“Our 293rd Gurumaha Sannidhana Sri La Sri Paramahamsa Nithyananda Paramacharya Swamigal is also a deep, not only deep, the deepest disciples of Saint Thirugnansambhandar. Not only that, he may be called as an avathara of Thirugnanasambandara” said Sri La Sri Arunagirinatha Swamigal, the 292nd Pontiff when coronating His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, as the Junior Pontiff or the 293rd Pontiff to-be of the Madurai aadheenam. He would further go on to say in many interviews that Paramahamsa Nithyananda is the most qualified person for the post and that no one else had such knowledge, eloquence, grace or accomplishments as Him.
He also acknowledge that Paramahamsa Nithyananda has met Gurumahasannidhanam in 2002-2003 and became his disciple and had since then done a lot of work for Shaivism including giving profound lectures on Shiva Sutras – one of the most ancient and deep texts of Shaivism. He further stated that Paramahamsa Nithyananda was from one of the communities, Saiva Vellalar, from which Pontiffs could be appointed and that He not only met but far exceeded all the requirements to be his successor.
Paramahamsa Nithyananda was coronated as per the customs and traditions of the Madurai aadheenam and performed the duties of the Junior Pontiff and started administering all the temples and streamlining the work. From the moment of His appointment till His removal, Paramahamsa Nithyananda provided Annadaan (free food) for up to 3500 people daily. He, also, provided free multi-speciality medical camps, daily spiritual healing and satsangs, and regular meditation classes for all the locals. With the anointing of Paramahamasa Nithyananda as the 293rd Pontiff, Madurai Aadheenam saw the dawn of the Shaivite Renaissance.
The work of recovering the many properties of Madurai aadheenam that was being illegally occupied upset many who were profiting by the negligence. Slowly, many of them started to file suits against Paramahamsa Nithyananda. Those who were misled by the fake extortion video that SunTV had released a couple of years ago felt Paramahamsa Nithyananda was not, without considering the real facts, an appropriate candidate to be the Pontiff.
As many as 6 Writ Petitions were filed from May to Oct 2012 asking for Paramahamsa Nithyananda to be removed as the Junior Pontiff. All petitions were thrown out as baseless. At the time of His appointment, parties with vested interest formed what they called the “Madurai Aadheenam Retrieval Committee,” which included other aadheenams that were trying to wrest control of Madurai Aadheenam from the hands of the current Pontiff. Collectively, they passed a resolution against Paramahamsa Nithyananda and sponsored many of the puppets who filed the cases against Him which were ultimately ruled in Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s favor. However, many years later they would find a sponsor who would proceed with their sinister plans.
The Tamil magazines and weeklies carried many unsubstantiated tales by these anti-Hindu forces, alleging illegal happenings in the aadheenam. They claimed that many artefacts were stolen and that the Aadheenam had tiger skins and elephant tusks illegally. Many imaginary fables were published, including a tale about drugs laced in the prasada (sacred offering after a ritual).
Fortunately, the judiciary, undeterred by public misinformation, threw out all these absurd and unsubstantiated allegations.
Owning to pressure from vested parties and the power lobbies, the Government on 18.10.2012 filed a case OS 1000 of 2012 under section 59 of the HRCE act against the 292nd Pontiff for financial mismanagement. Earlier to the appointment as Junior Pontiff, Paramahamsa Nithyananda and the 292nd Gurumahasannidhanam had created a Trust to help provide funding for the Thirugnanasambandar Swamigal Mutt. This trust was subsequently mutually dissolved after Paramahamsa Nithyananda become a part of the Mutt. But this Trust was misrepresented falsely as if it was a means to steal money and control from the Madurai aadheenam and formed the basis for the Government case. Absolutely no transactions had actually happened via the trust as the trust did not even have a bank account. However, this did not stop people from creating confusion about it. The Government also questioned the appointment of Paramahamsa Nithyananda as the Junior Pontiff –something which in many Judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the High Court of Madras have been ruled to be outside the purview of the HRCE.
On 19.10.2012 – Just ONE day after the collusive case was filed by the HRCE – owning to pressure from the Government and life threats, the senior Pontiff decided to revoke Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s appointment. This too was completely against the law as the Supreme Court has clearly ruled in many previous judgements that the appointment of the Junior Pontiff was not like a “will” which could be revoked at the pleasure of the person writing it but a “nomination.” Hence it cannot be revoked arbitrarily.
Not only did the Government file this illegal case asking for removing of a Junior Pontiff but it did not include Paramahamsa Nithyananda into the case against him – it was just the Government against the 292nd Pontiff – two colluding parties. They went ahead and got an interim order in IA 966 of OS 1000 of 2012 against Paramahamsa Nithyananda staying the functioning of the Trust Deed and the Affidavit of Appointment. This order which was taken without giving Paramahamsa Nithyananda a right to argue is unheard of in the legal field!
After getting this interim injunction the Government stopped coming for the trial and for 6 long years they just dragged the case along without giving justice and thwarting every attempt by Paramahamsa Nithyananda to have his say in the case. Paradoxically the case OS 1000 was not filed against us but against the 292nd Guru Mahasannidhanam for financial irregularities. However, in the interim order still allows him to administer the Madurai Aadheenam.
Meanwhile on 6.11.2012, the 292 Gurumahasannidhanam filed a suit 1038 of 2012 that he had removed us from the post of the 293rd pontiff and requesting the trust deed and the appointment affidavit be declared as void. Similarly we had filed OS 85 of 2013 on 31.1.2013 declaring this cancellation as void and that we should be allowed to perform our religious and spiritual functions.
Subsequently the 292 Gurumahasannidhanam on 21.04.2016 appointed one Thirunavukarasu as a junior pontiff and we challenged that appointment via OS 530 of 2016. That appointment was also challenged by one Manoj Kumar in WP 8232 of 2016 and both are awaiting adjudication. Thirunavukarasu has left the Madurai Aadheenam denouncing his disputed position and hence these two suits maybe infructuous.
In late 2017, the Senior Pontiff of the Madurai Aadheenam fell seriously sick and was hospitalized for many days. Given the ill health of the 292 Gurumahasannidhanam and the fact that most required rituals are not being performed in the Madurai Aadheenam for many years now, we filed Crl. Op. 13323 of 2017 asking the Madurai Police to give us protection to perform our religious duties as the Junior Pontiff and to perform Annadhan in the premises of the Mutt. The Judge who heard the arguments orally confirmed our position but detailed orders were reserved.
Immediately, after that in an attempt to thwart that ruling, Jagatalapratapan (one of the meddlesome interlopers who had filed a Writ Petition in 2012) acting on behalf of many interested parties including other aadheenam filed a Writ Petition WP 19004 of 2017 asking that we are prevented from entering the Madurai Aadheenam Mutt.
The Writ is completely devoid of merit both in terms of the fact that the petitioner has no locus standi in the matter, the Writ Petitions cannot be made against Individuals but only against Statutory Government entities and that the matter in question is already sub-judice via many civil suits as mentioned above. Yet Justice Mahadevan in WMP 15366 of 2017 passed an interim injunction without hearing our side prohibiting us from interfering with the Madurai aadheenam Mutt. He even barred the 10 million followers of Paramahamsa Nithyananda from entering the Madurai aadheenam and also the temples associated with it! Even the HRCE had filed a counter in the case asking for the WP to be dismissed and saying that the interim order was unwarranted.
Apart from admitting the Writ against all precedence, Justice Mahadevan next threatened Paramahamsa Nithyananda illegally with arrest demanding a written affidavit giving up his rights as the 293rd Pontiff of the Madurai Aadheenam. This was widely reported in many of the news media.
While this is no accusation on part of his neutrality (which would be a contempt of court), it came to be known later on that the Hon’ble Justice was very close to some of the Aadheenams that were part of the Madurai Aadheenam Retrieval committee. It is a well-known saying in legal parlance that ‘Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’. And given this maxim one would have expected the Hon’ble Justice to recuse himself from the case to serve the cause of Justice.
Eventually, in spite of innumerable points against the validity of the petition and the constitutional violation of preventing one from entering his place of worship, on 05.03.2018 the Court passed an order upholding the Writ and preventing us from entering the Madurai Aadheenam! Not only that, the order contained many references to matters of fact and decisions on religion which cannot be gone into by a Writ Court which does not look into any evidence. Based only on “facts” presented by the Petitioner – who is a self admitted novice and just a devotee – the Court ordered that Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s dismissal was valid. It also concluded, again without a shred of evidence based on random media news which seemed to have influenced everyone, that Paramahamsa Nithyananda had many criminal and civil cases against him and that there was a problem with his “character”. Such unfounded statements unrelated to fact were completely unbecoming of the highest court of the State.
Fortunately for the cause of Justice, in June 2018, the impugned order of the High Court in WP 19004 was stayed by a Division bench of the Madras High Court. While the appeal is still pending disposal, it was heartening that the onerous strictures of the order are no longer binding on Paramahamsa Nithyananda and his disciples till the case is disposed.
Following this another order was passed cancelling the earlier order of the lower court in IA 247 of 2012 in OS 1000 of 2012 which barred Paramahamsa Nithyananda from participating in the case against him in OS 1000 of 2012. Paramahamsa Nithyananda now – after 7 LONG years – is allowed to argue the case presented against him. We hope that when we do that justice will prevail and he will be once more recognized as the Pontiff to be of the Madurai Aadheenam