Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Sathya Sai Baba
Posted by robertpriddy on March 3, 2009
Ever since I first joined the Sai Organisation in 1983, there were occasional flurries of rumours that Prince Charles had visited Sathya Sai Baba in secret during one of his several visits to India. One story told how Prince Charles was greeted during his wedding to Diana by a Sai devotee with the words ‘Sai Ram’ which – so the story goes – was acknowledged by HRH as he walked down the aisle! This is the kind of wishful thinking that Sai devotees believe and spread, along with no end of absurd claims and impossible stories, as a visit to Sai sites on the Internet soon clearly shows. However, it is known to many Sai devotees that the Indian immigrant, Manhubhai Patel of Wembley, has been sending books about Sathya Sai Baba to Prince Charles since the 1960s and that, as he told me himself, he has received letters of thanks for these from the Palace. He told me so himself when I visited his house as far back as 1986. The UK newspaper Daily Express published an unconfirmed report in 1990 that a representative of Prince Charles had written to Sai Baba requesting that the Prince could visit Sai Baba, and that this request had been turned down by a letter from the ashram authorities.
I later asked V.K. Narasimhan about this. Narasimhan (now deceased) was the journalist who – as Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express Group – won India’s top journalistic award (the Goenka prize) for his brave and single-handed exposure of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. Narasimhan then told me that Prince Charles had certainly never written to nor visited Sai Baba. However, some years later around 1996, he told me that a letter had been received by Sathya Sai Baba from Prince Charles, which Sai Baba had shown to him and asked him to answer. He was not allowed to tell the exact contents of that letter. He replied to Prince Charles and reminded him of his own journalistic meeting with him in India when the Prince was but a teenager. He had later received a friendly but also somewhat formal reply from the prince himself, as far as I recall the details. (see here)
Of course, it is well known (and much publicised by the Sai movement!) that Keith Crichlow, the man who was urged to visit Sai Baba by Isaac Tigrett of Hard Rock Café fame (as interviewed on BBC TV about Sai Baba) who was the the donor of US $49 million for a ‘Super-Speciality’ Hospital near Puttaparthi ($15 million disappeared – embezzled by Sai officials!). Crichlow was induced by Sai Baba into designing the Hospital (partly modelled on the lines of Buckingham Palace), and then became a close associate of Prince Charles, who was later made head of the Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture in the UK. Keith Crichlow is still a visitor to Sai Baba in India and is still also connected with Prince Charles. Her had related on a film how was bowled over by Sai Baba’s “numerology” which consists in superficial and simplistic ideas about the supposed spiritual significance of numbers long known to many Indians interested in gurus and also to many numerologists… numerology is a bogus ‘pseudo-sceince’ if ever there was one.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Sathya Sai Baba What was told about Prince Charles’ desire to visit Sathya Sai Baba to a selected group at Kodaikanal, and what Sathya Sai Baba told interviewees about him