PUTTAPARTHI (ANANTAPUR): Even as Satya Sai Baba is battling for life, Puttaparthi is abuzz with rumours of his eventual “Sajeeva Samadhi” (burial while still being alive) and of his being in a state of coma. On Tuesday evening, a large number of devotees gathered outside Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences amidst a heavy downpour leading to mild tension in the temple town.
The speculation in every street corner is that given Baba’s divine status, the Satya Sai Trust may declare that he has entered “Sajeeva Samadhi”. Lending credence to these rumour mills, a TV channel went to town with an interview of a self-styled senior Seva Dal member who claimed that the Trust was making plans to announce the “Sajeeva Samadhi” of Baba.
Meanwhile, in a health bulletin, Dr A L Safaya, Director of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, said, “the health condition of Baba is stable but continues to be critical.” He termed as worrisome Baba's slow response to their treatment and said a panel of doctors were monitoring his health condition round-the-clock. “Baba is still on ventilator and doctors have decided to conduct a cycle of hemodialysis,” he said.
Government officials, deputed to Puttaparthi, however, claimed that Baba was responding to the treatment.
The latest controversy of “Sajeeva Samadhi” comes in the wake of reports of an ever widening rift between Ratnakar, son of Baba’s brother and a Trust member, and the other members of the Trust. Ratnakar is said to have the backing of Industries Minister J Geetha Reddy and former TTD chairman Audikeshavulu Naidu.
A TV channel, which is airing reports highly critical of the Trust members, is back on air in Puttaparthi in the past few days after being off air for one year. Incidentally, Ratnakar holds Cable TV rights in Puttaparthi.
Indicating that all is not well, pamphlets against the Trust members, in particular former IAS officer Chakravarthy, are also being distributed in the town.
Devotees suspect foul play
The devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba Devotees Association held a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday expressing their concern over Satya Sai Baba's deteriorating health.
The 86-year-old has been undergoing treatment for multi-organ dysfunction and continues to be in a critical state. Dhananjay, the president of the association, and other members expressed their displeasure with the attitude of the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Central Trust members and the government agencies.
"On realising that he had suffered a cardiac arrest, why wasn't Baba rushed to the hospital immediately? We have written to several authorities and agencies but have not received any clarification," said Dhananjay. "Despite the media publishing several incriminating evidence against people close to Baba, why are the government agencies providing them with armed protection instead of carrying out an investigation?"
He said both the Sai Trust and the super specialty hospital authorities were maintaining complete secrecy. "Also, why all the favouritism towards Satyajit (his student)? I have heard rumours that he has showed interest in attaining a higher position in the trust. I find it hard to believe that his own family is not concerned about his health."
He said the doctors have no records of the drugs administered to Baba at the ashram before he was admitted to the hospital. "This is quite strange," he said.