Lakshmi Sahiti Malladi met His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda at the age of 8, in 2004, when He was on His second world tour around the United States. He visited Seattle, Washington for a few days during which Lakshmi and her family attended the
Lakshmi’s family was a pure brahminical family who practiced Hinduism even though they had immigrated to the United States and lived in the western society. Because of her genuine devotion to God and passion for ritual, both Lakshmi and her brother were brought up with a deep connection to deity worship even though they simultaneously went to western schools.
Immediately as soon as they met Paramahamsa Nithyananda, they fell for His authenticity in practice and the vision to build temples. The family quickly left any other guru they were following and dedicated their lives to Paramahamsa Nithyananda. In 2006, Lakshmi’s brother Sri Nithya Raajaananda even joined gurukul in Bidadi.
Vinay Bharadwaj began volunteering for the the mission of His Divine Holiness in 2004 as well. He was well known and friendly throughout the gathering communities of devotees of Paramahamsa Nithyananda. By 2007, Vinay was leading operations in Seattle, Washington. The whole community began pulling together to establish a temple. His Divine Holiness told his vision of establishing Seattle as a western Chidambharam temple, exactly like the Chidambharam temple in Southern India built in the United States. By this time, the 10 foot tall Ananda Nataraja deity was already ready to be shipped.
Inspired by this vision, close to 40 people came together to make the temple happen which was inaugurated on February 24, 2008. Lakshmi connected deeply to Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, in that temple as she herself was passionate about dance. She devoted herself to, even as such a young age, to the temple activities. She and her family involved themselves in the functions of the temple completely and began spending most of their day there.
When Vinay Bharadwaj began paying special attention to her, she at first didn’t feel it was harmful in any way. His attention was trying to make her laugh, making her feel better when something happened between her and her friends. It was seemingly caring and in good nature. Suddenly, however, his attention became more physical. Without knowing, lingering touches, hugs, playful fights started between them. An alarm will go off in Lakshmi’s head every time, confused by his attention which she neither she had never experienced before nor knew what it meant.
Simultaneously, Vinay began coaxing Lakshmi’s trust with by making long phone calls with her that often went late into the night. At first he began as a emergency phone number in her phone but soon the calls became longer and happened only at night. The topics of the conversations too slowly became more and more mature.
At the end of 2009, Vinay suddenly began making sexual advances toward the eleven year old. He cornered her in the temple and kissed her, touched her waist and lower back. These incidents sent Lakshmi into a panic. Meanwhile at night, he convinced her that he cared for her deeply and loved her. Painful torn and panicked, Lakshmi decided to keep quiet, not knowing what the consequences will be for her if she decided to speak.
The incidents that followed were heartbreaking and terrifying. In the end, Lakshmi bravely told everything to her parents and then decided to go ahead with
What she never never was the entire time Vinay was planning a conspiracy against her beloved guru Paramahamsa Nithyananda and planned for her to participate in it. Throughout the criminal case that she filed she was forced to tolerate Vinay’s defense which abused her relationship with her guru, whom she saw as God.