A Straight Response, Yes, Nithyananda is Fraud; Here's Why:
In contrast to most of our other posts, we will try a straightforward approach. After receiving a rather polite and engaging pro-Nithyananda message, we decided to post it and address the general concerns. Here's the posted comment:
Nov 24, 2009 9:24 pm
I have been following your posts for sometime. I must say that you give the impression of being an ex-"insider" who knows more than he is saying. Be that as it may, I do not find any solid evidence of any kind to back up your contentions being put forward, and your conclusions appear to be contirived. I have been a devotee of the mission for the last 5 years and have never seen the kind of abuse and tyranny you speak of. The volunteers at Bidadi and LA whom I met (and continue to meet) are happy. Some amount of disciplining and harshness is part of the Guru-Shiksha parampara, maybe you should not over-stress it without specific evidence. In any case, a sadhna or spiritual journey is undertaken by each one for his own development, be it linked to empire or not. If people find the benefits coming to them, they stay, otherwise they leave. Its like the lamp that lights your path on a dark night. What do you see? the lamp (its colour, make etc) or the path? What do you respect more - the lamp or its light? Nithyananda has always said that if you have found your inner Guru, by all means follow him and go beyond the form of the Master. I do not want to get into involved spiritual wranglings. The truth he expounds is part of ancient wisdom, he is a powerful catalyst who can makes its relevance apparent to each one. Does it really matter who said it first - he or Osho or Ramakrishna or whoever? Don't we need only the light?
I don not know if you will publish this. Its my hope that you will...
Thanks and best wishes on your journey.
And our response:
Om Namah Shivaya,
Thanks anonymous for the post titled “What Fraud?”. We appreciate your seeking to understand and openness of dialog, and we will certain try to reply with the same respect that you have shown for us. We are glad that you are happy, and we acknowledge that you see others being happy and involved with Nithyananda’s order. We also recognize your point that it doesn’t really matter where someone gets their spiritual ‘nourishment’, whether that be from whole wheat bread or dahl (lentils), as long as they are able to grow. Yes, on one surface, we have to agree that it seems not worthy of disturbing happy people who are getting, as it seems, spiritual growth. If Sri Nithyananda were a spiritual teacher that taught with some purity, then we would wholeheartedly agree. We would close up shop and never bother with this blog. Even if there were points that we disagreed with that Sri Nithyananda did, as long as he held up the basic tenants of dharma (righteousness), we would recognize his grace and only receive our support.
Yes, you are right, we are insiders, and there are several of us. We came to Sri Nithyananda with trust, and to use your analogy, we have no issue with the lamp. But, we do have issue with the light that illuminates from this lamp. Instead of pure light, we found poisons gas, and therefore, we feel we must warn others and try to get those that are near this dangerous ‘light’ away. Yes, this does not make us very popular with those that under the ‘bliss’ of this lamp. At the end, it will be their choice to experience this deadly ‘light’ or not, but at least they can base their decisions after from hearing our findings, as unpleasant as it might seem to them at first.
To address some of your points, yes, we agree this statement:
If people find the benefits coming to them, they stay, otherwise they leave.
And, that has happened. Already six of the twenty-five followers who received Nithyananda’s first batch of ‘mass enlightenment’ have woken up and left. As the light of Truth hits the collective years of programming combined with the loyalty these followers shown by ‘donating’ their savings and years of service, there will be conflict. Their minds were in comfort zones, and now they are being questioned. This is true ‘churning’, and it is not just some humiliation that needs to be ‘swallowed’ as ego submission to the master. This struggle is their very beings fighting for existence.
The subject of your message was “What Fraud?”. Although we feel that we have been very clear in our past blogs, we welcome the chance to highlight what we consider to be fraud that Sri Nithyananda has done. First, we feel that Sri Nithyananda by borrowing other people’s works and claiming them as his own violates a standard of ethics. A true enlightened master would never plagiarize. There’s a red flag right there. Then, Sri Nithyananda uses his claim that he has ‘written’ all of these truths as a way to strengthen his claim that he is indeed enlightened. Red flag number two. This is much like the way that Sri Nithyananda has embellished his stories about himself, which we feel most if not all are fabricated. Red flag number three. The easiest ‘story’ to prove as being false is Sri Nithyananda’s claim of wandering for the nine-years that supposedly happen from 1995 to the January 1, 2000.
In defense of Sri Nithyananda’s claim for these nine years, one of his supporters commented in the Guruphiliac Forum, that Sri Nithyananda actually ‘wandered’ from 1994 to 2003, to account for the nine years. Well, if Sri Nithyananda’s wandering included ‘obtaining’ enlightenment, settling in his body in a cave for nine months, setting up his first ashram by the Kaveri River, moving his ashram to Bidadi, and in July 2003, arriving to the U.S. This just does not add up. We have sincere doubt to all of other Nithyananda stories, which include but not limited to carving a statue of Osho as his first act of enlightenment, graduating from a polytechnic school, his 360 degree meditation experience which still allows him to see from behind, etc. We really would like to believe Sri Nithyananda, but sadly, none of these stories make logical sense, and Sri Nithyananda’s validity of being grounded in sathya (truthfulness) is deeply in question.
Going back to Sri Nithyananda’s borrowed teachings, we also found a common trend of all of these ‘Truths’ to have certain embellishments added to them. Red flag number four. These embellishments consist of self-serving themes such as ‘only an enlightened master (him) can lead you to enlightenment’, ‘true devotion an the enlightened master will lead you to see a white bird as being black’ (ironically this seems very true to what actually does happen under Nithyananda’s sway), ‘never questioning anything about an enlightened master’, and ‘unclutching from all social relationships, careers, and families and then aligning oneself to the master’. If Sri Nithyananda was a software company, he would copy another company’s product and then add his own virus to it, and then sell it as his ‘own brand’. You might say that these Truths are universal and could be shared. That is a point. Mind you that other spiritual missions, in order to keep the knowledge of their past masters alive, need the revenues from the sale of these ideas, which Sri Nithyananda, has borrowed almost line-for-line. So, it could be said that Sri Nithyananda is draining these masters' resources. In addition, it seems that Sri Nithyananda does not use these Truths to help people grow, but uses them to ‘capture’ new recruits for either financial contributions or labor. We find this very troubling.
We also found that Sri Nithyananda claims that he can give mass ‘enlightenment’ and gladly sells that to his ‘devout’ followers through a series of expensive programs. Yes, we would all love to be enlightened. No doubt. Troubling to see that six of the first twenty-five close followers that Sri Nithyananda made ‘enlightened’ have left him for they no longer claim that Sri Nithyananda’s certificate of enlightenment was valid. The remaining 19 followers seem to have worldly problems or at the very least have symptoms of worldly problems. Red flag number five. Selling mass ‘enlightenment’ that is not valid.
Another deeply troubling aspect of Sri Nithyananda seems to be the source of his siddhis (powers). There have been countless stories of ghosts and preciously few stories involving divine deities. Placing non-sattvic (non-pure) items in fire rituals such as human hair, marijuana seeds, and red chilies also points to a less than pure divine practice. Leading followers in cemetery tours late at night makes, in our opinion, no doubt that Sri Nithyananda’s source of power is from the graveyard and not from the Divine. Red flag number six. So, what can someone do with all this power? Masquerading dark forces as a Divine presence will have huge karma. Sri Nithyananda might be able to give lots of people very ‘unique’ experiences, which might lead them to believe that Sri Nithyananda really is that ‘divine’ force. This is sad, and we’ll call it fraud. It is our collective experience that Sri Nithyananda’s practices leads to a ‘solid’ and ‘real’ experiences of something that is beyond logic, but results in absolutely no knowledge. This is akin to ‘feel good’ and ‘hallucinogenic’, but zero growth. Even more troubling is that Sri Nithyananda seems to cultivate 'loyalty' and 'gratitude' upon peole who have experienced his sidhis (powers). Addiction to these types of experiences are a disaster to spiritual growth and adds dependency to his followers on Sri Nithyananda.
This source of his siddhis (powers) ties directly into the claims that Sri Nithyananda has made about being God himself. Since he practices graveyard spirituality, how can he possibly claim that he is (or was once) 1. Lord Krishna, 2. Devi Meenakshi, 3. Lord Subramaniam, 4. Lord Ayyappa, 5. Lord Shiva, etc.? How can Sri Nithyananda justify replacing Lord Shiva’s name with his name in holy mantras? We feel that this is Divine identify theft and is red flag number seven.
Similarly, who could doubt that healing practices are not something good? After hearing stories about Sri Nithyananda healed his back after breaking it on a truck ride, etc., who wouldn’t want to reach out and be healed of all those diseases we carry or have our love ones healed? Unfortunately, we have experienced first-hand plenty of times Sri Nithyananda's healing did not work. Even more damaging were his excuses that followed. Marketing himself as an enlightened healing master is at best questionable. We consider this red flag number eight.
Then, there seems to be practices of Sri Nithyananda that nicely fit in the realms of a cult and certainly not in Vedic traditions. These include sleep deprivation, public humiliation, required legal name changes, etc. These collectively break down a follower’s free will and mind to become submissively subservient only to Sri Nithyananda. In addition, we have witnessed his techniques to break up families and play people off against each other. These divisive methods of achieving ‘spiritual growth’ and label it as ‘churning’ or ‘master is working on you’ is manipulative, and these practices are as far away from anything that resembles spirituality as we know it. Sri Nithyananda tricks people into thinking that they are getting spirituality, but instead they get a cult. We consider that fraud. That is red flag number nine.
One of the most quick and effective ways to break up families, replace people’s identity, obtain their savings, and indenture their services, skills, labor, and lives in one clean swoop is to give them sanyasi (monk) initiation. Sri Nithyananda has given out perhaps hundreds of sanyasi (monk) initiations to people who are not qualified for it or have obligations in this world that would preclude them from this practice. To a true enlightened master, giving out sanyasi initiation is no joke; it requires dedication of the master’s life in this life and beyond. Sincere masters often wait years to ensure that the person is qualified and has no other conflicting obligations. To Sri Nithyananda, giving sanyasis initiation it seems to be one more mass method of as an ‘end’ to achieve his ‘means’. Red flag number ten.
Finally, we have seen Sri Nithyananda’s other side. His private side. Yes, in public, Sri Nithyananda talks a very good talk, and seems convincing with his sincerity. In private, however, we have found a very different man. There seems to a strong inclination towards power (wanting to have his own country, as an example), strong desires for wealth, especially gold, and a flair for the private company of attractive ladies. If Sri Nithyananda markets himself as a renunciate, celibate monk, and holy man that is above all these worldly trappings and worthy of being declared as God himself, then it is with great sadness and deceit that the true nature of Sri Nithyananda has been revealed. Red flag number eleven.
To recap, we find all of these red flags (and we’re sure that there are more that our readers will add to this already lengthy list) to point toward a massive, well planned, and organized fraud. Be very clear, Sri Nithyananda’s followers do not benefit spiritually. Sri Nithyananda gains all the worldly benefits and everyone collects huge karma from such a scheme. Such acts gives a bad name to spirituality and tarnishes the hard work of real masters.
Now, some of you might think that if the Sri Nithyananda’s followers are happy to be part of such a scheme, then we should just leave things alone, and let Sri Nithyananda do what we feel is fraud without bothering anyone. That would be easy, and we would have probably experience more personal productivity than bothering to point all these inconveniences out. Yet, we cannot do this. To see what we consider as flagrant fraud, and to turn our backs and look the other way, is not in accordance to dharma. This is much like ignoring the crimes of a drug dealer. The drug dealer has a similar product and people have seemingly ‘good’ experiences from the dealers products, so why not? Well, when others get pulled in and when anyone tries to quit the addiction, they find themselves sadly robbed of everything, their lives, health, money, careers, families, everything. We feel that this is wrong, and we will not tolerate it. Yes, this is what fraud is and what it does, and we are quite convinced that Sri Nithyananda is guilty of this crime. We hope that he stops committing this fraud and starts a vitreous life and inspires others do to the same.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of why we are building awareness to what we perceive as a huge problem.
Thank you for your attention. Jai Maa.