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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 31, 2011

Concluding the three-part series. This follows:   Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

To refresh on our theme.  Here are quotations for two of the most respected of all Sai devotee writers on Sathya Sai Baba.

Professor N. Kasturi, Sathya Sai Baba’s official biographer, wrote:

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, by Professor P.N. Kasturi. Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

And Howard Murphet, the Australian journalist and theosophist, who also interviewed various witnesses, including a young Sri Lankan Nalin Sedera, stated that in an interview in the late 60′s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission. “  ‘Sai Inner Views and Insight’, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60-66

On Sunday April 19th, 1998, I had planned for a quiet evening in my room at the Ramakrishna Mission in Columbo, the capital of Sri Lanka.  I had arranged with Nalin Sedera’s brother, Ajitha, to go to their home on the Monday.  He told me that Nalin had been spending a few days meditating in a temple at the southern tip of his country – at Karthirkamagiri, long a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus.

At 6.15 p.m., as I made my way up Ramakrishna Road for a quiet cup of Horlicks, a fairly tall, slender, striking young Singhalese man around thirty years called across to me, “Are you the Australian gentleman staying at the Ramakrishna Mission?” 

(Photo:  Swami Vivekananda)

It was Nalin accompanied by his brother, Ajitha.  He explained that they thought they would find me more easily than I them.  A few minutes later, as we sat ourselves down at the table of the crowded vegetarian restaurant, I sat facing a lithe, well-built young man, clean-shaven, dressed very neatly, wearing denim, his dark red shirt smart. He blended in with middle class Sri Lankans. His face had a fine-boned, sculptured look, and a bright, golden brown that had an inner lustre. His voice was rich and resonant, as though coming from a cavern. Among my stray thoughts, I wondered – quaintly enough:  Was there anything about his physical appearance which resembled Vivekananda? Yes, I thought, in a way  –  the lips:  delicate, fine-etched, contoured. I  sensed strong character. His gaze had an honest directness, and he displayed spontaneous, sincere good manners. There appeared to me to be a controlled but passionate intensity about the issues, as our discussion unfolded, that clearly mattered to him.  Even before we sat down, I had asked him whether the attention he had received had affected his life. That is to say, the wide-spread belief that Sai Baba had said that Nalin was the great Swami Vivekananda reborn, who would eventually take over the running of Puttaparthi when Sai Baba died.

They are trying to take my life”

That was sudden. Was there a paranoia? Or was this part of his spontaneity, a cutting-to-the-chase, that I had already begun to notice. There struck me a warmth, a humanity about him. When he referred to the way in which people mobbed him, I saw his palpable distaste for such excesses. 

I asked Nalin, “do you mean that your life is actually in danger from anyone?” As if looking inward at some quarry he had in mind and with burning intensity, and a mix of smile and leer that reminded me of Humphrey Bogart, he replied, “They would be writing their last will and testament if they tried!”

I did not sense a Vivekananda-like commitment to ahimsa (non-violence). Nalin’s occasional intense flashes remain one of my abiding impressions of him.

As we took our seats, he referred to crowds that gathered round him after word travelled bushfire-like that Sathya Sai Baba had said that Nalin, in his previous life, was Swami Vivekananda. He said:

 “My mind didn’t go. But I lost a lot  –  my liberty, my freedom.”

I checked with him, just to be sure I understood his exact meaning. By “my life”, he meant:  a broad leeway to be himself. 

I asked  Nalin if he related to books? Again, the intensity.

I want to have experience. It is all that matters. Not read about anyone else’s. Books are a waste of time.”

I mentioned the book by the Australian writer Howard Murphet’s book. Nalin said that he felt very let down by the people who had informed the author of his story (he referred to them as Tamilians  –  i.e., belonging to or originating from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu).

 “I had asked them to allow nothing to be published without my permission. They went ahead without consulting me”.

As he began to unfold his experiences, he said:

 “I’ve had a lot of troubles. I am a normal person, whatever people may think.  Whatever may have been the case in my last life, I am living in this  life!  I have no idea what happened in my last life.  When Swami made the revelation  –  or call it a pronouncement  –  I had no idea of who Swami Vivekananda was.  This is this life.  It’s all I’m interested in.  Now, as a result of all the attention, I’ve lost what is most precious to me  –  my liberty, my freedom.  At the ashram after Swami had spoken, there were hundreds of people milling all round me. And hundreds of people here in Sri Lanka.”

What did the mobs ask? 

They asked funny questions.  Do I remember my previous birth?  They regard me as some kind of alien.  Some of them say I should be wearing a robe like a sadhu (ed., spiritual renunciate).  Why should I do that?  I want to wear my denims.  Some have even said that, at a certain time, I’ll get up in darshan and take over Puttaparthi.”

Typically, here, after reflection, usually following a question of mine, he would return with a perfectly crystallised reply, like a pearl slipping out of the oyster shell when, after inner effort, it opens at last.  His voice struck flint; a small spark lit his eye. “I don’t like that!”  The tone was very emphatic.  Again the spurt of intensity.  I sensed a deep indignity, a smouldering anguish from which he had only somewhat distanced himself. Embers still glowed hot.

He spoke of his anger at the time of Sai Baba’s ‘revelation’ or ‘pronouncement.’  The interview in which this was made occurred, he said, at Puttaparthi, March 23, 1987.  Two more interviews followed – on the 24th and 26th.  He was then nineteen years. He said that the Sri Lankan group of which Nalin was a member was led by Mrs Ganhewa. He was baffled to know how the news got out.  “Swami took me into a private room next to the interview room. I cannot see how others in the interview could have heard what Swami said.  I certainly didn’t say anything about it.”

I have since asked a number of others their opinion as to the audibility or otherwise of what is said, from the standpoint of someone in the outer room.  Some say speech inside is too muffled to be understood.  Others say that sometimes one can hear what is being said. In an interview on July 24,1998, I noted this: a curtain separates the two rooms, as it has long done. I was in a group of seven Australians. However, a Canadian husband and wife briefly preceded us into the inner room. Later, Sai Baba also saw the three ladies in our group separately to the men. In both cases, a few drifting words of speech could be understood; but much could not be, because he and the Canadians and, separately, he and the Australian women spoke quite quietly.

Nalin told me that he returned to Puttaparthi in August 1987.  Sai Baba called him and his group for interview.  He said that Sai Baba asked the group leader, referring to Nalin’s parents, “Are his parents happy?”  Nalin relates that she replied yes, they were very happy when they heard the news, but

Swami replied, ‘No, no, no, they are not happy but they are worried about that boy. Look at him, he’s just a boy.  Just leave him alone and don’t disturb him, because if anything happens, you must be responsible for that”‘. 

Nalin said:

Swami turned to me and said, ‘A lot of people are angry with you and jealous of you, here and there.  Don’t go to any bhajan places. You just stay at your home, and do your work’” 

I asked Nalin what work did he do? 

Not ordinary work. A friend of my age and I have been working among the poorer classes. At one time, we got involved in an eye camp.”

(These were organised clinics designed to bring medical aid to the poor. For example, combating eye diseases such as glaucoma).

Nalin continued,

Swami then said, ‘You are angry with me.  Why are you angry with me?’  I said, ‘You know why I am angry with you.’  Baba said, ‘Yes, I know.’” 

Nalin related that it was only on his return home that he discovered from his parents that they had been in fact worried at the extraordinary revelation about their son. Not wanting to trouble their family, they had kept their concern to themselves.

He said that, in two or three months, he would like to visit Sai Baba wherever he was stationed at the time. A lot would depend on how Nalin’s father managed with a shortly upcoming by-pass operation in Chennai. He wondered whether it would be possible to get Sri Lankan Sai devotees to leave him alone – perhaps via a note printed in Sanathana Sarathi, the official magazine of the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Considering the essential purpose of the publication (to publish Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Discourses, a small few articles by contributors, Sathya Sai Organization news), I rather doubted his chances, but suggested he call on the Editor, V.K. Narasimhan, whom I regarded as a good, decent man and a warm friend. With distinction and courage, V.K.N. had formerly edited major Indian newspapers – the Indian Express, Hindustan Times and Deccan Herald– and he and I had a warm friendship and were in fairly regular contact. From V.K.N. I soon after found that Nalin had, while I was absent, called on him, a visit I had already told V.K.N that Nalin may make. When we later spoke, V.K.N smiled wryly and admitted defeat in observing any similarities to Swami Vivekananda.

Since so many of Sathya Sai Baba’s predictions large and small have proved false, one may fail to see how the one about Nalin could come true. Trustfully, given the fickleness of the madding crowd, Nalin’s botherers will have long given up their bothering of him.

This concludes the 3-part series: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 26, 2011

Continuing the three-part series.  This follows:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

It was early 1998. An idea struck me. I was then editing books by Sathya Sai Baba devotees and ‘Spiritual Impressions’, an internationally distributed magazine on Sai Baba published by Sai Towers in Puttaparthi. Since I had to go to Sri Lanka on another matter, why not see whether it was possible to meet the young man, Nalin Sedera? Were reports correct? Had Sai Baba’s really said that Sedera was the great Hindu monk Vivekananda reborn, and that he would run Puttaparthi after Sai Baba had died?

Or was this just one of countless stories that, from the moment of inception, race brushfire-like through the Sai community? Indeed, often distorted by the phenomenon often known as the ‘chinese whispers’ effect – the often unwitting embellishment of an account as it goes on being retold.

Were there important witnesses? Well, yes, I thought. There was Kasturi, who wrote:

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, by Professor N. Kasturi. Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

And then there was Murphet. He reported that in an interview in the late 60’s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission. “  ‘Sai Inner Views and Insight’, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60-66

Murphet met Nalin Sedera in 1989, and wrote that Sai Baba told the latter:

“I have been waiting for you for eighty-five years”

… and that Nalin will come to live at the Puttaparthi ashram in AD 2021.

Was there, I wondered, around Puttaparthi, where I now stayed (on an eight months trip 1997-1998), anyone I could speak to who had been close to the original story? I chatted with the author Bob Lowenberg, whom I knew well from the ‘old days’, whose first book, ‘At the Feet of Sai’, I had assisted with some editing.  He had no pointers, although lighted up with interest.

Any others?  Not that I could see. Kasturi, with whom I had ( in the 1970’s when I taught at the Sathya Sai College outside Bangalore, South India) much enjoyed sitting and chatting, was now dead. I went to his successor as Editor of ‘Sanathana Sarathi, V.K.Narasimhan, with whom I had formed a warm friendship, and whose book on the great French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin I was later to start editing. He knew some details of the Sedera story, but only at second hand, and I obtained the contact details of the head of the Sathya Sai Organisation in Sri Lanka, who was soon to ask me to address a gathering. I told V.K.N., as he was known with immense affection, that I may try to locate the young man on my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka, and perhaps get his permission to share his account in the magazine ‘Spiritual Impressions‘.  He gave me some leads.

In a very long queue, I was speaking quietly with Bob Lowenberg about searching for Nalin Sedera when I was in Sri Lanka. A gentleman standing next to us overheard, and said he knew the family. He straightway wrote down their address. Ah, neat little divine leela, thought I …..

I did indeed locate Nalin Sedera and a brother of his. In fact, they came looking for me before I got round to contacting them. Nalin confirmed the factuality of the Kasturi and Murphet accounts.

Why, then, all the bitterness and infighting between two contenders for the leadership succession? 

The Hindustan Times wrote:

“The death of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba has left a question mark on the future of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), estimated to have assets worth Rs 40,000 crore ($9 billion). As Baba, who was chairperson of the trust, left no successor to the massive empire, his death might trigger a succession among the trust members which include his nephew R.J. Ratnakar. While some eminent devotees of Baba believe that with personalities like former chief justice of India P.N. Bhagvati on the board, the trust will carry on in a smooth manner various charitable work in India and abroad

Now Sathya Sai Baba died April 24, 2011. well before a date official Sai literature mentions that he had clearly foretold – AD 2022. The befuddled attempts of Sai devotees to rationalise this date are well exposed. (See Robert Priddy readings below).

Major Indian newspapers which have, down the decades, censored news inimical to Sathya Sai Baba, have published accounts of the unseemly infighting in regard to settling who runs Puttparthi after Sai Baba demise. According to the Kasturi and Murphet accounts above, and this is a date (or 2022, allowing for some latitude about how a year is expressed) that devotees commonly accept as the time when Sai Baba foretold that he will die (they don’t say die, of course). Many recent news reports also cite this date. (Although it is but one of at least three, seriously conflicting dates that Sai Baba predicted).

Of course, no amount of procrustean explanation, and jumping from calendar to calendar, which runs rife among many devotees right now, can rationally obscure the fact that Sai Baba has died long before this date.

On Wednesday April 13,1998, I flew from South India to Sri Lanka. In part 3., I shall detail my meeting with Nalin Sedera.

See next in article in this series: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Further Reading

By Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic, University of Oslo

Controversy on Sathya Sai Baba’s suspicious death

Sathya Sai Baba prophecies on his own death date(s)

Sathya Sai Baba succession problem

Sathya Sai Baba news sensation – may have died earlier

Sathya Sai Baba death date in serious doubt

Sathya Sai Baba’s death – no miracles

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

Sai Baba’s Bhagwati shows total disrespect for justiceSathya Sai Central Trust untrustworthy!

By Barry Pittard, former lecturer Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Indian Ex-Chief Justice: “Wild, Reckless Claims” about Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard

Slander by Dr. G. Venkataraman & Joe Moreno

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory


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An Introspective Exercise For Fearless Sathya Sai Baba Devotees

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 22, 2011

Sathya Sai Baba core leaders such as Dr Michael Goldstein, Dr G.L. Venkataraman and and others are deeply implicated in the massive cover up of a profoundly dark side of Sathya Sai Baba  and the inner machinations of his religious empire.

Those who have left, or are still having a crisis about whether to leave the Sathya Sai Organization, need to do some careful, consecutive thinking about the nature of what Sathya Sai Baba and his core leaders have fed to them down these long years.

More than anything else, they will need to look at themselves with rigorous self-examination. Anything like rationalization and easy answers are to be avoided. Such as:  But what about the miracles? But what about all the good that he has done? But what about the transformation in my life, and the lives of so many? And so on … These are worthy questions, but, taken on their own, they can obscure what, within oneself, has been denied, and not faced.

There have been great crimes, manipulations and betrayals. There has been the psychological condition of a greatly charismatic but profoundly flawed master of deception. And there has been our own beguilement. See: 

Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard On Dr G. Venkataraman – Sathya Sai Baba Global Propagandist

Because the depth of deception and of self-deception are so deep-layered, it is often not possible to assemble all the answers one might wish. In the face of this difficulty, I suggest this approach:

  • carefully note down, firstly – well away from distractions! – and in brief form, those misgivings one has had while involved in Sathya Sai Baba activities, and which one has swept from one’s mind – the contradictions, the anomalies, the autocratic deeds and policies, the conflicts concerning what one would ordinarily regard as against the law, or against ethics, or against common notions of fairness and kindness, etc.

One can consider, for example, how people have left or been cast out of the Sathya Sai Organization. That is to say, people whom you had long regarded as being decent and good, as indeed they are still thus regarded in their lives in their wider communities.

It is, as I say, a rigorous exercise – about facing those anomalies, contradictions, conflicts, dissonances – only as questions. NOT looking for answers.

One can then, drop the exercise, and let it mull, as it were. This sort of fearless self-honesty can have its own liberating power. There is a fresh wind. They are not just cobwebs we have in our mind. There are spiders, so to speak. And they had best be sent scurrying away, and some proper house-keeping be done.

At last, one looks at those concerns which one has avoided all along. There is a return to commonsense, and to simple self-respect. And to compassion for people in general, and not just so-called ‘Sai brothers and sisters’. And to common compassion for those who have dissented, and who, sometimes against enormous attack – including threats to life or limb. There is the unrelenting attack on the repute of those you once loved and honored.

In short, those whom you and your fellow devotees have excluded, shunned, and permitted to be sorely defamed.

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NEXT ARTICLE – coming in two days:  Part Two, continuing from

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

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Further Reading

Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard

Slander by Dr. G. Venkataraman & Joe Moreno

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory


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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 17, 2011

Reportedly, Sathya Sai Baba told a young Sri Lankan man that he was the reincarnation of the great Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).  The latter had traveled, briefly, to the West and made a large impression on both scholars and liberal laity alike.

Will Swami Vivekananda's Soul Fix Puttaparthi Succession Woes?

Much before the date he predicted – circa AD 2022, – Sathya Sai is dead.  Yet another of his self-progagated myths is exploded. Accounts of his Vivekananda-reborn myth appear in two writers close to Sai Baba, Kasturi and Murphet.  Devotees treat their writings as sacrosanct.

Significantly, both official and unofficial Sai Baba devotees strive at present to rationalize the date of Sathya Sai Baba’s death with his prophecy. The premises on which they base their calculations are empirically faulty. They still further expose their ignorance of at least two other death date predictions that he made, and which are in the officially-published Sathya Sai discourses. These statements the officials would be hard-put to weed out. Although in other crucial instances they have done so. See:  The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing StatementsIn this article, I reference some Brian Steel links. Steel’s detailed scholarly work deserves the closest attention by those prepared to do some rigorous thinking about the many, extremely revealing, Sathya Sai Baba contradictions, and his capacity for generating potent myths about himself.

But more of this in Part 2.  In the next days, I shall relate my search for the Sri Lankan man, and my meeting him.

If he is to be in charge of Puttaparthi, in Sai Baba’s aftermath, he had better do a nifty hop, skip and a jump from Sri Lanka to Puttaparthi, and thus end forever the intense infighting over succession that has been going on following Sathya Sai Baba’s death.

Sathya Sai Baba’s longtime associate and his official biographer, the late Professor P.N. Kasturi, wrote that Sai Baba said: 

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

Another close Sathya Sai Baba associate, the late Howard Murphet, author of best-selling books on Sathya Sai Baba, reported that in an interview in the late 60’s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission”.

Murphet met the individual concerned, Nalin Sedera, in 1989, and relates that Sai Baba told Sedera:

“I have been waiting for you for eighty-five years”

and that Sedera would come to live at the Puttaparthi ashram in (CE) 2021.

See:  Sai Inner Views and Insight, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda, by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60- 66.

Vivekananda’s appearance in the West was a remote beginning of a wider Western interest in Eastern spirituality and philosophy which did not combust until the descent upon India of thousands of spiritual seekers, most of them young. Central to its impetus was a broad and strong reaction to the gross materialism in the socio-economically developed countries. Superficial views link this convergence on India as being a ‘Hippie’ phenomenon, but those who lived in India or traveled there or else well-acquainted with the serious literature know plainly that this is a vast oversimplification.

Neither India nor the West was ready for this decamping. India was beginning to recover from British imperial domination (in my view, it has never really recovered, and in many cases, where the old oppressions have been overcome, home-grown ones keep springing up in their place). The very notion of ‘seeking’ can imply either a degree of lack of fulfilment or loss outright – real hungering and thirsting. When there is neediness, especially when individuals travel in unfamiliar terrain, two mutally opposed forces, either to aid or to thwart them, arise. One is compassion expressed through decency. The other is exploitation.

Of course, human nature being what it is, such dichotomies as compassion for, as opposed to exploitation of, the seeker are simplistic. There are any number of gurus – no less than human beings in general – who have done many acts of which we may all approve, yet, along with the kindly actions, have done ill.

Leaving aside the many other forms of exploitation, the list of Indian gurus who have been exposed as shams is considerable, as has been the exposure of many religious and other authority figures in countries around the world.

Whatever may be said of the strengths and the integrity of figures such as Vivekananda, Yogananda and other Indian teachers who visited the West, the adulation which they received – and still receive though they are long dead – needs to be looked at critically. I think the greatest benefit that can spring when one looks at these historical developments is to spend serious time in self-examination. That is to say, each one of us can keep posing the question:  how did I, and how do I, react to influential role models? Not what is somebody else’s adulation, reverence, attachment. But what constitutes my own tendencies.

If we can find a way to challenge the adulation, and the clinging attachment to external figures, perhaps we will have begun to find instead of to seek. That is, forever, to seek external buttresses for our being.

But, emphatically, this was not my state when attached to the figure of Sathya Sai Baba.

Continued at:    Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Further Reading

Sathya Sai Baba’s lunar age 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s death and ‘mahasamadhi’

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens


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The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and its Golden Casket

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 10, 2011

I posted the following piece 14 February 2007.  I shall remove that post – originally entitled:  ‘Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions  Many Countries Donate’ – and repost now. Since the news coverage from March 29, when Sathya Sai Baba was admitted to hospital and had an immediate pacemaker implant, there has been much discussion in India at large about the status of the Sathya Sai Central Trust.

Sri Satya Sai Baba hospitalised

Sources said Sai Baba has also developed breathing problems because of severe infection. (TOI Photo )

TNN, Mar 29, 2011, 03.50am IST

HYDERABAD: Sri Satya Sai Baba was admitted to the Sri Satyasai super-speciality hospital on Monday evening due to ill-health. Doctors said he was suffering from pneumonia and water has entered his lungs. Allaying fears of lakhs of his devotees, J Ratnakar of Sri Satyasai Trust said that Sai Baba was recovering.

Sources said Sai Baba has also developed breathing problems because of severe infection. “But his situation is improving with constant medical attention. There is nothing to worry about his health,” Ratnakar added.

                                                         Sathya Sai Baba. God? Or of the earth earthly ….

Well, since, you may have seen vast numbers of devotees on news footage doing exactly that – worrying. They keep telling us that he will keep his promise and come back when he promised – at 96.

Others, badly mixing up lunar and solar calendars, whether considered together or separately, are either ignorant of, or conceal, the fact that he gave at least three dates of when he would leave the body.

In any case, calendars or not, he has endlessly, over many decades said: “Why fear when I am here”.

But they weep, wail and gnash their teeth, and then say not to worry because he will be back soon. For those prepared to look hard at the arithmetic of these dating matters, see Robert Priddy‘s detailed exposure:

Sathya Sai Baba’s lunar age 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s death and ‘mahasamadhi’

Sathya Sai Baba devotees’ fervour and press reactions

Questions of Sri Sathya Central Trust infighting, and rumours that Sathya Sai Baba was being kept artificially ‘alive’ so that the Trust could resolve what to next to do, were aired. But eventually announcements came that all is well, and that the former Chief Justice of India, and longtime member of the Trust, P.N. Bhagwati, would be the Trust’s new chairman.

However, there are very real questions to be raised about Bhagwati. He shows problems of memory about crucial issues facing the Trust, such as about the killings in and around Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom on 6 July 1993. He also says he has no idea of the value of the Trust’s net money worth. During the interview with the Times of India (on whose board, by the way, he has been for several years a director, Bhagwati weeps a number of times, and one is reminded of his master’s sobbings in November last year. See: Sai Baba Breaks Down and Sobs At 85th Birthday Celebration (Video Footage)

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 31, 2010

Bhagwati  discloses, too, that, mystically, Sathya Sai Baba penned all the judgements that Bhagwati signed as being his own (Bhagwati’s). One wonders how other judges get along at all, with that jot of skill so punily alloted to them by mere nature. What if other judges in India, or, heaven knows, anywhere, were to think that their guru was writing ‘their’ judgements?!  A bit spooky …..

Bhagwati is adamant that there is no need for an investigation into the many allegations relating to unsolved killings at Puttaparthi (as did his close colleague and former world head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Indulal Shah). And that the allegations of (in fact, serial, worldwide) Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of boys and young men are simple mischief. Whereas, in fact, serious, reputed investigative organisations, including the BBC in the form of the television documentary ‘The Secret Swami, have realised that the former devotees and other critics whom Bhagwati, Venkataraman and other Sai servitors have so cruelly maligned are distinctly varied in background, education and culture, and of outstanding repute in their professions, trades, places and wider communities.

Bhagwati tells us – what no judge in his right senses would ever say, even if he or she believed it:  “I have cultivated a reputation as the foremost legal luminary across the Commonwealth. See my three articles: 

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Below, then, is that old article, which can now be read against more recent news.

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Looking Back  (to article, 14 February 2007)

Sathya Sai Baba’s exchequer owes to vast donations to his Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust via his powerful organisation spanning more than 150 countries, and not least to the donations of the extremely wealthy – like James Sinclair, the Canadian cable and minerals magnate, Isaac Tigrett the American founder of the Hard Rock Café and House of Blues, the Rai family in India in steel and technology and an astounding number of other hugely wealthy and influential individuals and families. Rediff News, July 06, 2005, reported:  http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/jul/06spec2.htm

“The Andhra Pradesh-based Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is the largest recipient of foreign contributions. The Sathya Sai Trust received Rs 95 crore (Rs 950 million) during 2003-04”.

This figure – which is well over US $20 million – is but the officially-declared one and does not account for contributions of those foreigners who donate when they are in India. Anyone who has watched how, at places like Puttaparthi and Whitefield, the Indian and foreign the mega business fraternity swap business cards – within the so-called holiest of holy precincts! – and thereafter thrives will be forced to conclude that far wider economic and political forces are at play, and that it is little wonder how successive Indian governments both State and Central have been loathe to ‘kill’ a goose that lays an incredible number of golden eggs.

Promisingly, as though in further testimony to a thesis suggested earlier in htttp://barrypittard.wordpress.com to the effect that popular Indian uprisings against corruption may come to envelop Sai Baba and the main confederates of this ‘secret swami’, Professor Narendra Nayak has informed us:

“We have been leading a campaign against Sathya Sai Baba and his so called miracles. As of now, a very powerful movement is coming up against him in Tamilnadu. He came to Chennai and performed a yaga and M. Karunanidhi (the Chief Minister), a avowed rationalist, met him and discussed. We don’t know what. He then started praising him. We have started a campaign against that. The Periyar Drvaid Kazagam has made condensed version of the (BBC’s) ‘Secret Swami’ in Tamil and copies are going like anything”.

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Still Further Reading

THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION’S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED (Part One) – By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. And Part Two Three Four.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 4, 2011

In the Times of India article – ‘Sai Baba, my god, dictated my every single judgment’ – TNN | May 1, 2011, 03.22am IST – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati, and now to be head of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, makes this extraordinary claim. He says:

“As a professional, each time I would sit down to write a judgment at 5 ‘o’clock in the morning, I was only writing what my god dictated. Bhagwan held my hand as I put pen to paper”

One wonders how the weighty pens of judges the world over can ever manage – so precariously unaided by such Direct Divine Penmanship as Bhagwati says he is aided –  to remain upright and without trembling …. 

One may like to pause, then – perhaps with the aid of a soothing Indian tea – just to take in the unexpectedness of all this.

A Strange Notion:  A Judge’s Own Guru Is Above The Law

One may also wonder what the case if other judges in India, who are enamoured of this or that guru, were to deem themselves in a mystic-golden-telephone-like contact with their Guru-God, and think that he or she is talking to them, guiding them, holding their pen, etc. 

And in India, there is a vast plethora of gurus to go around! Heaven help us, the number of divinely-wielded pens may also be more than a few.

And one may wonder, too, if other guru-affiliated judges would also, like Bhagwati, subscribe to the notion that their guru is in total charge of their legal judgements. What if their guru faced serious, well-made allegations?

In the case of Sathya Sai Baba, the allegations are extremely serious. They include implication in the cover up of several killings in his bedroom, worldwide allegations of wide-scale serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, scamming by his front office in regard to apartments, and other grave charges. In regard to the molestations, sworn testimony has been provided to major world media, UNESCO, police forces in the West (very privately, the latter will say in what great distrust many Indian police are held by international police who have the misfortune to have to deal with them). The interviewer says:

Inmates of the ashram, particularly young boys, have levied charges of sexual abuse against the godman.

Bhagwati (Agitated):  These are all baseless allegations. Bhagwan is a divine person, divinity personified. All these allegations come from interested quarters.

Learned legal counsel of several major organizations of high repute have the extensive evidence, and not Bhagwati at all. Therefore, Bhagwati is bare of evidence, and therefore barefaced.  He has not seen the sworn testimony that we have lodged with instrumentalities such as India Today, the BBC, Daily Telegraph (UK), Azul TV, Salon.com, police forces such as the FBI, and other instrumentalities such as UNESCO ….. See:  BBC Exposed Sai Baba Top Aide’s And Indian Foreign Minister’s Ploy With UNESCO.

Indeed, the BBC Assistant Producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, David Saville, told me that, under its own private efforts, the BBC was able to uncover still more compelling testimony about sexual abuse than that represented by the lists provided by international former devotee coordinators like Glen Meloy, Hari Sampath, Robert Priddy and myself. See my Obituary:

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

How dare Bhagwati insult many decent families throughout the world! They have been shattered by the greatest betrayal of their lives, the actions of Sathya Sai Baba, to whom they were – many of the families for decades – hitherto utterly devoted! And in whose Sathya Sai Organization they did so much tireless, sacrificial service! These are the people whom Bhagwati’s close official colleague, Dr G. Venkatarman, too, has so badly and publicly defamed. See: Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard

By what right does Bhagwati opine in such matters?  But of course, one may suppose, he claims Divine Right …..

Numerous mere mortals who do not agree with Bhagwati or his Divine-Penmanship-‘God’ have left the Sathya Sai Organization. They have been deemed, and in Orwellian fashion, to be non-persons now. Shunned, reviled, defamed. Some of these were, for decades outstanding leaders, a fact well-known by close longtime servitors on the Sathya Sai Central Trust and in the international Sathya Sai Organization, and more widely within the Sathya Sai fold.

For a minute part of the evidence for failure of accountability and transparency, and gross lack of duty of care, see:  Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips) and:  Bob Bozzani Big Donor To Guru Sai Baba Under Siege and: Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion and: A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 4 and: Thorbjørn Meyer: Is Democracy Such A Good Idea?

Overnight, large numbers were now called (first by Sathya Sai Baba) “demons”, and “Judases”. Sai Baba said that they would not ever escape eternal hell.  See:  Sathya Sai Baba condemns his critics as “demons”

What has the divinely-guided Bhagati got to say about the undeniable fact that, very typically, these former devotees he defames are, and for long have been, respected members of their wider communities, professions, trades, places of learning, and so on.

But as to his guru: 

Bhagwati: (he) is  “divinity personified, he radiates joy …. What is the point of investigation?”

As the Times of India reports (see below), this is exactly what Bhagwati says, however difficult it may be for the rest of us to credit it.

Dear reader, how is that cup of Indian tea managing? Is it soothing enough?

P.N. Bhagwati, New Head of Sathya Sai Central Trust

Perhaps, many who have endured Bhagwati’s judgements over the years, and who regard the hand of Sathya Sai Baba as an alien one, and an injust one, may also like to pause for thought. And then to lodge formal complaint, and even sue Bhagwati.

India is, of course, a member of the Commonwealth of nations. And even one badly errant judge, a former Chief Justice at that, does not make life any better for his or her fellow judges who are in such a nexus.

But first, let me give my large number of readers the web address of:  The Commonwealth Lawyers Association. You may like the pleasure of sending them your opinion, questioning whether they think India has progressed as far as she should, if she cannot  provide better Justice role models.

In fact, Bhagwati makes several extraordinary claims. Thus, there is all the more reason for the world to know the sort of supposed seniormost Justice role model India got for herself in in the person of Bhagawati. Given that India is fast heading, along with China, towards superpower status, one might hope to see far better types among her legal superluminaries.

Will The Indian Government and Legal Profession Dare To Express Their Stance On Bhagwati?

International displeasure can be adverted to The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and well beyond. And The CLA, for their part, may like to use the Bhagwati example as a cautionary tale for their members – perhaps especially for the young ones coming on, who are challenging the gerontocratic, elitist chambers of Indian and other justice systems that are in such sore need of reform. Cross-Commonwealth colleagial influence can, for example, in a number of ways, be brought to bear, without anyone meddling in the affairs of State. Even grave looks of displeasure and dismay, and refusal to felicitate, or accept invitations from ….. can carry a weight all of their own.

The Bhagwati cautionary tale benefits young and old. It warns of dangers that still face even 90 or so year old judges. My readers may like to ensure that Bhagwati’s comments, and informed criticisms of them, reach further afield than to the readers of the Times of India. Or even further than the readership of ‘Call For media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, if that is at all imaginable.

India’s P.N. Bhagwati  Proclaims His Repute “as the foremost legal luminary across the Commonwealth”

One does not, after all, expect a judge to say that he or she is recognised as the finest legal brain in The Commonwealth. One tends to think:  Sober as a judge. Yet -:

Bhagati:  I have cultivated a reputation as the foremost legal luminary across the Commonwealth.

He also tells the interviewer:

I have never uttered a lie in my entire life.

Bhagwati In Ignorance of the Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Quarters

One does not expect a key member of an extraordinarily wealthy, religiously and politically powerful Trust to be so blissfully unaware of hard realities. For forty years, he has play an important role around Sathya Sai Baba. How can he expect to be believed when he says that he does not know what he was doing at the time of four killings in his founder’s bedroom?  That is to say – one who had, moreover, risen to the highest judicial role in the land. And who is a member of a professional class universally expected to have the best of memories.  And yet, when he is asked whether, at this time, he was in Mumbai meeting with Sathya Sai Central Trust members there, Bhagwati says:

“I cannot remember. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. I am not clear in my mind”.

Not clear in his mind?  One cannot help but think that the families and friends of those so bloodily killed in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom might wish indeed that Bhagwati had a much better memory, and wish that he WAS clear in his mind …. In fact, as sober as a judge.

About the killings, then, let Indian (or other) journalists ask Bhagwati whether he remembers meeting with the Union Home Minister at the time of the murders, S.B.Chavan. Let him answer whether the discussion was about damage control, and hushing matters up. How would his memory stand up here?

The killings and the cover up were, of course, a singular and terrible circumstance in Puttaparthi history. It was more than enough for some devotees – shaken, they left the Sathya Sai Organization.

So how could Bhagwati forget? Many others do not forget it. They cannot, yet profoundly wish that they could. Why is he so forgetful?

Does Bhagwati remember where he was when he first heard news of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi? Or that of President John F. Kennedy? Or when news came of the events of 9/11?  Presumably, he will remember where he was when news came through to him of Sathya Sai Baba’s death. Will he at all remember hearing the news, two days back, of the death Osama bin Laden? Most of the rest of us will never forget that.

Unless, of course, they were not sober as a good judge.

The Times of India interviewer says:

An attempt of was made on (Sai Baba’s) life a few years ago. Some ashram inmates were killed.

Bhagwati: I am not aware of this. I live in Delhi, so I have no knowledge.

The standard of Bhagwati’s extraordinariness does not lapse, as we see: 

Interviewer:   Several alleged offences committed by Sai Baba were never investigated.

Bhagwati:  What is the point of investigation? (Agitated) Bhagwan is divinity personified, he radiates joy; millions worship him. He is a teacher of mankind”

Should one pour another cup of soothing Indian tea?

 Bhagwati’s response is of a piece with that of his Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust colleague of many years, Indulal Shah. On 10 June 1993, The Hindu, reported:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Indulal Shah. Former head of Sathya Sai Organization

A mostly emasculate Indian media corps, afraid of their proprietors, can cower in the face of such cynical, antidemocratic non-answers. How demeaning for India, though,  that dereliction of democratic care has meant that foreign media has had to step in where India has vacated.  One of India’s great and courageous editors – V.K. Narasimhan – (whom I knew and loved and for one of his books I did some editing) was noble, and not a coward of this ilk.

The evidence of Bhagwati’s and Shah’s internals might not be well digested by those who care for Law, when it is wise and just. Lord Coke, Lord Chancellor under James I, is credited with the saying: ‘Be ye ever so high, the law is above you’. Apparently, Lord Denning, the great British judge, was fond of quoting this aphorism.

Has Bhagwati’s memory grown so poor that he forgets the great legal maxims, such as:  Hear the other side. Or: Hear the alternative party – Audi alteram partem. Or: audiatur et altera pars. Does he forget this principle? :  “Justice knows neither father nor mother; justice looks to the truth alone” – Justitia non novit patrem nec matrem; solum verrtatem spectat justitia”.

Yet Bhagwati’s very words abnegate these great precepts, which are prime ones in justice systems throughout the world.

Does The Commonwealth Law Association Approve Of The Influential Bhagwati’s Unorthodox Notions?

According to its website notice for 17th Commonwealth Law Conference, the CWL states that the alumni of The Commonwealth Lawyers Association include “some of the finest legal minds in the world today”. Why a return of the CWL Conference to India, after all these forty years? Perhaps it is because some lawyers other than Bhagwati are making the great effort to embody the time-honored, enshrined principles of democratic justice.

One wonders what measure of respect members of The Commonwealth Lawyers Association might accord, given his attitudes made plain just a couple of days ago, a former Chief Justice of India, now to be installed as chairman of one of the wealthiest of Trusts. Might they not think that one of their colleagues now presides over a medieval fiefdom?

Ironically enough, the CLA law conference was held in Hyderabad, the capital of the late Sathya Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh, South India in February 2011. But what might Bhagwati know of the conference? After all, he may have been in Delhi. Or Mumbai. Or any other place where not even the most dramatic news is likely to echo to his ears.

Will The Indian Media Begin To Do Its Job As Fifth Estate Citizens’ Guardian?

Let us see whether the Indian media will be tame or challenge Bhagwati’s views, and the views of those who think similarly. But, sadly, news critical of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult has been denied to Indian for many decades, with rare exceptions like India Today and Caravan. Ironically non-resident Indians have been able to read or view investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult in foreign media.

In India, the Sathya Sai Organization’s great wealth and political and religious clout hold sway. In dealing with the Canadian media, I know how one of the CanWest newspapers, because of a multi-millionaire Sai devotee’s threat to withdraw his large advertizing, interposed on their journalist, and significantly diluted his article, which former Sathya Sai followers (who are in excellent standing in their communities, professions, trades and places of learning) had gone to sacrificial effort to document. I was reliably informed that the newspaper and the Sai devotees’ lawyers were ensconced for hours. We also know of the attempts of top Sathya Sai Baba aides in to stop media from investigating media such as: the BBC, CBC, SBS, India Today, the Times of London, The Adelaide Advertiser, The West Australian, and also UNESCO.  Figures close to Sathya Sai Baba engaged in these attempts at censorship went very high on his VVIP list, e.g., Indian Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri.

To say that he knows nothing of the killings is a dark stain on Bhagwati. To say that no investigations should take place, fortifies the Puttaparthi, local, state and central Indian government cover up. It is a scandal that is no secret to many Indian police, lawyers, journalists, politicians, government bureaucrats and others. It is one that shows India to the world, not as a ‘Shining India’ but as, all too glaringly, profoundly enmeshed in a corrupt, autocratic past from which she still cannot drag herself free.

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The Times of India Bhagwati Interview With Ex-Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati

‘Sai Baba, my god, dictated my every single judgment’

TNN | May 1, 2011, 03.22am IST

On Sathya Sai Baba: Indian Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati's Extraordinary Interview

FURTHER READING

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 1, 2011

Indian Ex-Chief Justice: “Wild, Reckless Claims” about Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 29, 2011

New Zealand Lawyer Exposes Official Cover Up of Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom

Senior Indian Policeman (Rtd) Speaks Out About Sathya Sai Baba Murders Cover Up

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

———————————————————

Still Further Reading

THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION’S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED (Part One) – By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. And Part Two Three Four.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 1, 2011

Dame Justice - Impartial. Understood to Be Blind to Status, etc.

P.N. Bhagwati - "No Replacement For Baba"

In his interview just conducted by the Times of India (on which he has long been a director, by the way), Ex- Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati (see picture), about to head the late Sathya Sai Baba’s Central Trust, makes a number of comments which cannot but alienate him from present and former Commonwealth judges, and, indeed, judges, lawyers and citizens far beyond.

One may hope that no view will succeed which is of the sort that:  here is a very old man – entering his 90’s. Let him have his eccentricities about his God. What harm can Bhagwati do in his dotage? After all, he no longer presides over Indian Justice.

But Bhagwati was not in his dotage down all those years when, as he now tells us, Sathya Sai Baba has been holding the jurisprudential pen.

Let us remember, for one thing, that influence and mentorship of professionals – especially eminent ones – do not stop. Especially in a country like India, in which the elderly are venerated. One becomes aghast at the thought of how many younger judges and advocates in India see Bhagwati as a role model – not just in matters of precise legal craft – which may give no cause for alarm. But, rather, in the matter of interpretation of the legal job when passed through the distorting glass of a faith that says:  Sathya Sai Baba is the Lawyer of Lawyers.  And in a manner which gravely questions the professed secularity, as opposed e.g., to theocratic threats to democratic law, of Indian, Commonwealth, and, indeed, international law.

In this interview, among other points which cannot help but give concern in many quarters, Bhagwati has, without any shadow of a doubt, enunciated a principle so totally alien to a central tenet of justice in any of the democracies:  namely, that because he believes Sathya Sai Baba to be God, there should be no police or judicial investigation into allegations against Sai Baba. Bhagwati shows not a moment’s thought for what this view implies for any other judge – or, indeed, any other citizen – who may think that his or her version of God is the right one, and therefore omit to hold that ‘version’ to be free from any judicial or police procedure. The thought is truly appalling ….. and one almost blinks in astonishment. There is a corruption of justice at the very core of his pronouncement.

What say if the case was of a Chief Justice who thought that Rajneesh, or Muktananda or the (recent) Nityananda – or any other eminence ochre or saffron or of whatever dye was holding his or her pen in the writing of judgements?

At a number of points during the interview, Bhagwati weeps. Is he weeping for the Justice that he has traduced? Perhaps he is weeping for the loss on 24 April 2011, when his guru died. (After saying saying, over the years, that he, Avatar of All Avatars, come to save the world before he left it a the age of 96. And that he would be fit and healthy into his old age. And that he would not leave until the world had fallen at his feet – except for some last tidying-up to be done by his next incarnation, Prema Sai Baba). But then, why weep so much given Bhagwati’s statement that, all down the years, Sathya Sai Baba has been the mystic pen in Bhagwati’s hand, writing the judgements?

Bhagwati’s hand, that has been in the grip of Sathya Sai Baba’s hand all these years, is a very wavering hand now.

He says, for example, that for long, in writing his judgements, he has been receiving guidance from Sathya Sai Baba. The account he gives sounds very like automatic writing. If it was not, he needs to have been clear about what he means. Judges are meant to be clear, are they not?

Bhagwati also shows some disconcerting lapses (???) of memory. Above all, the parents and families of those slain meters away from where Sathya Sai Baba was hiding on the other side of a locked door of his appartment on the blood-filled night of 6 June will surely want a better effort of memory from Bhagwati, once the lychpin of Indian  Justice. A better effort of memory from a man who is now to head the Sathya Sai Central Trust, on which he has so long served as a key member. 

It  is a test of the maturity of Indian democracy and of its jurisprudence whether India continues to allow such forgetfulness.

Note:  The sort of questions that I would like to be asking Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati (ex-Justice, indeed!) are below, in blue highlight.

…………………………………………………………………….

Times of India Interview With Ex-Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati.

‘Sai Baba, my god, dictated my every single judgment’

TNN | May 1, 2011, 03.22am IST
(Note:  See Interview beneath the extracts on which I have commented)

In relation to his expected installation as head of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, Bhagwati says:

No one will oppose my name. I have cultivated a reputation as the foremost legal luminary across the Commonwealth.

Barry Pittard:  Judges throughout the world famously leave it up to others to assess their standing. Do you believe that any Commonwealth judge, other than yourself, has ever made a public statement in which he or she has asserted their own excellence?

As a professional, each time I would sit down to write a judgment at 5 ‘o’clock in the morning, I was only writing what my god dictated. Bhagwan held my hand as I put pen to paper.

BP’s Question: First, do you know any Commonwealth judges who have made a public statement which only too obviously is open to interpretation that they are engaged in automatic writing? Second, do you cognise that many Indian citizens who refer to many gods and goddesses, and others to none at all are entitled to concern that judgements which affect them are ‘written’, in effect, by your own version of ‘God’ with which they may have serious concerns?

Everything that I have achieved in respect of the law, and people say I have achieved a lot, is owing to the guidance and inspiration of Sathya Sai Baba. There is no doubt on that score.

BP:  Are democratic publics not entitled to expect of their judges – irrespective of their presence or absence of religious faith – the ability, under their own steam, to write excellent judgements?

An attempt was made on his life a few years ago. Some ashram inmates were killed.

I am not aware of this. I live in Delhi, so I have no knowledge.

BP: If you do not remember any salient facts of one of the two or three greatest crises to have faced the Trust on which you were, and have long since been, a prominent member, how can we rely on your memory when you tell us that you later say that you “have never told a lie in (your) entire life?

What is the total worth of the assets of the trust? Is it more than Rs 40,000 crore?

I do not know the present worth.

BP: You are in your 90’s now. Has it never occurred to you, prior to this, to check on such a salient matter?

Did you meet trust officials in Mumbai during this visit?

I cannot remember. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. I am not clear in my mind.

BP:  First, is not a pre-eminent, expected quality in judges, the world over, clarity of mind? Second, how could you possibly forget main circumstances relating the 6 June 1993 four police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom, and two other slayings outside? Third, do you not diarise?

Inmates of the ashram, particularly young boys, have levied charges of sexual abuse against the godman.

(Agitated) These are all baseless allegations. Bhagwan is a divine person, divinity personified. All these allegations come from interested quarters.

BP:  Please, then, name those many individuals whose sworn testimony has convinced India Today, the BBC, and several other world standard investigative media, that a very serious prima facie case faced Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his leaders. You cannot? Of course you cannot. Learned legal counsel has them. They are often deeply gut-churning. Sometimes, they are, literally, tragic, since suicide has eventuated. At other times, one sees testimony to human courage.What is more, the BBC was able to discover still more testimony, which the assistant producer, David Saville, told me did not appear among our plethora of careful, worldwide documentation.

Major media and institutions such as UNESCO, Interpol, the FBI, and others have the documents. How do you dare to opine, Mr Bhagwati?

In that case, you have committed yourself to a statement that grievously lacks evidence, and, in doing so, you demean and defame the efforts of many aggrieved families around the world who have testified that Sathya Sai Baba engaged in very serious criminal abuses, including wide-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men.

Alarmingly, you do not state the irrefutable fact: that many who have made the allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s abuses, and about his official organization’s wide-scale dereliction of duty of care, were, for years, dedicated and respected workers in the Sathya Sai Organization. And that these now former devotees are, very typically, respected members of their wider communities, professions, trades, places of learning, and so on.

Interviewer:  Several alleged offences committed by Sai Baba were never investigated.

What is the point of investigation? (Agitated) Bhagwan is divinity personified, he radiates joy; millions worship him. He is a teacher of mankind.

Most people in the world do not even know of him. Even if they did, in democratic societies, there is, as you know, but seem to have forgotten, the principal of Equality Before the Law – no matter a person’s finances, social status, or the political power. Why would you claim exemption for Sathya Sai Baba? Do you not remember the figure of Dame Justice Blindfold that prominently adorns Indian Court buildings.

Each, then, is fully entitled, in his or her own democratic jurisdiction, to make, or allow others to make, any untested assumption as to whether some alleged divinity or other notable figure is to be exempted from facing well-made charges. A judge is not permitted to do that. But you assert that it can be done, when you say: “What is the point of investigation?”

Your longtime close colleague, the past world head of the Sathya Sai Organization made to the Indian media a remark strikingly similar to your own when you said: “What is the point of investigation?” On 10 June 1993 The Hindu, reported:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Article 7 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Do you think, then, that justice systems in the Commonwealth, or countries like the USA, would sanction such statements as these which you and Indulal Shah have made? You will be widely condemned for them within and far beyond your own legal fraternity.

On Sathya Sai Baba: Indian Ex-Chief Justice Gives Eccentric Interview

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