Last updated on 17th Feb 2017
Anonymous Facebook (FB) user wrote recently on private FB chat (slightly edited):
Dear Ravi, keep it up. Your journalism and reporting of the truth as you and many see it is heroic. I turn to your pages these days to hear about the Alike developments, --snip--. The vibhooti spectacle proves nothing. Even IF he can materialize it it means nothing. See this video of Swami Premananda materializing vibhooti and lingams. Sai ram --name-snipped--
Swami Premananda Mahashivarathri 1994, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTjVC4EuB7o, 8 min. 32 secs.
Plus I wanted to share a way to fill the day with Sai Darshans you might not know. Go to the Sai Love youtube site access their playlist and press 'play all' then 'shuffle'. Enjoy, Sai Ram
I responded (slightly edited):
Thanks --name-snipped--. Went through the videos. May I share your message ANONYMOUSLY on Facebook and my blog? Please don't feel obliged to say, Yes. It is OK if you prefer that it is not shared.
Anonymous FB user responded:
Hi Ravi. A big YES. it is an honour for me that you share the post. Sai Ram
I responded (slightly edited):
Thanks --name-snipped--. Jai Sairam!
--- end FB chat conversation ---
Ravi: I later looked up the wiki page on Swami Premananda. I have given some extracts later on in this post.
I think it is clear that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is steadily expanding his "godman" role. We now have pics of him giving vibhuti powder (not vibhuti packets) to a devotee like how Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba used to give vibhuti. I have been told that Madhusudan is referred to as Swami by many in Muddenahalli ashram. I think it is a natural growth in holy man type stature that Madhusudan has acquired among Muddenahalli group devotees over these past few years. Now some readers may vehemently disagree with my above statements referring to Madhusudan as "godman" and as having acquired holy man type stature among Muddenahalli group followers. But I think what I have written seems to be true. Note that I am not accepting his FALSE CLAIM of being a communicator of Sathya Sai, and neither am I saying that he is viewed as a holy man by all Sathya Sai devotees. All I am saying is that within Muddenahalli group/following Madhusudan has acquired a holy man stature.
I am NOT BUGGED or ANGERED in any way with Muddenahalli group followers viewing Madhusudan as a Swami/holy man. I believe that Madhusudan, as an Indian citizen has the right to preach and cater to his following. Further his followers have a right to worship him and follow him.
The ONLY ISSUE I have, which is a VERY BIG ISSUE, is that he is using the name of my beloved Guru, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, for his (Madhusudan's) darshan, interviews and discourses. And there, in my considered view, he is MISGUIDING thousands of Sathya Sai devotees worldwide. That part really BUGS ME.
What Madhusudan should do is to follow the example of Swami Premananda or Bala Sai Baba of Kurnool or Sanjay Sai Baba of Nepal. Madhusudan could get known as Madhu Baba. Instead of his discourses being published as Sathya Sai Uvacha they can be published as Madhu Baba Uvacha.
Then he can use all kinds of fund collection techniques including what was initially planned at MDH group event in Colorado, USA, which event seems to have now been cancelled. I mean, Madhu Baba can charge people money for attending his darshan events! I will not have any issue whatsoever.
While I know some readers may disagree vehemently with my view, I do not mind if Madhusudan even uses the name, Madhu Sai Baba. But let him STOP using the name of Sathya Sai Baba!!!
[Update on 17-Feb-2017: Before the wikipedia extracts below I would like to inform users of a comment put up on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1863943040488931, associated with this post.
Vivek Chhibba wrote: In the name of objectivity, I think it's fair that your readers also view this page to get the background of the court case on Swami Premananda. It can be seen here: http://justice-for-premananda.org/.
--- end comment ---
There are some other interesting comments too from Vivek Chibba on the above mentioned Facebook post.
Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Premananda_(guru):
Prem Kumar (Nov. 17 1951 – Feb. 21 2011), better known as Swami Premananda, originally from Sri Lanka, was an Indian guru who founded the Premananda ashram. He was convicted of multiple counts of rape and a murder in 1997.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Kumar had an ashram and orphanage there, in Matale. He moved to India with his followers in 1984 to escape the Sri Lankan Civil War, bringing with him undocumented Sri Lankan orphans who had been in his care. He initially opened an ashram in a rented building in Tiruchirappalli, then moved to Fatimanagar in 1989. The ashram there covered 150 acres of land with plantations of flowers, fruit, and teak. The ashram served as a shelter for women and orphan children. About 200 people lived in the ashram, most of Sri Lankan origin. Branches of the ashram later opened in the UK, Switzerland, Belgium and other countries.
On 20 August 1997, Premananda was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined 67.3 lakhs for 13 counts of rape, molestations of two girls and a murder. Failure to pay the fine was to carry an additional term of 32 years and 9 months. He was also convicted of cheating the residents of his ashram, which carried another one-year sentence. Six others were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit rapes and destroying evidence. Five were given life sentences. In view of the severity of the crimes, the judge denied them any future remission of their sentences or amnesty by any state or central government.
Premananda appeared unperturbed by the sentences and while talking to reporters, said: "Truth will ultimately triumph".
In January 2000, the Madras High Court ordered that 36.4 lakhs from Premananda's frozen accounts should be placed in a fixed deposit for three years and the resulting interest should be paid to the victims as compensation. The original guilty verdict was appealed to the Madras High Court and the appeal was rejected in December 2002.
In April 2005, the Supreme Court of India rejected an appeal. On 5 February 2009, the Madras High Court rejected a habeas corpus petition, keeping in view the recommendations of the district sessions judge at the time of conviction and the previous Supreme Court order. On 26 June 2010, however, the same court accepted Premananda's petition requesting a three-month parole to undergo medical treatment.
As of 2005 a European named Doris was running the ashram who said that Premananda was innocent.
Premananda died on 21 February 2011 of acute liver failure, while being held in Cuddalore Central Prison. Until his death, he continued to say he was innocent.
On 16 November 2014, Swami Premananda's birth anniversary was observed by his devotees at the residence of C. V. Vigneswaran in Colombo, Sri Lanka. On 22 February 2015, the Swami Premananda International Conference was held in Colombo. It was attended by A. T. Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, D. M. Swaminathan, a Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister, C. V. Vigneswaran, the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, and about 50 delegates from various countries including Argentina, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Nepal, the UK, the US, Sweden, Switzerland, India and Poland.
--- end extracts from wiki page of Swami Premananda ---
Here is an interesting video of Swami Premananda perhaps while he was allowed to go out of prison for a short while for medical treatment, Swami Premananda - Satsang : "I am not in prison", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAzf_wu4sAk, 11 min. 20 secs.
Some comments of mine, besides update comment given earlier, from associated Facebook post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1863943040488931, are given below.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, I am not saying that Swami Premananda or Bala Sai Baba were/are con artists. They were/are holy men with a following. Swami Premananda claimed that he was framed/conspired against. I don't know what is the truth. But it is well known that spiritual ashram heads in India do become a target for false conspiracies made against them by their enemies and vested interests. There is quite some history related to it in India.
I read the article, "THE TRUE STORY OF THE CASE AGAINST SWAMI PREMANANDA AS TOLD BY ARULJOTHI", http://justice-for-premananda.org/aruljothi/. It portrays the conspiracy side of the matter.
If you can make the time, do have a look at this video: Swami Premananda - Satsang : "I am not in prison", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAzf_wu4sAk, 11 min. 20 secs. I found it to be quite impressive. Premananda comes across as somebody who has maintained his spiritual balance even when he was under a prison sentence. The video seems to have been made when he was allowed out of prison on parole for a short while for medical treatment.
But his case judgement went from trial court to high court and to Supreme court of India, with the trial court judgement against him being upheld. And he was represented by one of India's leading lawyers, Ram Jethmalani. That's the other side of the matter.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I found this Premananda Mahasamadhi video to be quite interesting. Undoubtedly he had won the hearts of many people who adored him as their Guru and Swami. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqoiUHGmi8g, around 18 mins.
[I thank 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.]