Age: 36 Or 38 Years
Hometown: Bhilwara, Rajasthan
|Real name||Ashoka Chotia ABP Live|
|Other name(s)||• Swami Anand Giri Anand Giri Yoga
• Chhote Maharaj (when he was Mahant at the Bade Hanuman temple in Prayagraj) News18
|Profession(s)||Spiritual leader, Yoga guru, Philosopher|
|Famous For||Being the closest disciple of Mahant Narendra Giri and the primary accused in his suicide|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 173 cm
in meters- 1.73 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 8”
|Date of Birth||• Source 1 ABP Live : 1985
• Source 2 The Times of India : 1983
|Age (as of 2021)||• Source 1 ABP Live: 36 Years
• Source 2 The Times of India : 38 Years
|College/University||Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh|
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Ph.D. in Yoga Tantra Swami Anand Yoga
• Graduation from Banaras Hindu University Swami Anand Yoga
|Caste||Brahmin ABP Live|
|Controversies||• Arrested for sexual assault in Australia: On 7 May 2019, Anand Giri, who was the Mahant at the Bade Hanuman temple in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj at the time, was detained in Sydney for molesting two women. He appeared at Mt Druitt Local Court on 26 June 2019 after he was remanded in custody on refusal of bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court on 5 May 2019. ABAP president Narendra Giri formally released a statement that they had filed a bail application. SheThePeople
• Land feud with Late Mahant Narendra Giri: An earlier land battle between the guru and disciple deepened in May 2021 after the lease of Baghambari Mutt's Gaushala was cancelled. Apparently, the leased land was registered on the name of Anand Giri, and it was for a proposed petrol pump, but Mahant Narendra Giri cancelled the lease, stating that a petrol pump could not run there, which infuriated Anand Giri who accused his guru of wanting to sell off the land. Earlier, in around 2004-2005, Anand had accused Narendra Giri of selling Baghambari Mutt's land. Reportedly, it is believed that 8 bigha land of the Baghambari Gaddi Mutt was sold off at 40 crore rupees. DNA India
• Expelled from the Bade Hanuman temple and Niranjani Akhara: The Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani expelled Anand from the akhara and the Baghambari Mutt on 14 May 2021 after Narendra Giri lodged a formal complaint against him for often getting in-touch with his family members, which is a violation of the norms set for the sannyasis. Mahant also alleged that Anand Giri was spending the donation money of the Bade Hanuman temple on his family. The Times of India
• Series of allegations against his guru: In days following his expulsion, Anand made a series of allegations against Narendra Giri.He released a video in which he accused his guru of selling Baghambari Mutt’s properties and his supporters campaigned against Narendra Giri. Anand also accused Mahant of massive financial irregularities in the ashram. He also wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi, requesting him to order a probe into the death of the former secretary of Niranjani Akhara, Ashish Giri whose body was recovered from an ashram of the akhara in November 2019, and he linked Mahant Narendra to the case. Anand further claimed threat to his life from ABAP chief Narendra Giri and his close aides. Hindustan Times A few days later, Anand sought forgiveness from his guru by touching Mahant's feet after which Narendra Giri forgave him and allowed him to enter the arena and the monastery; however, it was unclear if Anand's expulsion from the akhara was repealed. The Times of India
• Arrested for allegedly abetting Narendra Giri's suicide: On 20 September 2021, Narendra Giri committed suicide and named Anand Giri, among others, responsible for his action in his purported suicide note found at the scene in which he wrote that Anand "blackmailed" him over a "morphed photo of a girl." The Times of India Reportedly, Giri also blamed Anand for his suicide in a 1-minute-long video that he had recorded before his death. Following this, an FIR was filed against Anand on charges of abetment of suicide, and he was detained from Haridwar on the next day. India Today In the events following the death of the top seer, Anand Giri was questioned for 12 hours by the police in which Anand repeatedly claimed that it was a conspiracy to frame him in the suicide of Mahant. He was then sent to 14-day judicial custody in the Naini Central Jail. India Today
|Relationships & More|
|Parents||Father- Rameshwar Lal Chotia (farmer)
Mother- Name not known (passed away at the beginning of 2021)
|Siblings||Brother- Anand Giri is the youngest of his four brothers, one of whom sells vegetables on a cart, while his other two brothers own a scrap business in Surat.
Some Lesser Known Facts About Anand Giri
- Anand Giri is an Indian self-proclaimed spiritual leader and yoga expert, and he was the closest disciple of Mahant Narendra Giri, the national chief of Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad. Swami Anand is dedicated to the service of Bade Hanuman Temple in Prayagraj.
- Apart from being a Mahant at the Bade Hanuman temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, he was also the Mahant of Math Baghambri Gaddi until he was expelled by Mahant Narendra Giri following a fallout between the two.
- The yoga guru claims to be well-versed in Sanskrit Grammar, Ayurveda, and Vedic Philosophies, and he also regularly conducts Yoga workshops for army personnel and executives in private sector companies. Swami Anand Yoga
- In 1997, the 12-year-old Swami Anand Giri, who was studying in the seventh standard, left his ancestral home for Haridwar and started training under Mahant Narendra Giri. Soon, Anand Giri set out on the path of self-realisation and joined the Sanyaas Dharma. According to Giri, his earlier years were spent at Kedar and in the Himalayas at Tungnath, Rudranath, and Kalpeshwar. Swami Anand Yoga
- He was formally inducted into Narendra Giri’s Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani in 2007.
- Apparently, Anand’s family did not know that he had become the disciple of Narendra Giri, and they recognised Ashoka (Anand) when his discourse was telecasted in a program on Sanskar TV. Anand then visited his village in 2012 with Mahant Narendra Giri, where Mahant gave him Diksha in front of his family, and Ashoka took the name Anand Giri. ABP Live
- The self-proclaimed swami is apparently a globe-trotter. He has travelled to the US, UK, South East Asia, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Swami Anand Yoga
- Anand is also known for his non-ascetic and lavish lifestyle as his social media handles are flooded with pictures of him travelling to foreign countries and enjoying rides in luxurious cars. The Times of India
- According to Anand Giri, he has taught as a guest lecturer at around six universities, and he is also regularly invited to various educational institutions. Giri has travelled to various countries to meet his followers.
- In 2013, Anand Giri made his debut as an author with the book ‘Swarn Bhoomi Prayag,’ which was released at the Kumbh Mela. The book talks about the history and cultural significance of Prayagraj, and the city’s transformation to date.
- Swami, according to his official website, also leads the ‘Ganga Seva’ campaign under ‘Sri Maa Ganga Nirmal Sanrakshan Samiti’ that aims to make the river Ganga clean and pollution-free.
- Anand Giri was previously also known as ‘Chhote Maharaj’ at the Bade Hanuman temple in Prayagraj before the dispute over several issues with his guru and ABAP chief Mahant Narendra Giri made headlines.
- Following the mysterious death of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad’s president Mahant Narendra Giri on 20 September 2021, Anand was suspected the main accused in Mahant’s death, and he was arrested on charges of abetment of suicide after Mahant blamed him in his suicide note and in a 1-minute long video. Anand denied all allegations against him and claimed that it was all a part of a conspiracy to frame him in the death of Narendra Giri and that Mahant was “tortured over money” and murdered.
- On 22 September 2021, two days after Narendra Giri’s mysterious death, the audiotapes of an alleged conversation between Mahant Narendra Giri with Swami Om Bharti, Mahant of the Brahmachari Kuti, were leaked. The conversation disclosed that Narendra Giri was apparently tired of Anand’s “politics.” Swami also said in the tapes that in 2020 Anand allegedly used his political influence to take over a Brahmachari Kuti that spans over 12 bighas in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida by claiming to be the first Mahant. Om Bharti also claimed that he tried to file a police case against Anand Giri, but yogi’s political power stood in the way. India Today