The problematical Charter's history
- some background and comments:

The original Charter, 'granted to' the SSO by SB in 1981, was penned by Dr. S. Bhagavantam (famous for the possibly 'dharmic achievement' of making India's first atomic weapon) together with the ex-politician and initiator/head of the so-called Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Mr. Indulal Shah. Sai Baba had accepted this, however, and it was printed for sale. That first brief Charter was narrowly conceived in respect of any global, inter-cultural relevance and was soon replaced with a longer version, which also evidently was soon found too problematical as a basis for organisation work internationally, being widely criticized by Westerners. It was unfortunately packaged in largely unintelligible bureaucratic language, a kind of formal or pseudo-legalistic jargon.

Around 1990, all countries were instructed to hold series of meetings to discuss the Charter and send in their comments. Several committees drawn from European countries worked on the final recommendations in 1991 at 'Mother Sai House' at Divignano near
Milan. Bernhard Gruber of Germany, the excellent leader of the European region at that time, sent off those recommendations - but in the end not one had any real effect on the final result (again penned in its final form by the International Chairman, I. Shah, and eventually accepted by Sai Baba). The new UK leader at that time, after the dismissal by Shah of Lucas Ralli from the office of President of the SSO in the UK , was Harry Mansbridge, who soon (apparently) resigned. He had sent in a fax with many pages of amendments gathered from UK devotees. Neither was more than a word or so of all these recommendations incorporated. That is how far democracy stretches in the SSO.
The Charter has gone through some small changes since then - officially dividing the SSO into two variants, one for the Eastern and one for Western hemispheres. Later the SSO was re-divided into five world zones, which allows for a certain amount of (unspecified) regional differentiation in actual practice because five different leaders presumably interpret the Charter somewhat selectively in respect of specific events according to the needs of their zones.
The Charter has repeatedly proven a stumbling block because of the requirements it prescribed, including rituals that are largely impracticable in Western countries or non-Hindu cultures. Therefore, it was - and still is -frequently ignored in practice both centrally and locally as and when leaders (or sufficient numbers of engaged ground-level members) see fit.  One example of this should suffice. In Prashanthi Nilayam at the time of its world conferences, the SSO grants to any foreign visitor who happens to be staying at the ashram as a member and country delegate, even those who are merely boarding there for convenience and have never even been to a single darshan in their lives and never even find out that they are 'member delegates'. Needless to say, this is wholly contrary to the rules for membership in both Charters. It did not help matters in countries where qualification as a member is no automatic right, but requires acquaintance with the practices developed locally like active participation and other requirements for membership.
Locally, one often ignores other culturally unacceptable limits prescribed by the Charter when inappropriate (e.g. Hindu rituals, stated membership criteria, and various other rules). Such deviance from the paragraph is common to all organisations, but the degree and nature vary. It is particularly relevant in the SSO to examine certain common deviations from the rules as an expression of problems or conflicts met in social and spiritual practice.

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