File under: Real True Gurus
We really want to like Swami Nithyananda. First because we really like one of his students, Antarananda. But also because he seems like a really fun guy who has a great perspective on his being a guru and what that means for folks. For example, Antarananda reveals in a comment on a recent post here that:
My Guru is very candid in speaking publicly thus: "Frozen into one frame, Mother or Lover, I am easy for you to capture and retain. I am then easier to market. It’s good business for me, not good business for you!" Once, during a yatra in the Himalayas, he was asked about the nature of the Guru-disciple relationship. He joked that it is all a psycho-drama! I think the bliss-bunny types there must have been pretty shocked at that reply! He obviously doesn't seem to take the whole Guru role too seriously.It almost makes us forget the time Nithyananda was advertising his special brain waves for a devoted neurologist. Then there was the time he promoted the supposed manifestation of viboothi (sacred magic ash) on one of his pictures in Indonesia. While that was probably just one devotee's hysterical discovery of incense ash on the photograph, the fact that they put it on the home page still troubles us. We realize it's just marketing, but it was done so with the aid of the occluding ideas we seem to have such a problem with. We pray that this was just a momentary aberration and not a pattern.
While Nithyananda does play the role of "Ishta Devata", especially to the large throngs that go see him in south India, with the ones who are ready for the simple truth, including his closest disciples, brahmacharis and brahmacharinis etc, the relationship is refreshingly innocent and relaxed. In such an environment, it is remarkable how each person is able to grow and flower in the context of their own unique inclinations. I am sure many Gurus like him must exist.
Perhaps one day we'll run into Nithyananda down the road somewhere. Until then we're going to consider him a real true guru and wait and see what else turns up about him.