We may take as another example of Sathya Sai Baba’s failed promises, the constantly ill and suffering Mrs. Phyllis Krystal, an elderly lady devotee for decades from the US, who has written about some of her experiences of Sathya Sai Baba. She described her terrible chronic headaches, which Sathya Sai Baba diagnosed as due to five different kinds of headache (see ‘The Ultimate Experience’- publ. Samuel Weiser Inc.). She went through some kind of intensification of her symptoms while with Sathya Sai Baba, which she interpreted as being a part of the treatment in removing one or more of these several headaches. (Totally backward reasoning, of course!). She was a speaker at the Sathya Sai Hamburg Conference in 1992 and was asked point blank from the audience whether she was now cured her of all her headaches. She hesitated for some time, but when asked again eventually said that she was. However, later I was in London talking to Lucas Ralli, (Central Coordinator for UK & Ireland until unceremoniously kicked out) and a close friend of Mrs. Krystal, who stayed with him and his wife sometime during a UK visit. He came to mention that she was in constant need of pain killers for her headaches and I was taken aback. So I asked if she had not been cured, but he confirmed that she still suffered greatly from this. This incident typifies the kind of thinking one meets among Sai devotees.
Perhaps a kind of self-deceit to protect one’s faith, partly a desire not to admit doubts to oneself or others and thereby publicly embarrass the guru, whose promises are supposed to be as cast in iron and whose healings are infallible etc. Later, Mrs. Krystal’s house was shattered by the Californian earthquake in the 90s, making her homeless, along with her deceased husband’s lifelong collection of crystal glass reportedly worth much more than $1 million. As she describes in detail in her book ‘The Ultimate Experience’, Sai Baba had himself told her to move to that house, after she had prayed constantly for a very long time and repeatedly asked him whether she could move house! Eventually he had given the go-ahead verbally to her. Devotees who have indoctrinated themselves completely regard such things as a boon from Sai Baba, a necessary suffering and ‘teaching’! It helps one to detach from worldly things and prepare for the final detachment! This reasoning, when taken to its conclusion means it is a boon when anything is destroyed, relatives are lost etc., because it prepares one for death! All very acceptable and faith-inducing, no doubt! When I was a devotee I tried to accept that this might be the case, but could never take ot seriously.
No help on the deathbed: Two of Sathya Sai Baba’s closest attendants, Prof. N. Kasturi (his official biographer and servitor for over 40 years) and V.K. Narasimhan, who followed Kasturi into the editor’s chair of his journal Sanathana Sarathi and worked continuously for Sai Baba in that and other capacities for over two decades, both suffered horrible and long illnesses before they died. Kasturi was in a terrible state for 6 weeks before his release (this would not have been known to me had not Narasimhan told me so) and Narasimhan himself lost an eye (Sathya Sai Baba having claimed he would look after him and applied holy cow-dung ash to it vibuthi etc. when it got infected). Then VKN suffered up to 3 months with his lungs filling with water before dying in March 2000. Such vastly selfless servers were not exactly eased in any way by the supposedly ‘omnipotent and grace-giving’ avatar. All kinds of weird and fantastic explanations can be invented to explain away such things, but the gruelling facts and harsh neglect remain. (Sai Baba also made VKN write a lie in the press about the Sathya Sai Central Trust before his illness, which can’t have been all that helpful for the poor man whose former life had been in defense of the truth).
These are far from being all the instances of which I know or have heard about from reliable sources. So what are Sathya Sai Baba’s famous “divine guarantees” worth? Let a Dutch lady correspondent of mine of impeccable insight answer this query:
“After my visit to the ashram I was very disappointed re. sb’s attitude towards the invalids. I am having walking problems due to a Guillain Barré spinal disease at the age of 14. I recovered from it apart from a slight right side limp. However, the last 15 years I am loosing strength and balance and need a stick or rollator to stay out of a wheel chair. I used both in the ashram and compared with some of the heavy invalids I counted myself lucky. It struck me that sb never went to that right hand corner where the wheelchairs were, all at the far end. I was on the bench myself and mostly saw the back of him for 4 weeks. If Baba could have cured people and took no notice of the heartbreaking misfortunate devotees, he must have been a heartless so-and-so!!!! I am sure he COULD NOT cure real disabled people at all. He would not willingly have renounced the fame it would have brought him!”
Mr. Y.V. Kutumba Rao, an Indian and former judge, head of the ashram for many years until the mid-80s, is said to have Sai Baba with devoted selflessness etc. He is written about in a number of the earlier Sathya Sai Baba books. Even though he was the first official to speak to Sathya Sai Baba every morning, he was never given an interview during 20 years of service. He had longed for this, for he had never been given any such private attention for himself by Sai Baba before, which was a known fact to ashramites too! Shortly after he was at last called for the treasured interview,
I was told shortly by his colleague, the elderly Head of the Administration Building, Mr. Kanhaia Jee, who with his Seva Dal wife Mrs. Kavery, became charming friends of ours. Kanhaia Jee said that Baba had not spoken to him until the private interview, when he had taken him alone into the small room and told him simply that a man was on his way to murder him (Kutumba Rao) and he had best make himself scarce for some months. He was told to leave his post to the deputy head of ashram, Mr. Chiranjia Rao, and go to a certain village and lie low there until Sai Baba sent word. That was that!
This occurred while I was present at PN, when Chiranjia Rao became head of ashram during early 1987 for a period of some months. Well before 1989, Kutumb Rao was back at his post, but suffering from internal cancers. He was sent to Madras and opened up, but closed again as a hopeless case beyond surgery. Kutumb Rao suffered much for a long period altogether and died on 29/3/1989. Sai Baba apparently did nothing to help him. But devotees speculate nonetheless that surely Sai Baba helped him through his karma, or will give him a better new body and life, or already granted him liberation? How can they be so confident, so easily be taken in? The above instances are but a few among numerous others of which I know.
Sathya Sai Baba’s promises – part 1