Last updated on 7th April 2016
Today (3rd April 2016) evening I asked a senior Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, SSSIHL) faculty who has served the Sai university for nearly two decades, about Mr. Isaac Tigrett's reported statement (reported by bro. VijaySai, see https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1725335344349702 OR http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/muddenahalli-so-called-subtle-form.html) that in 2009 Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba told him in an interview, to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA (and which statement was repeated by so called subtle Swami of Muddenahalli to Mr. Tigrett (in 2015, I guess)).
Now this senior faculty has had 4 interviews with (physical form) Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (in the interview room). [I have not had any interviews with Bhagavan; Neither have I asked or prayed for an interview with Bhagavan.] This senior faculty also has a lot of knowledge about many other people's interviews with Swami. He and his family have been associated with Swami from the late 60s or early 70s (well before he joined Sai university as faculty). So I view him as a person far better suited than me to comment on the above reported Swami interview related statement of Isaac Tigrett.
The senior Sai university faculty said clearly that Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) would NEVER say such a thing (asking somebody to open a casino) in an interview (or in public). [Ravi: Note that casinos are meant for gambling which Swami has never approved of, as far as I know.]
Based on this person's view, I now have serious doubts about whether Mr. Isaac Tigrett is accurate regarding his claim that (physical form) Swami told him in 2009 to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA. Perhaps Mr. Tigrett misunderstood some words of Swami. I have been given to understand that it was not uncommon in the last few years of Swami's physical presence/sojourn that sometimes his words were not clearly understood by even long-time servitors of Swami.
An extract from Easwaramma Day, Prasanthi Nilayam, 2008-05-06, divine discourse by Bhagavan, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume41/sss41-06.pdf, is given below:
Difficulties come and go. Even the mighty Rama had to cry like an ordinary man on account of his separation from His wife, Sita. Even the valorous Pandavas had to live in the forest, eating leaves and tubers. How much power and valour they had! Yet they had to live in the forest and bear all difficulties. Why? They were defeated in gambling. Similar will be the fate of all those who take to this bad path. Gambling is not good at all.
--- end Swami discourse extract ---
Ravi: In a 2008 discourse Swami publicly tells about how the mighty and valorous Pandavas had to live in the forest due to them being defeated in gambling (of those days, around 5000 years ago) and then says, "Gambling is not good at all". Then how can the same Swami in 2009 ask Mr. Isaac Tigrett to open a (gambling) casino in Las Vegas, USA? I think Mr. Tigrett seems to have had a very bad misunderstanding of some words (physical form) Swami spoke to him in 2009.
A USA based correspondent who has FIRST-HAND experience of Las Vegas casinos wrote me over email about this matter (and was OK with public sharing):
The simple fact of the matter is that owning and operating a casino clearly violates the 3rd principle of Right Livelihood of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold path.
Before coming to Baba, I worked in casinos in Las Vegas as a dealer so I know firsthand just how harmful and destructive gambling can be and is. Every casino serves alcohol and allows prostitution; they are part of the appeal. These two things are clearly stated as being undharmic activities. We all know the great harm caused by gambling which certainly violates ahimsa.
How can Baba not only approve of these things, but tell Isaac to do them when Baba is Sathya, Dharma and Ahimsa itself? No amount of spin can justify it.
--- end USA based correspondent mail extract ---
For those who want to know more about how Yudishthira, eldest Pandava brother and king, lost his kingdom in a game of dice, here are a couple of relevant extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabha_Parva (Sabha Parva is the second book of the eighteen books that make up the Mahabharata; according to Swami, the events related in Mahabharata happened around 5,000 years ago):
Sakuni, the maternal uncle of Duryodhana, advises him that Pandava brothers cannot be defeated in a battle or by virtuous means; the only way to vanquish them is to exploit the weakness of Yudhishthira, his fondness for gambling. Duryodhana asks Dhritarashtra to exploit Yudhishthira's weakness over the game of dice. They ask Shakuni to tempt and defeat Yudhishthira. Shakuni provokes Yudhishthira for the game of dice. Yudhishthira shows reluctance to gambling. Shakuni mocks him. Yudhishthira accepts the provocation, bets his kingdom, his brothers, himself, and finally his wife in the 20th round of the game of dice; Shakuni wins everything. Draupadi is humiliated in the Assembly Hall by disrobing; her virtue leads gods to protect her in a skirt. Upset Draupadi questions the game, argues that she is not owned by Yudhishthira, the 20th round was flawed because it wrongfully treated her as property. Everyone in the Assembly Hall, including Yudhishthira and Dhritarashtra agree. The entire gambling game is declared invalid, Yudhishthira recovers everything he had lost.
Yudhishthira is invited back again for the game of dice, Yudhishthira succumbs, and they play for one stake. Dhritarashtra bets kingdom of Hastinapur and Yudhishthira bets kingdom of Indraprastha. They agree that the loser will go into exile for 12 years and the 13th year, unrecognized in some inhabited place, and if they are recognized in the 13th year they are found then they would go into exile for another 12 years. Yudhishthira loses the game of dice again. The Pandava brothers move into exile. Dhritarashtra comes to power. Sages counsel him to make peace with Pandavas, seek a solution that unites the two sides. Dhritarashtra refuses. Scholars have questioned why Yudhishthira the Dharmaraja, who had it all, and was praised for enabling an empire infused with Dharma, Artha and Kama, who was so consistently ethical and moral until the last two Parvas, succumbs so suddenly to gambling.
--- end extracts ---
A Sai university alumnus and faculty (alumnus-teacher) responded on 4th April 2016, as follows (main part of response) over email (and was OK with public sharing):
I appreciate your effort to denounce the (statement) regarding our beloved Bhagawan advising on matters of Casino. I have had dozens of interviews with Bhagawan as a student and faculty. Never ever Bhagawan has advised any devotee, however hard his difficulties/situation may be, to take to adharmic path for even temporary relief.
My family is associated with Bhagawan from the time when He was 18 or 19 years old, since the times of my grandfather. My father who is 80 yrs now, vouchsafes that Bhagawan is all truth, never will he advice such a thing as running casino. In my knowledge, Swamy always told people to work hard and earn money in a righteous way. Never did He advice people on making quick-money! All four generations of my family are indebted to Bhagawan for blessing us with right philosophy of life.
Once again I appreciate your efforts.
---end main part of response of Sai university alumnus and faculty ---
I (Ravi S. Iyer) wrote back on 4th April 2016 as follows [edited to omit some portions indicated as ..., and to rephrase/elaborate some portions shown within parentheses ()]
Wonderful words, brother ---name-snipped---! ...
Thanks for your appreciation of my work. ...
They say that one of the DUTIES of followers of a Guru, especially after the Guru (bodily) passes away, is to safeguard and disseminate the teachings of the Guru. (My) exposure to the Muddenahalli group game in Sai institutions goes back to Jul-Aug. 2011 when I had the second of my two (one-on-one meetings that lasted nearly an hour each) with (former vice-chancellor of Sai university, SSSIHL) Sashidhara Prasad (in the vice-chancellor's cabin) where I had DIRECT EXPERIENCE of his POWER-CRAZY and DICTATOR side. Some months later, I heard some very shocking things from Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju sir (and others) about how Sashidhara Prasad and Narasimhamurthy had effectively become top bosses of SSSIHL. At that time, I just decided to get out of SSSIHL with a private mail campaign to some SSSIHL (colleagues and some others), so that they know what is happening, at least in my individual case.
(What) Madhusudhan Naidu ENDORSED by Narasimhamurthy, (and other senior leaders associated with Muddenahalli group) have done, (is) UTTERLY HORRIFYING. ...
How many people have got caught in this trap, brother? They are our Sai devotee brethren being MISGUIDED by this ... Madhusudhan Rao Naidu (brother of our ...)! So, as a duty to both Bhagavan and the Sathya Sai fraternity, I have got fully involved in this (matter) but focusing on spiritual teachings aspect and staying away from money aspects. It is not a pleasant thing to do. But somebody has to do it, and as I am in a position to do it, I have got into that role.
---end my response (edited) ---
[I thank sssbpt.info and Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]