Swami Nithyananda

Swami Nityananda, controversial guru


Swami Nithyananda is a controversial guru from India who claims to be an avatar with siddhis (special powers) — the most realized spiritual state attainable by human beings.

Nithyananda spent time training as a yogi with his master, Yogiraj Yoganandya Puri. Years later, on the auspicious date of January 1st, 2000, he experienced an explosion of enlightenment.

He claims to be able to do levitation, teleportation, and materialization. The swami also writes that he’s cured a variety of chronic diseases by simply touching the afflicted.

The controversial guru

Swami Nithyananda, the controversial guru

Swami Nithyananda is perhaps the most controversial guru in India

Swami Nithyananda has been tainted by a variety of scandals, including being videotaped having sex with one of his disciples, an Indian actress. The local media and police were all over it.

The Swami claimed that he was not in a full state of awareness at the time, and that he had asked the disciple to stop.

Was the supremely enlightened guru with a variety of siddhis to his name raped by his student? The recording does not confirm this.

The guru later stated that he was practicing a tantra spiritual technique. With tantra, traditionally taboo acts, like sex, are used to reach greater spiritual heights.

Other disciples have said that they signed tantra sex contracts with the guru, which only furthered the controversy.

Either way, no charges were pressed by the woman and, according to reports, she remains a disciple in his Ashram.

An assessment of the Swami

What are we to make of this guru’s behaviour?

Is Swami Nithyananda really an avatar with special powers? He certainly does not act like one.

Would an avatar need sexual intercourse to reach greater spiritual heights? Of course not. An avatar is a living embodiment of the Divine on Earth.

If the Swami was having sex for the benefit of his disciple, then he would not have put out a statement about her taking advantage of him.

If he was merely having consensual sex with a woman, then he could have simply said so. This would have been unpopular with the mainstream Indian culture as gurus are expected to behave according to certain traditional standards, but at least it would have been honest. Why should a spiritual master, an avatar even, be beholden to tradition?

On top of this, he spent days actively evading the local police. Why would an avatar run away from law enforcement? Could police really intimidate an immortal being?

Even Jesus encouraged his followers to pay their taxes… “Give what is Ceasar to Ceasar’s…and what is God’s to God.” Nithyananda, instead, would have you run from the law. That’s his demonstration.

It is telling that his organization is now stepping away from his leadership. They’ve found another photogenic guru to take the helm.

The bottom line

We recommend avoiding Nithyananda. Smoke does not always indicate fire, but one would be foolish to ignore it.

“You always see the world the way you are, not the way the world is.” — Swami Nithyananda


  1. Reading this controversy is like reading a sleezy gossip column… why does he live his life this way if he is enlightened? Hmm..

  2. And I bet you also don’t know that the so called slut Indian actress is now an INITIATED SANYASI AND that nithyananda is also THE LEADER HIGHEST POSITION of the oldest and most respected body of Hinduism??? DO NOT POST THIS STUFF WITHOUT BEING FULLY EDUCATED OR YOU FACE THE WRATH OF MANY GREAT MASTERS!

    • Thank you for your comment. It is true that one must be discerning about attacks on gurus in the media. To clarify: the actress was a sanyasi prior to the sexual act, and remains one today. That’s not in question. Nithyananda admitted to having sexual relations with her, but he excused it in all sorts of ways. There’s no fake video here. He admitted it! As for being the leader of the highest position in Hinduism, we’re not impressed. This means nothing, spiritually-speaking.

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