Excerpts taken from The world of gurus by Vishal Mangalwadi, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1977
Contributed by Alexandra Nagel, author of 'A Guru Accused'
The Indian gentleman, Mr N.C. Gunpuley is a great patriot, a Hindu, and an intimate friend of our late President, Dr Zakir Hussain. He has spent most of his working years in the foreign service in European countries. After his retirement his only desire has been to serve the poor and the sick in his motherland. In 1970 he donated seven acres of his beautiful land to Sathya Sai Baba, for building a 30 bed hospital. Baba also took over the charitable dispensary which Mr Gunpuley was running and promised to pay for it. However, his experiences with Baba from 1970-1975 form one long story of disappointments and frustration. Baba neither kept his promises, nor showed any concern for the sick and the poor. At one time he completely ignored the deed and wanted to build huts for his foreign devotees instead of a hospital for the poor – and idea which had to be given up at the protests of Mr Gunpuley.
Mr Gunpuley has narrated his experiences with Baba in his Brief Synopsis of Satya Sai Health and Education Trust (August 1974), of which he very kindly lent me a copy. His conclusion is:
I have passed through the most ugly experience with the politics and politicians of the country, and also … through spirituality and religion about which we Indians are so very proud… He had hoped that the latter ‘will save me from my predicament and (therefore) turned my attention wholly and solely to Sri Satya Sai Baba, the great religious savant of this place and am waiting for the great solution for the last four and a quarter years.
… the Illustrated Weekly of India, December 28, 1975, published a letter to the Editor according to which
A suit was filed in 1973 in the Civil Judge’s Court, Bangalore district, against Sathya Sai Baba for recovering from him a sum of Rs 94,800. After one year’s litigation the case was withdrawn on September 1974.
It is to be noted that Sathya Sai Baba talks of Dharma and non-attachment but owns extensive immovable properties in many parts of India, owns posh cars, lives in style and, as the said court proceedings have revealed, indulges in business dealings amounting to lakhs of rupees.
The growing popularity of Sri Sathya Sai Baba recently me with a set-back when the seven-year old “miracle” boy, Kitti (better known as Sai Krishna), was exposed as a fraud, by the committee set up by Bangalore University, to investigate superstitions and miracles.
Hundreds of people became followers of Sri Sathya Sai Baba because Sai Krishna started “miraculously” producing sacred ash, and other objects “from the air.” He and his parents claimed that these were given to him by Sai Baba. Thousands flocked to see the boy at Pandavpura. An Australian devotee of Sai Baba, apparently, made a movie on the boy to be shown abroad.
For a long time the 12-member committee of Bangalore University tried to obtain permission from the boy’s parents to be allowed to investigate the authenticity of his miracles. Finally they were invited to attend the weekly bhajans as ordinary devotees, but were prohibited from touching the boy. No miracle took place on July 8, 1976, when three of the team members went officially. On July 15, three other members attended the bhajans incognito, and exposed the origin of the sacred ash. They found that the ash was hidden in the boy’s (vest) and came out when he pulled a string hidden in his clothes! This naturally brought great embarrassment to the followers of Sathya Sai Baba. Ardent followers made loud but fruitless attempts to disassociate Sathya Sai Baba from Sai Krishna. But obviously no reasonable explanation is possible. Why did “God” allow a family to fool the world for eight months and to trick hundreds into his fold by deception? Did he not know that this was all a fraud?
The Current weekly (September 11, 1976) in their cover story featured a professional magician, Niranjan Mathur, and a renowned Hatha Yogi L.S. Rao, both of whom claimed that the miracles of Sathya Sai Baba were only a sleight of hand. Niranjan Mathur who performs better “miracles” of materialization, claimed that he was willing to serve Sai Baba as a slave for the rest of his life, if the Baba could prove to him that his “miracles” were supernatural. His standing challenge is: “I can trap them (godmen) while they perform their tricks if I can examine their hands just before they perform their so called miracles. But they won’t be able to catch me, when I perform them.”
The Bangalore University committee has repeatedly requested Sathya Sai Baba to permit them to examine the authenticity of his miracles, but he has refused their request.