RadioSai Responds To Imposter ‘Haraldur Erlendsson’ In A Five-Part Rebuttal

Please Note: The following five-part article (published in a Heart 2 Heart Special Issue) has additional comments and links provided by Joe Moreno (A Pro-Sai Activist).

DO ATTACKS ON SWAMI HAVE ANY MESSAGE FOR US?
An In-Depth Inquiry
By Prof. G. Venkataraman

The article that follows is our response to one that appeared some time ago in an online news service entitled, “NEWS FROM BANGLADESH [NFB]”. Founded in 1996, NFB is an online news monitoring service, directed to some extent to expatriate Bangladeshis. Its web site is: http://bangladesh-web.com.

Our article is a response to one written by a person named Haraldur Erlendsson, who claims to be in Stockholm, Sweden, and whose email ID is given as: isverige99@hotmail.com.

We gather that the name Haraldur Erlendsson is not unusual, especially in Iceland, and we wish to make it VERY clear that our article has reference ONLY to the person who wrote an article some time ago in NFB, maligning the good name of Sathya Sai Baba of India, and TO NO ONE ELSE WHO HAPPENS TO BEAR THE SAME NAME.

Additional Comments By Joe Moreno: Actually, there are only two known people from Iceland possessing the name “Haraldur Erlendsson” (as confirmed by the Icelandic Register). The name “Haraldur Erlendsson” is not a common name and I have personally verified that both of the people possesing the name “Haraldur Erlendsson” did not write the Anti-Sai articles in question.

I have also received copies of email correspondence (with full headers) between a University journalist student and the imposter “Haraldur Erlendsson”. In that correspondence, “Haraldur Erlendsson” admitted he was using a pseudonym and admitted he does not reside in Sweden. By tracing the IP to his emails, I was able to ascertain that the imposter “Haraldur Erlendsson” resides in Iceland.

Please Note: The imposter “Haraldur Erlendsson” should not be confused with Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson (author of “Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on The Psychic Phenomena Associated With Sathya Sai Baba”), nor his son Haraldur Erlendsson (one of two people officially possessing that name in the Icelandic Register).

PART 1: WHY THIS ARTICLE? (Link With Pictures)
Right from the forties of the twentieth century, a small minority has always attacked Swami. While the types of people who engaged in slander, their status in life as also their nationalities have varied, the attacks have remained, in some form or the other. By and large, we ignore all such mud-slinging, not merely because they are so hollow that it is a complete waste of time to engage in rebuttal, but also for the reason that we cannot stoop to such low levels. Yet, occasionally, we have come out of our shell to present facts, because in these exceptional cases, the circumstances have warranted such action.

Recently, there has been one more attack and this article is in the nature of not only a detailed reply but also an analysis about why such negativity is spread in the first place. Actually, although in recent years the attacks by a small but determined group overseas has somewhat diminished [probably because there are fewer takers for the same old nonsense repeated endlessly], the particular attack to which a detailed rebuttal is being offered is not only somewhat different but also quite sinister in scope. The hidden agenda behind the latest outburst is explained in the article, but here I would like to say that but for this lurking danger behind this latest attack, we would have hardly bothered to comment. And having decided to reply, we thought we might also address the deeper question of why Avatars have enemies!

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanthi Nilayam. We are now into the eighth year of the new century and a new millennium as well. As always, everyone is hoping and praying that at least this year would, 1) see the turning of the tide, 2) herald the advent of peace, 3) bring joy to all, and 4) spread harmony everywhere. But such is the nature of the real world, there are always forces that seek to destabilise; that, however, is inevitable and indeed in the very nature of things. Mercifully, quite often these forces are inconsequential and can be ignored, even as we proceed with our normal business. That said, it is a fact that there are times when we simply cannot afford to be so casual or indifferent; this special article is meant to call attention to that truth.

As our readers know, for many years, there has been a small but at times a rather vocal group, intent on smearing Swami, His message, His numerous projects [that bring help and succour to the helpless], and also the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation.

Generally, we ignore such negative propaganda but when the unfounded accusations tend to acquire serious overtones, we do feel the necessity to set the record straight. We have done this occasionally in the past, and we feel compelled to do so once more, because alas, there is this time, apart from the repetition of familiar charges, a rather alarming overtone to the attack. That and the fact that, I have personally been named several times and accused implicitly of being a ‘spin-doctor’, compels me to express myself once more.

In brief, the present provocation comes in the form of an article written by one Haraldur Erlendsson, an Icelander now resident in Sweden. This article has been specially written for an on-line newspaper published from Bangladesh, and it is this fact that gives special significance to the latest onslaught. Basically, the article seeks, apart from a repetition of familiar accusations, to portray Swami as an anti-Muslim, which, of course, we all know to be totally untrue. It is this particular aspect that compels me to return to the task of responding to falsehood packaged as “truth”, something that I do rather reluctantly, for, I would rather spend my time discussing positive matters.

Before I start, there are a few points I would like to make clear. Firstly, whatever I say is merely with an interest to present facts; I bear no particular ill-will to those who wish to see evil where there is none. I am no saint and some years earlier, I would have blown hot and cold when involved in such rebuttals. However, I now realise after a careful study of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami’s teachings, and those of Jesus as well, that it is not good to harbour anger or hate towards anyone. Indeed, to do so would be going against the very spirit of Swami’s teachings, which are all about pure and unselfish Love. Keeping this in mind, I shall do my best to present facts, without malice or ill-will. So, help me God!

What follows is presented in five parts. I start with a response to some of the old allegations, repeated this time by Haraldur Erlendsson. I then turn my attention to the main point, namely the subject of Swami and His relationship with Muslims. After that, I offer a brief look into the so-called “Muslim angle” and its complex relationship to Indian history; without some idea of this, one would not be in a position to understand why both Shirdi Baba and Swami have always emphasised communal amity. In the concluding part, I do something which I have not attempted before, namely, discussing the whole issue of “enemies” from a larger philosophical and spiritual angle. That roughly is the road map I intend to follow.

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