A Review : By B.Premanand.
In reply to the article "IS SAI BABA ON HIS WAY OUT?" by Chidananda Rajghatta in Sunday of 8-14 September 1985 one R.P.Goel said that Sai Baba has a definite mission, particularly in the field of educational reforms for the development and betterment of human beings. That the godman's emphasis is on the development of the moral and human values in students which are lacking in the present educational system.
The worth of the educational reforms can be seen only by the way in which such reforms can transform the students admitted in random from the different strata of society and how education is able to transform them.
It is to be noted that the admissions to Sai Baba's educational institutions are on the basis of stiff entrance tests and the final selections are made by Sai Baba himself. Thus only best students are selected. As in the case of Whitefield College, if Sai Baba was not able to control the best of those students thus selected and had to close down the college, then there is something wrong with the educational system of Sai Baba. If the children of his devotees themselves agitated along with the Kadugudi villagers and the godman with his self proclaimed Universal Love could not change them, but tried to teach them a lesson by closing the college and stopping his visits to Whitefield, Sai Baba has failed. It is publicised that most of the Indian and foreign educational institutions are going to follow or are already following Sai Baba's educational system. Before adopting the Sai Baba's system the government would do well by selecting the worst students for the Sai Baba's colleges and prove that he can reform them.
Discipline cannot come from fear, strictness and by force. So also moral values. These can sprout only out of love. What is seen in the Sai Baba's educational institutions is each one is made to spy the other and the students and staff live in mortal fear. I had myself visited the Brindavan College Complex in August 1985 when I had interviewed a person harassed by Sai Baba in 1970's as he had refused to marry the girl of Sai Baba's choice. When I knew from him that Whitefield College is closed since 1 1/2 years, I immediately rushed to the place. It was difficult to meet the students as they were in unfair conditions in the college complex. They could not go out or talk to others as they were being watched by the "Big Boss". I found it impossible to talk to the students as they were mortally afraid to talk anything over.
Dr.Gokak who was the vice chancellor of Sai Baba's University also had replied to the author of the article. (Now Dr. Gokak has left Sai Baba). Would Dr. Gokak kindly elucidate as to what was the social work done in the villages surrounding the Whitefield college and other villages adopted by Sai Baba? Why did the self proclaimed god of all gods close down the Junior College in Whitefield Campus? What was the percentage of students from Kadugudi and surrounding villages in the Junior College and other colleges run by the godman? When the college complex housing more than 1500 students is built on the land acquired from the Kadugudi villagers and with the public subscription how could he close the colleges? The closure for more than 1 1/2 years is a criminal vendetta forced on the citizens, and the government ought to have taken action against him for this. The same thing is happening in many places. The prestigious Abbotsburry was gifted to Sai Baba by Tareporewala for starting a college in Madras, in 1960's. Sai Baba did not start one though it was widely publicised that a college would be started there. Instead the Abbotsburry Hall was rented. Now the property has been sold. Similarly 90 acres of land given by me and my relations to Sai Baba for starting a college complex in 1975 has not so far been fully used except for giving high school education to about 300 students this year. Though the land were gifted for educating the children in the surrounding villages as the students had to travel long distances to attend the colleges, not even one percent of the local students have been admitted in the school.
If a deemed university should consist of only a small number of students for the improvement of higher education in India what was the need of spending public money on buildings to house more than 1500 students in Whitefield? Though Dr. Gokak gives the drop out of students as to the adoptation of official language of the Union as its medium, it is not so, it is only because Sai Baba selects students from his own people and of the people whom he thinks he can influence and control. It is a fact that there are no dearth of students in any of the educational institutions in India when the percentage of people who can read and write falls below 30%.
Dr. Gokak confuses people with the words mysticism and spirituality without telling what is mystic and spiritual about Sai Baba. These words are misquoted for philosophy. Saints and sages have never been called fraudulent by rationalists. It is only those who exploit people in the name of god that the rationalists have tried to expose. Love and intuition are not the two wings of mysticism and no love can be seen with Sai Baba or his people. If Sai Baba was love incarnate he would not have closed the Whitefield college just because villagers agitated. His method of love is by harassment and trying to destroy them with his influence in police, government and judiciary. The experiences of Mr. Gunpuley who gifted some land in Whitefield for starting a hospital is not different, so also Madras, Alike and many other places. The murder of one student in Alike College is explained as suicide by the government. Dr.Gokak agrees that the villagers at Kadugudi and nearabouts were benefitted by the tourist traffic and they being deprived of their income from the tourists come in batches to Prasanthi Nilayam to implore Sai Baba to come to Brindavan for a few weeks or months as he used to do. This proves that it is for personal benefits that the people go behind Sai Baba. Because of the agitation on the closure of college, Sai Baba took vengeance on the villagers like the gods of mythology and this exposes the myth of universal love he tries to propagate around him. Even his biography and most of his lectures are nothing but the vengeance against those who try to bring out truth. It would be interesting to interview teachers and professors of Sai Baba's educational institutions especially those who have left and find out as to how these institutions are functioning. A lady teacher who came out with a notice about the pay and the functioning of the school in the lands gifted by us, was harassed so much that she and her husband with their only child had to commit suicide. So also the principal in the same school who had to commit suicide. Sai Baba's talk of Visva Prema (Supreme Love) would not help them. Same thing happened to the first principal of the Women's College at Anantapur who resigned and left, though earlier she had written poems on Sai Baba's Love. She did not find love in his institutions, but hatred and harrassment.
Dr. Gokak says that the imminent closure of the institute in Whitefield is baseless assumption. The place - buildings - constructed with the public donations standing like the ghosts of the past, without life, itself prove the contrary. The closure of the college for the past 1 1/2 years itself points to the failure of the educational system of Sai Baba. This system can be said to be good only if it can reform the ordinary and the fallen and is not on the basis of how to educate the selected few. Even this has been a failure as is seen from the agitation of the people and the students at Whitefield and other places. There is something wrong with the Sai Baba's activities. If his activity was giving love and making them fearless and to face life courageously, there would not have been this agitation. The training they got at Whitefield would have made them Apostles of love. What has happened is quite the reverse. From the discussion I had with the students, staff and the villagers of many educational institutions run by Sai Baba, I find Orwell 1984 being enacted and the day is not far off when the people would rise against such activity. The number of followers of Sai Baba is not the criteria of his goodness. It is how they live a honest life. If a person investigates into the life of the inner circle members of Sai Baba it will point out as to why they are continuing as his devotees. It is only to get protection from the police, customs, government and the judiciary for their nefarious activities.
(Source: "The Indian Skeptic", Vol. 3, N. 2, June 1990; © "The Indian Skeptic")
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