Apart from recovering a staggering haul of gold, silver jewellery, diamonds and cash from various rooms during three rounds of inventories, the officials had also stumbled upon interesting personal belongings of Sathya Sai Baba in his Yajur Mandir residence in Prasanthi Nilayam.
There were imported shaving kits, perfumes, scents, toiletries, shampoos, soaps and napkins. There were also expensive watches of various international brands. What more, there were packets of putrefied dry fruits also. “Sai Baba loved good perfumes when he was alive. When he used to come out for darshans and give discourses, he was always sporting perfumes of top international brands,” a close associate of Sai Baba in Yajur Mandir recalled.
Contrary to rumours that his bed was made of gold and silver, it was only a sophisticated and modern bed filled with air. “There was no gold or silver. It was designed to move in any direction and basically meant to give comfort for the spiritual guru,” an insider said.
The revenue officials, who took part in the inventory sessions ever since Yajur Mandir was opened first on June 2 after Baba’s death on April 24, said they had never seen such a massive number of gifts showered on a living spiritual guru or god. “The gifts and valuables only indicate the great devotion the devout had for Sai Baba,” a senior official said. Some 5,000 watches were found in the mandir.
Sai Baba received expensive gifts and valuables from devotees from across the country and foreigners for their satisfaction but never bothered to use them. For instance, two gold garlands — each weighing 6-7 kg — were found thrown under a table by the officials during the recent inventory. “The packed gold garlands were not even opened. They were just lying there,” an official who took part in the inventory told TOI.
Except for wearing his saffron robes (some times yellow and white robes also) and perfumes, Sai Baba was never interested in jewellery. There were 40 pairs of saffron robes in his personal chambers. “A devotee donated 75 silver glasses each weighing 700 gm in a carton during his 75th birthday fete. But the carton was never opened. We found it in one of the rooms,” the official said.
Apart from thousands of gold rings, more than 10,000 expensive silk saris and a huge number of dhotis along with shirts of various brands were also found. “Several devotees had presented them to Sai Baba out of affection,” a family member recalled. Interestingly, there were some boxes which contained ear-rings of guilt gold.
Sources said Sai Baba had never allowed even senior members of the Sathya Sai Central trust and family members into the first floor of Yajur Mandir where he resided since 2005. “Only his personal caregiver Satyajit had the access to all the rooms in Yajur Mandir,” an insider said. TOI