Without prior notification the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) announced the erection of a new legal entity, a Global Council, November last, about a week before the late guru’s 95th birthday. Whereas the Indian based Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations (SSSSO), headed by Sri Nimish Pandya, apparently went along with the ‘proposal’ within six hours, the hitherto independent International Organisation (SSSIO), with its headquarters in the United States, did not. On the contrary: they vehemently opposed. Over a period of roughly half a year the conflict obviously got so out of hand that at least 2 members of the Central Trust, Sri Rathnakar, the (in)famous nephew of Sai Baba (see for instance this incisive post) and Managing Trustee, and Sri Naganand, an experienced lawyer, felt the need to publicly step in.
In a series of Zoom meetings over the course of May with concerned and confused international office bearers from all around the world, 3 of which at this moment still to be found online (see Conversation with SSSIO Singapore Office Bearers | Sri SS Naganand, Trustee, SSSCT | May 2021, Sri Sathya Sai Global Council – A candid conversation between Sri Rathnakar and American Sri Sathya Sai alumni and Sri Rathnakar’s Zoom call with devotees from South Africa on Sri Sathya Sai Global Council), they basically denounced the hightest office bearers of the International Organisation, dr. Narendranath Reddy and dr. Leonardo Gutter, as blinkered, misinformed, uncommunitative, lying and self-aggrandizing egotists. Harsh words indeed for representatives of the late guru, who always professed to others to ‘speak the truth, speak only that which is pleasant, don’t speak the truth even if it is unpleasant or merely to please someone else’ and above all: Hurt never and do not criticize.
‘Power grabbing, money grabbing’
On the other hand, the accusations made by the International Oganisation’s leaders regarding this initiative by The Central Trust were so serious they could not be ignored nor concealed, as they were part and parcel of the social domain. Reddy and Gutter basically accused the Trust of power grabbing, money grabbing and withholding Covid aid to countries outside India. These accusations were apparently widely shared with central committees and centres all across the globe, in letters, mails and online meetings. The remnant of a letter dated April 13 2021 by Narendra Reddy can be seen in below screenshot (it has recently been taken offline):
The full version can be read here. It was saved by several sources before it disappeared. A similar message, on video, by Leonardo Gutter was preserved also and can be seen here:
As most official letters, mails and internet meetings are by now largely hidden from the general public, what exactly transpired during the last 7 months is difficult to fathom. The Central Trust’s version of events is quite clearcut, in that they view the Global Council as a necessary new overarching body, with Prasanthi Nilayam as the central hub. They accuse the leaders of the International Organisation of letting the topic of ‘the Muddenahalli gang’ slide, and put them in place also regarding the amount of money that was donated to the CT by the IO over the last decade, it being a miserly 2 million dollars, the same amount the Central Trust allegedly pays every month in expenses, if we are to believe Rathnakar.
Because the turf war was allegedly all of a sudden over after one, ‘cordial’ Zoom meeting on May 30, clearly decided in favour of the Central Trust, and thus in favour of the Global Council, every previous letter and public announcement by the International Organisation has all but vanished. The following amazing joint statement by SSSCT, SSSSO and SSSIO went out across the planet immediately after, as if all the discord and burning of bridges had never happened:
All lovey-dovey again in the Sai Universe?
One wonders what will become of the International Organisation after Guru Poornima Day (July 24) this year, when the Global Council will be put into actual fact. And one cannot but wonder what will happen to brave men like mr. Gutter, who spoke out in favour of an independent organisation outside India and against the vanity of a Central Trust that once was the sole domain of only the late guru himself. Will this newly found comradery last?