Recorded talk with V. K. Narasimhan on Sai Baba challenged and how Sai then 'backtracked' about advaita

Transcript of scan seen below this text (Comments in purple text):

150 crores - "a first installment" from anonymous donors in N. York.
Announced by Baba in Shivarathri Discourse 1994. For the Super-specialty hospital's running etc.

Met Narasimhan after darshan (22-3) and he told me the long story behind his letter from Prince Charles. It was a visit of Charles to hand back Fiji to the Fijians, which Narasimhan attended too. The prince had waited for hours to see fish speared by the natives. But the fish would not appear for the prince. They both also had to accept a drink (alcohol) from the Fijian chiefs - & the Prince downed it it to the last drop. "A hard price to pay for the privilege of being Prince of Wales"!

See further information on Prince Charles and his interest in Sathya Sai Baba

After lunch & moving to the Patel's room, I went to Narasimhan. Met two son-in-laws (or who?) - one in computers/ the other a Chief Engineer in the Indian Railways.
(Comment: I later met both again, the one was not in computers as such, but was V.N. Narayanan, then Editor of the Tribune, Chandigarth, later Editor of the Hindustan and subsequently was disgraced for plagiarism of Brian Appleyard's column in the Sunday Times, whereby he lost his entire and once very high-flying career in journalism. The other son was a very intellectual science-oriented engineer. Narasimhan's favourite son had however been killed many years previously by a shark while swimming in the Bay of Bengal).

Discussed Goldsmith/Laurens van der Post/also my book and publication questions. (Comment: VKN and I had a very wide area of common interest in older works literature, intellectual debate, pre-war and wartime politics as well as the history of the British rule and of many forms of spirituality from all countries including, of course, India)

When we discussed unity and diversity, N. told me of what I felt was the most extraordinary discussion he had had with Swami once. At that time Sai was teaching only Advaita in the strict Shankara version, saying that only God is real, all else is changing, hence unreal. N. argued that if He, God, created a Jagath (i.e. 'Universe')that is unreal, then he is also unreal by the same measure. Though he (N) derived his power only from God (not Swami), he cannot be a shadow only... or how is he to understand himself then... etc.

The next day, Baba gave the discourse in which he for the first time taught that it is wrong to say that the world is unreal etc. In one sense a complete reversal of the previous teaching!!

(Comment: The brief notes do not make clear the point fully - VKN's view included the point that a Creator who makes and unreal Creation is not a real Creator (of anything real). This rejection of the total otherworldliness of Advaita - which still suffuses almost everything that Sai Baba says about God and humanity - expresses the realistic journalist Narasimhan's healthy common sense attitude well. He would say that India's great demise and the social disgrace of its unnecessary sufferings and poverty was due entirely to this teaching that everything is unreal. This was one of several times Narasimhan told me of that conversation with Sai Baba, as noted elsewhere - click here.)

Comment: This was in March 1994

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