Last updated on 21st Sept. 2015Given below are the contents of my recent Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1665140473702523.
This is my reaction to Mr. Vr Ganti's recent post, "Revamping of Zone 4 - a must - to continue Sai Mission in South East Asia", https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/revamping-of-zone-4-a-must-to-continue-sai-mission-in-south-east-asia/10205214685271358.
1) That Muddenahalli (MDH) group was helped SIGNIFICANTLY by Singapore Sai devotees due to large sums of money donated by them, as well as other support rendered by them, has been QUITE WELL ESTABLISHED, IMHO, by Mr. Ganti. I mean, while evidence in terms of documentation of money trail is not provided, Mr. Ganti's account seems to me to have the RING OF TRUTH. Neither has Mr. Ganti's account been challenged by MDH supporters on his Facebook (FB) pages (as far as I know; I have blocked some MDH supporters and so cannot see their comments, if any, on Mr. Ganti's FB pages).
2) That Feb. 2015 instructions of Chairman of Prasanthi Council, Dr. Narendranath Reddy, which seem to have unequivocally condemned belief in mediums (or communicators) in the context of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and stressed that office bearers of International Sai orgn. should not have any connections with MDH group, were not acted upon in a FIRM and PROMPT manner by Zone 4 and/or Singapore Sai orgn. top office bearers (authorities), as stated by Mr. Ganti, seems to be QUITE WELL ESTABLISHED.
3) Mr. Ganti writes, "Already once we have experienced that the Chairman and the coordinator of Zone 4 have never taken any action in spite of the direction from Prashanthi Council and the reason they have indicated was that some of these office bearers may leave traditional SAI organization and join in Mhalli Group. Hence, there was a fear of creating vacuum and is that fear justifiable? In my considered view that argument does not hold any water since they already supporting Mhalli Group and hence this direction for disassociating themselves from the traditional Sai Organization is not an issue at all. Now that The Trustees have categorically mentioned and clarified that dual loyalty is not acceptable and those office bearers choosing to continue to sway towards Mahlli may do so but leave the organization, will Zone 4 leaders take quick action in the matter?" Ravi: Actually, my understanding of official Sai orgn. stand is that such office bearers who "continue to sway towards Mahlli" can continue to be in the Sai orgn. but NOT AS OFFICE BEARERS. They have to step down from office bearer position.
4) Mr. Ganti writes (a little earlier to the point 3 extracts above), "Are the local authorities of Singapore and Mhalli supporters from Singapore working “hand in glove” basis? In spite of all this, would the local authorities be allowed to go scot free in the matter on the ground of “Help Ever and Hurt Never”? By allowing the local authorities and Zone 4 authorities to continue in their office will SSSCT and PC be sending wrong signals to other zones? What is the correct thing to do? What will SWAMI expect SSSCT to do? Is it not correct for the concerned authorities in Zone 4 as also in Singapore to take moral responsibility for the mess that has been created and resign from their respective positions immediately?"
Now for my (main) reactions to the points above:
5) First, I would like to state that I am eminently 'qualified' (have the background) to provide my reactions to the above. This is because I DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED the dual loyalty of top leaders problem, after Mahasamadhi, in the Sai university, where I was a Visiting Faculty then. The vice-chancellor of the Sai university then started believing in supposed Swami DREAM instructions that Sri Narasimhamurthy claimed to get. Persons opposing such matters like veteran Sai community leader Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju were BRUTALLY marginalized in the Sai university. As I saw all this I decided to terminate my association with the Sai university in March 2012. So what Mr. Ganti writes about in the period 2014-15, I experienced similar DUAL LOYALTY of top leader(s) problem in 2011-12 itself in the Sai university at Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi)! More details are provided in Note A) below.
6) Mr. Ganti has asked for resignation of concerned authorities in Singapore and Zone 4 Sai orgn. I think that is a very serious statement to make. Is it justified? My view is that we should not view this as a regular worldly orgn. matter. The power vacuum, and the spiritual vacuum, that many in the Sai fraternity felt in the immediate months and year or two after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi was an EXTRAORDINARY one. It cannot be denied that some unfortunate incident(s) in Puttaparthi after Mahasamadhi which created a NEGATIVE MEDIA FRENZY nationally (and perhaps internationally too), affected most Sai devotees badly, at that time. In such a depressing and traumatic atmosphere, the veteran Sai education system leader Sri Narasimhamurthy's (BNNM) dream instructions from Swami and alternative Sai platform leadership, would naturally have been attractive to many Sai devotees. These problems in Puttaparthi in those months and first year or two seem to be the main cause for BNNM being able to attract support of veteran leader of Sathya Sai mission, Sri Indulal Shah sir, and also former VC Shashidhar Prasad of the Sai university, which in turn played a major role in BNNM's MDH group getting powerful donors and powerful supporters, and getting well established.
So if some Singapore orgn. leaders (and leaders of Sai orgn. elsewhere in the world) got attracted to BNNM and started believing in his dream instructions (and then so called subtle body & so called communicator), I think it is quite understandable. Further, as far as I know, till Nov. 2014, the Sai orgn. leaders at Puttaparthi (SSSCT) had not issued public instructions to office bearers of Sai orgn. to NOT interact with MDH group.
By that time, I think some Singapore Sai orgn. leaders were already quite deeply into MDH group. I guess it is natural that it will take some time for them to wean away from MDH group. I mean, SSSCT and Intl. Sai orgn. seem to have not taken a FIRM stand till Nov. 2014, i.e. around three and a half years after Mahasamadhi.
Given this background, I think that call for resignation of Singapore Sai orgn. and Zone 4 orgn. authorities due to slow implementation of Intl. Sai orgn. guidelines on this matter is too harsh. Mind you, we are not talking about any money irregularities or failure in terms of keeping activities of orgn. running. It was just that some orgn. leaders who had been attracted by so called subtle body claims of Muddenahalli and associated with it, continued that association in the face of Int'l Sai orgn. instructions/directives not to do so. Even the Muddenahalli group people are not engaged in any criminal activity (from an Indian law perspective, to the best of my knowledge) - they too are serving society with the funds and other support they receive, even if we (I certainly) strongly refute their CLAIM of so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba there which communicates only through a so called chosen communicator.
7) But does that mean, "Help Ever Hurt Never" attitude can be EXPLOITED now and in future by any Singapore and Zone 4 orgn. leaders to continue to support MDH group, while holding office bearer positions in (official) Sai orgn.? NO. DEFINITELY, NO. I think that any Singapore or Zone 4 Sai orgn. office bearer who is proven to have associations now, or in future, with MDH group, should be asked to step down.
8) It will be wonderful and very healing for Sai orgn. Singapore and Zone 4, if those orgn. leaders who associated with MDH in the past, follow the example of centenarian and well known Sai writer (and so a revered elder of Sai fraternity), Mrs. Phyllis Krystal, by making PUBLIC declarations of past association with MDH group and stating that they will not associate with them in future. Actually speaking, even those that are in SSSCT (Puttaparthi) managed Sai institutions (like Sai university) who associated with MDH group (& followed instructions of Narasimhamurthy after Mahasamadhi), should follow Mrs. Phyllis Krystal's lead and make similar PUBLIC declarations. That will really clear the air and allow everybody to make a fresh start in an environment of trust and co-operation, as against an environment of suspicion. And really, I think it will be a spiritually healing thing for them. I mean, how can one spiritually progress, if one hides such matters and tries to sweep it under the carpet? What sort of self-esteem will such people have?
Note [This is a long note and may be skipped by readers]:
A) Here are my 'qualifications' and background to react to Mr. Ganti's post: I provided free service as Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty to the Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science (DMACS), Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) campus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL also known as Sai university) from Jan. 2003 to March 2012. I FORMALLY TERMINATED my association with SSSIHL in March 2012, after a HORRIBLE INTERACTION with Dr. Naren Ramji, Registrar (he continues to be Registrar even today, I believe) in the Registrar's office. I have documented details of that meeting elsewhere on my Facebook (FB) pages as well as my blog. However, I had made up my mind to TERMINATE my association in SSSIHL prior to that meeting with the Registrar, Dr. Naren Ramji, as I was SHOCKED to the core by how Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju, long-term devotee and very trusted servitor of Bhagavan, had been marginalized by the Sai university, and how I personally was BRUTALLY MISTREATED by vice-chancellor (VC) Shashidhar Prasad and DMACS head, Prof. Chandrashekaran, simply because I was not willing to give up my interest in my capacity as Visiting Faculty in SSSIHL, in the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project. This project was strongly approved by Bhagavan while in physical form and I was permitted on SSSIHL letterhead signed by Registrar, Naren Ramji, to associate with the project and interact with the project team members (Sri Satyajit Salian and others).
The HOD Chandrashekaran, broke academic protocol (breach of academic procedure) by asking me to stop working on it (sometime in Jul/Aug. 2011)!!! He had become POWER CRAZY and thought the dept. had become his KINGDOM. But neither the VC nor the Registrar objected to this POWER CRAZE of the HOD, Chandrashekaran!!! If Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was alive in physical form then, Chandrashekaran would NOT HAVE DARED to do that, as I would have even gone to the extent of offering a letter DIRECTLY to Bhagavan on this matter. It was Bhagavan's pet project. Chandrashekaran would have landed in BIG TROUBLE. But, just a few months after Mahasamadhi, how things had changed! Chandrashekaran instructed me to stop working (free service) on Bhagavan's pet project with copy of email to vice-chancellor and Registrar who said NOTHING!!!
Essentially, I felt that the Sai university under vice-chancellor Shashidhar Prasad, Registrar Naren Ramji (and my dept. HOD, Chandrashekaran) were no longer following the vision of founder chancellor of Sai university, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, but were IMPOSING THEIR OWN VISION on the Sai university. Anybody who did not want to fall in line with NEW IMPOSED VISION of these people and BLINDLY FOLLOWED ALL THEIR INSTRUCTIONS, were NOT TOLERATED. I also came to know from multiple quarters (whispers but without any proof then) about Shashidhar Prasad (and probably Naren Ramji and Chandrashekaran too - but I am not sure; it is just my suspicion) having been TRAPPED by DELUDED belief that Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy was getting DREAM instructions from Swami (at that time I did not hear about any subtle body talk). I was also told by a reliable source that then director of Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Prof. Sudhir Bhaskar, was sending daily email reports to Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy!
I strongly felt that Sai university had been HIJACKED by Shashidhar Prasad, Narasimhamurthy and those in Sai university that collaborated with them (I suspect Sudhir Bhaskar, Naren Ramji and Chandrashekaran to have collaborated in this HIJACK). The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), by the Grace of Bhagavan, had not fallen in the Narasimhamurthy Swami DREAM instructions trap. But, for reasons best known to them, SSSCT was not in a position to ASSERT itself over vice-chancellor Shashidhar Prasad, and force him to follow Swami's vision and IGNORE Narasimhmamurthy's DREAM instructions. My assessment is that SSSCT then faced so many challenges in stabilizing the Puttaparthi mission, that they did not want to create one more crisis zone by forcibly removing Shashidhar Prasad as Vice-chancellor and rekindling media sensationalist focus on Puttaparthi. Removal of a vice-chancellor is not a small thing! Besides a media furore possibility, even the powerful Union HRD (education) minister (Shri Kapil Sibal, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapil_Sibal, of UPA II then, if I recall correctly) may have chosen to ask questions of SSSCT trustees, if they had taken that step.
Some of the colleagues at the Sai university that I discussed this matter with, quit (Prof. Krupanidhi being a prime example of a senior administrator-faculty (Dean of Sciences) who could not tolerate Shashidhar Prasad and Naren Ramji changed style of management after Mahasamadhi and so quit; SSSIHL threatened him by issuing 'runaway' notice(s) to him as he had some Ph.D. candidates under him in SSSIHL). And among some colleagues with whom I discussed it and who continued with the Sai university, nobody supported me continuing with Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project work. I was advised that if I don't follow instructions of bosses (like my dept. HOD, Chandrashekaran) they will react. It was as if, just follow instructions, man. I must also add that if I followed instructions (even if they did not fit in with Swami vision for university) and forgot about Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project work in DMACS, I probably would have been offered some decent compensation for the Lab. courses I was teaching as Visiting Faculty. [In June/July 2011, SSSIHL staff received sixth pay commission salary hikes; many youngsters who were being paid pittances earlier were given academic positions on sixth pay commission scales (a big bonanza for such young staff; and a pretty good hike for other staff too). So academic positions in SSSIHL became financially attractive. I think that may have been deemed necessary to prevent exodus of staff after Swami Mahasamadhi.]
I decided that the best thing for me to do was to part ways with SSSIHL but also do it in a fashion that I register my STRONG PROTEST with vice-chancellor (VC) Shashidhar Prasad (in a manner which he was not able to easily brush away) about what was going on under his watch. I achieved that by mailing him a large document by courier (with acknowledgement evidence available with me) in May 2012. I could not make any reference to his following Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions as he had not PUBLICLY stated it. Later (perhaps in June/July 2012), on an academic paper publication effort of mine related to the Vidya Vahini lab. course that I had conducted, I had sent him another document for which his secretary (also referred to as Personal Assistant, P.A.) phoned me informing me of an appointment made with the VC. I told his secretary that I expect a written response from the VC and did not want to meet the VC. The secretary was shocked! Later when the secretary bumped into me on the streets of Puttaparthi (outside the ashram) he glared at me, quite dramatically, as if I had done some terrible crime!!! I simply ignored him. As expected, the VC did not respond in writing to me. That was the last time that I formally or even informally interacted with Shashidhar Prasad, even though I continued to live in outside-ashram Puttaparthi (but rarely visited the ashram).
Hope the above 'qualifications' and background was not too long :-) but I felt it important to let readers know that I have DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED the TRAUMA and CONFUSION caused by Muddenahalli group to Puttaparthi mission, and am a DIRECT CASUALTY of Sai university HIJACK by Shashidhar Prasad & co. As it is I have some health issues. This trauma made it significantly worse. Really! So I can say that I have been through this DUAL LOYALTY & CONFLICT OF INTERESTS in top office bearers of Sai orgn. WRINGER, and so am 'qualified' to provide my view on this matter :-).
[The Registrar is actually not a very important functionary in a typical Indian university. It is the vice-chancellor who is the BIG BOSS (like a CEO in a company) in a university. The Registrar is essentially the record keeper guy who functions under the vice-chancellor's instructions & directions. But in the Sai university, traditionally the Registrar had a channel of communication with Bhagavan (and some trustees/functionaries Bhagavan tasked with top level responsibility for the Sai university), and so was a more important position than in typical Indian universities. After Mahasamadhi, my guess is that the Registrar (Dr. Naren Ramji) would have had and would continue to be having a strong channel of communication with the trustee(s) tasked with looking after Sai university. The word among the Sai university people is that Sri K. Chakravarthi (long-term and VERY DEDICATED SERVITOR of Swami, former and first Registrar of Sai university, former secretary of SSSCT, and now trustee of SSSCT) is the key trustee tasked with that responsibility after Mahasamadhi.]