A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 1
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2010
For twenty-five years, I was deeply devoted to Sathya Sai Baba. He is widely regarded as India’s most famous and most politically and religiously powerful guru. At his behest, and as an unpaid service, I taught all three years intake in the Humanities degree course at the Sri Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India (1977-1978). In particular, quite apart from a large workload with the first two years, to have been handed the college Principal’s third year English lectures was a considerable challenge for which I shall always be grateful, especially given that this was my first teaching job, except for school experience in my teaching diploma, and my coaching at a college in Australia that helped put me through university, and having also just done post-graduate theatre training.
I had already done some work at the Sri Sathya Sai College for Arts, Science and Commerce before these classes and tutorials began; for example, my own mime performance, and a two-handed performance with an actor from New York of our condensed “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare for the senior boys along, and also supervised setting the foundations for a small library, apart from the main library. The ‘small library’, as it came to be called, eventually bloomed into a thriving cultural meeting-point. It gave me contact with boys from many parts of India, and has remained high among memories of a sort that a teacher cherishes. It meant excellent contact with students of very diverse socio-economic background right across the college. Generous funds were advanced so as to stock the ‘small library’ with books most likely to act as drawcards to students at diverse levels of interest and ability. I also originated an audio-visual acquisition committee consisting of the Principal of the college, D. Narendra Rao, (the late) Dr John Hislop (the then head of the Sathya Sai Organization in USA and latin America), and the film maker Richard Bock. See:
After years away, I returned to India in November 1997. When I arrived, boys I had taught – now grown men, many in a variety of professions – sped up and milled around. Here and in other places, there was a joy of reunion after long absence. Any fond old teacher’s heart gladdens at the sight of former students, and with rare exceptions. One feels that one has lived not in vain. There is a vital strain within India culture which holds learning, including secular learning, sacred indeed.
This series continues at:
The Public Petition
(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization