Gerald Joe Moreno

VKN – V. K. Narasimhan – Journalist & Devotee

Posted on: May 6, 2010

VKN – V. K. Narasimhan – Journalist & Devotee:

V.K. Narasimhan (VKN) was a well known and highly respected Indian journalist. VKN was the illustrious former editor of the Financial Express, The Indian Express and the Deccan Herald. VKN became a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in early 1970 and maintained his devotion to his Guru until his death in March of 2000. In 1980, VK Narasimhan moved into Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram (Prashanti Nilayam in the village of Puttaparthi) as a permanent resident and was the deputy editor for Narayana Kasturi, translator for Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses and eventually became the Chief Editor for Sanathana Sarathi.

In the old days, V.K. Narasimhan traveled around India with Sathya Sai Baba and was frequently seen seated next to the Guru in his car. Narasimhan gave public talks to overseas devotees, Sai students and in front of public gatherings at Sathya Sai Baba’s request. He was also a highly prominent VIP.

Rubbish Attributed To VK Narasimhan By Robert Priddy:

Robert Priddy attributed all kinds of rubbish to V.K. Narasimhan that is highly questionable and unbelievable. VK Narasimhan was one of Sathya Sai Baba’s most distinguished VIPs. Gerald Joe Moreno personally observed Narasimhan interact with Sathya Sai Baba from close proximity and Narasimhan always greeted Baba with hands held in prayer and showing much devotion.

VK Narasimhan was the recipient to innumerable personal talks and interviews with Sathya Sai Baba. Baba would sometimes get up 2 to 3 times during bhajans just to talk to him. Now, however, Robert Priddy wants everyone to suspend their common sense faculties and believe him when he said that Narasimhan related all sorts of negative and criminal allegations against Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Officials and the Ashram! This is rubbish. It is also important to point out that Robert Priddy waited for VKN to die before he attributed all of these things to him, effectively quashing all possiblity of verifying his claims. Also, despite VK Narasimhan allegedly telling Priddy all these negative stories, not only did Narasimhan remain a devotee, so did Robert Priddy. How can anyone believe the words of Robert Priddy when he clearly has an Anti-Sai agenda, unapologetically lies about others and is motivated by hate, anger and vindictiveness?

Strangely enough, Robert Priddy bashed VIPs (and asserted his superiority over them) when he said that Ashram VIPs have “observably weak intellects” and:

Robert Priddy: “I find them mostly unconvincing personalities and too dummylike as devotees. They doubtless really want to believe the best and contribute to the best of all. But they are being duped too and are instrumental in drawing others in to be ‘converted’ and to get their minds ‘washed clean’. There is another term for this long-term, disinformative and psychically-backed religious conversion: it is ‘brainwashing’, nothing less.”

Odd that Robert Priddy would bash VIPs considering that his alleged friend, V.K. Narasimhan, was the most prominent VIP in the ashram. Despite Priddy’s opinions about VIPs, Priddy contradicted himself by continually referencing V.K. Narasimhan and called him a man of intellect, morality, integrity and honesty.

Proof Of V.K. Narasimhan’s Devotion To Sathya Sai Baba:

Handwritten Letter By V K Narasimhan

Handwritten Letter By V K Narasimhan

The above letter reads (click thumbnail to enlarge):

VKN: “My dear Priddy,

Thanks a lot for your long and loving letter. Your letters are like a fresh, cool breeze from the mountains.

I wish I could find the time to write a long letter to you, pouring out all that I feel on so many different things. Unfortunately, the daily routine of the Ashram and the few fugitive moments available to me for the S.S. work hardly leave me any time to deal with the mounting arrival of letters forced up on my table.

We are passing through an interesting phase in the evolution of the Sai Movement. I expect that in the next few months Bhagavan will make significant changes in various…”

VK Narasimhan was a well educated Indian man. Being fully familiar with the Indian language, Narasimhan chose not to address Sathya Sai Baba as “Baba” (father) or “Swami” (master). Narasimhan chose to address Sathya Sai Baba as “Bhagavan” (God). This clearly shows the depth of devotion that V.K. Narasimhan had for Sathya Sai Baba. I can only imagine with what disdain Narasimhan would view Robert Priddy’s use of his (VKN’s) pictures and good name to promote Anti-Sai sites and viewpoints! Unconscionable! Also see: The VK Narasimhan Letters.

Click Here to view an article that VK Narasimhan wrote in praise of Sathya Sai Baba in Sanathana Sarathi, Special Issue – November 1999 (about 3 months before his death) proving that VKN was devoted to Sathya Sai Baba to his end. The first paragraph reads:

V. K. Narasimhan: “There are certain periods in the history of mankind when the mortal beings of this earth witness epoch-making divine events with their own eyes. By far the most astounding event of this century is the Advent of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”

VKN also referred to Sathya Sai Baba throughout his article as “Bhagavan” (i.e., “God”), an “Avatar” (i.e., “Incarnation of God”) and being “divine” or possessing “divinity”. These published comments are objective and verifiable and wholly refute Robert Priddy’s highly questionable claims about V.K. Narasimhan. Robert Priddy’s attributions to V.K. Narasimhan are subjective and non-verifiable hearsay. Personally, I rather rely on V.K. Narasimhan’s verifiable words than Robert Priddy’s unverifiable hearsay.

Kevin Shepherd and Robert Priddy have attempted to make the argument that V.K. Narasimhan was “known to have entertained extensive doubts, his habitual cynicism tempered by his dependence upon ashram amenities”. Gerald Joe Moreno personally observed V.K. Narasimhan interact with Sathya Sai Baba (as have many thousands of other people) and he always exhibited great reverence and devotion to Sathya Sai Baba. V.K. Narasimhan’s reputation was such that (had he chosen) he could have easily lived in any of India’s numerous ashrams. He chose to stay with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for 30 years to his death. V.K. Narasimhan also had the opportunity to live with his son in Madras, but he chose to live at Puttaparthi instead. These are facts, whereas Shepherd and Priddy’s hearsay and speculations are not.

Venkataraman related the following about Narasimhan:

“Talking about Kasturi, I told V.K. Narasimhan (Kasturi’s deputy editor and later the editor of Sanathana Sarathi) that Kasturi was Swami’s Hanuman. VKN corrected me, ‘No. No. You are wrong. Kasturi was Swami’s Vyasa’. VKN told me that Swami asked him to write a tribute on Kasturi in SS – a rare expression of Swami’s Grace. Apart from Swami rushing to Kasturi’s hospital bedside at the time of his last moments and giving him vibhuthi, another rare blessing was Swami getting Kasturi to write his autobiography ‘Loving God’ and Swami launching it on Christmas Day 1982, in his presence, on his 85th birthday, 5 years before his death . On that occasion, without prior notice, Swami had asked VKN to speak on Kasturi.”

Despite V.K. Narasimhan’s devotion to Sathya Sai Baba (spanning a full 30 years), Robert Priddy used Narasimhan’s good name to smear the Guru to whom VKNarasimhan devoted his life. It is of little wonder that many people doubt Priddy’s credibility.

Narasimhan’s Miraculous Experience With Sathya Sai Baba:

The following story is related on the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications website:

In 1983 Shri V.K. Narasimhan, Editor, Sanathana Sarathi was directed by Baba to attend an international conference organised by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Italy scheduled for 30-31st October, 1983. It was only on 24th that Shri Narasimhan was informed that he should board the plane on 28th from Bangalore. On 27th Baba called him and asked him to proceed to Bangalore for the journey on 28th. And he started for Bangalore after doing ‘Padanamaskar’ to Swami. His papers were not ready till then, but he got them just before three hours of his flight. He hurriedly went to Whitefield, packed his luggage and reached the Airport to board the plane, which landed him safely at Rome. On 29th Dr Pawan of Australia who was producing a magazine on behalf of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Australia sought the opinion of Sri Narasimhan on the manuscript. When Shri Narasimhan looked for his specs (for the first time after he started) only did he realise that it was left behind at Whitefield at the time of last minute packing. It was a shock for him. He had no option but to pray wholeheartedly and fervently for Baba’s help to save him from the situation which was more grave because of the conference next day for which purpose alone he reached Italy. His intense prayer was promptly responded. Just as he completed the prayer the specs fell from above between him and Dr Pawn on the sofa they were sitting on, much to the great surprise and relief of both – the same specs with black frame which Narasimhan left behind at Whitefield. When returned to Prashanthi Nilayam Swami told him ‘I only had delivered your specs in no time from Bangalore to Rome.’ Baba is beyond Time and Space. He is omnipresent.” (Reference)

Dr. Gadhia – A Long-Time Friend Of VK Narasimhan:

Dr. Gadhia knew VK Narasimhan for a full 30 years and made Narasimhan’s acquaintance in the early 1970’s. Their friendship lasted until Narasimhan’s death in the year 2000. Dr. Gadhia knew V.K. Narasimhan much better than Robert Priddy ever did. Ghadia and Narasimhan were often asked to speak before students and devotees at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashrams. From his intimate and long-term friendship with V.K. Narasimhan, Dr. Gadhia believed that Narasimhan had full and complete faith in Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In order to believe Robert Priddy’s dubious claims about VKN, one must not only ignore VKN’s own words, private letters and books praising Sathya Sai Baba as God and the Avatar of the Age, one must also discard the first-hand stories of Sai Devotees who knew VKN over the course of several decades.

“Beloved Swami once called Mr. Narasimhan and ‘this Das’ to talk to the students in Prashanti Nilayam. Mr. Narasimhan related the above experience, which confirmed Baba’s immense supernatural powers. He had complete faith in Bhagavan and knew that Beloved Swami is enacting a drama and is the Director of the drama.”
Sai Smaran
Dr. D.J. Gadhia
Chapter 41 ‘Shat-Laksharchana’
Pages: 300, 301, 303

Tributes To VK Narasimhan:

The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley has condoled the death of veteran journalist, Shri V.K. Narasimhan, who died at Puttaparpthy this morning, after a brief illness.

Shri Jaitley praised the courageous role played by Shri Narasimhan as Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express Group during the 19-month spell of emergency. He said that Shri Narasimhan held aloft the banner of press freedom during the dark period and the services rendered by Shri Narasimhan will always be remembered.

The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has expressed grief over the death of Shri V.K. Narasimhan in Bangalore on March 9, 2000. In a condolence message, the Prime Minister has said: “Shri V.K. Narasimhan was a distinguished journalist who will be remembered for fearlessly upholding freedom of the press, especially during the Emergency. His editorship of various papers was marked by excellence. He held the highest professional standards and displayed absolute integrity and character. I convey my heart-felt condolence to his family and friends.”

A lifelong journalist, Narasimhan worked at The Hindu, a daily newspaper in Madras, India, and later worked with the Deccan Herald in Bangalore. As the editor of the Indian Express in 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, declaring emergency rule, imposed censorship on newspapers and pressured them to report only good news about her. Most papers complied, but Narasimhan refused, standing firmly for freedom of expression. Narasimhan died March 9 in Puttaparthy, Andhra Pradesh state, at the retreat of a Hindu ascetic. He was 88.

V.K. Narasimhan’s Book: “Bapu To Baba”:

The title of this book is Bapu to Baba. ‘Bapu’ is the endearing term used for Mahatma Gandhi. It literally means father. This book is a collection of 36 articles written by V K Narasimhan who was the editor of Sai Baba’s spiritual journal called Sanathana Sarathi. Mr. Narasimhan came to Bhagavan Baba in 1980 after nearly half a century of association with leading national dailies. Originally published on Swami’s 60th birthday, the present edition is a reprint with a few additional articles on Bhagavan Baba and His global mission to unify and spiritualise mankind. These articles bear testimony to the author’s deep concern for freedom, social justice and moral values.

Bapu to Baba
By V.K. Narasimhan

The first edition of Bapu to Baba was published in November 1985, as an offering to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on His sixtieth birthday. The present edition is a reprint with a few additional articles on Bhagavan Baba and His global Mission to unify and spiritualise mankind.

The author is a well known journalist with more than half a century of association with leading national dailies. He was the Editor of Bhavana’s Spiritual Journal, Sanathana Sarathi.

The book is a collection of 36 articles which bear testimony to the author’s deep concern for freedom, social justice and moral virtues.

The first article ‘A Journalist’s Odyssey’ is an expansion of the title. He is fortunate to have been born in one of the stirring moments of Indian History. In the 1920s, Gandhi became the moving spirit of the Indian National Movement. As a young boy he was all enthusiasm for whatever Gandhi did.

As a college student, he read the collapse of the capitalist system and the Great Depression that gripped the European countries. The Soviet experiment sounded to be a promising alternative and he became a Marxist with the hope of a better world to be ushered in by the socialist system, ’the community of working people enjoying the benefits of science and technology through the social ownership of the means of production.’

Looked at from the Marxist angle, even Gandhiji seemed to be an economic and social reactionary, more concerned with the moral means, than with vital economic social goals.

But the course of history – Stalinist Communism with its aggressive nationalism – did not fulfil the promises of the Marxist ideals. It was found to be more dangerous because of its complete control over the minds and resources of the people.

His critique of communism is worth quoting: ‘I felt, in particular, that the Communist doctrine of the end justifying the means and their avowed faith in violence as the means of social change were bound to prove self-defeating and could only produce a social and political system in which moral values were subordinate to political and personal ends. Above all, the doctrine of class war and class hatred, on which the entire Communism Movement had been built, seemed to me to be calculated to warp the minds of millions of people and breed an atmosphere of hatred which could not be conducive to the development of a healthy and harmonious social system.’

With this growing awareness, long it was not after he realised that the Gandhian approach to National and international problems was more enduring.

Narasimhan’s career as a journalist – 15 years prior to Independence and 33 years after Independence of the country – made him a personal witness to the universal collapse of morals and self-discipline that rapidly over took the country. He felt the supreme need of the country to recover the spirit of Gandhiji for ordering its life in every department, in Government and outside.

He identified in Bhagawan Baba the authentic spiritual leader from whom emanated the powerful moral force to rejuvenate not only the country but the entire world. Sri Sathya Sai Organization is the true World Body that achieves the unity of mankind in a common goal of love and service to fellowmen.

From: Spiritual Impressions, Puttaparthi, Sai Towers, Mar-Apr. 1997, pag. 70-71 (Reference)

Select Bibliography Of V.K. Narasimhan:

  • “Making of Editorial Policy in the Indian Press” V.K. Narasimhan, 1961.
  • “The press, the public and the administration” V.K. Narasimhan, Indian Institute of Public Administration, 1961, ASIN: B0000CQYKL
  • “Excursions” V.K. Narasimhan, 1962.
  • “Kasturi Ranga Iyengar” V.K. Narasimhan, The Director, Publications Division, 1963, ASIN: B000LAFY2S. A champion of the freedom of the Press, Kasturi Ranga Iyengar established ‘the Hindu’ as the voice of the people. Today, the paper has a circulation of over 700,000 copies and a readership of over 3 million.
  • “Democracy and Mixed Economy” V.K. Narasimhan, 1965.
  • “Kamaraj – A Study” V.K. Narasimhan, 1966. A major biography of a famous Indian.
  • “Kasturi Srinivasan” V.K. Narasimhan, Popular Prakashan, 1969. A biography of an editor for ‘the Hindu’ for 40 years.
  • “Pluralism & mixed economy: A basis for centre-state relations” V.K. Narasimhan, Forum of Free Enterprise, 1978, ASIN: B0000CQVPG
  • “The disciplines of democracy (M. Sreenivasa Iyengar memorial lecture)” V.K. Narasimhan, Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, 1978, ASIN: B0000EEBD9
  • “Above the Battle” V.K. Narasimhan, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay/London, 1973, with a foreword by former Chief Justice of India, M. Hidayatullah.
  • “Democracy Redeemed” V.K. Narasimhan, S. Chand, Delhi, 1977, ASIN: B0000EE0PG Foreword by N.A. Palkhivala, who wrote: “In Democracy Redeemed, Mr. Narasimhan – one of our most eminent journalists – has vividly presented the story of India’s loss of freedom in 1975 and the return to the democratic path in 1977. It is a bird’s eye view – but the eyes that of the eagle.” Also: “‘Courage’, said Sir James Barrie, ‘is the thing. All goes if courage goes.’ We were very fortunate in having a select band of courageous men like Mr. Narasimhan – without whom all might have been lost.”
  • “Kasturi Ranga Ayyangara (Adhunika Bharata ke nirmata)” V.K. Narasimhan, Prakasana Vibhaga Sucana aura Prasarana Mantralaya Bharata Sarakara, 1985, ASIN: B0000CRENW

  • “From Bapu to Baba” V.K. Narasimhan, Kalakshetra Publications, Madras 1985. Republished by Sai Towers Publishing, Puttaparthi, 1990. ISBN-10: 8186822186 – ISBN-13: 978-8186822180
  • “Devoted to the Lord. Beloved of the Lord” V.K. Narasimhan, 1992, 80th birth anniversary offering to VKN, edited by his son, V.N. Narayanan. Contains a letter from the President of India, R. Venkataraman and from the Governor of Maharashtra, C. Subramaniam.

Also see:
VKN – V.K. Narasimhan – A Life Of Devotion To BHAGAVAN Sri Sathya Sai Baba


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