Kasturi and VKN manipulated and suborned
Posted by robertpriddy on June 5, 2010
Sathya Sai Baba has sometimes put on the appearance of a ‘raging lion’ against people who he perceived as a threat to himself. In his ‘official biography’ of Sai Baba (in Sathyam , Sivam, Sundaram Vol. 1), Prof.N. Kasturi reported accounts he had heard of the young Sai Baba terrifying some fractious villagers when he was but a teenager by raging and growling like the ‘lion-man avatar’ Narasimha. This is taken as evidence by many of ever-uncritical devotees that he truly is the avatar who was all the other avatars in the Indian pantheon, as he has actually claimed himself too! I once saw him with a raging lion-like face one day when he was looking at some people on the veranda. Sathya Sai Baba had raged lion-like at his confidante, Prof. N. Kasturi, when he had returned from a tour of North India holding talks about Sai Baba upon which Baba himself had sent him. There is no doubt that Kasturi was literally terrified by him then, as he openly told a small group of us this in the old lecture room in South Prashanthi in 1985. That was real intimidation… and for a relative bagatelle which Sai Baba would not even explain to him. Kasturi vividly evoked the fear he had felt and his extreme anguish for weeks, sitting outside the compound which he was banned from entering. There was no reason he could understand.
Eventually after weeks of his suffering, when many others had asked SB to relent, he spoke to Kasturi in most disapproving tones, telling him that he now thought himself a big man who condescended to “give interviews” like himself. The fact was that his hosts had been flooded with requests to meet Kasturi in private, and they had set up times for them to meet him in a private chat. Kasturi, who was grateful for the special hospitality he was receiving. had gone along with this and their pre-planned schedule… ostensibly out of a sense of duty. THAT alone was his great sin! Sai Baba told him very angrily that it was only He who gave interviews! What remained of Kasturi’s will was thereafter as if castrated (pun) and he went more like a lamb than ever. One can read a watered-down account by Kasturi in his autobiographical book ‘Loving God’.
This is a manipulative technique well known as typical of psychopaths/sociopaths and narcissistic power-brokers… a clever way to cow followers and keep them totally in line… through naked fear after initial charm and praise! Then finally becoming charming and forgiving again… Already totally trapped and dependent on his guru for everything, Kasturi rationalized the “punishment” away as being a necessary process to soften him and rid him of ego! This is how one turns black into white – daring not to say ‘boo’ to a goose while hoping credulously that it will lay the golden egg – and continues one’s own self-deception through weakness of character.
The same kind of “punishment’ – though less severe, was meted out to V.K. Narasimhan in 1980 when he had taken over the editing of Sanathana Sarathi from Prof. Kasturi. He made what Sai Baba chose to consider a very grave mistake, and he was sacked as editor immediately and the aging and failing Prof. Kasturi had to take over the reins again for a long while. Narasimhan had published an announcement which he had been pressed to do by the top Sai official in Europe, Antonio Craxi (brother of the later Prime Minister of Italy, who ended as a convicted criminal fleeing justice). It announced that all copyright for Sathya Sai Baba books in English was in the hands of Craxi, the egocentric and domineering leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Italy. This had been challenged by the Central Council of the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation. Narasimhan had been assured that this was legally in force already by Craxi, but Sai Baba took the opportunity to put VKN through his mill and he was made to suffer at a distance… for about a year!
That he was not punished as severely as Kasturi is easily explainable… in the first place he was a very important pawn for Sai Baba since he was respected very widely in India and knew personally most of the leading figures, including college friends such as the then-President of India. Sathya Sai Baba could not afford to lose Narasimhan for such reasons, including his great editorial skills and willingness to promote Sai Baba’s social projects (above all). However, he was not a believer in Sai Baba’s miracles or in his having healed anyone. He had spent his life as a journalist and told me he was not that naive. He shocked my by denying Sai Baba’s claims of omnipotence/omniscience and avatarhood. His reticence compared to his predecessor Kasturi can be seen from his entire written output – he was very far from those sentimental and gushing panegyrics and gaping wonder of Kasturi and all the other pro-Sai authors, for that matter. He had many doubts and these he voiced to people according to how far he felt he could trust them. So a too strong reprimand would probably have caused him to move away from the ashram, where he first came primarily because of his very Sai-devoted wife’s insistence. After the 1993 murder in SB’s bedroom, VKN was virtually forced – through repeated demands by Sai Baba – to give false witness about the Central Trust. Only his son, editor of The Tribune – was willing to publish VKN’s whitewash of the Trust, though VKN knew fully that this was untrue, as he also told me it had been corrupted. He also began to learn definitively of the blackmail by Sai Baba’s younger brother and others into executing four devotees, and the first-hand of the criminal cover-up by Prime Minister Vajpayee’s right-hand man S.B. Chavan together with Sai Baba’s brother, he grew more and more negative towards the ashram. Later he told me how Sai Baba could not account to him at all satisfactorily for the facts of the murders – click here. He became an unwilling accomplice to the cover-up, for to have spoken out would have been a very huge risk for him, so strong were the opposing forces.
VKN was blind to his own real importance to SB in his role as an endorser of Sai Baba to the rich and famous and would now and again say “I have no idea why Swami is so nice to me”. After he was taken back into favour, he was called by SB to many interviews and constantly attended SB’s meetings with students and selected groups of VIPs. During weeks I was with him, he was called almost every day by Swami – sometimes twice a day.
Sai Baba failed to heal his eye when it got infected after an operation Sai Baba had arranged for him and told him would go well. He only moved away from the ashram in the last weeks when he was dying in much long-lasting pain from water-filled lungs etc.