THE MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR QUESTION (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
By: Robert Priddy
From the website: Sathya Sai Baba - Extensive Information and Viewpoints
Part 1 - Introduction
Sai Baba claims that everything he does is for the best of all. To be accepted by him, one must have complete faith in him, and this leads to some extraordinary social conditions. Among those who frequent the ashrams it is customary to think they themselves know virtually nothing with certainty, certainly not Sai Babas inscrutable motives and plans. The very same persons will nevertheless claim to KNOW that Sai Baba is God, the Avatar Himself - which is a peculiar exception to their proclaimed cosmic ignorance. This same wilful ignorance is applied to all questions involving money. Nothing can be questioned, one has no right to know anything about it, even in most cases where one is a donor oneself. It is said by believers that all is under the 'Divine Control' of him who knows everything.
The multi-billion dollar question about SB is, how much money is donated and how it is spent. The answer is not forthcoming from SB or his Central Trust which is a financially unaccountable organisation (with government-granted tax and import duty free status). The UK magazine The Economist had a front page notice about the 'Sai Baba Empire' back in early 1990, where they estimated his assets at over US$2 billion. They also reckoned him to be the No. 1 foreign exchange earner in India at that time! That estimate must have been based on known or visible assets, not on any hidden ones. Calculations based on known donations plus numbers of donors etc. put the current total figure far higher than two billion. How many billions there are, and to where they go (and evidently for a considerable part to where they appear to disappear), are never told and no one outside the inner circle of the Central Trust etc. can find out the answers. This total lack of accountability certainly does not raise the confidence of those who have the least real knowledge about Indian corruption, pay-offs, kick-backs and ingrained financial corruption. It is to examine and try to redress some of the cover-ups about money matters in the Sai mini-empire that I aim to do in the following series. In the next posting I shall recount my experiences as a donor:
Part 2 - "My experiences as a donor"