When self-styled godman Nithyananda’s videos started doing the rounds earlier this year, they left most people puzzled. After all, Nithyananda had last made the headlines with allegations that he had raped a former disciple. While his appearance seemed to have drastically changed, it wasn’t readily apparent if his discourses were a deliberate attempt at an image makeover or just a case of unintentional sit-down comedy.
In addition to many such clips that would have brought euphonic epiphanies for the likes of Fritjof Capra and caused a fundamental shift in the Tao of Physics, leading to a permanent shift in our understanding of the space-time continuum, Nithyananda also played supporting role in yet another viral video in which the central part was played by the Ayn Rand of Internet Hindutva, Rajiv Malhotra.
While Malhotra needs no introduction to the readers of Scroll.in, this video seemed to present him in a totally different avatar.
Malhotra was seen proposing what he said was a “very provocative business strategy” that could “make you the richest man in the world”. Malhotra said he had identified the biggest problem facing the richest men in the world – when they die, their wealth doesn’t go with them. So he had come up with a plan to help billionaires who may be “born poor” or in “some African country” in their next lives.
Malhotra even offered a plausible explanation for this.
“Because you know the Karma people, the people in the sky, who are the admin for Karma might say: ‘Okay, you had one good life now you have to be poor also.’”
And this is where the elegance of Malhotra’s business plan comes in.
“So the proposal is we go to Bill Gates and say you got a hundred billion, and you are giving philanthropy, this, that, because charity will get you to heaven, what not – that is your tradition.
Out of the 100 billion you give 50 billion to us in Trust to be given to you in your next life when we find you.”
But how would that be done?
“So to do that we form a Trust Management Company. Normally Trust is formed to transfer your wealth to your biological offspring and all that and these banks take a lot of commission and they pass it on to your kids and whatnot. This will be the world’s first ‘Inter-life Reincarnation Trust Management.”
“Like a smart lawyer can do smart lawyering, we can do business smart,” Malhotra had earlier promised, and he left no doubt that it was exactly what he intended to do. The amount of 50 billion to be given back to Gates, had already come down drastically. After all, as he explained sagely, if we “give him at least five, ten billion, he will be much happier.”
Seeing the sheer genius of the plan, Nithyananda smiled a beatific smile and vigorously nodded assent. “I think if we do little more research and establish the authority,” he said.”It is possible, sure.”
There have been some attempts to claim that Malhotra was actually being sarcastic, in a move that is reminiscent of claims on behalf of Francois Gautier that his satirical writings had been taken at face value. Much in the same way, perhaps, that Malhotra had himself once cited an article in “America’s finest news source” – the Onion.
As it turned out, the short clip had been extracted from a two-hour-fifty-one-minute video uploaded in December 2016 on Nithyananda’s YouTube channel and does not do full justice to the sheer brilliance of Malhotra’s plan.
Interested readers can see the full video above where Malhotra went on to explain the finer details of the “Jeevatma GPS” he planned to deploy to find the rich men born poor in their next lives in Africa, though Nithyananda hastily interjected to clarify that rebirth in next life could be arranged at any place of choice. “We can be clearly guiding and bring back wherever we want,” he solemnly assured those present. Which provided a cue to Malhotra to provide for a graded fee structure from potential clients.
“So there will be two levels of fee structure.
One fee structure: We take 25% of what he has put in trust is our fee and what we do is, we get a GPS on his Jeeva atma and these kids from the Gurukul will be entangled with Warren Buffet, another 10 will be with Bill Gates, like that with all these people.
And another may be we will need 50 for Mukesh Ambani because he needs more help, you know, more help.
So each of this group will follow the Jeevatma GPS – and where he is born, they go there and give him this money and say we are authorised, we have qualified and this is how it works and 25% is ours.
If the guy wants to be born in a particular place of his choice then the fee is 50%.
Yeah, so this way we become the richest community, the Hindus with Agama become the richest technology. And rather than anybody supporting us, we will be actually the people supporting the whole world; richest people.
This could be happening. So maybe, maybe it’ll take five years, 10 years. This is the world’s most powerful full R&D centre.
I feel that Swamiji is the most powerful cutting edge research R&D person.”
Swamiji was of course all smiles.
Soon thereafter came the news that Malhotra had been appointed honorary guest lecturer in the Centre For Media Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Clearly, we should not begrudge rewards, but it is perhaps worth asking: might a business school have been a more appropriate choice?
As for Nithyananda, he is neither the first nor even a particularly smart purveyor of gobbledygook as spiritualism. “But I think they should definitely have a quality control on gurus,” as a German woman said to Gita Mehta in Karma Cola, a forgotten classic on the marketing of the mystic east.
A statutory health warning is therefore necessary, and here’s to hoping that we get to see less of such videos where Nithyananda was also seen advocating elimination of 20% of population in a group, arguing that it was “not violence but surgery”. As the new year dawns, it’s good to remember that far from being a laughing matter, the joke is invariably on us.