Yugadi 2002 References to the
By: Brian Steel
According to the official edited translation of his Yugadi Discourse on 13 April 2002, SB made the following statements, some of them excited, jubilant, even boastful.
"Tomorrow is the New Year Day for Tamilians. ... At present, the people of Madras are suffering due to scarcity of drinking water. The rich can afford to buy water and quench their thirst. But what about the poor? They are drinking impure water and spoiling their health. Hence, I have decided to provide them pure drinking water so that they can lead happy and healthy lives and develop it further for the generations to come. In this connection, Chakravarthy (the Secretary of the Central Trust), Srinivasan from Madras (President, All India Sri Sathya Sai Organisations), and Indulal Shah from Bombay (Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai World Council) have approached the World Bank authorities and explained to them about the selfless service activities that we have undertaken. They told the World Bank authorities that all our activities are purely service-oriented and that we do not expect anything in return. They just repeated like parrots whatever Swami had told them to convey.
"The World Bank people were very much impressed. They said that they had never heard about or seen such stupendous service activities undertaken by a charitable organisation anywhere else in the world. They were happy that Sathya Sai Baba was providing drinking water to a distant place like Madras. They have agreed to bear the expenditure involved in this project. On this sacred day of Ugadi before I came out to give Darshan, we received a telephone call at about 7 a.m. conveying this message."
If the feelings are sacred, the result is bound to be sacred. They told us, "You don't need to be concerned about the funds, and you don't need to come to us again. We are prepared to give any number of crores to meet the expenditure." With broad-mindedness, they have come forward to extend their help."
The second and third paragraphs sound VERY odd. Consultation of the World Bank website (www.worldbank.org) provides the following basic information:
"The World Bank is a lending institution whose aim is to help integrate countries into the wider world economy and promote long-term economic growth that reduces poverty in developing countries. ... It provides loans to member countries ... The World Bank lends only to developing or transition countries..."
So: the World Bank LENDS money to SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENTS, not to non-governmental institutions.
Interestingly, the World Bank also offers to advertise the existence of Charitable Foundations by offering them links from its own site. On its website it advertises a long list of Charitable Foundations which have registered with it. The SSO does not seem to be on that list at this time (May 2002).
(Incidentally, on the World Bank's list of current projects in South Asia, the following would be the closest to Madras/Chennai, but it refers to a loan to the Indian Government and to Government of the State of Karnataka (of which Bangalore is the capital). Chennai (Madras) is in the neighbouring State of Tamil Nadu:
Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (02) P050653 151.6 IBRD/IDA India Water Supply & Sanitation - Active - 12/18/2001.)
So what are we to make of SB's excited observations? Devotees will take them, as usual, as Gospel truth. Others may be puzzled. Could there be a DIFFERENT charitable body involved, whose name SB has (unomnisciently) confused with that of the illustrious World Bank? If so, has that other institution really offered unlimited financial support as SB claims? ("We are prepared to give any number of crores to meet the expenditure.")
[ a crore is 10 million - Rupees, in this case, presumably)]
The literal translation of the original Discourse contains even more surreal
details. (See www.internety.com/premsai)
"So in Madras, rich people gave some money and are they are drinking good water. But the poor people and beggars, not having money in hand, are drinking polluted and dirty water, and are succumbing to diseases. I have the desire and have resolved to give pure water to them, to sacredly protect and develop their health, generation after generation, so they can be happy. Only yesterday, the three, Secretary, Mr. Chakravarthy, Mr. Srinivas from Madras and Mr. Indulal Shah from Bombay, went together to the authorities of the World Bank. They went and explained our sacred seva. They said that this is not merely our (selfish) service. It is seva (selfless service) that we do. We won't experience any results (benefit personally). We won't aspire for results. It is seva that is done without desiring for the results. I told these three this, and they went to the World Bank authorities and repeated these words parrot-like.
All the authorities of the World Bank came here. They declared, "We have not heard about and we have not seen, in any place or in any country, this kind of seva. (Applause) Sathya Sai Baba is giving water like this to Madras which is somewhere else (far from Puttaparthi)." Today a phone call came saying that the World Bank authorities had said, "We will give the entire cost of this." (the project to supply drinking water to Madras) (Applause) See! On Ugadi day! Sacred results will come when there are sacred feelings. The Bank authorities said, "You don't need to think anymore (worry) at all. You don't need to come to us again. We will give help to you. We will give any number of crores." (One crore is ten million rupees.) How great it is that such an enthusiastic feeling came! Twelve hours have not yet passed. They came last night at 7PM. The phone call came at 7AM in the morning when I was coming out. Do you see?"