Picture Forms of Shaken Sathya Sai Baba Devotees Quitting En Masse
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 22, 2011
Our Indian well-wisher has just reported:
“News is constantly trickling in from Puttaparthi that Sai Baba devotees have been shaken by the huge haul of wealth in Yajur Mandir, as well as big cash seizures in the following days. Many SB devotees I know, real hardcore devotees that is, are not even attempting to defend or deny the gold, cash hauls, and are in a complete state of confusion. Some blame trust members (as evidenced by 100’s of devotees protesting outside the Ashram 2 days back), while a few are even questioning “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?”
See this very insightful news item filed from Puttaparthi just an hour back: “
from special correspondent from Puttaparti
Posted at 1-05 pm
Puttaparti, Andhra Pradesh, Jun 22: Things are totally different in this ‘Baba’ town now. During the earlier visit, soon after the demise of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the crowds were unmanageable. Devotees in lakhs were making a beeline to have a final darshan of Baba. But now, the place almost looks deserted, comparatively, that is.
While being a guest at the residence of an acquaintance from Dakshina Kannada, a professional who gave up his highly lucrative practice back home and took up serving Prashanti Nilayam about a decade ago, this correspondent got a clear indication of a feeling of disillusionment among social workers and devotees here. The host was in the process of moving out of this place once and for all.
A huge cache of gold and unaccounted money was recenly found in the secret vaults of the Ashram. Many devotees, with genuine concern at heart, feel that these valuables, if had been well invested instead of getting hoarded, could have been utilized for the benefit of the needy poor or have taken care of building homes for thousands of homeless.
The material element in the whole set-up has upset and disappointed many devotees. But no one wants to speak in loud voices about it.
The host too looked worried and explained why he thought of packing up from here. A few Mangalorean names are in the news here. Baba’s confidant Satyajit is being sidelined after Baba’s death. To add to that two more names are widely heard here now – they are Harish Shetty, who was caught carrying Rs 35 lakh in a Qualis car, and his brother Sohan Shetty, who was found carting off Rs 10 crore in a KSRTC Volvo bus heading for Bangalore.
They are brothers and are said to be sons of a top retired police official of Mangalore origin. Although it was being mentioned that the money was being transported to Bangalore, during interrogation it has reportedly come to light that the amounts of money were being taken to Mangalore. During inquiries, they are said to have disclosed that the money was taken out with the knowledge of trustee Srinivasan and security officer Pradhan.
In the meantime, the TVS group of companies has clarified that Srinivasan had nothing to do with their group and the clarification was necessitated since the name of the group was also being mentioned in the recent controversies.
In this backdrop, the host confided that people from Karnataka were being looked at with suspicion and hence his decision to leave this place for good to go back to agriculture farming run by his family.