27 April 2006

Speed Demon Part II

I / II / III

Exbaba.Com is carrying a well-written article ('5 Cars and 5 Questions') by Serguei Badaev on the subject of Sathya Sai Baba's recent and lavish gifting of cars to five senior devotees. Badaev was a member of the Sai Organisation for approximately six years, spending time as the President of the Moscow Sai Center for four years as well as being the Deputy of the Central Council Chairman of the Russian speaking countries (region 16) and the National Coordinator for Education. He should know a thing or two and has much to say about the Sai Situation. The points that he makes in this latest article are well worthy of distribution and rumination. With some minor editing:

1 -
Why were the cars presented to those particular five members and not others?

Are they the most needy?

2 - Who decided to make these gifts?

Was it a personal decision of Sathya Sai Baba or a collective decision of some group in control of Trust finances? Since Sathya Sai Baba has often stated that he does not interfere in the trust which bears his name other than to sign cheques, was he therefore just an instrument in this drama?

3 - Why were the cars presented, not anything else?

Nobody of the gifts recipients seems to be a poor person by Indian standards. Cannot they buy cars themselves? Have not they had cars before? One can hardly believe that. At least in 1999 I remember Mr. Chakravarthi driving a car. It seems to be a new trend in Sathya Sai Baba's gifts: from the reported spiritual gifts of his legendary youth, to jewellery trinkets of his adulthood, to new brand cars of his old age. Strange indeed that Sathya Sai Baba, who is a spiritual teacher for his followers, presented such expensive worldly gifts to his closest assistants!

4 - Why were those cars presented publicly?

Quite probably most of those who witnessed the ceremony of presentation knew very little or perhaps nothing about those 5 people and their work. So they could not judge really how deserved they were of those gifts. Apparently Sathya Sai Baba could understand, if he is a spiritual teacher as his followers believe, that such public ceremonies can inflate "ego" of gift recipients and inflame envy in witnesses. So all that looks like a typical PR action.

5 - What money did Sathya Sai Baba use to buy those 5 cars?

Sathya Sai Baba, according to his own words, has no property and no money. Perhaps he may claim to have materialised those 5 luxurious cars. But if he materialised them privately, he could have presented them privately as well. Since he evidently wanted to attract public attention to the presentation, why didn't he materialise them publicly? Well, I am afraid there are very few people who dare to believe that Sathya Sai Baba materialised those cars. Most probably they were bought and may cost up to altogether about $150,000 . But if they were bought with the money of the Central Trust it may be considered as an abuse of charity money which was donated to Sathya Sai Baba and his Central Trust for various charity projects not for gifts to the members of the Trust. One may think that the cars were not bought but were donated. If so it is still very confusing that Sathya Sai Baba accepts the donations that cannot be used for any charity purposes.

Part III

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