The office of fugitive guru Nithyananda expressed condolences and staked a claim as the successor to Sri Arunagirinathar, the second 292nd pontiff of the Madurai adheenam (mutt). The self-styled godman fled from India around 2019 after accusations and charges of rape and abduction, and announced the establishment of his own self-proclaimed island nation, ‘Kailaasa’. Nithyananda’s office stated that Kailaasa mourned the death of Sri Arunagirinathar by ordering all establishments, including the federal building, religious institutions and universities, to lower the national flag to half-staff.
The social media statement also stated that Nithyananda performed all the rituals of ‘mukthi’ for the departed 292nd pontiff and attached photos of the rituals. There is a 1.5 million-year-old Tamil Shaivite mutt located in Madurai and Nithyananda is the new pontiff. Furthermore, it asserted that he stood as the heir, descendant, and lawful successor to the ancient adheenam. The Madurai Adheenam was created by Sri Arunagirinathar in April 2012 and Nithyananda was appointed as the junior pontiff. Despite this, the chief pontiff removed him from the position as a result of disciplinary action in December 2012.
‘Sundaramoorthy Swamigal will soon become the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Adeenam. Nithyananda is a stranger to us. Lord Shiva is lauded and praised, but he himself behaves like Lord Shiva. He can’t just claim anything by posting a social media status. He didn’t even visit the adheenam and speak about Nithyananda’, said Jayachandran, an advocate of the Madurai adheenam. The gurus from the mutt even dismissed him as trivial.
Nithyananda has repeatedly used social media to promote his ‘Hindu sovereign nation’ in videos and tweets. His island, believed to be near Ecuador, also has its own cabinet and prime minister as well as a website that declares, ‘Kailasa is a nation without borders, created by Hindu dispossessed around the world who cannot practice Hinduism authentically in their homelands’. Nithyananda even launched a ‘Reserve Bank of Kailaasa’ in August 2020. The official currency of the island was declared to be the ‘Kailashan dollar’.