Sai Baba hoarded riches!
Posted by robertpriddy on March 17, 2015
Gethin Chamberlain wrote in The Telegraph on how Sathya Sai Baba’s hoarded riches raised doubts over charitable works, having contacted me for reliable documentation of many facts. Some excerpts from his article follow:-
“The Indian guru Sai Baba’s life seemed to have it all: sex, money and religion. A lifetime of claiming to be the incarnation of God had brought him a £5.5 billion fortune and a worldwide following…”It also brought accusations that he molested his young acolytes and used cheap trickery to perform his miracles.”
He emphasises the “extraordinary saga which has been playing out since his death in April, a story of hidden treasure troves, of mountains of gold and diamonds, of missing millions, all set against a backdrop of a struggle for control of his empire.” In his prime, the diminutive holy man with the bright orange robes and huge afro haircut could count kings and presidents among his friends, and the likes of Sarah Ferguson among the admirers of his home-spun, “love all, serve all” philosophy.” “The cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who gave £40,000 for a statue of the guru, and a myriad of Indian politicians and Bollywood stars claimed inspiration from his message of putting service above self.“
“The edifice began to crumble when members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, which runs the ashram, a religious centre, decided that speculation about what might be inside the guru’s private chambers was getting out of hand. The rooms had lain apparently untouched since the 84-year-old spiritual leader was taken ill in March. The Trust decided to open the rooms, but with caution: the police were kept at a distance and the media were locked out. A select group assembled, including the controversial figure of Satyajit, Sai Baba’s carer, apparently the only person who could penetrate the chambers’ elaborate security. They took the lift to the first floor, opened the door and stepped inside. What they found made even the wildest rumours seem tame: stacked around the room were piles of gold, diamonds and cash. Cashiers with counting machines were summoned and reported that the haul included £1.6 million in rupees, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver. The Trust denied any previous knowledge of the hoard, said it had immediately paid tax on its value, and denied any impropriety.
“If the Trust hoped that would satisfy the millions of devoted followers who had sent money from around the world in the belief it would be used to spread Sai Baba’s teaching or help educate the poor and treat the sick, it was mistaken. The love and compassion of which he preached gave way to rumours of more treasure hidden away around the sprawling building, of false ceilings and further underground hoards. Meanwhile Sai Baba’s niece, Chetana Raju, claimed she had received death threats for complaining about the search.
Suspicion began to grow that vast sums had already been smuggled out. Three days later, police stopped a car carrying Trust members near the border with a neighbouring state – and found the equivalent of £50,000 in cash inside. The Trust first denied any connection with the money, then claimed it had been donated by devotees to pay for a memorial.” “Some blame trust members, while a few are asking, ‘Why did Swami have to keep so much gold and cash? Didn’t Swami always say he never accepted gifts?’ Who to believe or what to believe?”
Even Sai Baba’s most vociferous critics are taken aback by speed with which the empire is unravelling. “Even a couple of months ago, what has now happened was still unimaginable,” said Robert Priddy, the Sai Baba organisation’s former Norwegian leader. Mr Priddy was once a believer but lost his faith as the allegations of sexual abuse which dogged Sai Baba’s final decades began to mount – though not before himself donating a total of £13,500. “Devotees around India have at last begun to raise many questions and demand answers about the riches of Sai Baba and other gurus,” he said. “There have been protest demonstrations. It is a remarkable turnaround.” “But India is not short of gurus and the fear in Puttaparthi is that those seeking enlightenment will now turn their attentions to other, more vital, sages.
“For former devotees like Robert Priddy, all this is simply proof that they were right to walk away when they did. “I feel satisfied that his death 10 years before his own prediction and under such inauspicious circumstances further vindicated my views on the falsity of his claims of omnipotence and divinity,” he said.”