Chennai–Fugitive godman Nithyananda, who has been eluding Indian authorities after facing several charges of rape and other complaints from his former disciples and devotees, has created a major controversy by declaring on social media that he has assumed charge as the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam.
The incumbent pontiff, Arunagirinatha Gnanasambantha Desika Paramacharya Swamigal, passed away at a private hospital in Madurai on August 13 due to respiratory illness. He had been the pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam for four decades.
After his mortal remains were laid to rest on August 14, Harihara Desika Gnanasambantha Paramacharaya, who was named as the junior pontiff by Arunagirinatha Swamigal in 2019, was announced as his successor. Mutt authorities told IANS that he would be coronated soon.
However to the surprise of devotees and followers of the Madurai Aadheenam as well as common people, Nithyananda announced on social media on Tuesday that he has assumed charge as the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Aadhenam.
“All the spiritual, dharmic, traditional rituals as per the cosmic laws of Kailasa and official succession formalities as the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam is completed,” he said in his post.
The fugitive godman had, in a similar message on August 9 when Arunagirinatha Swamigal was hospitalised, said that he was the successor of the 292nd pontiff as he wished Arunagirinatha Swamigal a speedy recovery.
Nithyananda was formally announced as the junior pontiff by Arunagirinatha Swamigal on April 27, 2012, removed from the post on December 19, 2012. Arunagirinatha Swamigal later appointed and removed two junior pontiffs and was entangled in a legal battle.
Nithyananda in the social media post also said that he was blessing his devotees virtually on a daily basis. (IANS)