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‘My Daughter Joined A Cult’ Released: Here is the Real Story of the Self-Styled Godman

swami nithya

‘My Daughter Joined A Cult’ Web series by Vice Studios was released on June 2 on the OTT platform Discovery+. It is based on the life of controversial godman Swami Nithyananda. The three-part series follows the self-styled ‘Godman,’ who is accused of duping his followers into joining his ashram and gurukul trust and then allegedly abusing them.

Here is the real-life story of the controversial guru:
Nithyananda was born as A. Rajasekaran in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. He began practicing yoga at the age of 3. He later roamed the Himalayas as part of his spiritual training before opening his own ashram- the infamous Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam. He served as chairman of the Hindu University of America.

Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam offers yoga, meditation, and fitness courses. It runs temples, gurukuls, and ashrams across several countries and hosts cultural events in the U.S. In 2017, the ashram set a Guinness World Record for the largest rope yoga lesson. ​

In 2010, a Tamil channel showed a sex tape involving him and a female actor. In 2012, the head of the Madurai Adheenam removed Nithyananda from the position of junior priest in the centuries-old Hindu religious institution. He is regularly trolled online for his pseudoscientific claims. ​ In 2018, a Karnataka court charged him with the rape of a disciple.

In 2019, a Bengaluru couple alleged that their two younger daughters were kidnapped and kept in illegal confinement at an Ahmedabad ashram of Nithyananda for more than two weeks.​ The couple petitioned the Gujarat High Court seeking help to get back their daughters.

After the allegations surfaced, the controversial godman fled the country, according to the Gujarat police. Sources said that he was in Trinidad and Tobago at that time. Although exiled and in hiding, he remains extremely popular on social media—his Facebook page alone boasts some 1.1 million followers and drops video clips full of flowery statements, such as claiming that he and only he could cure India’s COVID woes.

In the press statement, VP of Content, VICE Studios, said, “My Daughter Joined A Cult is an uncompromising and unflinching docu-series about the internationally infamous figure of Swami Nithyananda … the series offers an authentic and compelling insight into a complex and controversial figure, using raw first-person testimonies and original production techniques. ”

References: The Hindu, Daily Beast, Outlook

Featured Image Source: TOI

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