Does the World Protector Need Security?

by Serguei Badaev  [06-13-03]

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Sathya Sai Baba (Sai Baba) proclaimed himself Purna Avatar, that is an embodiment of the Divinity that came to this world to protect Dharma (Righteousness) and eliminate Evil. A core idea of what Sai Baba has been preaching for so many years is that one is not a body but eternal undestroyable Atma (that is the Divine Principle). That is why it was quite natural to hear from Sai Baba in his discourse of 13th January 1993 that if someone has any fear it is due to his false identification with his body and as a result to some wrong doings.

"When Chandrasekhar came here, a hundred security men also came. Swami asked him, why do you need so many people? He said that security is very necessary. Then Swami said that there must be some mistake in you. Because of mistake, you have fear, and when there is fear, you need security".

(13.01.1992 Prashanthi Nilayam, from materials of the ESSE Institute) 

But in a year and a half, on 6th June 1993 an event occurred in Prashanthi Nilayam, Sai Baba's ashram, that apparently made Sai Baba undertake some special efforts to protect his physical existence. Four armed intruders tried to reach Sai Baba, but he successfully escaped. The intruders were caught and killed in Sai Baba's rooms, after they had killed two Sai Baba's assistants. You can get more information about this incident from shocking revelations of Narasimhan, a former editor of Sanathana Sarathi magazine, which were published by R. Priddy here. Priddy also reports that Narasimhan told him already on January 1, 1996 that Sai Baba was spending 50 lakhs of rupees per month on keeping 50 private plainclothes security operatives in the ashram. Moreover, the so-called ringleader of the temple intrusion  incident, Vijay Prabhu, who escaped on a bus, was himself at that time the security chief of Prashanti Nilayam! 

Nobody really knows what the motives of the intruders were as these murders were left uninvestigated. But some evident changes happened in  ashram life. In the mandir (temple) area the metal detectors, like those at airports, were installed at the entrances on the men's side and on the women's side as well. Sai Baba moved to live in the Poornachandra building where he has some rooms upstairs. But no stairs lead to his rooms. Sai Baba gets there by an elevator, which is under control from his rooms and is blocked at night to prevent unexpected intrusion. In front of the entrance to Sai Baba's rooms there is a military guard with a gun for 24 hours a day. It is widely known that very often some students spend nights with Sai Baba in his rooms (see Sanathana Sarathi, June 1998, p.142-143). Although some people believe that it is Sai Baba's sexuality that is the reason why boys stay with him at night, it may contribute to his security as well. 

I can also share my own personal experience of visiting Sai Baba in Prashanthi Nilayam repeatedly during 1995-2000. I was surprised to see during every darshan (daily meeting with devotees) as two young bodyguards in the white clothes of ordinary devotees provided God's security. Before darshan they stayed near the entrance of Sai Baba's rooms and immediately after Sai Baba passed this place they ran around, entered the mandir hall and sat down in the arranged places reserved for them by sevadals in the front rows among male devotees. They changed places following Sai Baba's movement through the male side of the mandir area until they positioned themselves on the veranda among top devotees and VIP guests. When Sai Baba left the mandir these two body guards left the veranda and went out of the mandir and ran to the Sai Baba rooms' entrance. 

Sai Baba devotees have a number of explanations to put to these facts. For example, they believe it is not Sai Baba who has fear for his life, it is devotees who are afraid, and Sai Baba lets them protect his life out of his great love for his devotees. In fact, it is just a part of his leela (Divine Play) because it is he who is the Protector of the whole world. After the 1993 murder episode, the Indian Government bent to pressure from prominent devotees and proclaimed Sai Baba to be a "national treasure" and sent a military guard to protect him. 

In the discourses following the murders in June 1993 Sai Baba emphasized repeatedly that nobody really understands the role of the Avatar in the cosmic play, that God's ways (= Sai Baba's ways) are inscrutable, and all devotees need is to keep their faith firm and accept everything that happens in their lives as being for their good. In spite of this sophisticated logic for an unbiased observer the true reason is clear as day. The following words of Sai Baba, said a year and a half before the murders of June 1993, testify against his own deeds:

"We do not need to fear anyone. Why should one be afraid of Truth? When there is a defect, there is fear. When there is fear, you need security. No mistake, no fear, no security."

(13.01.1992 Prashanthi Nilayam, from materials of the ESSE Institute)

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