Swami will avoid 'experiments' unacceptable to society from now on

DNA, India/March 13, 2010

Bangalore: Ten days after clips of Swami Nithyananda allegedly frolicking with a Tamil actress were flashed on TV screens across the country, the 33-year-old 'godman' said they were just ‘experiments’ that rubbed society the wrong way. He blamed the media for the ‘attack’ against him and his organisation.

The self-styled Paramahamsa Nithyananda yesterday made a direct reference to the sex scandal involving him and an actress for the first time, and said he will refrain from "experimenting" with anything that is unacceptable to society.

He made the statement in a video interview with his disciple Rajiv Malhotra. The video, the second in 24 hours, was uploaded on to YouTube, a popular video-sharing site.

Nithyananda said the latest controversy had taught him several lessons. "In 33 years of my life, I have seen two extremes: from being the most watched guru on YouTube to the most watched scandal on YouTube. In a way, even this abuse, defamation, and attack have taught me a lot of lessons about society, life, and humanity, which I had never thought of and never looked into. This has made me more responsible. Now I have decided that I am not going to experiment [with] anything which is not widely accepted by society."

The spiritual leader told the interviewer that his organisation had failed in handling the scandal and other allegations levelled against him. The swami’s headquarters in Bidadi near here has been handling the crisis.

"Our PR was not trained for all this planned attack," Nithyananda said. "I do agree that there is a lack of kshatriyatas in our organisation, and this is the trend among all spiritual organisations. I can say that we were only doing spiritual research and development. I do call this a failure of the organisation," he said, adding that his disciples and devotees were afraid that he would be "physically killed".

Repeated attempts to contact ashram PRO Nithya Sevananda failed as his mobile phone was switched off. When contacted, Maa Nithya Manishananda, senior vanaprasthi of the ashram, refused comment. "I do not wish to comment," she said. "This is what the swami has stated. We cannot say anything."

Nithyananda, who established a spiritual empire spreading from Bidadi to Las Vegas in the US, said he was rethinking several of his plans made for himself and the organisation.

The 'swami' refused to respond to a question if he was planning to scale down the ashram’s activities. The refusal made the interviewer remind the swami of other spiritual organisations, such as that of Baba Ramdev and Osho, which outlived the scandals that once enveloped them.

The swami termed the latest controversy part of a conspiracy. "We were not prepared for this kind of a strong attack, a war. We are a silent group, conducting spiritual research, practising and sharing it to the world. People who are attacking us had never helped us when we were doing things which were socially accepted. We have done thousands of socially accepted works. We do not know the power and strength of the group behind this conspiracy," he said.

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