The following dialogue I had with Sri Jagadesh Tripati of Ranikhet (Haldwani) on August 18, 2001, evening 4.30 p.m.
After some talk Tripatiji shared about Bhutabarti Sai baba and the social work done by him. Agreeing with him I said that I too appreciate the way he is doing lot of Social service to the poor and needy. But, ‘the problem in such work is that as long as he lives, there won’t be any problem among the Trustee and misuse of their power and authority in handling the Trust and social work. Though Baba claims that he will ever live, one day he too has to pass away. Then what will happen to the Trust? Where is the guarantee that there won’t be any fight among the Trustees to hold and control the entire Trust and do the service according to their convenience? This I say because even at present some influential people related with Baba’s Ashram, can overlook those who wait for a long time to receive heart Operation and other treatment in Baba’s hospital. One of my Shisya’s relative get admitted in the Hospital easily, even without applying for it through one of his other relative who has some influence in the Ashram. While several thousands of other patience are waiting for a long period, he not only got free treatment without waiting for it but also managed to stay in the Ashram for another three months for further checkup, which is not possible for other patience.’ Then I told how I wrote a letter to Baba’s Hospital explaining the poor condition of Ashok the servant at Lallan’s house at Rewa (M.P.) who was in need of some urgent heart surgery, which they cannot afford. But no response came from there for his treatment. Finally he passed away two years before. ‘Even while Baba is alive, if some people can misuse the power, what would be the condition after his death? Several such Social Service Trusts finally become the household property of few Trustees and the next generation people even completely stopped all kinds of service and misused the property for their personal use.
Tripatiji: What you say is true. Several years before I wrote to Baba Ashram seeking his interview and audience for five minutes. But I received the letter that next one year it is impossible as lots of people are waiting in the list.
DB: Even after ten years it is not possible. Unless you are the PM of India or President or you want to donate several million Dollars, you won’t get any personal audience with Baba. Considered being a Bhagavan, sometimes he will give his darshan to the gathering of his devotees at the Ashram in public, but to have a private audience with that bhgavan is impossible.
-Then I told about the present ‘Amma’ of Melmaruvatoor, who some twenty years before would sit and talk with you even for a gift of Rupees twenty. But now with a property of millions rupees and having several Institute doing service to the public, one cannot easily approach him. I won’t even blame them, as millions of people become their followers; it is not possible for them to give individual audience to everyone.
Tripatiji: But we have to accept one fact—why only few such people become very famous and not all.
DB: They never become famous. Only people make them famous. Suppose if you visit a Baba or temple and when you return back to your home, people will enquire about your visit or you yourself will share about it with others. And definitely you will only say what kind of blessings you have received there, even though you returned empty both in mind and spirit. No Hindu will accept that s/he was disappointed by a baba or temple, because then it will interpret by others as lack of her/his personal faith in the baba or the temple. ‘Because of your lack of faith (or bad karma in the previous births) you didn’t receive any blessing’, will be others comment. And to avoid any such humiliation you will exaggerate and even claim that only after visiting that baba or place, you got real shanti in your life. By this way these baba’s and temples become famous.
Then I told about Premananda who is now in jail. How he too become famous after few barren woman become pregnant after visiting his ashram, but how he actually raped them and gave child to them, which was hide by those women, but finally truth came when one of the inmate of the same ashram was killed. People instead of exposing the hypocrisy in those people, will only glorify them and make a saint out of a sinner. Just a saffron dress and a matted hair with few people to exalt them is enough for one baba to become very famous. One time at Chidembaram when I went to buy some vegetables to my mother, some venders called me ‘Premananda’ on seeing my saffron dress, condescendingly as he was just arrested and put in jail. Instead of getting annoyed with a smile I told them, ‘who made Pemananda famous as well as a criminal? Only people like you have done this. Instead of performing medical checkup or praying to God for a child, you approached a baba and he has helped the way in which he could fulfill your need. If you give milk to snake, in return it will only give poison to you and not it’s mani (head pearl). So don’t blame a baba, but you correct yourself.’
Tripati: That is true. Let me tell one real story from my own life. It happened during 1981. That time I was working in a factory and we got factory bus freely to go to Haridwar. So some sixty of us went and there was our Security Officer of the factory with us. He was addict to drunk, but he warned us that we cannot drink at Haridwar, as we were going to a pilgrimage. So when finally all the ritual and bath were finished, we counted the money and totally we all had only around thirty or forty rupees. But it was not enough to buy liquor to share with all outside Haridwar on our return trip. But that Security Officer said, ‘no problem. Don’t worry I will arrange for it.’ Then he put lot of sandal paste and red tilak on his forehead, wore few rosaries (rudhrakshas) and spread the sheet under a tree and we all joined with him in singing bhajan as we also had the instruments with us. He asked all of us to put what all the money that we had on that sheet. Within one hour we managed to collect more than seven hundred rupees. Because several people came and throw some money on the sheet and touched that Security baba’s feet seeking his blessing and went away. Then with that money collected from other pilgrims and devotee of Security baba, we had a good party on our way back.
DB: As long as people never seek true Knowledge to attain salvation—even right kind of knowledge about God and Karma, such kind of blind faith and babas will flourish in our country. If any Swamiji talk about the need of true spirituality no one will listen to him or visit him second time. At the same time if he promises to do some miracle to cater to their need, people will throng to him.
Then I also talked about how through Puranas and introducing other Tantric rituals the Brahmins were successful in tribalizing the Hindu Community either exploiting their need for mundane affairs at the cost of true spiritual knowledge imparted by few true Sanyasis and Acharyas. Then I quoted the example of how the cult of Ganesha, linga and other such spirit worship of the forest people were adopted by all the Hindus through the efforts of the Brahminical Priest or some babas.
Tripatiji also said that it depends upon the individual’s perception about such a person and place. ‘For example when I visit Shridi Sai Baba Ashram, I sit for meditation and no one come and gives any kind of blessing. But the place itself has such a power to give you real peace.’ Then he gave some example of visiting Khajuraho temple with full of erotic sculpture and visit of Kosani to see Himalayas. Each one may have different kind of experience according to their individual perception.
However before he left he said that by spending 45 minutes with me in talking all these things he got more than Ten points to think in coming days.
When I moved to the present ashram where I am staying with my mother, when young people come here and seek my counsel on several issues, I say, ‘don’t go to any sannyasi seeking answer to your problem in life. A sannyasi is not the correct person to understand your struggle in life to give proper answer. If you cannot seek and learn from your own elders at home, you are not going to get it from a sannyasi. A sannyasi, to avoide such life alone try to live outside the society (of course not away from it). So better leave him alone to do his sadhana in his own way.
This surprised them a bit as they never hear such teaching from a sannyasi—not to seek solution to their problems in life. When some rare visitors ask me about the program here the ashram, I say: No program here. I don’t prescribe any program to anyone. Already you all are living a life tightly programmed. What is the use of coming here again to follow another such program in the name of spirituality. But this ashram is opened for all. But they have to bring their own program. If you want to sleep and take rest do it. Or if you want to go for a walk in the nearby forest—do that. Or if you want to read books, we have a good library. Or if you want to sit and meditate, we have a calm dhyanamandapa where you can sit and meditate by yourself in which I won’t guide or disturb. So bring your own program. But if you still want to know my program, then it is: SILENCE. And I welcome you to practice is by joining me.
Db. July 5, 2013