At one of several talks in the old lecture room for foreign followers at Prashanthi Nilayam in January 1985 by Sai Baba’s biographer and closest devotee for decades, Professor N. Kasturi, he related a most telling experience he had when he had returned from a tour of North India holding talks about Sai Baba. One day he had been called in to Baba, who came and stood very close to him so that – as Kasturi enthused – that he felt Baba’s hair tickle his chin. Sai Baba told him to go on a tour of North India to Sai groups and tell of his experiences. Before he came to meet Sai Baba, Kasturi had used to tour about and hold religious talks at which he also sang, so he asked of he should do likewise. Baba said his voice was like a crows, so definitely no singing. Instead he said ‘Dance!’, a yet more unlikely act for the aged and stooping Kasturi, who understood the message: nothing else but talks.
Upon his return to Prashanthi afterwards, and having done as told under an exhausting but exhilarating schedule, Kasturi found that he was persona non grata. When Baba saw him he looked at him like “a raging lion” and totally ignored him thereafter. He could not get near him even to ask why, nor were messages he tried to send through others answered in any way. He was denied entry by Baba’s servitors to any darshan in the compound or lectures at the auditorium, having to sit on the ground outside. This went on for weeks, and Kasturi told us openly of his suffering of great anguish and being constantly and unexpectedly overcome by tears. Apropos this: in his ‘official biography’ of Sai Baba (in Sathyam , Sivam, Sundaram Vol. 1), 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. Many of ever-uncritical devotees took this as proof that he was the avatar of all avatars in the main Indian pantheon, as he actually claimed himself! I also once saw him with a raging lion-like face one day in the late 80s when he was looking at some people on the veranda. Kasturi vividly evoked the near terror he felt from the raging anger and how he later received very unpleasant scowls whenever Sai Baba caught sight of him. He could find no reason however much he searched his soul.
Eventually after weeks of his suffering, when several close devotees had asked Sai Baba to relent, he at least spoke to Kasturi, but in most disapproving tones. Kasturi went like a lamb to slaughter and humbly asked what his crime was. In fact, and in any sane evaluation, it was nothing but a mere bagatelle but not for Sai Baba, who reprimanded him for considering himself as a “big man” who condescended to “give interviews” like himself. The fact was that Kasturi’s hosts wherever he travelled in North India 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, went along with their pre-planned schedule… ostensibly out of a sense of duty (which he probably also sometimes felt onerous). THAT alone was his great sin! Sai Baba emphasised most angrily that it was only He who gave interviews! This shows not only how the supposedly ‘humble’ Sathya Sai Baba saw himself as far superior to Kasturi, but also that he probably felt his authority may be undermined by a ‘second-in command’. This is the known policy of all dictatorial rulers – to eliminate those who grow too popular and credible and who might spill some beans or worse of not kept well under the yoke. After all, Kasturi was vastly more educated than Sai Baba and also far more pleasant a person to be with since he was frank and unassuming, always friendly and responsive (Sai Baba would only notice people and engage them strictly on his own terms). What remained of Kasturi’s will was thereafter as if castrated and he became more like a lamb than ever. One can read a (considerably watered-down) account by Kasturi in his autobiographical book ‘Loving God’, where he accepted the punishment as a means to soften him and reduce his ego! Already almost totally trapped and dependent on his guru for everything, he rationalised everything SB said or did, daring not to say ‘boo’ to a goose while credulously hoping that it will lay the golden egg. However, as will be seen here, Kasturi was tested yet further later on and it was nearly the last straw…
This incident exemplifies Sai Baba’s manipulative methods of the classic psychopath, sociopaths or narcissistic power-brokers… having charmed and praised people and wheedled their way into their trust, then to cow them and keep them totally in line… even through naked fear. Then finally becoming charming and forgiving again… a push-pull or punishment-reward relationship. The victim invariably defends his oppressor, even to the extent of turning black into white, continuing and even extending self-deception through lack of personal resources to break free or weakness of character.
Concerning Kasturi’ biography of Sai Baba, Eileen Weed commented:-
“Well, I only read it in the 80’s and since then haven’t touched it, but from what I remember it was more a flowery literary work showing off Kasturi’s love of adjectives! I imagine that he wrote most of it from fantastic stories told by him, fancied up even more.
I know that Kasturi was fiercely loyal, no matter what – don’t know the reasons, maybe he felt just stuck like Narasimha Rao did. Once his daughter told me a story of something terrible Swami did to Kasturi. I forgot further details, but it had to do when Kasturi‘s only son died. Swami had told Kasturi to do something like take him to a certain doctor, Kasturi did it but the son died anyway: later, sai told everyone that Kasturi did not follow his (sai’s) advice and that is why the son died. At that time, it seems Kasturi was boiling with rage and ordered his entire family out – his wife, daughter, grandsons etc. – and ordered them never, ever to see sai again. ‘Only I will stay, you should never come again because of the this terrible deceit sai did to us, telling such a lie.‘ Well, the family never listened and didn’t go away, but what struck me with the story was that Kasturi himself wanted to remain serving sai, though he was totally hurt and boiling insidel Maybe he didn’t want to experience more lose-face and lose the only reputation he gained in all those years.
Just imagine a father’s tragic despair when his god lied to everyone so sb could save his own face.”
(Eileen Weed aka ‘Divya’ – November 25,2012 e-mail To: Robert Priddy copy of Email to my Parents: June 6, 2005)