When I was in Puttaparthi in 1998, before I left Sai Baba, I happened to speak to a previous student of Sathya Sai Baba whose mother had a Sai-paraphernalia shop with rings and photos and all that stuff. Since I had always shopped there, I was invited to an evening of conversation with the family. The family then told me everything about the public version of the supposed assassination conspiracy against Sai Baba not being true at all.

They told that the former students who had intruded on Sai Baba had done it for two reasons. There was disagreement between the various families in Puttaparthi about the finances and the Sai Trust. The trust had given assurances and some had received advantages, others not. All had wanted to enrich themselves from the fund or the ashram monies that they could embezzle. That was the first reason they intruded on Sai Baba. There was never a question of an assault or the like because they had thought that they had so much on their side that they could pressure Sai Baba, this being the second reason. This was that all the older students were aware about what went on with Sai Baba and boys.

The older boys had long observed this but had not done anything about it, but they now thought that they could use this as blackmail to provide their families with more prominent positions. The family (i.e. Puttaparthi shop owners) had previously been deeply devoted but now remained there only purely on financial grounds. That they dared to talk to me in particular was because I had - earlier in 1996 - expressed strong dissatisfaction to them with the whole way the ashram was going, and especially also in the Swedish movement.

They did not know what happened later in the room with the police other than what was rumoured but they did not themselves believe a word of the ashram's official version and even less so the police version, because all the Puttaparthi police were, as they put it, 'bound hand and foot'.
Their version concerning the boys on the veranda was from press reports in India. Which papers I no longer recall. A policeman from the Puttaparthi police station I had met earlier had told me more or less what the family did. He said that the students were quite simply executed and that all the placement of knives and everything in the photographs were set out to fit the case and make it look like an attack. He also said that he did not at all believe that the knives belonged to the students. When I visited to meet him later he was no longer there, they had transferred all who had been there during that period, saying "they have all been assigned other duties in new districts". Naturally, I never saw that policeman again.

Regarding the information about the family, they where living outside the ashram and the boy had stopped the school for to work in the Baba shop of their parents. When you goes out from the Ganesh gate it was the fifth or sixth shop at the left along the road towards the old entrance which was always used before, but since only used for cars and buses. It was on the ground floor they had their shop and the mother was a very friendly little women that was more than disappointed with how everything had turned around in the ashram. She didn't give Sai Baba much blame though but the others in the administration. She told me it was all corrupt and that each family was hunting each other down, they all was there only for the money she said. The son was more outspoken about it, I mean the boys but not when the mother was present. I think he felt ashamed. Of course I had difficulty to believe their stories at that moment. But I was very naive all the way through."

Why I didn't write it in the first place? Due to my editor having weeded out almost all of it saying " you have to kill your darlings", and I had to comply with to get the book published. Also that is the reason why I had to write my new book on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, since the editor deleted almost all except for one account. Also my memory has recovered more or less now since my healing from the trauma has been going on all the time since I published the book Behind the Mask of the Clown.

Everything has become much clearer to me now that I have got some distance from it all and so I once again put out what I remember on the web. However, I can't remember the name of the family and I am actually very glad I can't, since I know in what a threatening place they have to live. The boy was also very disappointed since Baba had promised him some photo job in the ashram but later assigned that to some other boy. He never admitted having himself being sexually abused but meant that many had that experience among his student friends. I found it too hard to believe at that time and in fact I didn't want to. I went to him after my experience in 1999 to tell him about it, but the family seemed to be scared for some reason and so did other also some of the westerners in the ashram. Especially that millionaire lady that was the donor to the Swedish Sai school. I do not remember her name. Britt-Marie Andén, who was the director of the school, would know her name. That lady hardly dared to go out from her room any longer. Only when Baba had darshan did she dare to come out. When she saw me one day she screamed at me, 'Don't speak to me, don't speak to me, they will see me and report to security.' I was absolutely flabbergasted and couldn't believe my ears since we had always been talking easily outside and within the ashram before. Something had really changed inside the ashram. I was more then happy to leave it for the last time.

(Conny Larsson - 2008, also in Swedish here)

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