For those who have not had the advantage of knowing people who are extremely well-informed about the daily doings of Sathya Sai Baba, I have make public facts about my many private interchanges with my former excellent friend, V. K. Narasimhan (or ‘VKN’ – renowned Indian journalist of The Hindu & Indian Express – and editor – latterly of Sanathana Sarathi, where he published dozens of my articles). Narasimhan was very important to the respectability of Sathya Sai Baba in leading Indian circles, but he harboured many and persistent doubts about which he seldom spoke because of the serious consequences it would have for the social projects of Sai Baba and VKNs own security at the ashram where he lived and was looked after in his dotage.
These articles tells about the legacy of inside information that was left with me by V. K. Narasimhan. Included were facts he had not dared to make known to more than a very few persons. I swear on my personal honour that all I relate here is nothing but the truth to the very best of understanding after very long and painstaking follow-up investigations.
Narasimhan often repeated that he really didn’t understand why Sathya Sai Baba was so nice to him… describing himself as a rather non-religious and ‘hard-nut’ journalist. He often told me he did not know why he had ended up at SB’s ashram, except that Sai Baba was heading some valuable social projects which hardly any others in India were doing. Most significantly, as editor of SB’s journal, he NEVER published any accounts of ‘materializations’ or healing miracles by Sai Baba! However, Sai Baba found VKN a very valuable asset to his credibility due to VKN’s journalistic prestige, his known social ideals and honesty. His presence there bolstered Sai Baba’s image in the eyes of the more enlightened middle classes of India. Above all, he knew personally most of the top politicians and other elite in India and induced many of them to visit Sai Baba who otherwise might never have gone there. Moreover, a journalist who had seen so much failure, incompetence and corruption in his journalistic travels, VKN had admiration for SB’s public works and believed in Sai Baba’s promise to raise India and protect or regenerate all that was good about its culture, religion and people. (This project can be seen to have failed very signally already).
That Narasimhan was entirely non-negative in his presentation of Sai Baba and his public doings in his own public talks and writings was often against his better knowledge, for he was ever telling me about SB’s failings and untruthfulness. See scans of my long series of verbatim notes of his conversations with me at the time between 1989 and 1998 before his decease. No doubt, VKN mostly felt great respect for SB, and – like most others – was strongly affected by his charismatically invigorating (and intimidating) presence. VKN was soon tamed by Sai Baba into misrepresenting and/or editing out certain vital facts he knew and was unable to rock the boat, though he confided his many doubts and difficulties to some of us in private. No doubt to mollify VKN’s misgivings, Sai Baba called him for something or other practically every day and he spent many long hours close by SB at festivals, in occasional interviews, and rode about with him in cars etc.
Click here to see the following scans of my notebook records of revealing conversations with V. K. Narsimhan
Robert Priddy’s long friendship with V.K. Narasimhan – scanned letters
Robert Priddy recorded notes and diary 1984-98 – scans and comments
V.K. Narasimhan and Robert Priddy’s close association
V.K. Narasimhan’s comments on the murders reported
V.K. Narasimhan’s inability to get Sai Baba to tell him the truth
V.K. Narasimhan’s doubts of Sai Baba’s powers, avatar claims etc.
V.K. Narasimhan’s comments on the Sathya Sai Organization
V.K.N. recorded about pointing out to Sai Baba his inconsistent teaching
V.K.N. contradicts Sai on Advaita – and on ashram security etc.
V.K.N. on 70th birthday crowd size and more
New Year 1996 – disillusioning reflections and VKN
V.K.N. on printing problems, a suicide, and Sai’s boyhood visits to famous ‘saints’
V.K.N. lost an eye despite Sai Baba’s vibuti application etc.
V.K. Narasimhan on Robert Priddy’s book ‘Source of the Dream’
V.K. Narasimhan on Sai colleges, the ‘sect’ and Sai’s ignorance
V.K.N. on Sai Organization (1994 Brindavan) + Al Drucker’s banishment
V.K.N. on Suri etc. About sewage scam at Prashanthi and Alvin Drucker’s return
V.K.N. at Brindavan – his experiences. Meeting with Mr. V. Balu
V.K.N., Brindavan 1990 – Sandweiss, his apartment