyananda despite being a close devotee. Former devotees familiar with the developments in LA told Deccan Herald that this NRI, a doctor by profession, was convinced of Nithyananda's involvement in not just one but many sexual indiscretions. The NRI has now launched a movement to expose Nithyananda in the US.