Nithyananda's Los Angeles temple closes down

Nithyananda's Los Angeles temple closes down

Ashrams in Malaysia, Singapore also shut shop

One of the biggest money-spinners, the so-called Vedic Temple in Los Angeles in the United States, has sent out e-mails to all senior devotees announcing that “Beginning on Saturday, April 17, the Nithyananda Vedic Temple will be closed to the public.”

Less than a week ago, a spokesman for the godman's Gombak Ashram in Malaysia, K Murthy, declared that the centre had halted all its activities and that the office bearers there were prepared to cooperate with the Karnataka CID in its investigations against the criminal cases against Nithyananda. The CID has already sent notices to the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam asking the godman to appear before the sleuths for being examined.

Former devotees told Deccan Herald that the Singapore ashram and related institutions have also taken the decision to close down. However, the biggest blow to Nithyananda and some of his associates is the decision by the Los Angeles temple administration which conveyed its "deepest thanks" to devotees for "patronage over the years."  But it indicated that the temple might re-open, though not as part of Nithyananda's Dhyanapeetam. The temple came up in 2007 when a California-based NRI Popat Savla took up the burden to pay off the $2.5 million mortgage.

Power struggle

Since the scandal broke on March 2, there was an intense power struggle among two groups of devotees attached to the Los Angeles ashram and the Vedic Temple.  It appears that the view of the group opposed to Nithyananda for his alleged sexual indiscretions with male and female devotees, moral turpitude and "cheating" in the name of spirituality and healing have prevailed over a minority that still supports Nithyananda.

It is learnt that two close Nithyananda associates Gopal Sheelum Reddy, alias Bhaktananda, and Shiva Vallabhaneni, alias Sachitananda, may return to Los Angeles to wrest back control of the temple.  But the CID sleuths probing the case may not allow them to leave the Bidadi ashram where their presence is required from the point of view of the investigation.