Sathya Sai Central Trust enmity in public, while their cover-ups reign
Posted by robertpriddy on June 19, 2011
The Sathya Sai Central Trust has managed to retain a certain reputation among devotees, its donors and most of the Indian press, despite revelations of embezzlement and more when the press descended on Prashanthi Nilayam after the murders and executions in Sai Baba’s rooms in June 1993. That trust has been rapidly eroded since the rigid confinement of Sathya Sai Baba – visits by devotees and family strictly prohibited – imposed by doctors and Trust members from the beginning of his illness until his highly suspicious death… evidently arranged to occur on Easter Sunday, as if this would convince any but the most deluded Christian Sai-devotees of any real connection between SB and Christ! The one revelatory incident after the other came in startling succession, eroding what credibility of the unaccountable and secret Trust – and certain of its trustees may have retained (most notably ex-Justice P.N. Bhagwati and the power-hungry nephew Ratnakara).
It’s clearly a fight now between SB trust members …a pro Ratnakar camp and a pro Satyajit camp….apparently a diary and also the will of Sai Baba had been found which states Satyajit should be given prominence in the trust, maybe head it too. But Ratnakar is unhappy and feels giving Satyajit the SB ‘vidya vahini’ (i.e. Sai education) project was more than sufficient. Bhagwati is pro Satyajit and hence threatened to quit the trust, but was pacified. My informant reports that, the “day before yesterday in a trust meeting, several trust members walked out in a huff.. Some trust members are being spied upon by Ratnaker’s agents. My sources tell me that Trust legal advisor Naganand has actually admitted a will was found.”
On top of this dogfight – somewhat reminiscent of nights at Prashanthi Nilayam – comes the revelation in an Indian newspaper which ex-devotees have known for ages, but which has never previously been stated directly by any media outlet in India, that Sathya Sai Baba was for many years had in Bangalore a regular supplier of the trinkets – rings, pendants, bracelets and much else – that he pretended to ‘materialize’ in his interviews. These he often said contained diamonds, but not one has been found that was genuine despite numerous dissidents who took them to professional assayers.
The journalist who wrote the Express report naively quoted the obvious lie that the pile-up in the mandir was due to Sai Baba not having met devotees for months. Anyone who knows anything about the true state of affairs is aware that Sai Baba never gave away anything of such considerable value to interviewees as genuine diamonds, gold or silver bullion or large sums of cash – he gave away a number of gold rings and a few small silver medallions and yet fewer small gold statues, but mainly cheap panchaloka (i.e. five-metal alloy) and enamel ornaments, watches (most often cheap ones) and even plastic earrings (a Norwegian lady recieved some and was not impressed!!
In interviews, obviously, he never gave away from his huge store of dried fruits or biscuits, perfumes, Nike or Adidas shoes, plates, tumblers, hairspray or most of the other objects stored away under his bed and in cupboards and secret hidey holes. He may have provided such items for some of his chosen student boys… and as bribes here and there, but most of it was simply hoarded. How he could have become such a squirrel is hard to explain, unless as a symptom of senility (which was increasingly more evident in his behaviour and appearance through the last five years at least).
In the light of the extraordinary revelations at Puttaparthi of millions of dollars worth in currency and valuables, a fleeing Sathya Sai Central Trust van weighed down with millions in treasure beyond what has already been found, police arrests of the van occupants, and other such drama, I recommend Barry Pittard’s article, Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia – as an entertaining, informative, read on the longer-term background. Typical of much of Pittard’s work, this article provides useful links for media and other researchers, as well as for those in the process of relinquishing their connection with the international Sathya Sai Organisation. There is a collection of photos of the extraordinarily lavish appointments at Sai Baba’s ashrams.