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of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

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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One Response to “Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)”

  1. […] Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)Howard Murphet met Nalin Sedera, in 1989, whom Sai Baba told “Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” ” So far Sedera has not joined Sai Baba in his task! A bit on the late side? Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2) […]

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