Parmanand Pandey

God-man Stya Sai Baba has passed away in the morning of 24th April. He was a divine man or God incarnate or not— I cannot say it for sure; but there is no doubt in my mind that Sai Baba certainly was an evolved person and a great human being.

The work done by him in the fields of education, health and drinking water facilities to the people is phenomenal indeed. People belonging to every walk of life cutting across the linguistic, religious and national boundaries became his disciples. Although he was surrounded with many controversies in his life time like; sexploitation of many lady devotees and amassing of huge wealth etc., yet he was respected like God by his disciples.

According to newspaper reports he has left behind a fabulous empire worth Rs. more than 1.20 to 2 lakh crore in scores of countries. As it generally happens, when there is no clear cut and strict mechanism to handle the financial matters, controversy, bad blood and rancour is sure to crop up and it may engulf the Sai trust at some point of time.

I have been to his Ashram at Puttaparthy once. While going to Bangalore I found that some people in the Karnataka Express train were enthusiastically talking about breaking of journey at Puttaparthy so as to have Baba’s darshan. Then I also decided to join them. When I reached Puttaparthy it was quite a tough job to get a room in the Nilayam. I then remembered that a veteran journalist Late Shri Narsimhan, a close devotee of Sai Baba was giving his free sewa in the Ashram. The late Shri Narsimhan was really a pure hearted person leading an austere life. Sai Baba had requested him to oversee the publication of books and journals of the Ashram. In a way, he was the editor-in-chief of Sai publications but he was totally averse to administrative responsibilities. It must be mentioned here that late Shri Narsimhan was an illustrious and fearless journalist with remarkable gift of the pen. He was the editor-in-chief of the ‘Indian Express’ and the ‘Financial Express’ during the dark days of Emergency. His son Shri V.N. Narayanan is also an equally gifted journalist. Shri Narayanan was the editor of the ‘Tribune’ Chandigarh and the ‘Hindustan Times’ New Delhi. Earlier he worked as the Resident Editor of the ‘Indian Express’ at Bangalore. A thorough gentleman Shri Narayanan has been very affectionate to me from the early nineties, when I was a member of the Press Council along with him.

To cut the long story short, I got a good room in the Ashram courtesy the late Shri Narsimhan. He also gave me a chit to be given to the administrator, who would provide a vantage place to sit on the floor of the hall, so as I could have felicitous darshan of Baba, the next morning.

Next morning at 4.30 a.m., I was ready with fresh bath etc. I got a good place to sit. There was a huge member of disciplined devotees. When Baba was seen emerging from his chamber, there was a rapturous and tumultuous cry of Om Sai Ram. Sai Baba passed through the human alley. Since I was sitting in the front, I touched his feet. I sought for his personal audience; but I could not get it. Fanatic devotees told me that if you pray to Sai Baba for anything in your heart and when your wish was fulfilled; pay another visit for votive offerings to Baba. They also told me that even if you did not ask for anything, Baba will remove all your worries.

I took these words with a pinch of salt then and I take them in the same manner now as well. I know that Babas, who try to fulfil the mundane desires of human beings, can never provide any spiritual peace and solace. Later coming back from Bangalore to my home, I read the book ‘Sai Baba: Fraud or God’ written by my friend, a journalist and trade union leader Shri T.M. Nagarajan, in which he had proved through number of instances that Sai Baba could produce miracles through sleight of hands.

Now when I see that there is a bitter fight for the huge property that he created in his life time, I am convinced that Baba’s spiritualism was a farce and at best it was a hallucinatory deception for his highly resourceful and cunning but irrational devotees.


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