A few media in India report what the Deccan Chronicle calls a “flutter”. It reports:
“… The document emerged in public recently when Satyajit, a close aide of Sai Baba, reportedly gave it to Sri Satya Sai Central Trust during a board meeting of the trustees. A letter to this effect was marked to office-bearers of Sri Satya Sai Institutions and Organisations and the Baba’s devotees, it is learnt”.
See Indian media reports below. Further in the article, I preface these with some points an Indian correspondent of ours raises.
Open a musty old cupboard and – behold – a flutter of moths. There is not much for them to feast on, but they survive a day or so. Thus it is with Sathya Sai Baba news these days. I doubt that the Sathya Sai Organisation will worry much about a few moths.
(When we have processed and are ready to reveal new evidence concerning the murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom, there may be something more than flutters when we go internationally public soon about a matter the Sathya Sai Central Trust has managed to suppress for years. Fortunately, the evidence is now safely outside India, free from the vast network of corrupt government, police and jurisprudential practice that for decades kept Sathya Sai Baba and some of his servitors out of gaol).
For decades, Sathya Sai Baba and many of his keynote speakers have gravely exaggerated his importance in countries beyond India. Few international media mentioned his death, and a few briefly referred to it. Most media that reported it, such as the Times of London, The Telegraph, etc., did so just as they would treat other news from around the world.
Those who have long traveled extensively in India, know perfectly well that, though Sathya Sai Baba can rightly be regarded as famous there, he was always far less nationally noteworthy than many other famous Indians. Through the years, a great many Indians have frowned upon him. Though many approve of social work done in his name, they gravely disapprove of the costly pomp and circumstance, and of the focus on miracles, whether these might be real, imagined or faked. See: BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle.
A Few More Flutters, and Few More Than Flutters
It is an irony that much of Sai Baba’s international note was, in fact, notoriety. For many years, behind-the-scenes influence of his devotees among the power elites was so great that almost all Indian media suppressed news unfavorable to him. Shamefully to India, major responsible investigative media outside India, such as the BBC, CBC, DR, SBS, ABC, The Times, The Telgraph, The Guardian, and others, exposed him. This activity owed mostly to the work of internationally organized former devotees, of whom many had been his deeply dedicated devotees for many years.
Few visitors over the years escaped the Puttaparthi hype. Sai Baba and his servitors long made patent and absurd claims: e.g., supposed uniqueness of the social work, the volume of crowd numbers, the international composition of a cricket match, that Sai Baba was on the list of Nobel Prize candidates, and much more, For a well-documented but tip-of-the-iceberg sample, see:
Cognitive dissonance, one of the most studied phenomena in psychology, works wonders in keeping the devotees’ faith alive. It is the quickly buried lie that one tells to oneself to go on believing what one prefers to believe.
Sai Baba himself and many of his keynote speakers have endlessly extolled the works done in his name as the greatest of all time. It is as though countless other great humanitarian works have scarcely existed. The boastful Muhammad Ali told the world that he was the greatest. But then he was. Someone has to be right sometime.
The Purported Early Sathya Sai Baba Document. Some Questions
Of the current dispute about the Sai Baba document reported in the Indian media, one of our Indian informants writes:
This is bizarre and raises several issues . Here are a few questions that come to my mind.
1. If Sai Baba had indeed registered a declaration in 1967, to be treated as a “will” and if Satyajit had it from 1998, and if indeed Indulal Shah had been a witness and known about it for 44 years from 1967, why did Indulal Shah, Satyajit and the Sathya Sai Central Trust completely deny it after Sai Baba’s death and hide all facts about it?
2. When controversy broke out between Sai Baba’s family and the Trust, and when the Government was planning to take over the Sai Central Trust, why didn’t the Sai Trust lawyers make it public?
3. If Sai Baba had indeed filed such a declaration legally, how come SB himself didn’t make it public or part of the SB trust charter all these years till his death?
4. According to Sai Baba’s own legally sworn statement, he was 44 years old in March 1967…this would mean he claims to be born in 1922/1923. If so, he would have been duping his followers by saying he was born in 1926.
5. If he was 44 in 1967, and claims he left his family when he was 12, does it mean he left his family in 1935? That would mean that he claims to have left then… but this does not fit with known facts.
6. Sai Baba claimed that he “left his family”…but dont we all know he family didn’t leave him …his parents, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews, all of them stayed with him at the expense of the Trust, were allotted houses, cars and given positions in the Trust, ashram etc. Jankiramiah, his younger brother who Sai Baba made a member of his Central Trust.
Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 Last Update: 11:43 AM IST
The document emerged in public recently when Satyajit, a close aide of Sai Baba, reportedly gave it to Sri Satya Sai Central Trust during a board meeting of the trustees. A letter to this effect was marked to office-bearers of Sri Satya Sai Institutions and Organisations and the Baba’s devotees, it is learnt.
The document, prepared on a Maharashtra stamp paper of Rs 3.50, dated March 23, 1967, and purportedly signed by Sai Baba, declares that he has dedicated his life for Sanathana Dharma, that he has ‘relinquished’ all title and interest in family property, ‘moveable and/or immovable’, and that he has ‘no intention to revert’.
A relative of Sai Baba said on condition of anonymity that he possesses a scanned copy of the document. “The document might be true but irrelevant now,” the relative said over phone from Puttaparti.
“I really don’t know the reason why it was leaked, it’s a mischief. Swami spoke about these things in one of his speeches, but certain facets of the document were suspicious. When every document was prepared on stamp paper bought in AP, why a Maharashtra stamp paper was used (for this document)?” he asked.
Though bought on July 8, 1965, the stamp paper was used two years later.
Satyajit could not be reached for his reaction. The document has now been brought to the notice of Indulal Shah, a trustee, with a request to attest it.
SRINIVASA RAO | MAIL TODAY | HYDERABAD, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012 | UPDATED 23:07
The document, e-mailed to the media by Sai Baba’s personal attendant Satyajit late on Sunday evening, exposes the internal wrangling in the Satya Sai Central Trust which manages the affairs of Prashanti Nilayam. There have been reports from Puttaparthi for quite some that Sai Baba’s nephew R.J. Ratnakar Raju (son of Baba’s younger brother R Janakiramaiah) is trying to gain control over the trust, whose movable and immovable properties worth thousands of crores, which led to a conflict between him and the other trust members.
Ratnakar told the media on Monday that he was not aware of the existence of any such “document of declaration” all these days. “You should ask Satyajit as to why he has not disclosed the document since the demise of Bhagwan Sai Baba in April, 2011. In any case, I don’t think there is any significance to this document, which had not been registered anywhere. However, we are forced to believe the document because it was signed by Bhagwan himself,” Ratnakar said.
The document, which Satyajit claimed as an original “document of declaration”, was made on a stamp paper in Bombay and signed by Satya Sai and attested by Indu Lal Shah, noted chartered accountant from Mumbai, who is still the member of Satya Sai Central Trust and a sole surviving witness to the original document.
According to the document, a copy of which is available with Mail Today, Sai Baba declared that he had given up studies to spread Sanatana Dharma. “I am unmarried and left my parents at the age of 12 and have taken up religious order with saffron dress and I have no worldly/or family attachments. I declare that I left parents permanently and adopted holy order with no intention to revert back,” he said.
Sai Baba further said he had relinquished all his right and interest in family property, movable or immovable, whatsoever and wherever they may be, and he did not not own and possess personal property or wealth or estate. “Whatever is given to me is under my management, supervision and control as a trustee to be used for public charitable purposes. This declaration I am making so that nobody can claim, under or through me, in the family properties if any,” he said in the declaration.
Satyajit, who was Sai Baba’s caregiver till the latter’s demise, said he had come to know of the document for the first time in 1998, when Sai Baba had appointed many of his trustees and was directly guiding the procedures and updating the finance and accounts records.
“When we brought to his notice this document of declaration signed by him and sought his instructions as to what to do with it, he told me not to bring it to the office and keep it safely since it will be useful. And it kept it in safe custody as per his divine instructions,” Satyajit said.
After Sai Baba died and was buried, Satyajit said, he wanted to bring this document to light. As part of that he had to get it attested by Indulal Shah, who was the sole surviving witness.
“On November 21, 2011, we called a notary to Prashanti Nilayam and got the document attested by Indulal Shah in the presence of two witnesses, Dr Naren Ramji, registrar of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Sanjay Sahani, Director of Brindavan campus of the same institute. The document was tabled at the trust board meeting on July 1, 2012 and brought up for discussion,” Satyajit said.
However, Satyajit did not explain as to why he waited till November 2011 to disclose the document, though Sai Baba died in April 2011 and why he had taken time till July, 2012 to table it in the trust board meeting.
Inquiries revealed that for the last one year, there has been a cold war between Ratnakar and other members of the Satya Sai Central Trust over the management of trust properties and there were allegations that Ratnakar staked claim on lands and other properties owned by the trust and that he had encouraged real estate activity in and around Puttaparthi. And that forced Satyajit to disclose the document now, sources said.
As long as Baba was alive, the organisation’s functioning and composition had always been shrouded in a veil of secrecy. There are no official records on the extent of Sai Baba’s wealth, as the Sri Satya Sai Central Trust, the umbrella organization of Baba’s various charitable trusts, never makes it public about the flow of funds into the trust or its expenditure details.
The media has no access to the trust affairs and nobody really knows who the members are in the trust and whether any changes are made at any point of time. A local devotee recalled that Baba himself had once revealed the Trust owned immovable property including land in and around Puttaparthi to the tune of Rs.4,000 to Rs.5,000 crore.
However, it is believed that the Trust’s holdings could be worth more than Rs.1 lakh crore if their assets in various countries are also taken into account.
While Satya Sai Baba is still being continued as the chairman of the trust even after his death, the other members of the trust include: Justice P N Bhagawati, former Supreme Court chief justice; Indulal Shah, chartered accountant, Mumbai; S V Giri, former Central Vigilance Commissioner; V Srinivasan, industrialist from Chennai and R J Ratnakar, Baba’s nephew. Besides, there is a Council of Management for the Trust, comprising K Chakravarthi, retired IAS officer, S S Naganand, eminent lawyer from Bangalore, J V Shetty, former chairman of Canara Bank and T K Bhagawati, former chairman of Indian Overseas Bank.
While Bhagwati could not be reached for his comment on the latest document as he had gone abroad, Ratnakar said the trust would run as usual and would sincerely follow the rules framed by Sai Baba. “We don’t have any personal interest on the properties owned by the trust,” he said.
There is a Spanish version available: