A Burgeoning Mission of Muddenahalli ‘Scamsters’ – The Tale of ‘Madhu Baba’ and His Minions
If there is one person who is subjected to extreme hatred and vilification in public sphere after ‘Chaiwala’; it is ‘Madhu Baba’! The angst is because he is an ‘outsider’ to the club! ‘Madhu Baba’ aka Madhusudan Naidu is an outsider, in the sense; he was never Swami’s physical caretaker or part of the elite group of Sai Students who surrounded Swami during Darshan by pushing His wheelchair or by holding the letters for Him (the outside world looked at them in awe!) nor was he one of those office-bearers taking care of the affairs of the ashram. Neither was he one of those fancy speakers who enthralled the audience world over sharing about his physical closeness to Swami through colourful stories nor was he a hallowed Mandir Bhajan singer! So, how on earth can Swami bypass the hierarchy and make Himself available to Madhusudan out of all?!! Swami could have chosen any of the many who were close to Him physically. It is unsettling, as how could some devotees consecrate Madhu as their ‘Baba’ without the approval of the ‘thought leaders’?!
After Swami left the physical realms, whenever I got a chance, I visited different ashrams and gurus out of sheer respect for their stupendous work in their chosen fields. During those visits, I would try and observe if I felt the same excitement, the way I experienced being in the Divine presence of Bhagawan. But somehow even though I knew they were exalted spiritual beings, there was something amiss. It never felt like being in the midst of my Swami in Prasanthi Nilayam, the exuberance in His presence was unmatchable! I knew somewhere within that as much as these gurus are real and authentic, they were still not for me. I somehow knew in my heart of hearts that Swami was going to make a comeback in a big way, if not in the same physical form, in His own mysterious way. There was so much left for the Avatar to accomplish before taking leave and the physical exit in 2011 only seemed like an interval in the Divine movie. The book by Sreejith Narayan, “Sai Thy Kingdom Come” only reinforced this faith.
Even though I was following every development very closely after the famous Narasimha Murthy’s dream of Swami moving into Sri Sathya Sai Anandam (the hill top bungalow at Muddenahalli) that went viral among devotees in the social media, it was only in May 2014, I first heard about Madhusudan. I wanted to go and see things for myself before outrightly dismissing the claims. I had made few visits to Muddenahalli between 2011 and 2014 out of curiosity but Madhusudan was still inconspicuous then.
It was during Swami’s 89th Birthday which was celebrated in a grand manner at the Sri Sathya Sai Samagamam Stadium in Muddenahalli, I had an opportunity for the first time to listen to Madhusudan on stage as communicator of Swami. I was all ears to assess if it was indeed Swami prompting Madhu. And in the end of the discourse, my heart was convinced it was indeed Swami continuing His mission in His own inimitable style, taking the world by surprise! You can only be certain of His uncertainty. Something that I had missed in every other ashram and gurus during my visits, I had finally found here after experiencing the same joy that I felt in Prasanthi Nilayam. And then there was no looking back for me. There was a friend who had also attended the programme. Unfortunately, that was probably his last visit. I thought this wasn’t for him. A wise man once said, "If you are going to meet God, you can only go alone; no one will walk with you. Each one of you should know that you are the lonely pilgrim and you have to go alone. It is a journey of the alone to the alone." A particular form cannot be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why we have an endless list of saints, seers and sages through whom Swami is working to cater to variety of people who are at different stages in the spiritual journey.
My first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam was when I was just six months old, thanks to my parents and grandparents who were on this path. From then on, I have never missed visiting Prasanthi even a single year. My visit in 2015 turned out to be my last visit to the ‘Neverland’ of my heart! The piping hot masala chai on the chitravathi road at 4 a.m., the veg cake and the pizza at the bakery, the huge tender coconuts that were sold behind the round building are things I still miss! But when the time comes for you to hop on to an airplane on the next leg of the journey to your destination, we should decide to move on and not get glued to the same bogie, same place, form, situations. We have miles to go before we can rest!
For all the updates about Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in His Subtle Form and His Mission, you may click here
The Caretaker’s Utterances and My Understanding
If somebody close to you is in trouble, what would you do? You would want to do whatever is possible from your side to help the individual. When Swami left the physical body, there was a huge campaign against the physical caretaker fuelled by the media accusing him of not taking care of Swami. There was death threat against him and he was given two gunmen for his security for many months. There was also news floating in the TV channels that he was shifted to Mumbai for his safety and in those days it appeared like he could never return to the ashram. The general perception then was that he did not even enjoy the support of the Trust. In a situation like this, what would a well-wisher who trusted him of no wrong-doing do to help him out of his double agony, of losing Swami and also being accused of killing Him? Narasimha Murthy offered him to come to Alike and stay there.
Since Alike is situated at least 500 kms away from Puttaparthi, Narasimha Murthy would have felt that it was a safe haven. The Trust in Prasanthi Nilayam claims Alike and Muddenahalli institutions are their own. If so, why did the caretaker feel offended and consider the help as trying to break him away from Prasanthi Nilayam when Narasimha Murthy offered him to come and stay at Alike?
Alike-Muddenahalli & Prasanthi Nilayam – The Equation
Did the establishment in Prasanthi Nilayam ever treat Alike - Muddenahalli on par with Brindavan or Anantapur campuses since they are now claiming it should be under them? Did Alike – Muddenahalli students ever get to sit alongside their Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan, Anantapur counterparts in the white marble area in Sai Kulwanth during Darshan? We were just a sidekick to the establishment till Swami was physically there, and we were made to sit near the garage! How many devotees had heard of Alike and Muddenahalli before Swami’s physical exit? Why these exceptional institutions were never in prominence, never in the lime-light? Since the inception of ‘Alike-Muddenahalli institutions’, it was mostly a hand-to-mouth existence for the management to keep the ball rolling. Except while Swami took over the Trust way back in 1978, as a result of the ardent prayers of the founder Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, whenever the institution was debt ridden, no funding came from the ‘Centre’ to bail them out. They had to fend for themselves. And now everybody wants to grab a bite! The situation is very similar to how disinterested the media was when Swami was around. The moment He dropped the physical cover, everybody descended in Puttaparthi like termites for their pound of flesh.
If Swami wanted to run Alike-Muddenahalli Institutions directly through the Trust in Prasanthi Nilayam, He could have simply absorbed Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust into the Central Trust long ago. He kept it as a separate Trust all these years for a reason. When the founder of Alike and Muddenahalli Institutions, Late Madiyal Narayan Bhat offered the institutions to Bhagawan, he had specifically written in his letter that the Institution was an offering at the Divine Lotus Feet and not to any Trust run in His name. Therefore, Alike and Muddenahalli should be under Swami’s direct supervision. And it shall remain so!
The Nigerian Scam
One fine morning, we received a ‘Breaking News’ that Madhu Baba and his minions were ‘arrested’ in Nigeria. Since, I have been a keen follower of Indian politics for many years now and exceedingly observant on how the media reports news; I have lost my innocence long ago in believing immediately anything that I read. I decided to adopt the ‘wait and watch’ approach. Yellow journalism is not just limited to mainstream media. We see it in our everyday lives; whether it is at our glass paned offices or in the high-end residential neighborhoods, and more so now on social media. It helps light up the miserable lives that usually people lead by giving a sense of gratification, even if ephemerally!
Anyway, there was jubilance in the air. The world incredibly felt like one big happy family that morning. Strangers smiling at each other, morning walkers hugging! There was a note floating on the WhatsApp groups from the head of the organization that may have been behind this ludicrous incident asking its followers to observe restraint till the official media briefing would take place shortly regarding the ‘arrest’. A sense of vindication was evident in the short note!
I cannot say if everybody is aware about the various Campuses and Hospitals established after the physical departure of Swami, and more which are in the offing, but this incident gained worldwide publicity among the ‘faithful’ instantly. “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots”, said Mark Twain. We accuse our newspapers and TV channels for spreading negativity and agenda driven news. But, is there a market for Truth and Goodness in this world? I sometimes doubt.
So, what really took place in Nigeria? When Madhusudan and the entourage were in Nigeria for the inauguration of Aruike Hospital (the hospital of good health) at Enugu which was established by the selfless devotees who derive their inspiration from the subtle form, the Nigerian head of an international organization (a big shot, who was himself on the verge of getting arrested for being involved in a multi-billion dollar financial scam in the country exactly a year later!) tipped off the local police of a supposed ‘fund collection’ drive by the members of an international cult in the area. Any sane person having a good head on his shoulders would not end up in a poor, underdeveloped country like Nigeria for fund collection!! Nevertheless, when a complaint is lodged, especially by a very influential man, it is the duty of the police to summon the accused to the police station for an enquiry. After the facts were collected from the members, they were let off when the police found no substance whatsoever in the complaint that was lodged! The team stayed there for few more days as per their planned schedule and came back to India thereafter. The media briefing that was supposed to take place after the ‘arrest’ by the country head never happened. The strangers have since then stopped smiling and the morning walkers stopped hugging! The newspapers speculated and gave substantially larger column space to report the so-called ‘arrest’ which went viral, and probably had the maximum forwards on WhatsApp and social media, though it was nothing more than a sit down questioning session, and they ended up publishing just a teeny weeny snippet ‘No truth in Sai Baba Trust fraud in Nigeria’, which obviously did not go viral as it was simply ignored!
A year and a half later, the Muddenahalli team returned to Nigeria again, to lay the Foundation stone for a school campus which will provide free education to 1000 students in the area with no less than the health commissioner of the State of Enugu being the Chief Guest on the occasion! The whole concocted story of ‘arrest’ turned out to be another Nigerian scam that was peddled to earn some brownie points from their masters!
Narasimha Murthy condemns Samadhi?
There was hue and cry few months back when Narasimha Murthy made a passing reference about Samadhi in one of his speeches. Since it was delivered in Kannada, it was easier for the usual suspects to further the agenda How-wily-is-Narasimha-Murthy using dubious translators to come out with a ‘perfect’ translation that was enough for the outrage industry to go full throttle. Even their highest authority in the international arena was forced to come out with a ‘We condemn this blasphemy’ video on YouTube. The matter was squeezed like an orange till the juice went dry!
So what did Narasimha Murthy actually say?
“The most unfortunate thing is that those who call themselves ‘devotees’ have closed their eyes to the reality of Swami continuing His mission even after shedding the mortal coil, are whiling away their time circumambulating the Samadhi without doing His work”.
This reminds me of a beautiful story of a sage and three disciples. The sage gave all the three disciples hand full of green gram and told them to return it when he was back from the pilgrimage. The first disciple kept it safe in the cupboard and even worshipped it daily! The second one was clever. He ate it thinking it would anyway spoil when his guru returned. He thought to a find some replacement to return. The third disciple was wise. He sowed the green gram into the soil and gave a bag full when the guru returned! Who do you think the guru was most pleased with?
Swami will be the happiest if we can sow His teachings in our hearts and in the hearts of people around us and reap a harvest. And then sow more and spread it across. I cannot think of a better example than C Sreenivas who did not find fulfillment just praising or worshipping the two hospitals that were built by Swami in Puttaparthi and Whitefield. Instead, he decided to spread Swami’s love everywhere through Free Healthcare. He is on an unprecedented mission to develop the world’s largest free pediatric cardiac care chain of hospitals!
And in whose name are these hospitals established? Who is the deity to the students in the institutions that are being established everywhere? It is not Sreenivas, not Narasimha Murthy, not Madhusudan, but it is Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our beloved master, our Lord.
Today, as His glory spreads beyond known places associated with His name and life to the unknown remote hinterlands and hearts of the poor and the needy, His teachings bear a golden harvest of service to mankind in these selfless endeavours. And only and only in His most sacred name!
Which of the disciples you would aspire to be, a cupboard worshiping disciple or a seeds sowing disciple?
You may click here to follow new developments in the Medical Mission under the Continuing Divine Mission
Muddenahalli - A Parallel Power Centre?
When Swami (in the subtle) wanted to establish Gulbarga campus in 2011 after the physical exit, He sent Sri Narasimha Murthy to Prasanthi Nilayam to meet the Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust to ask them to take up the project. Not many are aware of this important fact. This is very significant because there is an accusation against Muddenahalli establishment that they have created a parallel power centre and are pulling devotees on to the other side! It was only when they refused to take up the project for lack of funds and time to devote on this project, Swami decided to undertake this project through Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions which apparently had negative balance in their accounts! But then they were at least available, if not able to take up such mammoth project! They just had to make themselves available for Swami to work through them, which they did and the results are here for all to see.
Between November 2012 and today:
Education - 19 Campuses, 30 Institutions across 14 Districts of Karnataka and 1 District of Telangana, where over 5000 boys and girls from rural strata of society are receiving free values-based integral education at top notch architectural edifices! There will be one campus each in every district of Karnataka and eventually all over the country, in 600 districts!
Sri Sathya Sai Vidyaniketanam, Gulbarga district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://vidyaniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam, Mandya district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://sharadaniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Divyaniketanam, Chikkamagalur district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://divyaniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Sriniketanam, Chikkamagalur district (for girls): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://sriniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, Gulbarga district (for men and women): Graduation – www.sssche.org
Prashanti Bala Mandira Kannada Medium Higher Primary School, Chikkaballapur district (for girls): Kindergarten, Grade 1 to Grade 7: https://pbmprimaryschool.org
Prashanti Bala Mandira English Medium Girls High School, Chikkaballapur (for girls): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://pbmhighschool.org
Sri Sathya Sai Premaniketanam, Bijapur district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://premaniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam, Chikkaballapur district (for girls): Pre-University College: https://prashantiniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Sathyaniketanam, Hassan district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://sathyaniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Vaniniketanam, Gadag district (for girls): Grade 6 to Grade 10: https://vaniniketanam.org
Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Composite High School, Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapur district (for Boys): www.ssslst.org
Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Kendra, Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapur district (for boys): www.ssslst.org
Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Pre-University College, Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapur district (for boys): www.ssslst.org
*Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam, Hyderabad (for girls): Pre-University College
*Sri Sathya Sai Vishwaniketanam, Hampi district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10
*Sri Sathya Sai Sevaniketanam, Koppal district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10
*Sri Sathya Sai Karunyaniketanam, Tumkur district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10
*Sri Sathya Sai Satthwaniketanam, Karwar district (for boys): Grade 6 to Grade 10
Health - Two state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac care hospitals ( https://srisathyasaisanjeevani.org ) at Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Palwal in Haryana, and a third hospital to be inaugurated in Mumbai in November 2018! A pediatric cardiac care hospital will come up in Fiji islands ( http://saipremafiji.com/sanjeevani-hospital/ ) and Mississippi in USA soon. The foundation stone will be laid for a pediatric cardiac care hospital in Kolkata in November 2018. Close to 6000 surgeries, and over 50,000 little hearts have been mended totally free of cost!
Nutrition - Every single morning over 120,000 children are being given nutritious breakfast ( http://annapoorna.org.in ) at 1600 government schools across 16 States and 1 Union territory in India, and 5 other countries, supported by 500 volunteers, 15 corporates and 5000 school staff!
Ashrams - Swami has announced setting up of 18 ashrams all over the world and they are at different stages of development.
A movement which is working towards providing free education, healthcare and nutrition every single day without any commercial angle, or working towards establishing similar initiatives in other countries. Maybe it’s time people woke up and smelt the coffee! All that is happening is truly not humanly achievable. Work speaks for itself which seems to be happening in typical ‘Swami’s style’ and ‘Swami’s timeframe’.
Illustrious Selfless Devotees
The grandsire of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Sri Indulal Shah, the sagely figure was among the first to come to Swami in the subtle phase. He offered his Mumbai home ‘Sai Darshan’ to serve and be with the Lord at Muddenahalli.
Sri Narasimha Murthy who served Swami from nineteen years of age in various capacities for over four decades in his educational institutions at Alike, Muddenahalli and Prasanthi Nilayam is now leading the education mission.
Sri C Sreenivas, who was one of Swami’s confidants in the physical sojourn, instrumental in getting the required permissions from Govt agencies during the establishment of Puttaparthi and Whitefield hospitals, is now heading the medical mission.
Sri Isaac Tigrett, the founder of Hard Rock Café was an important instrument in the establishment of the super-specialty hospital in Puttaparthi. In the continuing saga, Swami is again using his services in the setting up of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital for Child Heart Care in the state of Mississippi, the poorest state in the United States of America.
Dr. Ravi Pillay is the son of Dr. V.K. Pillay, the instrument used by Swami to build the Sai Manonmani Nurses Residential Complex at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasantigram, Puttaparthi. He is a practising Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore. Their entire family has dedicated their lives in the service of Swami and is instrumental in the building of many structures that are dotting the Sai map in His mission. There are fourteen families from Singapore whom Swami jocularly refers to as ‘The Singapore Gang’. They are almost literally instrumental in the running of Raipur hospital, establishment of the Gulbarga Campus, the new Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence, Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Auditorium at Muddenahalli.. and the list continues!
Dr. Ram Setty, an eminent cardiologist who practiced in USA for many decades, who had endowed the Sri Sathya Sai Indoor Stadium in Prasanthi Nilayam gave up everything in USA and moved lock, stock and barrel to be with the Lord at Muddenahalli.
The Vidya Vahini programme was initially conceptualized by two low-profile alumni prior to the programme gaining grounds, which later on became synonymous with the gentleman who headed the project (till recently!). One among those nameless founding members is now spearheading the continuing Education Mission of Swami through the Sathya Sai alumni’s flagship ‘Each One Educate One’ ( https://eachoneeducateone.org ) programme which is striving hard to bring all the alumni together to shoulder the responsibility of providing free education to all, especially the rural poor. Another member who was in the core group of Vidya Vahini is currently the Chairman of a girls’ campus established in one of the most backward districts in Northern Karnataka.
The hugely popular ‘Samarpan’ programme, where a speaker of repute is invited once a month to address the devotees at Brindavan ashram is the brainchild of a few Sathya Sai alumni, who are actively involved now in the continuing mission.
On The Contrary
We had a couple who were initially involved in the continuing mission (through the setting up of Solar power plants by their company) announce their disassociation in an interview on a particular internet radio which is known for vociferously gathering such dissenting voices. But was there any setback? We recently saw the successful commissioning of a 450 KWp solar power plant at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli and the work is on to power the rest of the campuses through solar energy in the coming days. No matter how good you are. You can always be replaced! Nobody is indispensable in Swami’s scheme of things.
What’s stopping many from experiencing the Subtle phenomenon?
Swami has created a very tricky situation wherein many are unable to even visit Muddenahalli to see what is happening. If they are seen prostrating ‘Madhu Baba’ on the live stream on YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcUl7Jos-egmgIjKF-87Apw/featured ) or Facebook page of Sri Sathya Sai Vrinda ( https://www.facebook.com/SriSathyaSaiVrindaOfficial/ ) which the hawk eyes keep a close watch on, it may cost them their job! It’s the question of their livelihood. For some others, it’s the attachment to the seat or a position. It is not as serious a situation as losing a job, but who would want to let go of power and position? They would not want to take a chance. The fear of losing power, position along with their face is chilling! Singers may never get to lead bhajans! For those on social media, it may cost them the LIKES and SHARES for being associated with a splinter group! Even as the Sarva Dharma bhajans are proudly sung and Inter-Faith conferences organized (with a sense of moral superiority), you may be simply thrown out of a WhatsApp group for your beliefs if it breaches the set 'ideals'. In the modern times, it’s a pretty serious thing and can be very depressing!! *wink* This is almost like a girl marrying out of her caste in the olden days and being treated as an outcaste by the family and relatives. We are seeing a very similar situation being played out here. Intellectuals/Celebrities/Musicians are scared of losing their patrons. That may stop them from getting invites to major events and conferences.
Only those who have the courage and conviction can tread on this path. God is for those who are ready to jump into the abyss.
Subtle Phenomenon - A New Concept?
The subtle phenomenon is not a very new concept. In fact, to those who live in the Himalayas, Gurus guiding seekers even after shedding the mortal coil is a common knowledge. We see references of Mahavatar Babaji communicating with Paramahamsa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi.
After Jesus’s resurrection;
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. (Mark 16:14)
It is believed that the family and immediate followers of Jesus, including Paul the Apostle, had visionary and mystical experiences of Jesus after His passing.
Why Muddenahalli and not Puttaparthi?
Rama is a household name and His temples are in every village, though there are a few still disputing His acclaimed birthplace. There is more sanctity in Bhadrachalam down south where a devotee chanted His holy name and made it eternal, than the very place that Rama ruled in His life time.
Krishna was born in Mathura but is worshipped around the world. Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada went beyond the shores of India and established so many centres far beyond Mathura and Vrindavan that reverberate with the chants of Hare Krishna.
Sri Ramakrishna’s name echoes in all the corners of the world, through the efforts of His disciples lead by Swami Vivekananda.
The tradition of Kriya yoga breached all boundaries and reached millions by the disciple of the lineage of Maha Avatar Babaji, Sri Pramahamsa Yogananda.
History is a witness to such glories of the Masters who live beyond their bodies and places of birth to the delight of most and disbelief of a few. This is no exception therefore!
To begin with, he was a student at the prestigious Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning for seven years doing his B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA and completed with flying colours - two Gold medals! He was a jet-setting professional who travelled around the world in his corporate career stint of less than five years. And he shunned a promising career to His calling.
He has been a recipient of the choicest of abuses and continues to be so. And what is Madhusudan’s fault after all? He went about following his inner calling defying all the societal norms and etiquettes to be available to Him. He was able to withstand vicious campaigns by sordid and egoistic forces in the spiritual façade with grace only due to the inner purity that Swami had instilled in him, and the strength of his unblemished character.
As far as what I have seen in Madhusudan in the last four years closely, he is a man of impeccable character and grit, wisdom, simplicity and steadfastness. He is someone who receives praises and blames; flowers and stones; pats and brickbats with equanimity! He doesn’t believe in wasting his time on what the chatterati have to say about him, instead keeps doing the work what Swami has entrusted to him with focus only on Him, like a Nandi positioned in front of the Lord, in Shiva temples.
What you are is God's gift to you and what you become is your gift to God!! He was not born perfect but he has strived and continues to strive for it for His sake. Let us all aspire to be like him, who has made himself empty like a flute by letting the Divine music flow through him.
You may read more about Madhusudan Naidu here
It’s a bit rich for the arm-chair critics and keyboard warriors with 200 Mbps internet speed to mock at the FAITH of those who are working on ground with hardly any internet connectivity by deriving their inspiration from the subtle form in the rural hinterlands only to keep the Sai flag flying high! If it is only about competition, then the only way to outstrip Muddenahalli establishment is to work even harder ON GROUND, sowing the seeds of Love and Compassion, far and wide!
"My mission will gallop forward, with, without and despite you!"