Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

India’s Billionaire Cricket Star Tendulkar Scores Poorly In Sai Baba’s Game

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 4, 2011

It is rare that Sai Baba makes news outside India. Sunday’s Daily Telgraph (UK) has just published a useful run-down on the recent revelations of vast clandestine treasures being found in Sathya Sai Baba’s private chambers. (See Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency). In some main points in yesterday’s article, Gethin Chamberlain (see an earlier reference in ‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed) states:
“… the guru’s closest aides have turned on each other, there are claims of death threats being made, and the police have been called in.

……….

The Trust decided to open the rooms, but with caution: the police were kept at a distance and the media were locked out. A select group assembled, including the controversial figure of Satyajit, Sai Baba’s carer, apparently the only person who could penetrate the chambers’ elaborate security. They took the lift to the first floor, opened the door and stepped inside.

What they found made even the wildest rumours seem tame: stacked around the room were piles of gold, diamonds and cash. Cashiers with counting machines were summoned and reported that the haul included £1.6 million in rupees, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver. (No figure was provided for the diamonds.)

The Trust denied any previous knowledge of the hoard, said it had immediately paid tax on its value, and denied any impropriety.

……….

Suspicion began to grow that vast sums had already been smuggled out. Three days later, police stopped a car carrying Trust members near the border with a neighbouring state – and found the equivalent of £50,000 in cash inside. The Trust first denied any connection with the money, then claimed it had been donated by devotees to pay for a memorial.”

Decades of Failure to Investigate Sathya Sai Baba and His Untrustworthy Trust

Except at the time of Sathya Sai Baba’s death on 24 April 2011, the non-Indian media has practically ignored him. Often enough, the Indian media itself, has not made much of him, being more interested in scandals than in spirituality. Although, from circa two thousand, we did our best, as an international former devotee group (which included India), almost all the Indian media – except most notably India Today – and Indian governments and politicians profoundly ignored us. And also the immensely persistent Indian rationalist, Basava Premanand, who even initiated a court case, which like the Sampath case was hijacked by a Sai devotee judge in a manner deplored privately to me by distinguished legal experts. This failure history can only record severely against the established forces in India. The excercise of such powerful censorship is why we now see, now that various tipping points are being reached, with the Sathya Sai Trust facing nationwide scandal. Some of the corruption to which critics have laboured so hard and so long to get properly investigated  is, increasingly, being exposed. We did not know of Sai Baba’s incredible hoarding of treasure in his private quarters. However, as long ago as 2ooo, one of our number, Hari Sampath, former member of Sai Baba’s Security and Intelligence Wing, included mention in his Public Information Litigation (PIL) suit to the Supreme Court of India, of  money laundering via certain Sai Trust members who had charge over such activities, while other members were kept in the dark. See my recent blogs:

Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency

Sai Baba protected by the Supreme Court of India

In short, unlike UNESCO, the US State Department and many leading, best reputed media in the West (and, privately a number of governments), the Indian media with the honorable exception of India Today grossly and repeatedly ignored our detailed and compelling documentation and the sworn statements of excellent citizens from a number of countries.

The gold is real. Just like the huge amount of undeclared gold (among other treasures) recently discovered in his multi million secret cache in his private quarters in the temple-palace in which he lived.

Sathya Sai Baba has, of course, been but one of a great many so-called ‘holy’ men and women who crowd the Indian religious scene, and who are exalted and worshipped in a way that can only seem strange to most people most everywhere else.

The Use of Devotee Celebrities in Sai Baba’s ‘Game’ – Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar. Sits by the dead Sai Baba's golden casket. More gold ...

Sometimes, the fact of his many Indian celebrity followers has enhanced his newsworthiness. Although the appeal in these last weeks has been the gross and repeated revelations. A most recent in-the-news celebrity is Sachin Tendulkar, the billionaire cricketing star who has just performed more miracles for India in cricket. Or was his guru playing through him? Tendulkar’s achievements have exalted him to god-like status in a nation mad for cricket.  Tendulkar is mad for Sai Baba.  I hasten, though, to add that so too are many poorly performing cricketers – lest Tendulkar, like the former Chief Justice of India and longtime Sai Trustee P.N. Bhagwati be so addled to think that Sathya Sai Baba is dictating his decision:  See:

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

As mentioned in the report below, Tendular has just announced the gift of a costly bust (as ‘guru dakshina’) to be made of Sai Baba – of all the uses in poverty-ridden India that could have been made with the money! Hopefully, the Indian people will one day repudiate such practices, which are not only powerful symbols of opulence, as opposed to simplicity and compassion, but hold India up to ridicule worldwide.

Indian media have often either reported on Sai Baba’s visits round India or ignored him. Some sections, where media barons, or their families, have been devotees, there has, of course, been coverage.

The exceptions in regard to western media non-coverage have been very few. Except for a fairly small number of reports of his death, and the occasional Obits, the exceptions have been when our coordinated former devotee group has worked hard to bring world attention to grave crimes and spiritual betrayals over many years alleged against him and, in some cases, his close servitors. Also highlighted have been serious political and governmental involvement in Sai Baba cover ups, local, state and national, and the gross dereliction of duty of care and of transparency and accountability of both the Sathya Sai Central Trust and the international Sathya Sai Central Trust. Independent journalists, scholars and others who have tried to study the Sai Baba apparatus repeatedly report the highly authoritarian nature of the movement and its officials.

Contrary to years of intense Puttaparthi propaganda – easily seen in the published speeches of Sai Baba and his handpicked keynote speakers – much of the rest of the world does not know of him, and some parts know a little.
But Sai Baba’s nefarious squandering of gold – apart from the massive hoarding of it (and so much other glittering treasure) is not new.

Gold Cup at 1997 Sai Baba Cricket Match. World Attention Elsewhere

On 30 December 1997, covering the match for ‘Spirtual Impressions’ a Sai devotee magazine, I got some good close-up views, holding press card for the so-called ‘International’ cricket match. It was not international at all. What is more, Sunil Gavaskar (previous glamour superstar of Indian cricket) has, since, maintained the myth on Sai Baba’s propaganda world radio station.
This so-called ‘Cricket Unity Cup’ was supposed to be an event which brought Sai Baba to the attention of the world. One thing would lead to another. Huge amounts of work and money went into getting a splendid cricket pitch in the Hillview stadium arena. Television and print media were invited. E.A.S. Prasanna, India’s former great spin bowler, that Australia’s  (my country’s immortal) Sir Donald Bradman had been invited, but could not attend because of his great age and ill-health. Some of the cricketers present (playing and non-playing) present were: Sachin Tendulkar (Captain), Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka’s Captain), Sunil Gaveskar (like Tendulkar a long-term devotee), G. R. Vishwanath, Viv Richards of West Indies and almost unknown Doug Brown (the only UK player). The match failed to engage players from West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, and any one of the scores of countries in which cricket is taken seriously.  India’s national broadcaster Doordarshan televised the match. In the commentator’s box was ‘Kiri’, Syed Kirmani, often hailed as India’s best ever wicket keeper, who became a Chairman of Selectors for India. He was no doubt well ‘selected’ for the day’s job at the Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup, since he quite often dropped all objective commentary of the match being played, instead indulging in rhapsodic eulogies on Sai Baba. I saw the Doordarshan producer repeatedly directing attention of the camera crew to features of the grandiose architecture like Sai Baba’s university, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Segments of the game were telecast round the world, including Great Britain. India – or rather, one should say, Sai Baba’s propaganda machine – won the day. It was yet another ‘golden’ affair, since the cup was made of gold.  One account reads:

Sai Baba: “It will be brought by four boys in a trolley. It is very heavy. It cannot be lifted. It weighs 20 kgs. Pure gold.”
A college teacher exclaimed; “1 Crore, Swami!” (i.e Rs.10 millions)
SB: “Yes, yes.”
Teacher: “Individual cup,
Swami?”
SB: “Yes, yes. Each player one Cup. 1 Kg. of silver. Round cup, one side ball, one side bat. We
can keep fruits on it. It can be used in daily life. Outside they give plate on which they write. After some days it becomes copper. This is pure silver, pure gold.”
Teacher: “Swami, it is written in Suka Naadi that Avatar will hoist the Sarvadharma flag; and that will be the turning point for the unity of the world.”
SB answered: “Time has come; time has come. Yes, in Suka Naadi it is there, in Sukha Naadi it is there.”

Yet another of Sai Baba’s many falsified prophecies. See:

“No fear of bombs” in India, Said Sai Baba a Week Before Mumbai Terrorist Attack

Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

Sai Baba 83. Has Said He Will Rule World

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

Fortunately for India’s cricketing fortunes, Tendulkar’s logic on the cricket field serves him far better than his logic off-field.

————————————

Indian guru’s hoarded riches raise doubts over charitable works

Thousands of followers around the world believed the Indian guru Sai Baba was a god, but since his death it has emerged that the fortunes people donated to him were not all invested in good works.

Sai Baba 

By Gethin Chamberlain, in Panaji

8:30AM BST 03 Jul 2011

The Indian guru Sai Baba’s life seemed to have it all: sex, money and religion.

A lifetime of claiming to be the incarnation of God had brought him a £5.5 billion fortune and a worldwide following of 50 million people. It also brought accusations that he molested his young acolytes and used cheap trickery to perform his miracles.

Yet all this is now in danger of being eclipsed by the extraordinary saga which has been playing out since his death in April, a story of hidden treasure troves, of mountains of gold and diamonds, of missing millions, all set against a backdrop of a struggle for control of his empire.

In his prime, the diminutive holy man with the bright orange robes and huge afro haircut could count kings and presidents among his friends, and the likes of Sarah Ferguson among the admirers of his home-spun, “love all, serve all” philosophy.

The film actress Goldie Hawn has visited his religious centre or ashram at least three times and donated tens of thousands of dollars to his projects; the Duchess of York paid a call after her marriage broke up; while the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who gave £40,000 for a statue of the guru, and a myriad of Indian politicians and Bollywood stars claimed inspiration from his message of putting service above self.

Sai Baba’s sprawling, non-denominational ashram in the town of Puttaparthi in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh was a beacon for Indians and westerners seeking spiritual enlightenment, no matter what their original religion – which the guru said they could maintain.

Now, though, it is riven by scandal: the guru’s closest aides have turned on each other, there are claims of death threats being made, and the police have been called in.

The edifice began to crumble when members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, which runs the ashram, a religious centre, decided that speculation about what might be inside the guru’s private chambers was getting out of hand. The rooms had lain apparently untouched since the 84-year-old spiritual leader was taken ill in March.

The Trust decided to open the rooms, but with caution: the police were kept at a distance and the media were locked out. A select group assembled, including the controversial figure of Satyajit, Sai Baba’s carer, apparently the only person who could penetrate the chambers’ elaborate security. They took the lift to the first floor, opened the door and stepped inside.

What they found made even the wildest rumours seem tame: stacked around the room were piles of gold, diamonds and cash. Cashiers with counting machines were summoned and reported that the haul included £1.6 million in rupees, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver. (No figure was provided for the diamonds.)

The Trust denied any previous knowledge of the hoard, said it had immediately paid tax on its value, and denied any impropriety.

If the Trust hoped that would satisfy the millions of devoted followers who had sent money from around the world in the belief it would be used to spread Sai Baba’s teaching or help educate the poor and treat the sick, it was mistaken. The love and compassion of which he preached gave way to rumours of more treasure hidden away around the sprawling building, of false ceilings and further underground hoards. Meanwhile Sai Baba’s niece, Chetana Raju, claimed she had received death threats for complaining about the search.

One source within the ashram said: “The police have definite intelligence of the existence of secret vaults, and concealed storage in false ceilings and behind false walls in Sai Baba’s personal living quarters. They strongly believe that the wealth hidden there could be much more than what was actually found, perhaps on a staggering scale.”

Suspicion began to grow that vast sums had already been smuggled out. Three days later, police stopped a car carrying Trust members near the border with a neighbouring state – and found the equivalent of £50,000 in cash inside. The Trust first denied any connection with the money, then claimed it had been donated by devotees to pay for a memorial.

The revelations have tested the faith of even the staunchest devotees, said a former member of Sai Baba’s security and intelligence wing. “News is constantly trickling in from Puttaparthi that Sai Baba devotees have been shaken by the huge haul of wealth as well as big cash seizures in the following days,” he said. “Many Sai Baba devotees I know, real hard-core 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, while a few are asking, ‘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?”

Even Sai Baba’s most vociferous critics are taken aback by speed with which the empire is unravelling. “Even a couple of months ago, what has now happened was still unimaginable,” said Robert Priddy, the Sai Baba organisation’s former Norwegian leader.

Mr Priddy was once a believer but lost his faith as the allegations of sexual abuse which dogged Sai Baba’s final decades began to mount – though not before himself donating a total of £13,500.

“Devotees around India have at last begun to raise many questions and demand answers about the riches of Sai Baba and other gurus,” he said. “There have been protest demonstrations. It is a remarkable turnaround.”

The implications have not been lost on the people of Puttaparthi, whose livelihoods depend on a constant stream of pilgrims. It was a tiny village when Sai Baba was born there; as he grew in stature it became a thriving town, but business has slumped since his death.

The big draw of Sai Baba was the darshan – a glimpse of the God made incarnate – that came twice a day as the little man with the big hair walked among the faithful, sharing a few words with the lucky ones, before taking his place on the long stage beneath which he is now buried.

As many as 10,000 people could pack into the gaudy main hall, with its golden lions, pink, blue and white colour scheme and glittering chandeliers dangling overhead, to listen to his message of love and compassion.

In later years a stroke obliged Sai Baba to make his way through the vast hall in a specially converted car before taking his place on the stage in his removable white leather car seat, trimmed with gold painted plastic. Still the faithful came.

But India is not short of gurus and the fear in Puttaparthi is that those seeking enlightenment will now turn their attentions to other, more vital, sages.

Even if the followers to drift away, there is still a £5.5 billion empire up for grabs, including 1,200 centres in more than 100 countries and a string of hospitals and schools around the world – and there is no shortage of contenders to take control.

The front-runners include 39-year-old R.J. Ratnakar, the guru’s nephew, who owns a petrol station and a cable television network, and Satyajit, 33, Sai Baba’s closest companion for the last nine years.

But they face a spirited challenge from Isaac Tigrett, the Hard Rock cafe founder, one of the guru’s earliest and staunchest supporters – so much so that he borrowed Sai Baba’s “love all, serve all” slogan for his restaurant chain to help publicise the guru’s message. Mr Tigrett, who donated £4 million to build a hospital at the ashram and has spent much of the last few years at the compound, claims to be the guru’s “living will”. Sai Baba had, he said, confided in him along his plans for the future of the organisation – and he would reveal all later this year.

That cut no ice with the board members of the Trust, however, who dismissed his claims.

For former devotees like Robert Priddy, all this is simply proof that they were right to walk away when they did. “I feel satisfied that his death 10 years before his own prediction and under such inauspicious circumstances further vindicated my views on the falsity of his claims of omnipotence and divinity,” he said.

—————————————————————

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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One Response to “India’s Billionaire Cricket Star Tendulkar Scores Poorly In Sai Baba’s Game”

  1. […] India’s Billionaire Cricket Star Tendulkar Scores Poorly In Sai Baba’s Game […]

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