Small Addendum to Sanjay Dadlani’s Exciting Revelations!

Date, 7 July 2002

From: Brian Steel


Website: Sathya Sai Baba - Claims and realities

THIS is what is needed! Well-researched FACTS and an intelligent analysis and reporting of them! Thanks, Sanjay Dadlani! This meticulous piece of detective work and gripping presentation tells us quite a lot and raises other important questions which will eventually be answered (by Sanjay or others). I do hope that Sanjay Dadlani will publish more - and SOON. For example, another  important  piece of the SB jigsaw, which has not attracted the attention it deserves, and for which Sanjay seems qualified to illuminate, is the FULL story and EXPLANATION of the ‘scorpion’ incident and the ensuing several weeks of illness and trauma in 1943, just prior to the 2 'Declarations' (reincarnation and Mission).

Having said that, may I offer one or two extra points to Sanjay's narrative. Because of what he has unearthed, the references I am about to make have a double significance, so they enhance the value of what he has offered us, as you will see.

The points which follow are all taken (quoted or paraphrased) from the indispensable Love Is My Form, Vol. 1 (LIMF). Many of them are the result of the LIMF team's interviews of surviving devotees.  The whole of page 237 refers to the "hills" episode. Before giving the details, it is very significant to note that although the 700 pages of LIMF give minute details about the years 1926 [?] to 1950, on this particularly revealing and important page, there is NOTHING specific about what SB was DOING in the caves during those 6 months (just a vague rumour, in fact). This is precisely what Sanjay Dadlani has patiently pieced together and revealed! So the reader of LIMF is left wondering WHY the book omits these relevant  details of SB's development. The answer is obvious since LIMF, despite all its invaluable contributions of priceless new facts, is written by devotees. Therefore, history will rely on pieces like Sanjay's to fill in these almost certainly deliberate gaps in the official literature.

The details:

The LIMF account (p. 237) suggests that, following his Declaration and return from  Uravakonda,  SB had been living in the house of his wealthy Brahmin sponsor, Karnam Subbamma (one of two wives of the deceased Karnam). However, there was village opposition to his activities and especially to his non-Brahmin caste status, and to the number of people visiting SB at that house. Subbamma was therefore being subjected to strong  criticism by villagers. To the extent of SB having to stop entering her kitchen and to speak to Subbamma outside the house. The resentment against SB’s presence in Subbamma's house grew and there was an attempt to ‘exile’ him to Bukkapatnam but the villagers there were also opposed to his presence and activities.

LIMF continues: "Turned out by the rustic people, Baba moved away to some caves in a hill, located on the other side of the Chitravathi river, near Janakampalli." [interview] "He stayed there for some time - probably six months with short breaks for outstation visits in between. Years later, Baba would confide that Subbamma’s relatives made His stay at the Karnam house intolerable ... He even wrote to his Bangalore devotees, Madhava Rao and Sankaramma, "I am staying on the hill. Not yet gone to the village." [private archival letter]

"When the villagers found out where SB was, they thought that he was performing some austerities to obtain powers [N.B. the shortest possible reference!].Whenever they approached these caves Baba appeared as snakes to drive them away." [interview]

In this tense situation, a local (Kothacheruvu) Swami asked SB's family if he could take the lad as a ward and future successor, but Easwaramma refused permission. This was when Subbamma intervened once more to allow SB to reside in a hut on an isolated piece of land of hers. This, incidentally, must be the hut about which SB himself has told the story of almost being burnt alive by a cowardly arson attack by villagers. (From recollection, I think SB more or less plays this serious incident down as a prank by naughty local boys!) It merely underlines the fact that in Puttaparthi resentment against SB was still so strong. (LIMF , p. 241) [interview with Karnam Kamalamma, 21 April 1998. Kamalamma was the other widow of the late Karnam.]

(For those interested, I would point out that I introduced some of the interesting facts concerning the village opposition to the young SB (and other facts which appear to reveal his self-doubts at that time) in Chapter 7 of my Sathya Sai Baba: God or Guru? (November 2001) but the revised version of that chapter has not yet been published on my website.)

In that same interview, we are told that in another incident  "Baba was bound to a boulder and thrown down a hill." Also, Kamalamma reveals all these years later, that it was she who then persuaded the ailing Subbamma - the other widow - to donate a piece of land for SB’s use. This land was immediately registered on 21 Jul 1945 - this gives us a valuable date to work with - and with enthusiastic work by SB’s devotees, including some from Bangalore, and the generosity of a Bangalore builder benefactor, the first mandir was built and inaugurated only 5 months later (15 December 1945), but by then Subbamma had died (25 November 1945).

A fascinating story. (See the whole chapter in LIMF, pp. 237-265.) To be continued, I hope, by someone.