Murders in the Prashanthi temple – reflections 1
Posted by robertpriddy on May 29, 2009
Concerning the 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s temple bedroom apartment
SEE ALSO TRANSCRIPT OF BBC INTERVIEW WITH THE FORMER HOME MINISTER OF ANDHRA PRADESH – V.P. NAIR – ON THE MURDERS EPISODE, WITH SHORT VIDEO CLIP! (Click here)
Two decades of experience of Sathya Sai Baba, mostly apparently very positive, led me to believe that he could have had no part whatever in the six murders that were committed in June 1993. So unquestioning was my faith (as required of followers) that I accepted what little was said about it by officials in the Sai movement and in a discourse by Sathya Sai Baba himself some weeks afterwards. I put them matter behind me… like almost everyone else in the Sai movement.
I accepted, in the main, what later were seen to be the mostly irrelevant statements he made in the admittedly vague and rambling discourse some weeks later on Guru Purnima day in July 1992. Even some of the emotional outbursts and unbalanced ramblings of the Interntional Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization – Dr. Michael Goldstein – in his letter to Sai devotees seemed to make things seem somewhat like a divine enigma that we could not hope to understand. (But this ploy is often used by Sai Baba and his trusted officials so as to avoid telling or explaining anything that does not suit him). The old excuse, ‘only Swami knows the reason’ soon clicked in with the followers. But then, I knew virtually nothing about the circumstances at that time, mostly only the carefully contrived bits of Sai Org. ‘information’ (cynical disinformation, actually).
Written instructions were sent out by leaders of the Sathya Sai Organisation (eg. Indulal Shah, Central Office and Michael Goldstein) not to question or discuss anything about the incident, but to ignore it and rather concentrate on oneself and one’s own spiritual practice (i.e, based on the same twisted principle as ever, namely: God does only what is good, any bad is done by us)! All that smacks of criticism of anything Sai baba say or does is always turned back on devotees by the trusted ‘leader VIPs’ (who often defend their own actions likewise as done by persons sanctioned by Swami). This is all very well, if you care nothing for the victims, the truth of the matter, justice or if one accepts the clumsy and despicable cover-up attempted by the ashram, the police, the Andhra Pradesh State authorities and the Indian Government (in the person of then Home Minister of the Indian Government, S.B. Chavan).
In 1995, at the 70th birthday celebrations, I began to hear about the whole episode from an Indian Administrative Service Vigilance Officer, V. Ramnath, whose close colleague had been personally involved in the early investigations. The entire account was so shocking and so many confusing points remained unanswered that it seemed impossible to evaluate what was false witness and what genuine, and to piece together the evidence so as to see who might be responsible and what motives the various involved persons could have had. I set about getting inside information from persons whose judgement and honesty I could really trust. This I collated with the many press reports. Eventually the invaluable book by the award-winning skeptic and iconoclast, internationally-known Basava Premanand (Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom see also here) provided a mass of documentary transcripts and other evidence which helped me to understand how massive the cover-up to protect Sathya Sai Baba and his brother was.
During the hours that passed while the four intruders who had killed Sathya Sai Baba ‘s two attendants were locked in his apartment, various persons reportedly visited Sathya Sai Baba in the garage annex to the temple. Witnesses reported seeing his younger brother Janakiramiah, Joga Rao enter and exit shortly before the shots from police rifles were heard by many residents and visitors. Were Janakiramiah, Colonel Joga Rao and Sathya Sai Baba just discussing the weather, or maybe Sathya Sai Baba was further repeating his compassionate teaching, ‘Help ever, harm never’ and “See no evil, hear no evil, do no evil”?