Jiddu Krishnamurthi and Sathya Sai Baba
The famous journalist and editor of the Indian Express, V.K. Narasimhan [deceased 2000] in his old age followed his wife to live at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashrams. He became the editor of Sai Baba’s monthly journal in 1980 and often accompanied Sai Baba on visits in his car, attended countless Baba interviews and many daily meetings with Baba and students. Narasimhan knew Jiddu Krishnamurti since well before the war, originally through the court case that The Hindu fought on behalf of Krishnamurti’s parents to regain their parental role from C.W. Leadbeater and the Theosophical Society. They had met thereafter through the years, but VKN had become gradually disillusioned by Krishnamurti’s teaching, which developed into a kind of non-teaching, without any direction or definite content. Narsimhan said that Krishnamurti made a hurtful comment to him when he had said that he had become a supporter of Sathya Sai Baba, holding up his hands in dismay.
Later, however, while staying at his temple, Sundaram in Madras, Sathya Sai Baba had actually called in at Adhyar and met Krishnamurti under the famous banyan tree there, said Narasimhan. He related how Sathya Sai Baba said he had told Krishnamurti off curtly for talk of burning scriptures as useless, saying that Krishnamurti had himself never even read the great Indian scriptures (a fact of which Krishnamurti had actually boasted!). These teachings, however, maintained Sathya Sai Baba, were of great importance and solace to millions, therefore Krishnamurti had no right to denigrate them. Sathya Sai Baba had concluded by pointing out that Krishnamurti had not included his own supposedly spiritual writings in this recommended auto da fe. This view on scriptures is known from various statements Sathya Sai Baba has made in the past, such as, “No one has the right to talk patronisingly of the Vedas or disparage them.” (Prof. N. Kasturi Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Volume 2, p 43.)
In any case, Krishnamurthi’s books were hardly scriptures or put forth as anything of the kind, for they rather consist mainly in views on psychological self-development, emancipation from certain religious supersitions and freedom of the individual to develop through understanding of oneself and others in the world in which we actually find ourselves (rather than waiting for the ‘next world’ to come and solve all problems). Jiddu Krishnamuthhi was famously proclaimed as the Saviour ‘Maitreya’ (i.e. Jesus come again) by the Theosophical Society, but eventually denied that he was any such thing! Unlike Sathya Sai, he managed to stop ‘riding the tiger’ in time! Despite all Sathya Sai says about understanding and development, all this free thinking and humility is sheer anathema to him in practice. Sai Baba has often denied that there is any such thing as ‘freedom’ (which as usual he never clearly defines). Sai Baba often preaches that all normal worldly engagements are futile and even that the world, life on earth etc. are all an illusion etc. [Though he also preaches the exact opposite on occasion!!] No wonder really that Sathya Sai Baba attacked Krishnamurthi, as K. told V.K.Narasimhan.
Corroboration of Sathya Sai Baba’s negative relationship to Krishnamurti is found in his letter to Rajagopal in 1989 supporting him in pursuing the truth through his litigation against his previous life-long companion, Krishnamurti, reproduced in Baskin’s book (Diane Baskin ‘Divine Memories of Sathya Sai’ new ed., p. 234). The latter reportedly not only tried to dispossess Rajagopal of any share in what he had built up after decades of selfless, unpaid services (penning all the many Krishnamurti books) but had also lived in a secret sexual relationship with Rajagopal’s wife for decades. (Radha Rajagopal Sloss ‘Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti’. London 1993). Despite all Sathya Sai says about understanding and development, all this free thinking is sheer anathema to him. Sai Baba has often denied that there is any such thing as ‘freedom’ (which as usual he never clearly defines). Sai Baba often preaches that all normal worldly engagements are futile and even that the world, life on earth etc. are all an illusion etc. [Though he also preaches the exact opposite on occasion!!] No wonder really that Sathya Sai Baba attacked Krishnamurthi, as Krishnamurti told V.K.Narasimhan.
Another famous Indian Swami got the cold shoulder
Such was also the case with A.C. Bhaktivedasnta Prabhupada of the Hare Krishna (ISKCON) movement. Due to his intimate knowledge of Indian scripture, Swami Prabhupada never recognised Sathya Sai as an avatar. In the 1970s, Prabhupada challenged Sathya Sai to partake in a traditional Hindu disputation about God, which Sai Baba ignored.
This is the text of his letter:- “Dear Sai Baba, just recently in the Blitz paper, published on-give the date-we were surprised to find one article “God is an Indian.” And you have claimed to become an incarnation of God to save the human society. What is the ground of your claiming as incarnation? And what you have done to save the human society? Will you explain for enlightenment of us. Or many of us. We have got the list of incarnations recorded in the Vedic scriptures and their respective activities also. So where is that record in the Vedic scripture about your appearing as incarnation? Lord Krsna’s incarnation is fully described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. SRILA PRABHUPADA – ISKCON Founder-Acarya – September 13, 1976“
All this further confirms what I have shown in previous blogs – that Sathya Sai ignores and also puts down others who are viewed as spiritual gurus, holy men – and particularly if they do not praise or worship him personally as God!