CATCH A FALLING “STAR” – Sathya Sai Memories

Isaac's Krishna with flowers
Isaac’s Krishna with flowers

 

Catch a falling star, put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day. Those few words from the song of the same name, sum up my experiences I had this year in the Puttaparthi Ashram. I had given the post another name, but feel this title is more in keeping with the post.  So here goes.

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On my visit to Puttaparthi this year, I noticed so many changes. Gone were most of the small cafés I’d enjoyed eating in. Gone too was the prettiness of the ashram. The huge concrete buildings were in need of a lick of paint, the pathways that meandered around the darshan area, all were in need of repair. It was noisy. I remember one day a young seva dal worker walked up and down the walkway in East Prashanthi, with a placard that read: “Please be quite.” There seemed to be such a lack of awareness that this was supposed to be a place of peace, quiet, and reverence.

I opted out of sitting in the darshan hall this year, preferring to sit in the gardens at the back of the Ashram. They were beautiful and cool. The Bougainvillea and other tropical plants painted the landscape brightly while providing shade. The statues all around the garden, freshly painted, were a reminder of times gone by when everything had been spick and span. I used to sit there on the stone bench under one of the Neem trees, watching exquisite black and red butterflies dancing from branch to branch. The Neem trees were in full bloom while I was there, and as the tiny blossoms reached out toward the sun, all kinds of insects came to settle. My! the chirping sounds of those insects added a sense of the sublime to the whole scene. The birds too chirped their mantras and whooped, often it seemed, keeping time with the Vedas being chanted in the darshan hall some five hundred feet away.

The bench under the Neem tree was my favourite place to sit. The gardeners watered the area in the early morning, leaving everything wet. A smell of fresh earth embraced us.  The temperatures also dropped sharply after the thorough watering. It was simply the best place in the ashram to stay cool.

Isaac Tigrett’s ‘Krishna’ status stood directly under his 4th floor apt. It, too, had received a fresh coat of paint. The dark blue colour shone in the sunlight, and if one looked sideways at the statue, it appeared to have an aura. I am not sure what optical illusion made this appear so. Anyway it was enchanting to the eye.

Isaac’s apt was high up, in full view of the canopy of the Neem trees. How I envied him that special place. I never saw him in or around the ashram but sensed he enjoyed his apt. and its spectacular view! But he is no longer there now. He gave up his residency this June. Apparently his “Mission” had ended.

Isaac outside the ashram gate on Guru-Pournima celebrations this year.
Isaac outside the ashram gate on Guru-Pournima celebrations this year.

He’d lived there for seven or more years. On Tuesdays and Fridays, he’d held early morning bhajans there in his apt. I attended only twice in 2008. Isaac at that time was pretty overwhelmed by the amount of ladies attending. Obviously the famous former owner of the Hard Rock Cafe was centre of attention – that is after Sai Baba. He had not expected on his arrival, he could create such a stir. But human nature being what it is he was very much in demand. It was like everyone wanted a piece of him, and he later retaliated by withdrawing.

Isaac had gone through many up and downs during his stay in Prashanthi Nilayam. He arrived a few years before Swami’s demise, and had weathered all the political storms that were to come later. Although respected and admired on his arrival, he had difficulty settling in.

I’d not known Isaac personally and, after 2008, I hardly saw him. He’d told people he had no friend’s there. I am not sure that was altogether true, but perhaps he felt that it was. He’d hired young men to run errands or to assist him with his projects. I was told that even his assistant had been less than loyal and had been let go. Yet, he was generous in supporting the local villages, and was well-liked by those who lived outside of Puttaparthi.

bench3Catch A Falling Star

I remember seeing him two years ago in the Mandir hall. He’d looked much older. His hair once dyed black now was white, his untrimmed beard didn’t help his appearance. I guess he’d ceased to care much about his looks, once under the influence of Sai Baba. Gone also, I thought to myself, was the image of the chic entrepreneur of the famous Hard Rock Cafe. He looked somewhat awkward and out of place. I watched while he did his pranams to Swami, then as he got up, he glanced over at the ladies in an embarrassed way, and slowly walked out. It was around that time he stopped visiting the Mandir. I had a strange feeling at that time, his days there were numbered.

Isaac deciding to leave the ashram marks the end of an era. I arrived just after he’d given a huge cheque for the SS hospital to be built in 1991. Everyone was talking about him. They all said that with the building of the hospital, things would be great for Sai Baba. And weren’t we the lucky ones to be there with Him at this time?

Well, in my opinion, that was an unlikely truth. The ashram had certainly changed with the great influx of money though not altogether for the better. Now that he has gone, will things settle down to the slow pace of life that the ashram enjoyed before Isaac’s mission? I suppose so, but Isaac Tigrett will never be forgotten. He left his mark there and as for the hospital? No one can erase his memory from that. What a sad ending…

 

Bamboo in the garden. The garden is the heart of the Ashram in Puttparthi
Bamboo in the garden. The garden is the heart of the Ashram in Puttparthi
In the garden after the rain
In the garden after the rain
Ashram Gardens
Ashram Gardens

Finally, this writer is most cautious in posting articles that may be contensious  I always check with people who are mentioned in my posts. It is only good manners to do so. I contacted Isaac Tigrett, before the final draft of this blog-post was released. I have always done that with his posts (those on this blog) and for others too. thank you..

23 thoughts on “CATCH A FALLING “STAR” – Sathya Sai Memories

  1. Death of a Falling Star, this is what I feel. The world no matter where we live does not care much, unless an Avathaar comes in person and remind us about Vedhas and Mahrishis who contributed to humanity. Nature reminds us often this uneditable truth.
    Thanks for reading

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  2. its difficult to judge but ultimately it all comes back to the “Master” And the Master has apparently left a lot of people in a state of confusion. I don’t mean to generalize but Tigrett is a fine example. He first started off with the strange project in Coorg, claiming to be Baba’s heir, etc. And those funny drawings, which he claims were given by Baba. Nothing happened. After being cold shouldered by the CT, he next he turns up with the Muddenhalli camp. And this is not just true of issac but quite a lot of us. U are quite right when u say that 2002 onwards nothing was the same. Ultimately its a very individual personal quest and no Master or Guru can help or interfere beyond a point.

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    1. Perhaps he is not the well man he used to be. He is clearly someone to stay out of the way of.. I have adjusted my post here, although i had not said much at all. I guess the title was contenious, although at the time, i had not thought so.. Well there you go.. thanks for your comments. You have been helpful. Eve

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    1. best let it all die down. I am really not that interested in him or his ins or outs of the ashram. The blog has always been written in good faith.. Eve

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      1. Yes i saw the post on saibliss today. I thought my blog was the blame for his outburst. Now I see it is not. There have been other rumours that abound, they have been excessive in nature. They say something about him being forcefully evicted. I never said that!!! I guess I am not there to hear what is being said. Anyway, I have adjusted my blog to reader friendly.. hopefully isaac friendly too. Eve

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    1. i did. i have posted a letter that i sent to tigrett today on that Saibliss. Of course I contacted Isaac before the post was released. I would never dare to do otherwise. I am a little bit confused by his flip flops. I have adjusted this post, but as it is not altogether about him, i see no point in it down. I do not know what he is thinking of. What do you think? Eve

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    2. I received an email from him on the 26th July saying his mission had ended.. I sent this post, the original, to him for his approval.. He was well alerted to it being published. I would never post anything on line that had not been thoroughly checked. I think it good manners and a good policy to forward my blog to those people who are mentioned in posts.. Sai Ram – (I don’t want to get involved with these matters anyway.) I have little or no interest in them. He was mentioned here as a ‘by the way’ – the post was about my visit.. thanks eve

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  3. Mr. Tigrett is very much there in Parthi attending guru poornima festivities, at least looks like it. Check out the facebook page of Saibliss (“Puttaparthi Gets a Tiny Little Chariot”).

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    1. i checked out the pics. yes he was outside attending the festivals.. thanks for alerting me.. He is quite an odd man, one never knows what he will do next.. 🙂

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  4. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    ~ Y.B. Yeats

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for the comment. a rare thing nowadays. I do far better with post shares on facebook and google searches. I have no idea what is happening to Word Press, perhaps it has seen better days.. Any way best to you.. Eve

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sai Baba became ill in 2002, is that true? Can Sai be ill? Nothing was the same sfter that, is that true? Or ones own perception? Nothing ever stays the same. In the outer world.

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