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Chennai / Madurai: The war of words between controversial Karnataka-based spiritual leader Nithyananda and those opposing his anointment as the 293rd pontiff of the over 1500-year-old Madurai Aadheenam Mutt late last month is turning murkier by the day.
The latest is the decision of actor Ranjitha Menon to file a defamation suit against the Hindu seer Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi for his comments on the selection of Nithyananda as junior pontiff of the Madurai Mutt, a leading monastery of the Shaivite order. The Kanchi seer, who is opposed to Nithyananda’s anointment, told reporters that the tradition of the Madurai Aadheenam is for its seers to tonsure their heads and wear a rudraksha, but a woman by the name of Ranjitha was with Nithyananda.
“Jayendra has said a woman by the name of Ranjitha seems to be with Nithyananda. This comment is certainly unwarranted in the context of his opposition to the choice of Nithyananda as the junior pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam. His comment defames my client and hence the suit,” Murugaiyan Babu, the lawyer for Menon, told IANS.
Reacting to the Kanchi seer’s views, Nithyananda said Jayendra Saraswathi has no locus standi in the matter as he himself is facing murder charges. The Kanchi seer is facing charges in the 2004 murder of Sankararaman, a Kanchi mutt temple manager.
Those in Jayendra Saraswathi’s camp are calling Ranjitha’s suit a publicity stunt.
Valasai K. Jayaraman, spokesperson for the Kanchi Mutt, told IANS: “Nithyananda needs publicity now. He could have simply said Ranjitha is just his disciple and the matter would have ended there and then. We will face the defamation case.”
He said Nithyananda had met Jayendra Saraswathi recently at Kashi and told him that only the latter had the power to control him.
Ranjitha’s decision has angered Hindu outfits, which are already seething with rage at Nithyananda’s appointment as the junior pontiff.
S. Jaisankar, founder president of the Vijaya Bharatha Makkal Katchi, told IANS: “There is nothing defamatory in what the Kanchi seer has said. It is just an advice to Nithyananda citing the tradition of the Madurai Mutt.”
Two years ago, a video clipping showing Nithyananda in a compromising position with Menon was telecast by television channels.
Soon after, Nithyananda was on the run and was arrested in Himachal Pradesh and released on bail later. Recently Nithyananda had challenged the heads of other mutts to install cameras in their bedroom and said he was willing to set an example.
Madurai Aadheenam is said to be over 1,500 years old. It acquired a halo when it was patronised by the seventh century Shaivaite saint Thirugnana Sambandar, one of the 63 ‘nayanmars’. Sambandar was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism in Tamil Nadu where the popular faiths were Jainism and Buddhism. According to legend, Sambandar brought the Jain Pandya King Koon Pandya into the Hindu fold.
The Madurai Aadheenam is said to own properties worth several crores of rupees though no clear estimation is available.
“The Madurai Aadheenam is intended to spread the Saivaite philosophy. A person is chosen as a head of mutt only to propagate its ideals. Nithyananda is already a peedathipathi, setting up his own peedam or organisation. How can one expect Nithyananda to spread the Shaivaite philosophy?” questions Arjun Sampath, president of the Hindu Makkal Katchi.
According to him, Nithyananda had stayed at the Madurai Aadheenam two weeks prior to his anointment as the junior pontiff.
“At that time we were told that Nithyananda was there to discuss the Shaivaite philosophy. Later the head of the Madurai Mutt went to Nithyananda’s Dhyanapeetam international headquarters in Karnataka,” Sampath said.
On April 27, Sri Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya, the 292nd pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam, declared Nithyananda as his successor at a ceremony held there. Two days later a similar event was held in Madurai.
While the current head of the Madurai Aadheenam stressed his right to choose his successor, Nithyananda termed the ones opposing him as land mafia who were busy enjoying its properties.
Nithyananda also termed the raids by the Income Tax Department at the Madurai Aadheenam office as instigated by the DMK, an allegation which the latter has dismissed. – Two Circles, 14 May 2012
» Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Security blanket thrown around Madurai Aadheenam
Police pickets were posted in and around Madurai Adheenam as some of the Hindu religious outfits, which had condemned the appointment of Nityananda as the pontiff, had threatened to enter into the premises and offer pujas under the banner “Save Madurai Adheenam” on Sunday.
From the day of announcement of the godman Nityananda as the junior pontiff by the present Madurai Aadheenam Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desigar, there has been mixed reaction.
As days passed, apart from the Hindu Makkal Katchi and other religious leaders, many other organisations including the Tamil Nadu Sivanadiyar Thirukootam had condemned the appointment of Nityananda as the 293 pontiff of the Mutt.
A consensus approach by the Madurai Adheenam in the appointment would have been welcome and would not have dragged the Mutt to such needless controversy, the members of Dharmapura Adheenam and those from Thirupanandal Aadheenam, Bharatiya Forward Bloc among others told reporters here on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, the members said that from Sunday onwards, they would fight under one umbrella unit called “Save Madurai Adheenam”.
Until the removal of Nityananda as the junior pontiff, the members would fight and even seek the intervention of the State government. The Saivaite outfits were pained over the appointment of Nityananda who was under the cloud of sexual escapade with an actor.
Though the newly appointed Nityananda and his supporters denied all the charges as baseless, the Madurai Aadheenam had miserably set a bad precedent in the selection of the successor, they charged.
Meanwhile, at the Mutt, both Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desigar and Nityananda performed pujas and offered darshan to their devotees.
A large number of persons including women devotees had lined up at the Mutt premises.
In a brief address to reporters, the Madurai Aadheenam said that they (the senior pontiff and Nityananda) would take up the issue jointly with the State government to put an end to the misleading statements by some persons.
The Adheenam is also contemplating legal action against some outfits which indulged in mudslinging acts, they warned.
When a group of about 50 persons led by ‘Nellai’ Kannan, under the banner of “Save Madurai Aadheenam” staged a demonstration at North Masi-West Masi Street on Sunday evening and insisted on taking out a procession to the Madurai Aadheenam, situated adjacent to Meenakshi Temple, police arrested them.
Seven other persons who attempted to break coconuts in front of the Madurai Adheenam were allegedly abused by supporters of Nityananda. Police had detained and further investigations were on. – The Hindu, Madurai, 14 May 2014
- “Arunagirinatha Desikan is known for courting controversies,” says M.C. Rajan http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/arunagirinatha-desikan-is-known-for-courting-controversies-says-m-c-rajan/
- Madurai Aadheenam: Hindus outraged at Nithy’s appointment as pontiff – Media Reports http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/madurai-aadheenam-hindus-outraged-at-nithys-appointment-as-pontiff-media-reports/
- Nithyananda gets Paramacharya Swamigal title, gives Madurai Aadheenam one crore rupees – Media Reports http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/nithyananda-gets-paramacharya-swamigal-title-gives-madurai-aadeenam-one-crore-media-reports/
- “Nithyananda insulting judiciary, Hinduism” – Hindu Makkal Katchi http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/nithyananda-insulting-judiciary-hinduism-hindu-makkal-katchi/
- CID charges Nithyananda with rape, sodomy, cheating, conspiracy, and criminal intimidation – Media Reports http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/cid-charges-nithyananda-with-rape-sodomy-cheating-conspiracy-and-criminal-intimidation-media-reports/
- Nithyananda-Ranjitha sex tape not tampered – CID http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/nithyananda-ranjitha-sex-tape-not-tampered-cbi/
- Nithy arrested in Himachal Pradesh – Media Reports http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/tantrika-nityananda-arrested-in-himachal-pradesh-media-reports/
- Sex, lies, a feature film, Nithy & Ranjitha – Kunal M. Shah http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/sex-lies-a-feature-film-nithy-and-ranjitha-kunal-m-shah/
- Nithy resigns from ashram and associated trusts – Media Reports http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/nithy-resigns-from-ashram-trusts-
- Nithy’s Defence Team: Sexist, Racist, and Xenophobic – Ishwar Sharan http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/hindu-activists-sexist-racist-xenophobic-ishwar-sharan/
- The Nithyananda Mea Culpa Interview? – Rajiv Malhotra http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/video-the-nityananda-mea-culpa-interview-rajiv-malhotra/
- Debutante Dharma-Gurus: Violating a civilizational patent – Sandhya Jain http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/debutante-dharma-gurus-violating-a-civilisational-patent-sandhya-jain/
- Nithyananda videos: A testing time for Hindus – Radha Rajan http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/nityananda-videos-a-testing-time-for-hindus-radha-rajan/
- All videos available at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nithyananda+ranjitha+videos&aq=1&oq=nithyananda+ranjitha
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