The centuries-old Madurai Aadheenam on Monday saw Harihara Desika Gnanasambantha Paramacharya installed as its 293rd chief, brushing aside claims of fugitive godman, Nithyananda that he was the new pontiff of the mutt.
Madurai Aadheenam categorically said that there was no controversy at all in the appointment as Nithyananda was never even a member of the aadheenam.
The new pontiff took his chair at the Madurai Aadheenam on Monday in the presence of pontiffs from various aadheenams across Tamil Nadu. He succeeds Arunagirinathar, the 292 head of the Madurai Aadheenam who passed away on August 13.
"The coronation ceremony went off peacefully. As per the tradition, Harihara Desika Gnanasambantha Paramacharya, who was declared as junior pontiff by Arunagirinathar, took charge in a simple ceremony," the mutt said.
Controversial godman, Nithyananda who is wanted in several cases relating to sexual harassment of inmates of his 'Ashram', had last week "appointed" himself as the head of Madurai Aadheenam.
He was appointed as the junior pontiff in 2012 by Arunagirinathar but removed from the post within a few months on charges of misconduct. He, however, continued to claim that he was associated with the Madurai Aadheenam and sought to name himself as the successor of Arunagirinathar after the latter's passing away.
Madurai Aadheenam is the oldest Shaivite monastery and Arunagirinathar headed the monastery for over 30 years. He was considered as a living example of communal harmony and used to invite clerics and priests from other faiths to the mutt often and quote from the Quran and the Bible quite often.