Killed by Sai Baba
The owner of the building, Halagappa (pictured on the right), is a reformed criminal who also runs a nearby orphanage. Reports in Sai devotional literature invariably describe him as a sweet and humble old man who absolutely refuses offers of donations. The miracles themselves have been described in several Sai books and devotional videos. Several theories and rational explanations have been put forward already by several sources, so I'll not get into discussing them right now. Maybe some other time.
The existence of this place in Srirangapatnam is common knowledge among Sai devotees. Whenever Sai Baba stays at his ashram in Whitefield (near Bangalore), car journeys to Sriangapatnam are regularly booked by devotees in the taxi agencies outside as Mysore is relatively close to Bangalore than it is to Puttaparthi. One time when I was in Whitefield in 1993, the devotees were gripped by "Halagappa Fever" for some strange reason. I tried to arrange a visit to Mysore but was put off by very disturbing reports of severe car crashes that resulted in the violent deaths of Sai devotees en route.
Rumours had also been spreading that Halagappa had started to accept donations in contravention of good 'spiritual' manners and also Sai Baba's exhortations. Devotees were speculating that if these rumours were true, it was Sai Baba who - in his divine rage - was "killing" the devotees who went there for a visit. An 0utlandish theory, I agree, but this was the ashram talk. The devotees even stopped going there for a while. I personally find the numerous incidences of death en route to Srirangapatnam by Sai devotees to be highly suspicious.
Apparently the shrine is still as popular as ever, and the donations are still rolling in. Interestingly, Sai Baba is believed to have remarked about this place in a 1971 discourse:
"In Mysore State there are some who distribute Amrith, Vibhuthi (holy ash) and other articles announcing that they are showering from my pictures at their places; they do this free for some weeks, and later, they start begging for money, like any common mendicant! This is sin, to ask so and also to give so. Devotees should keep far away from such places and persons ... In some other places, they announce that I make Myself present and communicate through writings on Rangoli powder etc.! I do not do such things, if I come at all to any place."
From this it appears that Sai Baba - Mafia don that he is - has given the order and expects it to be followed. Show no disrespect.
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