Volume 15 - Issue 07
July 2017
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Posted on: July 19, 2017


by Sri K. Chakravarthi, Member Secretary,
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi


Salutations at the Lotus feet of Bhagawan!

Fellow devotees of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

Today marks the completion of six years since Maha Samadhi took place. It’s a day of remembrance, a day on which we solemnly recall the historic time that Swami spent in this place, and the many leelas and great acts of service that Swami did to humanity.

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba took birth in this place, Puttaparthi, a poor, remote, backward village on the 23rd of November 1926. At the young age of 14, He announced to the world that He did not belong to any family and He had come to redeem the world. He expressed that the whole of humanity was His family and it made no difference to Him whether His devotees belonged to any particular religion, place, country, or gender. The ancient Indian philosophical idea of “Vasudaivakutumbakam” was clearly embodied in the declaration made by Bhagawan Baba in 1940.

Baba led His whole life in keeping with this declaration, till the time of His Maha Samadhi on the 24th of April 2011. He walked the talk and in every possible way demonstrated that His thoughts, words and deeds were in unison.

In the initial years, due to the inaccessibility of Puttaparthi, not many people visited Swami. But later, a large number of devotees, rich and poor, rulers and the ruled, old and young alike found solace in Swami. By early 1950s, Swami had travelled to many places in South India. Prasanthi Nilayam started taking shape with the construction of the Mandir. Baba continued to live in Prasanthi Nilayam and took a direct interest in the development of the Ashram and also the village of Puttaparthi. He personally cleared the plans for the Mandir and other buildings, and monitored their construction. He was easily accessible to His devotees and repeatedly asserted in private conversations, interviews, and in His innumerable discourses that Prasanthi Nilayam was His home and place and continue to stay here according to the promise given to mother Easwaramma. He also declared that Prasanthi Nilayam would become a spiritual centre and people from all walks of life and from all over the world would come flocking to Prasanthi Nilayam for His Darshan seeking solace and spiritual upliftment. He often said that only if He willed, could a devotee come for His Darshan at Prasanthi Nilayam.

The dominant tone in His discourses was service to humanity. He stressed empathy for fellow beings as constituting the foundation for spiritual progress. Empathy must be translated into action by selfless service or as Swami called it “Seva.” In many of His discourses, Swami exhorted the devotees to follow the path of service for their spiritual elevation. Swami laid great emphasis on character building through the process of value-based education. He expressed that children and young adults had to be shown the correct path and for this purpose He distilled the wisdom of the scriptures of every major religion in the world into five principles, namely, Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right conduct), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-Violence). He conveyed the essential unity of all religions and in fact gave us a logo of a pillar showing the symbol of major religions in each of the five faces of the pillar.

In order to enable His devotees to progress on the spiritual path, Swami provided many opportunities by setting up many Institutions and Trusts, such as the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sri Sathya Sai Trusts in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and the North East. All these Trusts are Public Charitable Trusts and Swami was the Founder Trustee and in many cases, the Sole Trustee. Councils of Management were set up for each of these Trusts by Swami with the task of attending to daily administration of the Trusts in accordance with Swami’s directions. The objects of these Public Charitable Trusts were education, medical relief, charity, and relief of the poor. The Central Trust, of which Swami was the Sole Trustee from the time it was formed in 1972, till 2010 (except for a brief period when Swami appointed a Co-Trustee) also has object similar to the State Trusts.

Apart from the above Central and State Trusts, Swami also directly founded the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Trust. Both of these are Public Charitable Trusts. Eminent personalities like Former Chief Justice of India, Justice P.N. Bhagwati and Sri N.A. Palkhivala, Senior Advocate and an Eminent Jurist who was also the Indian Ambassador to the United States of America, were Trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Trust.

All these Trusts were vehicles used by Swami, to provide an avenue of service, which Swami propagated as the means to move Godward. The earliest medical relief activity was started by Swami in the early 1950s in Puttaparthi by setting up a General Hospital which has grown over the years. This hospital came into existence in 1956. Later in 1991, the original building was expanded to house more departments. This was expanded still further with a new, modern building which was inaugurated on 23rd October 2015.

In the year 1991, a Super Speciality Hospital was set up in Puttaparthi, the main departments being Cardiology, and Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, besides Urology, Ophthalmology, and Orthopaedics. This hospital was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan. The best quality medical care, on par with the most modern medical facilities available in the world, is being provided at no cost to the patient. It is worth noting that there is no discrimination of any kind in the selection of patients. Swami proved His sceptics wrong, by inaugurating the hospital in less than one year from the date of His announcement.

Swami set up another Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefield, near Bangalore in the year 2001. The main departments in this hospital are Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery. This hospital was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri A. B. Vajpayee in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan. Sri. S. M. Krishna, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Smt. Rama Devi, the Governor of Karnataka and Sri Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh were also there. This hospital replicated the model of the Super Speciality Hospital at Puttaparthi and has been providing most modern treatment, free of cost to all the patients. For administrative reasons, all the medical relief activities carried on by the Sathya Sai Medical Trust were taken over and transferred to the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust in June 2010.

All the medical relief activities in the two Super Speciality Hospitals and the two General Hospitals are being provided by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. The General Hospital at Whitefield, which was running in the premises belonging to the Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust was shifted to the premises of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield on 6th July 2016 for administrative convenience.

Let me mention here about the educational institutions.

Bhagawan had set up a women’s college at Anantapur in 1969. The college was inaugurated by the then President of India Sri V. V. Giri. Later in 1970 Swami set up the first men’s campus at Whitefield. While the Anantapur Women’s college was affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University, the Whitefield College was affiliated to the Bangalore University. The second men’s college was set up by Bhagawan at Puttaparthi in 1979, which was affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University. In 1981 the two colleges at Anantapur and Puttaparthi became campuses when the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was set up as a Deemed to be University by a notification issued by the Government of India under the University Grants Commission Act.

In 1982, the then college at Whitefield was brought under the jurisdiction of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The fourth campus at Muddenahalli started functioning in 2012. The Deemed University is a residential university.

Bhagawan was the first Chancellor of the Deemed University. He was also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Trust. He held those positions till His Maha Samadhi. In that role He guided the Institutions in their functioning and gave direction on all matters, academic and otherwise, to successive Vice Chancellors, Registrars, academic staff and most importantly to the students. He interacted with the students regularly and kept a keen watch on every single student and guided them through their educational career. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is now headed by a Former Chief Justice of India, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah as its Chancellor and is now administered by a Board of Trustees. All the students in the Institute are provided education completely free of cost. The students or their parents only meet the cost of boarding, which is provided to all the students in all the campuses.

The Maha Samadhi was a traumatic experience for devotees, Trustees, and heads of Institutions and was a difficult time. By Swami’s grace, the sixth Aradhana Mahotsavam is being celebrated this year on the 24th April. Since Maha Samadhi to date, all of us have continued to feel blessed by Swami’s grace and guidance. We are extremely happy to mention that the work in all Institutions that Swami has started has been going on, in exactly the same manner as they were before the Maha Samadhi.

Though all of us and the multitude of devotees in India and abroad were overwhelmed by the enormity of the unforeseen event, in a very short time, due to Swami’s grace the devotees visiting Prasanthi Nilayam to have the Darshan of Swami at Maha Samadhi started to increase. Many of the devotees who were coming here were first timers. Devotees have expressed that they experience peace, and find solace when they visit Prasanthi Nilayam.

The participation of devotees in the various programs organised by Central Trust during Sankranthi, Shivarathri, Aradhana Mahotsavam, Guru Poornima, Dasara celebrations, and Swami’s Birthday celebrations and during the Parthi Yatras organised by various state organisations and their district units; they have all steadily increased. For Swami’s 91st Birthday celebrations over 50,000 devotees witnessed the proceedings and when Sai Kulwant Hall was overflowing, devotees were accommodated in Poornachandra Auditorium; but still many occupied all the open spaces around these locations. All programmes and events of University like Convocation, Annual Sports, Grama Seva, and of Hospitals’ anniversary celebrations have been going on with the same enthusiasm and ardour.

On the Ugadi day in 2010, Swami decided to expand the Board of Trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and reconstitute its Council of Management. Five Trustees were appointed and a four member Council of Management was also formed. This was formally announced on the Ugadi day by Justice P.N. Bhagwati as per the decision and directions of Swami.

I have spoken at length regarding the medical facilities and educational initiatives of Bhagawan. Now mention has to be made about disturbing deviation from good conduct after Bhagawan’s Maha Samadhi by a few persons connected earlier with the institutions of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

The late Sri. Madiyal Narayana Bhat of Alike village in the Bantwal Taluk of Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka setup schools at Alike and Muddenahalli. He had setup “Loka Seva Vrinda”. He had an untimely death due to a road accident. People who were with him at that time had no means to run the schools. When they made a plea to Bhagawan to help them in running the schools, Bhagawan setup the Trust, “Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust”. This was in the year 1978, to manage the schools. Bhagawan was the sole Trustee. At the time of Maha Samadhi, there was a Board of management which worked under the guidance of Bhagawan Baba.

After Maha Samadhi, there was a need to appoint Trustees to Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. The Board of Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust after consultation appointed the three following Trustees to Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust:

1. Sri U. Gangadhara Bhat
2. Sri B. R. Vasuki and
3. Sri S. S. Naganand

are the first three Trustees.

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust did not consider appointing Narasimha Murthy as a Trustee at that time. He then came to Puttaparthi, met the Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and pleaded that he be appointed as a Trustee to Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust then appointed him as a Trustee.

Sometime after his appointment he started claiming that Bhagawan was sending him messages to act in a particular manner and that he was bound to do so. Soon thereafter he propagated the idea of Bhagawan being in contact in a "subtle" form enlisting the participation of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, a former student of Whitefield campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. As part of the increasing claims of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and Narasimha Murthy, regarding receiving messages from Bhagawan, the former started giving "discourses". Such "discourses" given by Madhusudhan Rao Naidu were translated by Narasimha Murthy as if it were Bhagawan speaking. Progressively such charade had become even worse, with Madhusudhan Rao Naidu receiving Padanamaskar and letters, imitating Bhagawan. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust did not officially say anything against these questionable activities; however a large number of devotees of Bhagawan who were shocked by these questionable activities desired that Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust should respond. Due to the increasing misdeeds of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and Narasimha Murthy, it was thought that Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust should bring to the notice of devotees, the questionable claims made by them and especially the brazen methods of raising money for what they claimed as activities to be undertaken under the direct instructions of Bhagawan. They have also indulged in using social media to project an impression of their doing many activities by appropriating the photographs of Swami's institutions including hospitals, look alike logos and colour combinations in their material. This had led to some legal action taken against them in some countries.

I have mentioned earlier about the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. Having secured the appointment of Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust from Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Narasimha Murthy had resorted to subverting the scheme of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. Bhagawan had invested the power to appoint Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. In flagrant disobedience to Bhagawan's direction, Narasimha Murthy resorted to amending that provision illegally in the year 2012. Such amendment effected by him is untenable. Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust felt that good counsel must be given to Narasimha Murthy so that he can desist from violation regarding the scheme of things, given by Bhagawan; meetings were held by members of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust with members of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust in this regard. In spite of the best efforts of the members of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Narasimha Murthy did not revoke the illegal amendment. It is under these circumstances that Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust was forced to take a legal course and file a suit before the appropriate court. The suit is now pending in appeal before the district judge at Chikkaballapur.

In the recent past, two of the Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust have suffered from pangs of conscience and have retraced their wrong path by filing proceedings in court by pointing out illegal activities of Narasimha Murthy & coterie. They had admitted having been a party to the illegal amendment of the Trust Deed of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust; they have also asserted that Sri Madhusudhan Rao Naidu is an imposter and a fraud.

Some mention needs to be made about taking over of management of Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital at Whitefield by Bhagawan, from Sri C. Sreenivas. The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital at Whitefield was setup by Sri Sreenivas’s mother, a devotee. After her demise, Sri C. Sreenivas was managing that General Hospital. However as there was a perceived misrepresentation on the part of Sreenivas about the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital managed by him under the auspices of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust setup by his mother as part of Bhagawan's own Trust, a direction was given by Bhagawan to handover General Hospital at Whitefield to Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust. This happened in August 2008. From then the activities on Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital at Whitefield have been taken care of by Bhagawan through Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. It was at the same time due to this perceived misrepresentation by Sreenivas that Bhagawan had removed him from being a member of the managing committee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. The General Hospital which was located in the building of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust, set up by Sreenivas’s mother, was shifted to the premises of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield in July 2016.

There are many questionable activities of Narasimha Murthy and his partners; however one need not go through the list of wrong doings. But still one aspect of high handedness of Narasimha Murthy and his people needs to be mentioned. This relates to a building constructed by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust under instruction of Bhagawan in 2009, styled as Chancellor’s residence as part of the setting up of Muddenahalli campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. All expenditure was met by Bhagawan from Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust for this building. Since expenditure on the building was incurred by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust it was natural for Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust to take responsibility for custody and maintenance of the building. Accordingly the security officer from Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust was sent to Muddenahalli to take charge of the building after Maha Samadhi. When security officer went there to carry out his duties, Narasimha Murthy and his people forcibly sent him out of the building, falsely claiming that it is a building of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust.

This event is reflective of a continued rash behaviour of Narasimha Murthy. It is rather painful to narrate these consistent deviations from good behaviour by Narasimha Murthy and others associated with him.

Our attention has been drawn to the recent claims of Narasimha Murthy in an address delivered by him, where he has gone to the extent of deriding the holy precincts of Bhagawan’s Maha Samadhi at the Sai Kulwant Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam by referring to it, “as a place which need not be revered or visited in view of the presence of the subtle form”, in the presence of Madhusudhan Naidu at Muddenahalli in the Chancellor’s residence building, forcibly occupied by them and is now christened by them as “Sai Anandam.” I do not know whether this should be treated as a laughable matter or as something bordering on tragedy. If there is a place which is considered as the holiest by the devotees of Bhagawan, it is obviously the Bhagawan’s Maha Samadhi at Prasanthi Nilayam. It is to be noted by the devotees of Bhagawan that when it comes to resorting to collection of money, no rash statements is considered, by Narasimha Murthy, as beyond his bounds.

It is our earnest prayer to Bhagawan to continue to bless His ever expanding number of devotees who throng this place celebrating various auspicious and holy occasions, personal and institutional, and endow them with a sense of discrimination between good and bad, between right and wrong, so that all of us, the devotees, are able to reach the Lotus feet at our appointed time without getting entrapped in the web and myth of so called ‘subtle body’. May Swami’s boundless love prevail and may He bless and guide the wrong-doers to follow the right path. The parable in the Holy Bible of the Prodigal Son teaches us that repentance is reciprocated by the Lord with love and compassion.

May Swami bless all of us with peace and joy, on this holy day of His 6thAradhana Mahotsavam. Sai Ram.

Radio Sai Team

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